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6 Most Popular Types of Hair Extensions

Extensions range from real human extensions to synthetic ones. Human hair products are made exclusively from human follicles collected from a donor. Synthetic extensions are made from synthetic fibers blended together to make a fine imitation. They are rather stiff and do not blend well with the natural strands.

There is also a vast difference when it comes to styling since synthetic extensions are not affected by dyes, heat, and friction that easily damage natural strands. 

When it comes to purchasing, synthetic is cheaper to obtain and lasts for a short period, unlike the natural that is a bit expensive but can last for more than a year.

Types of Hair Extensions


These are lightweight, pre-taped and glued together on both sides of your hair usually applied with the purpose of aligning the hairs to the roots using a heated element. This element helps heat up the glue although application of heat and adhesives damages it in some instances. It takes less than an hour for a hairdresser to apply them.

Tape-ins easily slide off when the tape becomes loose. This is because of the heat and to avoid the issue, special shampoos and less oily products are usually recommended by hairdressers. Growth and maintenance determine the life expectancy of the tape-ins, usually lasting 1-2 months under good care.


Sew-in is attached to natural hair braid into cornrows. A stylist will use a needle and a thread for this. The process of applying these extensions takes much longer since they must be applied tightly. It may feel uncomfortable due to the strain on the scalp. Positive thing is that the extension cannot come off easily. They are suitable for people with thicker hair and it is the longest lasting type of an extension.

When using weaves, it is advisable to use special protein products to minimize the damage and effects of heat that makes hair weak. It is also necessary to moisturize the scalp, nape and the edges of the hair using deep conditioning products at least once per week. The weaves can last from 4 months to 1½ -2 months.

Fusion and Pre-Bonded

This type of extensions is bonded to the natural hair by using an adhesive. The process takes somewhere between 3 to 4 hours and it requires a specialist. A hot-glue gun is used to attach it to the individual strands. This method usually damages natural hair and is not suitable for people with weak follicles. 

Pre-bonded is maintained and treated the same way as the natural one and requires re-positioning every 2-3 months due to the growing. However, this method also causes hair loss, breakage and scalp irritation which is a result of different chemicals present in glue. Pre-bonded has a lifetime of 4 months depending on the type and growth of your hair.


They are applied by looping them through the natural hair using a special cramp, heat and a metal bead. The hot metal beads/rings are used to fix and tighten the small sections to the extensions and it takes from 3 to 4 hours to apply. Heat from the hot metal beads burns and breaks it, and as a result, this extension also becomes unsuitable for people with fewer follicles.

Micro-link hair extensions are washed in a similar way to that of the natural one. The growth of natural loosens the beads on your scalp with time requiring re-positioning every 2 to 3 months. The extensions are considered semi-permanent and last for a period of up to 4 months.

Wigs & Hair Pieces

Wigs provide a complete head cover. Unlike other extensions, wigs are not blended with the natural hair and are commonly used by people with short follicles, and those affected by balding. Wigs are usually available in different shapes for example buns and ponytail and you can easily apply them without requiring an expert.

You can wash and treat wigs depending on the type i.e. real or synthetic. The way you take care and maintain your wig dictates its lifetime and under good care, wigs can last for up to one year.


Clip-in extensions are available in strands of contoured pieces with clips sewn in. This makes it easy to clip them to natural hair without any need of assistance. They are the simplest type of extensions requiring from 5 to 15 minutes to apply with the option of removing/putting them when you want. Clip-ins make little to no damage to natural hair since heat or chemicals are not applied. They are the most popular although the least permanent.

You can wash and dry the clip-ins in a similar way as natural hair by using a shampoo and letting them dry. It is also possible to apply dye and then curl or straighten depending on your preference. Under proper care and maintenance, by using genuine products, clip-in can last from 6 to 12 months.

Different types of extensions have varying characteristics and effects, and some of them can be really beautiful. On the other hand, they can be a source of various problems including loss of follicles, strain, and uneasiness. Adding extra hair is so easy and when considering synthetic or natural extensions, it is wise to compare the advantages and the shortcomings before making a purchase.