Fashion & Beauty

Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Wedding Hair Extensions

  |   By Jen O'Brien

Studio shot of young beautiful bride on light background. Professional make up and hair style.

Wedding hair extensions might not be the first thing on your radar after becoming engaged, but as you begin to make beauty decisions for the big day they absolutely should be. "They're going to give you the oomph that you're looking for in your photos," says Noor Ahmad, the founder and CEO of Unicorn Hair Extensions, who compares extensions to false lashes, in the way that they can enhance and complete a look. "They're not just for people who don't have a lot of hair," she adds. "They're for anyone who wants that extra boost of confidence."

Since hair extensions aren't something you can typically just pop into the salon and purchase, we asked Ahmad for tips on navigating this important wedding purchase.

What should people look for in quality hair extensions? "You want to touch them and see how they feel," Ahmad explains. "Do they feel too soft or do they feel like your own hair? Some of the hair extensions on the market are coated with silicone -- this is what makes the hair really silky and soft. What happens with silicone is that it comes off after one or two washes and you're left with brittle hair extensions. You also want to look at the source of the hair -- where the hair is coming from. In the hair extensions industry, there is hair that people source from Malaysia, China and Japan and then there's hair that people source from India. Indian hair is what we carry and it's superior in quality to all other hair extensions out there aside from European hair. If a website doesn't mention where it's sourcing its hair from then it usually means it's sourcing its hair from China -- and usually price is a good indicator of that. The better the quality, the higher the price."

How do you colour-match extensions? "A lot of companies will allow to you send in pictures for colour-matching purposes. When you take these pictures you'll want to do so in indoor lighting away from the window. You'll want your hair to be down. Most people have hair that is multi-tonal and our extensions are multi-tonal as well so something like that blends very well," she explains. "For your wedding hairstyle you want to wear something that has dimension, you don't want something that's an exact match because in pictures that dimension is what's going to show."

For natural, loose, beachy waves, what sort of extensions should you buy? "If you're leaving your hair down, seamless hair extensions are perfect because they don't feel too heavy," Ahmad explains. "The ones we have come with seven or eight pieces and they clip in. I wouldn't recommend tape-in hair extensions, because even though they last four to six weeks, your stylist isn't going to be able to backcomb them and your stylist will want to control where the volume goes while styling your hair -- with clip-in extensions you can easily control that."

When should you buy? "It's a good idea to get your hair extensions so that you have them in time for your engagement shoot," says Ahmad. "That way you can take them to your stylist and they can get used to the texture of the extensions. Before wearing hair extensions you always want to wash them. When you wash them they'll take the same texture and shape as your natural hair. Ideally it's good to have them for your engagement shoot so that you and your stylist can get comfortable with them. That way you have time to tone them or cut them too."

How long do hair extensions last? "Hair extensions do not last forever. They're not getting the natural oils and nutrients that your hair needs to grow. Depending on how often you wear your extensions and how well you take care of them they can last between a year and a half to several years," says Ahmad.

How do you take care of them? "You should wash them after about every five wears and you can even treat them to a masque if they're feeling dry," says Ahmad.

This article was originally published on Dec 18, 2018

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