Treat yo’self to a new wardrobe… of extensions!

You need never have a pre-party “I hate my hair” moment again if you have a mix of mane-altering hair pieces at your disposal. We ask the experts what you should have at home to turn that frown upside down every time your hair is misbehaving…
Hair: Errol Douglas MBE for Balmain Paris Hair Couture

You might have already decided that extensions aren’t for you – that you can’t be doing with the faff of the application, the upkeep, the constant care. And that’s cool – but what if you had, at your fingertips, temporary helpers that could give you a fringe in a flash, or a dip dye do directly, for one night only?

Just look at Kylie Jenner’s ever-changing hair and you’ll realise that very little of what you see is, well, her hair. She has a collection of wigs and pieces to change it up on the regular, and we can totally see why. Want green hair for a festival? Done… but without the bleach and the regret you might have a week later. Fancy a super long pony but your bob says no? Not a problem, we can clip in a tail any pony would be proud of.

Academy salons in Surrey offers Ready-To-Wear from Balmain Paris Hair Couture (yes, that Balmain). Clients are wowed with catwalk-inspired cheating in the shape of ponytails, wigs, beehives, fringes, length and colour. “This wardrobe of looks is created in the main using Memory Hair,” explains Salv Mulé from Academy, who regularly runs client evenings to show how easy hair pieces can be (pictured, left). “It’s a smart-synthetic created to look and act like real hair. Other plus points are that iMemory Hair is heat styleable, affordable, and retains its previously-styled shape.”

First up, what you need to know – it is worth spending a bit more on pieces, otherwise after a few washes you mind have something more akin to dog fur than a ponytail. Lots of the brands in salons offer human hair extensions and pieces, so check with your hairdresser on the quality. “It’s really important to go to your stylist for this to get the right colour match and fitting.   This would give the stylist time to blend the extensions with your own hair and also show you how to correctly fit them for the best effect,” says salon owner Inanch Emir, who’s also the expert behind Gold Class Hair.

Also, you need to care for your (temporary) hair with sulphate free shampoos and conditioners. Again most of the brands have their own care ranges, so ask the salon what’s on offer. “I would always recommend using a hair extension specific shampoo and conditioner, as these are specifically formulated to cleanse and condition well,” says Angela Mason, who runs an extensions-focused salon in West Didsbury (her work is pictured below). “Within my product line, I also have a hair extension protein spray and hair mask, which softens and moisturises if your extensions have had a lot of use from heat tools or styling.”

Remember to use a Tangle Teezer to remove knots and hairspray before washing, and make sure you wash and condition the hair in the right direction of the hair piece, to avoid any nasty tangling. Once washed, use your detangler again and blot dry with a towel – don’t rub the hair. “It’s important to use a detangler on wet hair to avoid damage, as this is when the hair is at its most fragile,” says Angela. Then use a heat protector before drying with a paddle or ceramic brush.

And what about between uses – how can you ensure they got get all matted? “When I supply clip in hair extensions I always provide an organza bag with one of my structured Angela Mason Hair Extension box bags to keep them safe and tangle free,” says Angela. “Many of my clients also love to hang their clip-ins on lingerie hangers! There are lots of really affordable mini hangers and even suit bags available online, which means you can create your own personal clip-in wardrobe at home.”

Tatiana Karelina; Balmain Paris Hair Couture


So those are the basics covered. Now onto the fun! With Christmas party season about to kick off, we examine the key extension essentials any gal should have in her wardrobe. Shopping for two wardrobes? What’s not to love…?

The Plait

Now, we’ve said “the plait” – but there are sooooo many, and you can choose your length too. all types, lengths and kinds. A braid clip-in is also super versatile, as you can use it to create a messy top knot, a fishtail, boxer braids, braided buns, milkmaid braids… see where we’re going with this? The Tatiana Karelina Clip-in Braid (from £250) is a favourite, and really easy to clip-on, even on short hair.

The bun

Ever pulled all your hair back into a top knot, only to be disappointed by the sad, tiny lump that results? Fear not, there’s a clever and easy way to fatten it up! The Remi Cachet Human Hair Wavy Wrap (RRP £24.95) is really simplejust twist the Wavy Wrap two or three times around or bun (or ponytail) to boost its oomph, and then pin in place to get the result you want. It can be worn high on the head for a statement look or low for something a little more elegant.

The Ponytail

There is a super wide choice again, of colour effects (ombres for example, or pastel shades) and of different lengths. “I love a little narrow ribbon loosely tied to a low ponytail for a pretty feminine touch,” says Tatiana Karelina. Perfect for creating a simple and easy design within minutes, the Luxe Wrap Ponytail from Hair Rehab London (founded by TOWIE star, Lauren Pope, so she knows her stuff) grips into your own hair using an internal comb and can then be wrapped into place/concealed for a super sleek finish. It’s about 20”, and costs from £94.99.

The Long Locks

The trend this year has certainly seen a return to the super-straight and long, and let’s face it, Mother Nature ain’t usually that kind to give us what we want. A perfectly-matched clip-in can add length as well the right texture, and you can curl or straighten a piece before clipping it in to give you the texture you want (you could even take it to your hairdresser for a colour, if you wish. For a little luxury, take a look at the Gold Class Clip-In Hair Extensions. They’re great for volume, length and/or a flash of colour without the commitment. The clip-in piece itself is lightweight and comfortable, and uses soft lock-tight clips that lie flat to the head so no one will know your secret. It’s not cheap at £490, but you get a beautiful box, a special Gold Class Hair Extensions Brush, Hair Hanger, Section Clips and Hair Bag Cover.  Inanch Emir, the brains behind Gold Class Extensions, showed us how to apply this in our Layered video

The Fringe

Who hasn’t loved a fringe at some point – full on, micro, side-swept – but often you might only want it for a day or two. Problem solved: you need a winge! That’s a wig/fringe my friends – a simple clip-in to provide that focal point and your eyes a bit more drama. Hershesons The Clip In Fringe (£30) is a great way of trialling a fringe before going for the cut, or just to add some extra bangs when you feel like it. “It’s easy to insert and comes in a number of colours so you can easily match your colour,” says Jordan Garrett, stylist at Daniel Hersheson. “Simply centre part the hair, slightly backcomb and clip in. Finish with some dry shampoo to mattify the hair piece and create a textured ‘lived in’ look.”


The Colour without Commitment

Ooooh you’re spoiled for choice here, with lots of brands playing with pastels and dip dyes and root shadows and more. The original clip-in weft from Zen (£85 for a seven piece set of 18″ clip-ins) are available in ombre shades, and are a great starting point. You simply need to start with clean hair and section in the size of the wefts being used… and remember to backcomb to help secure the clip in pieces. Voila!


The Total Transformation

If a full wig is a bit too much, take baby steps, with something like the Luxe Half Wig from Hair Rehab London (from £199). Applied half way back from the front of the face, the Luxe Half Wig hides your own shorter hair underneath using a ‘comb, cap and grip’ design. But keep your own hair loose around your face to keep it all looking natural. There’s also the Hair Dress (£77.25 – pictured left) from Balmain Paris Hair Couture, which gets you from everyday to elegant in a mere five minutes. It has a cool ombre vibe (the shades are named after global cities – we want the LA!) and simply pop the hair on your crown up in a bun for a mo, place the Hair Dress over the top onto your head, and then release your bun and brush it all through to blend. So simple, yet so stunning!