The Quest for Princess Hair: Clip In Hair Extensions
My mom always found me in a crowd because I have always been “the one with the hair.” I always had thick wavy, unruly lion mane. I I’ve always wanted hair like this:
Complete with glowing sparkles, I’ll put LED lights on anything
But I grew up more like this:
15 year old me at my 9th Grade Dance, d’awwwwwwwkward times. <3
I first started experimenting with fake hair when I bought my first wig for San Diego Comic Con 2011. I was helping to run a booth and wanted to get some extra attention, and since then I have adored the fact that I can add a foot of length to my hair at a whim and experiment with color without permanent damage and huge costs.
10 years after that school dance, wearing my first wig at San Diego Comic Con 2011.
Since then, I’ve bought at least 6 sets of clip in hair extensions and tape in hair extensions, mostly from Hair Extension Sale since I’ve had a great experience with their service, quality and variety. I want to share how I use my clip in hair extensions, so people who are as in love with fake hair as me can start working on their own style. This picture of me that I use for almost every online profile was with a set of clip in hair extensions:
How I did it:
I used 2 of my 7 piece clip in extension sets, one of 18” and the other 20”. I used two sets because I have really thick hair and because I was growing out some faded blonde color, I wanted to work that in to my style to keep it more in line with my regular style. for the underneath parts I used Brown #4, 20 inches. The blonde parts where part of a 7 piece set I got at Sally Beaty Supply, 18 inch wavy golden blonde. I initially bought wavy and ironed them straight to match my own texture hair, which is also wavy that I iron straight. While I still use them are they’re excellent quality, I’d recommend hairextensionsale.com for a wider variety. Also, Sally Beauty doesn’t let you exchange the hair, so if you get them in a different light and find they’re not right, you’re out $120 bucks! Ain’t nobody got time for that. The sets at Hair Extension Sale actually matched my natural texture better. I have REALLY thick hair that’s a bit rougher in texture since I iron it all the time, and the hair I got from hairextensionsale.com felt more real than the Sally hair. It was still very soft, but way more natural. For my blonde, #12 Golden Brown is the closest match to my Sally set.
For reference, this is a pic of my hair without the extensions (and worse lighting). I cut it to just above shoulder length because it was way too over processed with color experiments in college and the ends were fried.
At the time this outfit was actually work appropriate. Love my job.
If you’re starting to fall in love with the idea of extensions, clip-ins are the best way to dip your toes into it. Also, YOU CAN INSTALL THEM YOURSELF. I’ve seen some salons in NYC on Lifebooker charging upwards of $100 just to install CLIP-INS. I’m sure they look fantastic when styled professionally, but you’re not even supposed to SLEEP with these in. Unless you’re headed to a photoshoot, in my opinion, you should DIY. All you need to install clip-ins is a comb, a lot of small clips to keep your hair in sections, and a flat iron. This girl has a great tutorial if you want to go from short to extra long extensions yourself. Watch her, and use the chart below to plan your own placement.
Direct Video Link: http://youtu.be/uuHP6iK5qL0?t=3m
I love that some people make their own sets from wefts, but if you’re just starting out, I say buy a set of pre-made clip in hair extensions to get a feel for how they work. If you want to make your own, you’ll need to buy the hair clips, buy a set of hair wefts usually used for traditional weaves, and sew the wefts to the hair clips. Tip: if you make your own, do NOT use glue to attach the wefts to the clips. I tried this and even the best crazy glue didn’t hold up. Sewing is best.
Note: The inches refer to Horizontal length (the part that you clip to your head) not the vertical length of the extension.
How often do you wash your Clip In Hair Extensions? It depends on how often you wear them. I usually only wore mine going out on the weekends. If I was going to dinner or a sit-down show, then I didn’t bother washing them after a few times out. But if I went out to a dance party, and they got sweaty and sprinkled with other peoples beer, I washed them before I wore them again. In my opinion you don’t have to wash clip in hair extensions every time you wear them. It’ll only shorten their lifespan.
How do you wash Clip In Hair Extensions? In the sink, OFF of your head. DO NOT WASH THEM WHILE ON YOUR HEAD. Would you wash your hair with clips in it? This video was really helpful the first time I washed mine, because I was nervous about destroying them. While a few hairs did come out, the extensions still looked as full as when I bought them. For a step by step, I like this video. Mostly, just be gentle and go easy on the shampoo/conditioner and go slow. It took me about an hour the first time from start to finish, then I let them air dry.
Direct video link: http://youtu.be/PKQcZmt0BoQ?t=4m51s
How do they wear? Can you do normal hair things with clip in hair extensions? Yes and no. If you style and iron the proper way, you’ll avoid most tangling mishaps. If you style and iron the proper way then go to a sweaty club and dance your ass off, you may end up with tangles, especially if you’re going for the uber long haired look and aren’t used to caring for long hair. Also, if you’re dancing, try not to touch the front of your head too much. Your one clip pieces go close to your front, and they’re generally the least stable. So far I have never lost a clip-in on the dance floor, but I’ve found one hanging on by a few hairs when I got home. I may have to write a “how to rage with hair extensions” tutorial after this!
And I cannot stress this enough: TAKE OFF YOUR CLIP INS BEFORE YOU SLEEP. If you don’t, you WILL wake up like Deena, and spend an hour or two combing out your clip-ins. This is ESPECIALLY important if you combine clip-ins with taped in or fused extensions. I did this when a few of my taped-in extensions didn’t last; I used my clip-in set to fill out my hair until my next salon appointment. If your clip in extensions and fused extensions or tape in extensions tangle together, you CAN save them, but you’ll have to comb them out on your head before you can even take out the clip-ins and get yourself to hangover breakfast at the diner.
I love Deena because she goes hard, but friends don’t let friends sleep in clip-ins.
How do I store my clip in hair extension? I’ve seen really nice, long cloth zippered bags that keep the extensions from getting tangled in storage. But for myself, I have 2 6”x4” paper mache boxes that I use for storage. Comb out your extensions and lay them gently in the box, piece by piece, wrapping around the inside of the box. If you lay them one piece on top of the other, they shouldn’t get tangled up badly. If you’ve washed them, do not store them until they are completely dry. I’ve heard that wigs will last longer if they’re less exposed to air, so I try to follow the same advice with my extensions.
Are synthetic clip in hair extensions worth it? In my opinion, it’s not worth it to buy a set of synthetic clip in extensions, for a few reason. Real human hair extensions cost about twice as much as synthetic hair, but the quality of real remy hair clip ins will last at least FOUR TIMES longer than synthetic clip in hair extensions. Also, you cannot style synthetic clip in hair extensions on high heat, most of them will MELT! Synthetic clip in hair extensions also do not wash the same as real hair. Did you ever wash Barbie’s hair? It is never the same. If you’re doing a cosplay, or the synthetics match your own texture without styling, then synthetic may be a good way for you to get into fake hair and clip in extensions. Other than that, I say go for real, except in one instance; the pony tail.
I LOVE my clip in synthetic long pony tail. I got it an a beauty supply store in my Astoria neighborhood for $24, it’s about the length of the extensions I like to wear (around 20”.) I used it when I went to Electric Adventure (I love dancing with long hair) and for my Aerith cosplay at New York Comic Con 2012. I think the ponytail is perfect if you’re trying to rock the fake length every day. I plan on using my long pony when I’m in-between appointments, when I plan on going from tape in hair extensions to fused extensions in January.
Can guys use clip-in hair extensions? I want to do a windmill! In experience if you have at least 4 inched of natural hair, you can use clip in hair extensions. I would LOVE to see a guy rocking them, go for it! I’ve never seen a picture of a dude rocking them, but i’d love to. If you have one, send it in!
My last pieces of advice:
1. Wear your extensions with confidence. If you’re not comfortable with your look, why bother?
2. Don’t tell people its real when it’s not. Be open with the fact that you use hair extensions! Most obervant people are going to know somethings up when your hair grew a foot overnight.
Most importantly, enjoy your look and love your inner and outer beauty, no matter how much hair you have on your head at the time. At the end of the day, it’s just hair - it’s what’s underneath it that counts.
Here are a few more pics with the same clip-in extensions, adding to the wild main of hair I’ve always had.
Have you used clip-ins before? Send me an ask, photo reply, or a tweet @Yunacef if you’ve used them, especially for cosplay, I’d love to see how you style clip in hair for anime and video game characters! If you’re thinking about it I’d love to hear from you too. I’m not an expert or a hair stylist, but I will never turn down a chat about fake hair!