What Are the Pros and Cons of Hair Extensions?

T. Alaine

As with most beauty treatments, the pros and cons of hair extensions are usually very subjective, and choosing whether or not to use them is a personal decision based on lifestyle, desired outcome, and cost. Some pros of hair extensions might be the ability to change a hairstyle almost instantly and the chance to have long hair without having to grow it out. The most common cons of hair extensions are the possibility of shoddy application, the potential damage to natural hair, and the cost. Overall, the pros and cons of hair extensions must be weighed individually.

Blonde hair extensions.
Blonde hair extensions.

The first set of pros and cons of hair extensions pertains to the application process. The positive aspect here is that a person can go from short or thin hair to long or thick hair in only a matter of hours. People that desire long hair but are unable or unwilling to wait to grow it naturally can get extensions and have the hair of their dreams shortly after. Hair extensions should be applied by a professional, and in theory the results will reflect their talents.

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

There are, however, significant risks associated with the application of hair extensions, which should be considered a con. The process of adding new hair into the existing hair is usually accomplished by braiding the extensions into the ends of a person’s natural hair, and then fusing the two together with a chemical bonding agent. If the extensions are not applied correctly, the bonds may be visible and it will be very obvious that extensions have been added. Similarly, if the extensions are poor quality or not selected to exactly match the existing hair, they will look cheap and fake.

Another set of pros and cons of hair extensions is the apparent health of hair versus actual health of hair. People with thin, limp hair might pursue extensions in order to look like they have long, full, healthy locks. Unfortunately, however, the application of hair extensions can often cause severe damage to the natural hair. The additional weight and very tight braiding can cause natural ends to snap or fray, and the bonding chemicals may burn the hair or scalp. People who try hair extensions may find themselves either cutting away damaged hair after they are removed, or repeatedly replacing the extensions to hide damage.

Cost and maintenance can also be pros and cons of hair extensions. Hair extensions, especially if they are good quality and applied by a talented professional, can be very expensive. For some people, the high cost might be worth it to ensure good quality and the desired look, but for others it is an insurmountable obstacle. Maintenance of hair extensions can be fairly simple because they can be washed and styled just like natural hair. Replacing the extensions every few months, however, can be costly and inconvenient.

Hair extensions allow people to have long hair instantly.
Hair extensions allow people to have long hair instantly.

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