In this post, I am sharing all about my experience with tape in hair extensions. I have had them in for about a year and a half now so I think I can safely say I have had them long enough to form an educated opinion. In this post I will share how the tape in extensions are installed and removed, the upkeep and maintenance involved and my overall impressions.
Why I Chose Tape In Extensions
My natural hair is super thin and super fine. I am constantly on the hunt for the next big thing to produce volume in my hair and while I have my arsenal of favorites (Living Proof Dry Volume Blast for the win!), sometimes hair products can only do so much. I've always been envious of girls with thick, luscious locks. I had talked to my hair stylist several times over the years about extensions but I was always reluctant to actually go for it. Finally I sat down with her for a real consultation and she went over my options with me. There are tie in extensions, bead extensions, tape in extensions, hand sewn - I mean, the options are endless. Ultimately, she recommended the tape in for me to start. My hair is thinnest right at the crown of my head and she felt like tape in extensions would work best as they would lay flattest in that area. So I took her word for it and off we went!
Installation of Hair Extensions
When all was said and done, I ended up getting 20 "hair sandwiches" put in. What is a hair sandwich you ask? Well, it is two thin strips of the tape in extensions with my natural hair sandwiched in between. It took about 2 hours for her to put them in completely. They were placed all around my head in rows and what was most surprising to me was that although I had so much more hair, my head did not feel heavy. You can checkout my Hair Highlight on my Instagram account to see my first installation!
I was not initially super interested in length but when she put those first extensions in and all the sudden I had all this long luxurious hair, I decided to enjoy the long haired life. That's one of the cool parts about extensions, if I want short hair later, we can always cut them and then if I want longer hair at some point, we just stick new ones right back in. Another thing to note is you can dye your extensions. It works better when you dye them darker versus lighter.
The first night my head was a little sore when sleeping but I found the longer I had them on, the less I felt sore after upkeep appointments. When I say I had so much hair, I mean I had a ton of hair. My usual little hair tie would barely fit around my ponytails twice. I was used to being able to wrap that thing like 5 times in my natural hair. So I was super happy with the results after that first appointment.
Upkeep and Maintenance of Tape In Extensions
In terms of maintenance, I go every 6-7 weeks to get them removed and put back in so they are back up flush against my scalp. Right at about the six week mark is when I start to have a harder time trying to hide them so that time frame works out perfectly for me. In order to take them out, my stylist uses an oil-free spray that helps break down the tape in the extensions. After that she can easily remove the tape from my natural hair, add new tape and pop them right back in. The hair itself lasts about a year before I need to buy a new set of extensions.
One of my biggest fears of having extensions was/is excessive hair damage. I have had them taken completely out several times over the past year and I can safely say my hair does not feel completely fried and I don't feel like I'm going bald. Naturally, there will be a little hair damage but I was happy to see it wasn't anything alarming.
When they are first put in, the hair feels very slick and "wig like" but after a few washes, it started to feel more like my normal hair and everything blends right in. I wash my hair every other day and I make sure to get my fingers in there and really scrub in between where the tape is. I recently took out about 10 of the sandwiches toward the bottom of my head just to have less extensions in and more freedom on that part of my scalp. I am also trying to slowly get myself used to having less hair so when I do decide to take them out for good, the lack of hair won't come as such a huge shock.
One thing I do to keep the extensions looking nice is using a mask every few weeks. I LOVE the Olaplex Hair Perfector. It makes my hair feel like silk after I use it! I also use a heat protectant spray regularly. That is one thing my stylist warned me about. Since my hair is shorter than the extensions, when I use my flat iron or curling wand on my hair I am consistently hitting the ends of my natural hair with high heat. Something I normally wouldn't do. This is also why I love the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. It has been so much gentler on my hair. You can check out my review of that in this post. Another thing I highly recommend for extensions is a wet brush.
Pros and Cons
Well the major pro here for me, is....more hair. My top knots and braids are fuller, beachy waves look beachier and overall, I just like having longer, thicker hair to work with. That's a huge plus for me.
One of the cons of tape in hair extensions, is feeling like you want to scrub your scalp but there are "things" in the way. Also, for a week or so after an upkeep appointment, I have to wear my hair down because otherwise I feel like I am pulling on the extensions by lifting my hair up. This was an adjustment for me as someone who works out often and throws her hair in a bun to exercise.
Another con would be the cost. It's definitely pricey to go every 6 weeks to get them re-done and I had to make adjustments to other areas of my spending to make that work but ultimately, I have loved having the extensions and it's been so worth it for me.
The last not so great thing about the tape in extensions is that after the 6 week mark or so, I start to experience a little tape peeling. The tape would start to peel and feel a but gummy and sticky. It wasn't anything crazy and I always had an appointment coming soon when that started but it was still a pain sometimes nonetheless. I will actually be trying out the hand tied extensions next month to see if I like those better and I will definitely report back!
So I know that seemed like more cons to not a lot of pros but that one pro is a big one for me. I prefer dealing with those cons because of that one pro! I definitely plan on continuing my love affair with extensions but I will be playing around with types other than tape in extensions so I can find the best fit for me. Have you had extensions? Which ones do you love?!
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