The Complete Guide for Buying Hair Extensions (2019)

Read this Before You Buy Hair Extensions, a 101 Guide.


Hair extensions are a great way to amp up the beauty, length, and volume of your hair. Whether you’re ready to make your hair look thicker or to extend your length, hair extensions can create a beautiful, dramatic, and natural look.

If you’re buying hair extensions for the first time, picking the right texture, color, weight, and length can be intimidating. But don’t worry! Below, you’ll find a detailed and informative guide to give you all the knowledge you need to select and buy the perfect hair extensions for you.

How to Select & Buy Hair Extensions

You’ll find there are hundreds of hair extension options available. How do you know which is best for you? Choosing whether you want temporary or permanent hair extensions and picking which installation type is right for you is the best first step!

Should You Buy Temporary or Permanent Hair Extensions?

Super Soft Hair Extensions

Deciding whether you want temporary or permanent hair extensions depends on how you’d like to use your hair extensions, how you prefer to have them installed, and the overall cost. While all hair extensions are technically “temporary,” permanent hair extensions can be worn for 2-3 months at a time before needing adjustment due to hair growth, while temporary hair extensions are typically worn for special events or daily use and removed at night.

11Temporary Hair Extensions

Temporary hair extensions typically include flip-ins and clip-ins. Clip-ins tend to provide increased volume and length. Flip-ins, however, increase just the length without much impact to volume. Both are easy to install and can be attached in 1-10 minutes.

Temporary hair extensions are usually worn for special occasions or are worn as an easy daily wear alternative to permanent hair extensions.

[Shop Clip-In Hair Extensions]

10Permanent Hair Extensions

Permanent hair extensions, while not actually permanent, don’t have to be removed at night like temporary hair extensions do. These extensions are attached by a variety of methods including rings loops or tips, glue, tape, and more. They can last anywhere from 4 weeks to 2 months as long as you care for them well. See our list below for the most common permanent hair extension installation methods.

Different Hair Extension Installation Methods

Cold Fusion vs. Heat Fusion

You may see hair extensions listed as “cold fusion” or “heat fusion.” This simply tells you whether or not the hair extension needs heat—usually a special heat fusion tool—to attach the extension.

9Temporary Hair Extension Installation Methods

Temporary hair extensions are extensions that are used for day-wear or for a special event. These hair extensions are typically removed at night and reapplied the next day.

Clip-In Hair Extensions

Overview: Small clips on hair wefts clip into hair; at-home daily (or special event) installation

Cold or Heat Fusion: Cold fusion

Installation Time: 2-10 minutes

Length of Wear: Special Event/Daily wear (typically remove at night)

Clip-in hair extensions are the most popular extensions in our store, and for good reason: they are super easy to attach and remove without damaging your hair. Because of the fast and easy installation process, they are preferred by clients who do not want to spend any time in the hair salon.

Clip-in hair extensions come in wefts, a hair industry term for a section of hair extension with a woven top. In clip-in hair extensions, these wefts have snapping clips that are used to attach the extension to your hair.

On average, you will find that a quality clip-in hair extension will come with 6-10 wefts that are used on different parts of your head. There is usually one large weft for the back of your head, and additional wefts that can be strategically placed around your scalp for body and volume.

To attach clip-ins, lift your hair and snap the clips near the roots. Hair extensions are attached behind your real hair to ensure blending and to cover the clip or other installation mechanism. Some cheap clip-ins will have metal tips to cut costs, but premium clip-in hair extension brands like AiryHair use a silicone coating to prevent tangling and hair cutting.

[Shop Clip-In Hair Extensions]

Flip-In Hair Extensions

Overview: A single weft of hair with a halo of wire that fits snugly on scalp; at-home daily installation

Cold or Heat Fusion: Cold fusion

Installation Time: 1-3 minutes

Length of Wear: Daily wear (typically remove at night)

Flip-ins use a flipped wire installed at the crown of your hair. This temporary hair extension type is also often called instant hair extensions. These extensions can be installed at home in just a few minutes with practice.

Since flip-ins give you just one layer of hair extension, flip-ins are best used when you’re only interested in extending hair length, not hair volume.

[Shop Flip-In Hair Extensions]

8Permanent Hair Extensions Installation Methods

Hair Extension Attachment Types

While not technically “permanent,” these hair extensions are meant to be worn for several weeks at a time for a more permanent, easier, and more natural look. Some permanent hair extensions can be installed at home while others sometimes require help from a professional hair stylist.

Tape-In Hair Extensions

Overview: A single weft of hair with a halo of wire that fits snugly on scalp; at-home daily installation

Cold or Heat Fusion: Cold fusion

Installation Time: 10-30 minutes

Home or Salon: At-home installation

Length of Wear: 6-8 weeks, then need to be moved up to account for hair growth

Tape-in hair extensions are our second most popular product at AiryHair. This is because these hair extensions are easy to apply and remove without damaging your hair. They can also be worn longer than temporary hair extension options, lasting up to 6-8 weeks at a time as long as proper maintenance techniques are used.

When properly cared for, these extensions will last 6 months or longer, only needing to have placement and tape readjusted as your hair grows.

Tape-in extensions are also popular because they don’t need to be applied by a professional stylist. They can easily be applied at home! Your package will come with 20 to 40 tapes (we recommend two to three packs). Cheap extensions will sometimes have colored tape, which is not recommended as it doesn’t blend well into your hair. AiryHair tape-in extensions come with invisible tape.

To apply, lift a small section of hair, peel the protective layer off your AiryHair extension tape, and apply under the hair section. Take another extension, peel the protective layer off the tape, and put it on top of this hair section and squeeze. Your hair should be sandwiched between the two tapes.

[Shop Tape-In Hair Extensions]

Micro Ring Loop Hair Extensions

Overview: Pre-attached loops attached to hair strands

Cold or Heat Fusion: Cold fusion

Installation Time: 30-60 minutes

Home or Salon: At-home installation

Length of Wear: 6-8 weeks, then need to be moved up to account for hair growth

Micro Ring Loops come in packs of 100s strands. Unlike i-tips that require additional beads, micro ring extensions come with everything pre-attached. Some poor quality hair extension companies have poor quality loops that sometimes don’t attach properly or don’t have tube colors that match the hair extension. AiryHair is proud to be one of the very few brands that use high-quality tubes and dyes them to match the tone of your new hair.

The installation process is simple. To install micro ring loop hair extensions, simply take a strand of your own hair and insert it through the tube, then simply pull the loop which secures it. This gives you the freedom to focus on specific spots to build volume and length as desired.

[Shop Micro Loop Hair Extensions]

Nano Ring Tip and I-Tip Hair Extensions

Overview: Hair is pulled through a ring at the end of the extension and secured by closing the ring with pliers

Cold or Heat Fusion: Cold fusion

Installation Time: 30-60 minutes

Home or Salon: Salon application recommended, though at-home installation is possible

Length of Wear: 6-8 weeks, then need to be moved up to account for hair growth

Nano ring tip and i-tip extensions are two types of “stick” extensions. A full pack of extensions will include 100-200 strands. To install, simply take small strands of your own hair and insert them through the ring with the hair extension. Then use a set of pliers to close the ring.

It’s important to keep in mind that just like with all long-term hair extensions, the tips must be moved closer to the roots as time goes by. With the nano ring and i-tip hair extensions, clients can usually slide these extensions rather than installing them from scratch as hair grows.

[Shop i-Tip Hair Extensions]

Nail/U-Tip or Keratin

Overview: Strands of hair have keratin-based tips that are fused to your hair in small strands/sections using a professional heating tool.

Cold or Heat Fusion: Heat fusion

Installation Time: 40-90 minutes

Home or Salon: Salon application since requires special heating tool

Length of Wear: 6-8 weeks, then need to be moved up to account for hair growth

This is a long-lasting, very natural looking hair extension solution. Hundreds of strands of hair are attached to your existing hair using a special heating tool. Hair extension strands have a keratin-based tip (a natural protein) that fuses to your existing hair with a professional heating tool. This is used by clients who want long-lasting results.

[Shop U-Tip Hair Extensions]

Hair Wefts

Overview: Wefts of hair that come without an attachment mechanism; attachment is customized by hair stylist and may include sewing, gluing, or clips

Cold or Heat Fusion: Cold fusion

Installation Time: Depends on application method

Home or Salon: Salon application or use by someone with hair extension experience

Length of Wear: Depends on application method

Hair wefts are sections of hair that you can apply in a variety of ways. This will allow you to customize your hair extension experience. Typically used by professional hair stylists, these hair wefts may be applied by being sewn in (to small braids along your scalp) or may be glued or clipped in.

[Shop Hair Wefts]

Hair Wigs

For clients that suffer from hair loss or other health-related issues, extensions might not always be an option. That’s where wigs come to the rescue. AiryHair sells all the most popular wigs with density from 120% to 200%.

[Shop Wigs]

7Which Texture of Hair Extension Should You Get?

The answer to this question is “it depends.” You want to find a hair extension with a texture most similar to your current hair texture or the texture you will have at the time of application. This makes it much easier for you to blend your existing hair with your hair extensions.

Straight Hair Texture

If you have straight hair and love the way it looks, choose a straight hair texture! If you have curly hair and would like straight hair extensions, consider a chemical relaxer or keratin treatment, or understand that your hair will require regular styling to match the straight hair extension. Be sure to use a heat protectant spray, and understand that excessive styling of hair extensions can result in the extension not lasting as long.

Wavy or Curly Hair Texture

If you have straight or wavy extensions, then a wavy hair texture will typically blend well with your own hair. However, curly hair can sometimes be difficult to blend depending on the natural texture of your curly hair. In these cases, you may use a hair weaver to style both your hair and extensions so they match. You may also consider going with straight hair (yes, straight!) and asking your hair stylist to curl it.

[Read More in the Hair Extension Texture Guide]

6Which Length of Hair Extension Should You Get?

Hair Extensions Length Chart

The length of your hair extension depends entirely on your personal preference. Use the image above to help determine where you’d like you the ends of your hair extension to hit.

How to use the above graph:
  • For body wave, add an additional 2 inches (5 cm) to the above measurements to achieve a similar look
  • For curly hair, add 4 inches (10 cm) to the above measurements to achieve a similar look
  • If you are 5.2 feet or shorter, subtract 2 inches (5 cm) for every 0.3 feet (10 cm)
  • If you are 5.3-5.5 feet tall, use the above picture as your guide; keep in mind that hair length may vary by person
  • If you are 5.6-5.9 feet tall, add 2 inches (5 cm) to the length of the depicted hair extension to achieve a similar look
  • If you are 6 feet or taller, add 2 inches (5 cm) to your hair extension for every 0.3 feet (10 cm) to achieve a similar look

5Hair Extension Length Look Guide

What length of hair extension should you get?

  • 14 inches (35 cm) and shorter

This length is great if you have shorter hair and want to add volume.

  • 16-18 inches (40-45 cm)

If you have never used hair extensions before and don’t want to increase the length of your hair too much, consider going with an 18-inch extension.

  • 20-22 inches (50-55 cm)

This is our most popular length. This is because these extensions look amazing on almost everyone and create a “hair goddess” effect.

  • 24 inches (60 cm) and longer

For clients who want to achieve the “wow” factor and look like a model from a shampoo commercial.

4What Weight Hair Extension Should You Get?

What Weight Hair Extensions Should You Get?

The next question that many women (and men) ask us which weight of hair extensions to get.

Most of the time, more weight means thicker hair. However, keep in mind that 20-inch (100g) extensions differ from 16-inch (100g) hair. Below you will find a guide for 18 – 22 inch (45 – 55 cm) extensions.

– 30 – 70 Grams (0.3 – 0.7g / Strand)

With the exception of tape-in hair extensions (see why below), we advise you to only buy clip-in or other types of low weight extensions if you have either extremely thin hair or are just need some additional hair for styling. Otherwise, it might not cover your full head and may look unnatural.

For tape-ins, we recommend either 50 grams (0.5g per strand) or 100 grams (1g per strand) extensions. Since you can combine them into any bundles you want, the weight does not matter that much.

– 80 Grams (0.8g / Strand)

Women with thin hair use this weight to add volume or length.

– 90 – 120 Grams (0.9g – 1.2g / Strand)

One gram per strand is the “industry standard” and is perfect for women with thin hair or hair of average thickness. Not only do these extensions add length, but they also increase your hair volume. For those with thin hair, the news is even better as strands of these weights give much more dramatic results.

– 130 – 190 Grams (1.3g – 1.9g / Strand)

Women with thick hair or average hair prefer these hair extensions. This weight is perfect for achieving a dramatic look. They are perfect for adding significant volume and length.

– 200 Grams and Above

Although some suppliers offer extensions that weigh 200 grams or more, we don’t recommend wearing them (and we have been in the business for more than 11 years). The reason? Such thick and heavy hair tends to put a lot of stress on your existing hair as well as your scalp, resulting in faster hair loss and overall discomfort.

3How Many Grams of Hair Extensions do You Need?

One of the most important things when it comes to buying your new locks is ordering enough extensions to cover your full head.

These are our recommendations for the lengths of 18 to 24 inches. If you want to rock even more (or less volume), for every 2 inches multiply or divide the number by 10%.

Clip-ins and flip-ins: For thin hair we recommend 60 to 100 grams. For medium to thick hair, we suggest 120 to 180 grams.

I-tips, u-tips, and micro rings: For thin hair, go with 100 to 140 strands at 0.5 – 0.7g each. For medium to thick hair, we recommend 120 to 200 strands that are of 1g each.

Tape-ins: If you have fine hair, get 60 to 80 pieces (30 to 40 sandwiches) at 50g each. Choose 60 to 80 pieces at 100 grams each for thicker hair.

Wefts: Since wefts are so versatile your existing hair thickness doesn’t matter. Go for 1.5 to 2 wefts at 100 grams each for hair wefts.

2How to Choose the Right Color for your Hair Extensions

Hair Extensions Color Palette Chart

It can sometimes be difficult to choose the right color of hair extensions from suppliers who only have tiny pictures or small, low-quality photos. AiryHair takes care to use high-quality photos in direct sunlight using professional equipment. Use our hair extension color guide to find the right color for your extension!

As for which color will work best for you, this is entirely up to personal preference. Our only note is to remember the rule of thumb: lighter colors tend to make people look younger while darker colors lend a more mature look.

[View Hair Extension Color Guide]

1Hair Extension Grades (AAAA, AAAAA+ Explained)

We’ve been in the professional hair extension industry for over 11 years, and the truth is there is no such thing as hair extension grades. That’s simply a marketing tool. Suppliers use it ambiguously label their products in a way that expresses—often deceptively—quality.

Since these grades are unregulated and without actual quality standards, ratings such as AAAAA+, 7A or 10A doesn’t mean a thing.

Our advice is to ignore this marketing fluff and rely on real facts. Look for weight, whether or not the hair extensions are genuine Remy, and customer reviews.

Double Drawn vs. Single Drawn Hair Extensions

Single vs. Double Drawn Hair Extensions Compared

The picture above denotes the difference between single drawn and double drawn hair extensions. The main difference is that double drawn extensions are trimmed by hand to eliminate shorter hair, giving your hairstyle a more defined look.

An example we like to use is that if you were to take 28” single drawn hair extensions and cut the thinner last 6 inches off the end, you would end up with hair that is of similar thick ends as you receive with a 22” double drawn hair extension.

[Read More]

Common Questions
  • What is Remy Hair?
  • Remy hair means that the cuticles of the hair are aligned in the same direction. The cuticle of your hair is the outside layer of a single strand of hair. Under a microscope, this outer layer looks like a bunch of tiny shingles laying on top of each other.

    When your hair grows from your scalp, all of these microscopic shingles are facing in the same direction. With hair extensions, this isn’t always the case. Lower quality hair extensions may have some strands that are upside-down, which can create a “zipper” effect with other strands, causing them to lock together and create tangles. Multiply this by hundreds of strands of hair and you can end up with quite the mess of tangles.

    It is always better to buy Remy hair for a smoother, more manageable, and more beautiful look.

  • Do Hair Extensions Shed or Tangle?
  • Just like natural hair, wefts are always going to shed and tangle a little. Think about your natural hair and the maintenance it requires; adding additional length and volume is going to increase this maintenance to prevent tangling. With proper care, you can minimize shedding from hair extensions and minimize tangles.

  • Can you Dye Hair Extensions?
  • Our Remy Premium Plus hair extensions are dye-friendly. Dyeing extensions, in general, can be tricky since they’ve already been processed and dyed. Dyeing your extension an additional time will cause your hair and/or the hair extensions to become damaged or dry. We recommend picking a color as close as possible to your own color or the color you will have when the extensions are applied. We always recommend a professional dye your hair extensions when needed rather than using a home-dye kit.

Get Your Perfect Hair Extension Look!

Are you ready to put your knowledge to work and pick out the perfect hair extension for you? Shop now in our comprehensive online hair extension store!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here