6 Tips For Real-Looking Hair Extensions

Anya Mer
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Clip-in hair extensions are the ultimate hair accessory— they allow you to change up your look in a matter of minutes without crazy damage to your natural tresses. Since everybody from Kim Kardashian to your local barista have been flaunting their gorgeous flowing locks, we thought there’s no time like the present to help you transform your hair from that lob you’ve been growing out to a ‘do that even Mrs. West herself would be proud of. Keep reading for the tips and tricks to keep your faux locks looking foxy.

MORE: The Easiest Way To Transform Your Hair In Under 30 Minutes

Keep it Short And Sweet: As tempting as it may be to rock your inner Rapunzel and clip in 30 inch long extensions, shorter extensions (think 16-22 inches) tend to look more natural than super long locks. Choose your extension length depending on the length of your natural hair— if you have a shoulder length hair opt for extensions around 16-18 inches long. If you have mid-length to long hair go for something in the 20-24 inch range. Also make sure to match the thickness of the extensions to the texture of your natural hair. If you have fine hair you probably don’t need 220 grams of extensions (unless you want to end up looking like a toddler in a tiara). Try a 160-180 gram set for fine hair, 180-200 gram set for normal hair and 220 gram set for thicker hair.

Trim, Trim, Trim: An essential part of seamlessly integrating your extensions into your natural hair is trimming them to match your current cut. Most clip ins come with blunt ends so we suggest wearing your extensions to your stylist and asking for a dry cut to help blend the extensions with your hair. If you have layers ask your stylist to cut longer layers into the extensions for an ultra natural look. Style as if your natural length is the shortest layer, curling all the layers away from your face for a Kardashian-esque do.

Color to Perfection: While most clip-ins come with a base color that’ll closely resemble your natural hair tone, try adding in some highlights and low lights to even further aid the blending process. Either take the extensions to your stylist or (if you’re feeling bold) try highlighting them yourself! However, before you grab your bleach and color, make sure the extensions are 100% remy human hair. Synthetic extensions, while much cheaper than remy hair extensions, are made from a blend of plastic, nylon, acrylic, and polyester fibers and react much differently to hair dye than human hair.

Grab That Curling Iron: If you’re having a tough time blending your significantly shorter hair with your new extensions try loosely curling the hair together (once the clip ins are secured within your hair) for instant mermaid locks. Remember to spray your extensions with a heat protectant before any kind of heat styling – this will help them last longer. Since we’re loving loose, tousled waves this summer, we suggest curling your extensions with Sarah Potempa’s Beachwaver for the ultimate effortless waves.

Wash Before Wear: Most clip in extensions have a ultra glossy finish to them when they first arrive (seriously, they look straight out of a Pantene commercial). While that may be awesome to look at, it’s a dead giveaway when clipped into natural hair. Luckily the remedy to this problem is simple. Just wash the extensions before using them! Use a gentle moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to eliminate excess sheen and leave to air dry overnight. Check out this tutorial by Youtube beauty guru and self-proclaimed clip-in queen, Nicole Guerriero for an in-depth explanation on how to properly wash your extensions.

Less Is More: Depending on the weight of the hair you opt for, most extension sets come with 10 wefts that range in length. While it may be necessary to use the whole set if you have enviously thick hair, most people find that they get the most natural look by using just the larger wefts at the base of their hair and working up. Follow the natural shape of your scalp by clipping the medium length wefts in at the base of your head, the longest wefts around the widest part of your head and the shortest wefts right by your temples.

MORE: Caring For Braids, Weaves, And Extensions 

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