Hair weaves boost your hair's volume through the insertion of supplementary hair. The term originates from the application method of weaving supplemental hair into an individual's natural hair. However, current weaves encompass a much broader range of application methods, some of which have nothing to do with a weaving process.
Using hair extensions or half wigs to achieve a more voluminous look is a very popular ritual in both the celebrity and African American communities. The best weaves feature high quality hair and a careful application method. It is important to note that some application techniques are better suited to specific hair and scalp types.
Choosing a Hair Type
Whenever you are considering artificial hair, whether for hair replacement, extensions, or a wig, you will want to familiarize yourself with the various hair types endemic to this practice. Not all supplemental hair is alike where quality and texture are concerned.
Synthetic hair is by far the least expensive, but it cannot be heat styled and it doesn't wear as long. Moreover, synthetic hair doesn't fall or shape as naturally as real human hair.
Within the category of human hair there is still a breadth of options. The best quality hair is called virgin hair. This means that the hair collected has never been processed and the hair cuticle is perfectly intact. Some types of hair are labeled as "remy", which also implies the hair cuticle is not damaged or processed.
However, the term "remy" is often abused and sold in inferior hair mixes. Human hair can be collected from several sources, but the most popular hair used for extensions is derived from India. This Indian hair is often collected due to temple head-shaving practices.
European virgin hair is the most luxurious option. The European hair is often of a finer variety and is soft as silk. It is also extremely expensive and imported only by the finest salons and wigmakers.
Hair Application Techniques
The three most popular hair application techniques are called tracking, bonding, and fusion. Again, some of these methods are more preferable for specific hair types and whether mild or moderate, no method is without consequences.
Hair tracking involves parting the hair into several layered sections whereupon the natural hair is woven into a cornrow type of braid. The supplemental hair is then woven into the braid. This process is executed in layers from the nape of the neck to the crown. This tracking technique is fairly stable and will need to be redone depending upon the rate of a client's hair growth.
Tracking is not recommended for hair that is fine, fragile and prone to breakage. If extensions are worn excessively, tracking techniques may lead to a condition called tracking alopecia in which certain segments of the hair fallout and are slow to regrow. This is due to the constant pulling caused by tight braids and heavy extensions.
The bonding technique is a simple method that actually bonds the hair extensions to the scalp with the use of a chemical. Hair is divided into horizontal sections and wefts of extensions are actually glued into the open scalp. This technique needs to be removed within a week or so, to make sure that damage to the scalp is minimal.
The chemical applied is a medical grade adhesive, but it should never be applied to a sensitive scalp. Bonding is not the safest method for adding extensions, but it is amongst the fastest techniques and can be used for a quick fix.
Fusion methods use a natural protein to infuse strands of extensions to the actual strands of your hair. This process is the safest method of extension application for long term use. The protein used during fusion methods actually helps to strengthen your hair, though fine hair types may still suffer from the weight of an extension.
Fusion hair techniques also allow extensions to move more naturally as they follow the movement of the client's real hair. This method can also last several months, but it is by far the most time consuming and expensive option. Depending on the hair type used, this practice can cost anywhere from the high hundreds to ten thousand dollars.
Many people with fine or thinning hair, hope to remedy their appearance through hair extensions. Still, techniques such as bonding and weaving may serve to worsen hair loss at anchor sites, leading to wider balding spaces. Even safe methods such as fusion techniques can aggravate the scalp due to the weight of the extensions.
If you or someone you know is experienced in attaching weaves, there are many online beauty supply shops that offer them, including:
Salon vs. At-Home Application
When applied properly, hair extensions can blend seamlessly into your own hair. Unfortunately, certain at-home jobs may lead to some bumpy and inadequate results. When applied by an experienced salon professional, all areas of the hair is accessed, leading to a more careful application. Clip-on extensions are excellent for individuals who want to avoid salon costs, but when it comes to bonding, weaving and fusion methods, it is best to let a professional handle the outcome.
Additionally, working with a professional stylist can be helpful for extension maintenance and will afford solutions for any hair woes that may occur from the wearing of supplemental hair. Hair weaves involve some degree of commitment, particularly if you are using high quality hair. You will want to plan your budget carefully around this endeavor in order to achieve the best results. Connecting with an experienced stylist and using an adequate hair type can grant you the volume of your dreams.