I wrote in my last post about tricks I’ve found to treat and cover up my hair loss but despite all the time and money I spent on them, unfortunately in my case they only provided a temporary ‘fix’. While my hair felt smoother and more manageable after a treatment, it also continued to break and fall out in clumps, eating away at my self-confidence and making me embarrassed to go out in public.
As the hair loss was ongoing I didn’t feel hair extensions were an option as I wasn’t sure my hair was strong enough for the bonds to hold in place. Another barrier was the fear I felt at the prospect of going to a hair salon full of women with long, glamorous hair and uncovering my broken, damaged and uneven head of hair in front of them – something I had only done in front of my closest family.
Instead, I eventually opted for a type of hair weave specifically designed for hair loss sufferers, on the recommendation of a dermatologist who thought it was my best option, given that she was at a loss to diagnose the cause of my hair condition. The financial outlay was significant and represented a big sacrifice, however the hair loss was so extreme and long-standing and was having such a negative impact on my life at that point that I felt I had to finally address the cosmetic effects of it. The fact that the hair weave had been recommended by a medical professional also gave me confidence that this was a sound decision, as did the fact that the salon specialised in hair loss.
I had the hair weave removed at the beginning of the year, after a very mixed experience, leaving me with just a few extensions on the longer, healthier part of my hair. My hair was still very short, uneven and broken, so I was left with three options:
- Remove the extensions and cut my hair into a pixie cut
- Put the weave back on
- Seek a second opinion
I was very reluctant to cut my hair short. Having struggled for four years to maintain what hair length I had and invested in an expensive hair weave, I felt that it would be too difficult to cut my hair at this point.
Similarly, the thought of putting the weave back on filled me with dread.
So I plucked up the coverage to seek a second opinion. I spent a long time with the consultant talking through my options and her recommendation. Although my hair is incredibly uneven, it was also starting to get back some length and thickness after six months of wearing a weave and she was confident she didn’t need six inches of hair to blend in extensions.
She is recognised as an expert in extensions around the world and I felt very confident about booking an appointment after the consultation. The hair she showed me was great quality – something that hadn’t been the case with the weave – and she assured me that the hair would be really easy to style and to colour match with my own hair.
She set aside an entire day for the appointment and I was the only person in the salon, which I really appreciated. To apply a full head of extensions took five hours but ironically this is because I have (or rather when healthy used to have) a lot of hair. She was incredibly meticulous about blending the new hair in with my own and making tiny connections that are so invisible that I can wear my hair up or pulled back without anything showing.
I’m really pleased with how easy they are to style and care for, how well blended they are and how natural they feel.
I feel they represent good value compared to the weave I had, as this set of extensions should last 16 weeks. They never tangle, although I do plait my hair at night as a precaution.
I invested in oil free shampoo (Kerastase Resistance Volumifique Bain) and the matching conditioner to prevent the bonds from weakening and was given a fantastic argan oil to keep the ends looking shiny, as well as a Revlon leave-in conditioner. As she promised, the extensions are incredibly easy to style and dry really quickly, unlike the weave. Even when my hair is wet, you can’t tell it isn’t my own hair.
As with the weave, I only use a soft bristle brush to protect the hair and the bonds.
When extensions are first attached, they will feel a little heavy and it’s common to have an itchy scalp the week after as you adjust to the new hair but all in all, they have been very easy to adjust to.
I previously got extensions on part of my hair only at Lucinda Ellery and I found that they shed a lot so any time I ran my fingers through my hair, several strands would come out. The bonds were much bigger and less unobtrusive, especially as when I dried my hair they would ‘melt’ a little, making them flatter and thicker. The hair also tangled very easily.
So far, of a set of more than 200 extensions, none have come loose and the bonds all feel very firm and securely attached, so three weeks in, I’m very happy!