I started out in 2003 using Great Lengths extensions, bonding 300 individual strands in the hair one by one. I did literally thousands of these applications.
Then, in 2005 REUSABLE individual strands were introduced, from Hairlocs and Dreamcatchers. This method involves flipping a bead into the hair section and inserting a hair piece with an end like a shoelace and clamping 200 tip hair strands into the hair one at a time. This technique was top of the line at the time, and the cost matched: they would run clients anywhere from $1200 to $1800 or more.
UPDATE: Colorado is a hard climate for this type of extension…the ends can dry up in the bead, but I still offer this.
But in 2008, along came tape extensions – a new method with an initial 30-60 minute total application time and VOILA! You had LONG hair!
When I first started using tape hair extensions in 2009 I was excited for many reasons:
- Wow, I thought, this application is so quick!
- They lay so flat on the head!
- It takes so few to really get long hair!
- This adhesive really holds onto the hair in the section!
- Who thought of this, someone is really smart!
- It is so gentle on the hair, versus bonded extensions!
- IT’S REUSABLE OMG!!
The hair was affordable and the labor and time was so much less.
It’s all about the tape and retape part of the adhesive!
Originally, “tape is tape” I thought! How wrong I was. BUYER BEWARE. The ADHESIVE is what makes the product. Yes, quality of hair is really important but if the adhesive is remaining in your hair, that is unhealthy for your hair – and it’s just not necessary.
As I was beginning this journey of testing various other companies for my arsenal, I thought running to Sally Beauty Supply would be the way to get tape right? Or using a ROLL of tape and cutting it to size would be just as easy, right? WRONG! When you unroll that tape, hair from anywhere gets on the tape as it is unrolled. Sally Brand will do in a pinch but it is sticky and leaves residue.
As I began to work more with tape extension brands, I soon found out I had actually started out with the BEST brand available at the time: Hotheads. They had the best tape tabs and the best adhesive in the market. (Hotheads rebranded their hair extensions as Hairtalk USA in 2014.)
Soon a flood of competitors arose. I have tried them all. But when I remove these other brand adhesives there is so much residue on the hair that as you comb the extension out of the hair you risk dragging that adhesive down the shaft, which makes it a sticky mess. Please know this if you remove your own extensions.
Why not clarify you say? Well, I have tried just about every clarifying shampoo on the market, and washed a few clients hair way past the squeaky-clean stage, and the adhesives are still in there to some degree. Not to mention a few hours later both my schedule and my client’s have passed into the stress zone.
And using oil based removers creates the risk of having to rewash the extensions and dry them. Meanwhile you are paying the price of my time in the studio, and leaving an oil residue on the tape.
My favorite new tape extensions brand – TruMatch
In terms of adhesive residue – my newest brand, TruMatch – offers tape which works beautifully with no residue. Both TruMatch and Hairtalk USA are on the top of my list.
With tape extensions, I can keep your costs down, because I can take an extension out and lay it on my tray to put new tape on it. Then I massage your scalp with a luxurious shampoo and re-tape the extensions and you have your hair back in and looking beautiful again in 1-2 hours. (This can be done up to three times.)
Having said this, I will work on any company’s tape extensions, but most likely that will take some extra time. If you have other extensions, contact me and we can evaluate together what brand will work for you that does not pull or destroy your hair with adhesive.
You get what you pay for, so treat yourself to a line with the best tape that will keep your hair healthy and beautiful for a long long time.