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What Are the Best Tips for Do-It-Yourself Hair Extensions?

By Andrea Cross
Updated May 17, 2024
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Hair extensions involve integrating real or synthetic hair into your own. Extensions can be sewn, clipped, bonded, or braided into your hair and can be done either at a salon or in your own home. Before you venture into the world of do-it-yourself hair extensions, however, there are a number of tips to take into consideration when buying and applying your new hair, including thinking about its type, color, and use.

When choosing hair for do-it-yourself hair extensions, you first need to decide whether you want real or synthetic hair, such as Kankelon. Synthetic hair is often a better choice, given how expensive real hair can be. If you make a mistake or don't like the result, then you have lost less of an investment. As with many purchases, you also get what you pay for, so avoid buying the cheapest hair out there. Do your research, and see what brands get good reviews.

Choosing a hair color depends on what kind of effect you are going for. If you want a natural look, stand and compare the extensions in a natural light to your own hair. This is where it is more prudent to purchase from a shop rather than online, at least until you know what you want. The extensions will blend into your own hair somewhat, so they do not need to be an exact match. If you want a contrasting color, then you are free to choose whatever you want — just be sure before you buy, however, as many places will not take hair back once the package has been opened.

When the extensions are going to be left in for a significant amount of time, choose a texture that is similar to your own. If you have straight hair and you buy curly extensions, then you will have to curl your own hair every day to keep it looking natural. Keep in mind that you cannot apply heat to synthetic hair. If you have straight hair, do-it-yourself hair extensions can be more difficult to get looking natural because, with curly hair, the strands tend to wrap around each other and blend.

Another tip for do-it-yourself hair extensions is to only attempt it when your hair is approximately shoulder length. This may seem counterintuitive, but putting extensions in shorter hair by yourself can often look unnatural. If you have hair that is chin length or shorter, it is best to get extensions done by a professional. This same advice goes for thin and fine hair, which if not done correctly, can reveal where the extensions are attached to your head.

When you are ready to finally put your do-it-yourself hair extensions in, it is best to do so with a friend. You will appreciate the help, especially at the back of your head. It is also best to get all of your supplies ready and laid out and to read the instructions first. If you buy a hair extension kit, they will be included; otherwise, you can get detailed instructions on the Internet. It is important to know what you are doing before you start.

Make sure the room you are doing your hair in is well lit, and it is also a good idea to get as many mirrors as possible — this will enable you to see your hair from all sides and angles. It is important you do not put do-it-yourself hair extensions in on the day you are planning to go to an event because, especially if this is your first time, it may not work out as planned. Give yourself ample time because it may take longer than you think. Apply a small section of hair at first just to see how it goes.

After you have the extensions in, you may need to trim them to blend in with your natural hair. Longer layers are better, as short ones can make the extensions look more obvious. Finally, leave your hair for a few days before washing or styling vigorously, giving your hair a chance to relax and take to the extensions and for you to become accustomed to your new style.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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