The Complete Guide for Buying Hair Extensions
How to Select and Buy Right Hair Extensions
When it comes to buying hair extensions, especially if you never used them before, picking the right texture, color, weight, and length can be much more difficult than you might have thought. However, that should not stop you, as we have included pretty much every scenario imaginable below.
What Hair Extensions Should You Get?
With so many choices, there is no definite answer. However, by simply answering these questions, you will narrow down your choices to just one or two.
Do You Want Temporary or Permanent Extensions?
- If you want to increase just the length, flip-ins will suit you fine. They are also the easiest to attach (1-2 minutes).
- If you want to have longer hair and much more volume, then go with the clip-ins. While with proper training you can get them installed in few minutes, the average time is around 5 to 10 minutes, which is not too bad.
Now, permanent does not actually mean that you will be able to wear your hair extensions forever. They still need to be re-attached as the hair grows. All permanent methods increase both your hair length and volume.
Installation at Home
- The most popular and user-friendly option is tape-ins. Fast way to install and remove, takes around 20 minutes on average. With small tape pieces (40 to 80) attached to your own hair, it’s hard to get simpler than that.
- Micro ring loops and Nano ring tips are great for women that want strands rather than wefts or tapes. While the installation time goes up to around 30 or 60 minutes, so do the benefits. Because of the strand-by-strand method, hair tends to flow better while in motion, giving it a more natural look.
Installation by Professional
- While all extensions can be installed at home, i-tip strands are usually attached by a hair stylist. Unlike u-tips, they do not require heating or professional tools (just the pliers). They are perfect for anyone who does not want to involve heat. Just like with micro ring or keratin extensions, it will take up to 60 minutes to get your full head done.
- Keratin (also knowns as u-tip) extensions are usually the most expensive to install. Since you must melt every single tip (there are hundreds of them), expect to spend 40 to 90 minutes in the hair salon. Because u-tips are made of the same protein that is found in your own hair, they do look amazing and blend best with your own hair.
- For hair wefts, it’s up to you. They are used by hair professionals that want to create their own attachment type, have clients with specific needs or just sew them in. They give your stylist the most freedom and can be hand made just for you.
Still confused about the types? Continue reading, we go into much more detail next.
Hair Extensions by Installation Time
1 to 2 minutes: flip-in (cold fusion), worn short term.
2 to 10 minutes: clip-in (cold fusion), usually worn short term.
10 to 30 minutes: tape-in (cold fusion), used for long term results.
30 to 60 minutes: i-tip, stick tip and micro rings (cold fusion), long term use.
30 to 90 minutes: u-tip, keratin (hot fusion) and sew-in hair wefts (cold or hot fusion), semi-permanent use.
Fun fact: By sewing some clips, you can transform wefts into clip-in extensions.
Hair Extension Attachment Types
You can read about various hair extension attachment types on our home page, but to sum it up:
- Clip-in Hair Extensions
The most popular extensions in our store and there is a good reason: they are super easy to attach and remove without damaging your hair. Because of the installation process, they are preferred by women who do not want to spend any time in the hair salon. Usually bought for special occasions but can be worn throughout the day too. It is recommended to remove the clips before going to bed.
How do Clip-in Hair Extensions Work?
Clip-in extensions come in wefts. The higher the weight (more about that later), the more hair pieces it will have. On average, you will find 6 to 10 wefts that are used on different parts of your head. There is one large weft for the back of your head that is attached by lifting hair and then snapping clips near the roots. This is how all extensions are attached, behind real hair. This ensures great blending and since the clips are covered, no one suspects a thing. The clips are rather small, so there is also no discomfort. Cheaper providers might use the metal ones to cut the costs, while AiryHair as well as many premium brands go with the silicone coating. This ensures no tangling or hair pulling.Smaller pieces (usually consisting of just one clip) are then snapped just above the ear and the whole process is repeated till you have installed most (or all) of the wefts. If you have a rather small head, larger wefts can be trimmed to fit you even better.
For more details, pros and cons, photos, installation tips, and a place to buy, visit our clip-in hair extensions page.
- Cold Fusion: Stick / I-Tip / Nano Hair Extensions
Despite a simple name, these extensions often turn out to be the most confusing of them all. Mostly because of many different sub-types that are all classified as stick hair. Our advice? Think of them as a strand-by-strand method that requires no heat. Just keep in mind that Nano ring extensions belong to the i-tip family, and that they have nothing to do with the micro-rings.
How do Stick (I-Tip) or Nano Ring Extensions Work?
There are two types of stick extensions: i-tips (most popular) and Nano rings (least popular). Both work pretty much the same. Basically, you take small strands of your own hair and insert them through rings that are then closed with the help of pliers. Since we are not using any wefts, it takes a lot more patience to get your full head covered. If that sounds intimidating, do not worry as you do not have to install thousands of strands. It is closer to a hundred or two. It is important to keep in mind that just like with all long-term extensions, the tips must be moved closer to the roots as the time goes by. Thankfully, sliding them is much easier and faster than installing from scratch.
We did write a rather extensive article about the i-tip extensions alone on our product page. It will show you the installation steps, advantages as well as disadvantages and just give you a full understanding of this fusion type. If you are looking for Nano rings, click here.
- Cold Fusion: Micro Ring Loop Hair Extensions
The newer attachment type, which is often considered to be the i-tip replacement: micro ring (or simply micro loop) extensions. Also known as a micro link method. They are very similar to the ones described above and were born out of necessity. Because stick tips were usually installed by professional hair stylists, women wanted a do-it-yourself solution that not only used strands but would also be heat free.
How do Micro Ring Hair Extensions Work?
These extensions also come in packs of 100s strands. However, unlike i-tips that require additional beads, micro ring extensions already come with everything pre-attached. Because of the questionable quality loops that are used by many cheap hair sellers, they are considered to be a less professional solution than i-tips. Some won’t even match the attached tube color to the color of hair extensions. AiryHair is proud to be one of the very few brands, that goes with high-quality tubes and dyes them to match the tone of your new hair. The installation process is as simple as you can get. You take a strand of your own hair and insert through the tube, then simply pull the loop, which secures it. Just like with all long-term tresses (except for tape-ins), you have the most freedom and can focus on specific spots.
There is so much more to these extensions though. Head over to our product page to see photos, best hair care practices and of course, buying details.
- Cold Fusion: Tape-in Hair Extensions
Our second most popular item in the store, and here is why: they are easy to apply, just like the clip-ins. However, instead of working as a short-term hair enhancement, tape-in extensions were created for a lasting effect. You do not have to take them off when going to sleep and don’t even have to hire a stylist to get them installed. Another benefit of tape-ins: you don’t have to replace the hair when the tape starts to wear down. Simply get a new one for few bucks and re-apply.
How do How do Tape-in Hair Extensions Work?
The tape-in extensions are probably the most unique of them all. There are no strands or clips. Instead, you get small tape pieces that have hair already pre-applied. These tapes can also be cut into half and cover even the smallest parts of the head. The way these tresses work is genius. The package comes in a form of 20 to 40 tapes (we recommend two to three packs). If the hair is super cheap, the tape itself might not be transparent, which is a bad sign. AiryHair Extensions do come with the invisible tape, so there is nothing you should worry about. To attach extensions, all you do is lift your own hair, peel the protecting layer and attach the first piece at the bottom (very important). So, what you now have is a piece sticking to the hair. Take another piece, put it on top and squeeze. Your hair should be sandwiched in-between two tapes. This is how the tape-in extensions work.
To see our tape-in hair extensions in action, please visit this page.
- Hot Fusion (Keratin) Hair Extensions
The most natural way to give your hair volume as these extensions are applied by melting keratin (a natural protein) and fused with your own hair. Used by clients who want long lasting results.
- Hair Wefts
Hair wefts are for women and stylists who already have at least some experience with hair extensions, as they don’t come with any attachment. You can sew them, use glue or clips, all up to you
- Instant Flip-ins
Now these extensions have many different names, but the idea remains the same: it is a single weft (held with a loop / wire) that is placed at the top of your head. After few minutes of raising your own hair and masking the wire, you can achieve a new look in minutes.
- Hair Wigs
While not hair extensions, many clients also turn to wigs, especially if they are suffering from hair loss or other health related issues. AiryHair sells all the most popular wigs with density from 120% to 200%.
What Texture Hair Should You Get?
You might laugh at us for being “captain obvious”, but this is one important thing women should consider, especially if they have curly hair:
- Straight Hair
This one is pretty simple, if you have straight hair and love the way it looks, go with the straight hair extensions.
- Wavy and Curly Hair
Now this is where the situation gets a bit tricky. If you have straight hair, then wearing wavy extensions should not be a problem, as they will blend in with your own hair. The same applies for women who have wavy or curly hair.
So where does it get tricky? Some women are naturally curly and have a very specific hair texture, which prevents extensions from blending in properly. Of course, you can always use a hair weaver and style both your hair and extensions so they match. However, if you are one of the lucky ones, consider going with straight hair (yes, straight) and then asking your hair stylist to curl it. The result? An awesome hairstyle!
The texture topic requires a separate discussion, this is why we have created another guide, for the hair textures alone.
What Length Hair Extensions Should You Get?
When it comes to hair length, there is no single piece of advice that will suit everyone. However, we can still give you some guidelines that should help you along the way.
The picture above is pretty much self-explanatory but our rule of thumb is:
- For Body Wave
Add an additional 2 inches (5 cm) to the length of the hair extensions to achieve a similar look.
- For Curly Hair
Add an additional 4 inches (10 cm) to the length of the hair extensions to achieve a similar look.
- For Women Who Are 5.2 Feet (1.55m) and Shorter
Take a look at the guide and subtract two inches (5 cm) for every 0.3 feet (10 cm).
- For Women Who Are 5.3 - 5.5 Feet (1.6 - 1.65m) Tall
Please use the picture above as your guide, keeping in mind that the hair length may vary per person.
- For Women Who Are 5.6 - 5.9 Feet (1.7 - 1.8m) Tall
Using the picture above, add around two more inches (5 cm) to the length of the hair extensions to achieve a similar look.
- For Women Who Are 6 Feet (1.85m) and Taller
Just add two more inches (5 cm) for every 0.3 feet (10 cm).
Now that you know how the hair extensions will look on you, we are back to the original question: what length hair extensions should you get?
- 14 Inch (35 cm) and Below
This length is great if you have shorter hair and simply want to add volume.
- 16 - 18 Inch (40 - 45 cm)
If you have never used hair extensions before and don’t want to increase the length of your hair that much, considering going with the 18-inch version.
- 20 - 22 Inch (50 - 55 cm)
This is our most popular length and there is a reason for that: these extensions look amazing on pretty much everyone and create the “hair goddess” effect.
- 24 Inch (60 cm) and Above
For women who want to achieve the “wow” factor and look like a model from a shampoo commercial.
What Weight Hair Extensions Should You Get?
We are almost done, but we can’t let you go just yet. The next question that many women (and men) ask us is this: what weight hair extensions should I get? Here is your answer:
Most of the time, more weight means thicker hair. However, one should also 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 or would just look weird.
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)
Mostly used by women with thin hair who want 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 they give much more dramatic results.
- 130 - 190 Grams (1.3g - 1.9g / Strand)
These hair extensions are used by women with thick hair or by women with average hair who want to achieve 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.
How 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 make it 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, and 60 to 80 pieces at 100 grams each for thicker hair.
Wefts: Since wefts are so versatile, be it fine or thick hair, go for 1.5 to 2 wefts at 100 grams each.
How Do You Choose the Right Color For Your Hair Extensions?
Have you ever had trouble picking the right color for your hair extensions? Mostly because the color palette pictures were too small or did not look that good?
Don’t worry! We have taken a bunch of high-quality pictures in direct sunlight using professional equipment. Simply visit our color guide page and find the right color!
As far as the colors themselves go, the age old rule of thumb still applies here: lighter colors tend to make people look younger while darker colors will give you a more mature look.
Hair Extension Grades (AAAA, AAAAA+) Explained
As we mentioned earlier, we have been working in the hair industry for more than 11 years, and here is the truth: there are no grades.
A long time ago, some Asian hair suppliers started marking their hair extensions “AAA” grade, indicating the highest possible quality. Then smarter people decided to copy this very method, but add one more “A”, to indicate that their hair is of even better quality.
Fast forward to now and we have, AAAAA+ and even 7A grade hair, but here is the real bummer: these grades mean nothing and were created merely for marketing purposes. A supplier may supply higher quality “AAA” hair than someone selling 8A or 10A premium hair.
Our advice? Ignore this marketing fluff and rely on real facts: weight, whether hair extensions are Remy or not (ours are), and customer reviews.
Double Drawn vs. Single Drawn Extensions
By now, some of you will already be familiar with the double drawn hair extensions, if not, don’t worry, the picture above speaks louder than a thousand words.
Basically, the double drawn extensions are trimmed (by hand) in a way, which eliminates shorter hair and gives your hairstyle a much more defined look. That’s pretty much it. If you were to take 28” single drawn hair extensions and cut the last six inches (thinnest part), you would end up with hair that is similar to that of 22” double drawn.
Still want to learn more? Check our double vs. single drawn post.
Can You Explain Remy Hair to Me?
The next term you might hear when you’re looking around is Remy hair. What it really means is that the cuticles of the hair are all aligned in the same direction. The cuticle of your hair is the outside portion and it’s all these little shingles that lay on top of each other. When your hair is hanging in the right direction, you get shingles that are laying properly. However, if the hair wasn’t aligned, they’re not going in the right direction. If some hairs were upside down, they get locked together and start creating tangles. If you multiply that by a couple hundred strands of hair, you end up with a one big mess of hair. It is always better to buy Remy hair.
Do Hair Extensions Shed or Tangle?
This is the most common question that we get asked at AiryHair. The wefts are made of already cut hair and it is going to shed a little, just like your natural hair. Same goes for tangling. If you have long, thick natural rocks, your own hair tends to knot a little. If you’re adding extra 220 grams of hair, expect some tangling, but nothing that can’t be managed by brushing.
Can You Die Hair Extensions?
Yes, if you get the Remy Premium Plus option on our site. Dying your extensions can be tricky since they have already been processed and dyed. Doing that again will cause your own hair or extensions to dry faster. If you want a specific color on, it’s best to have it done by a professional or pick a color that closely matches your own hair. Same goes for purple shampoo or toning.
Reward Yourself and Get Sexy!
That's it! Reward yourself with a delicious piece of chocolate or your favorite food. Why? Because you have just finished our guide and learned pretty much everything (and more) about buying and wearing hair extensions.
So what should you do now? Use that knowledge and pick from some of our awesome hair extensions!