What Are Strand-By-Strand Hair Extensions? (with picture)

Angela Farrer
Angela Farrer
A stylist putting in hair extensions.
A stylist putting in hair extensions.

Strand-by-strand hair extensions are one of the types of hair extensions that are applied to blend with small sections of the natural hair as much as possible. Professional hair extensions done with this method are typically bonded close to the scalp with a substance called a keratin polymer cap. This bonding agent is designed to mimic the chemical make-up of naturally growing hair. Strand-by-strand hair extensions often come in sections of 100 hairs at a time, and they are a good choice for clients with finer hair. As with any hair extensions, these do come with some maintenance instructions that clients should generally follow in order to keep the hair extensions in their best shape.

Attaching hair extensions is a somewhat different process for each individual, depending on the existing thickness, texture, and health of the natural hair. Experienced stylists often do not recommend strand-by-strand hair extensions for significantly damaged hair; it is generally better for these prospective clients to wait until newer hair grows out and to use regular conditioning treatments. Strand-by-strand hair extensions are available for both curly and straight hair.

The typical client getting strand-by-strand hair extensions will need between 50 and 100 pieces of 100 hairs each, though this number may be slightly higher or lower for some. A stylist who has completed training courses in attaching hair extensions is the best choice because correctly securing each of these extension pieces takes time and practice. The entire service can take up to four hours, and high-quality human hair extensions can often cost $1,500 to $2,600 US Dollars (USD). Due to the use of a specialized bonding agent and attachment tool, the strand-by-strand method is usually not a choice for DIY hair extensions.

Properly maintaining strand-by-strand hair extensions will keep them looking good and help the client avoid unnecessary trips to the salon for reattachment of damaged extensions. Strand-by-strand extensions can tangle easily, so the wearer should usually brush them carefully at least twice per day with a brush made from natural fibers, such as boar bristles, rather than from hard plastic. These hair extensions should generally be washed only with shampoos that do not contain silicone, which can loosen the bonded keratin caps in some cases. Conditioners should also be kept away from the points of attachment for the individual hair extensions because it can also cause some pieces to loosen and come out.

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    • A stylist putting in hair extensions.
      A stylist putting in hair extensions.