[Long] Hair Affair

Roughly ten years ago is when I was first introduced to the concept of the hair extension [be forewarned, gentlemen – this is a post for the ladies].

I must have been totally clueless because it literally never even dawned on me that occasionally female actresses and singers would suddenly have long, gorgeous hair and it literally seemed to happen overnight. [I know, right? Like, DUH, Sarah.]

At nineteen, I was finally getting to the point in my life where I was learning to put myself together. If I’m being honest, I was mostly a tomboy up until my senior year of high school. I never cared much for make up, fashion, or boys [yeah, lezbehonest]. I actually did spend money to get my hair highlighted, but that’s only because I couldn’t deal with the dishwatery mousy blonde that was growing naturally out of my head.

So when I eventually got my act together and boys actually started to notice me, I obviously became addicted to anything and everything girly. And I was completely awestruck with the idea of extensions. I’ve truly been trying to grow my hair out for my entire life, and it seems I am just one of those unlucky souls who is destined to have collar-bone-length hair for the rest of my life.

Or not.

Once I discovered the hair extension, I was completely hooked, and I have never looked back. I have been wearing them for ten years. Yes, TEN YEARS. People don’t even know I’m wearing them [which is, ultimately, the point]. I get a TON of compliments on my hair, and I feel a bit selfish keeping my secrets to myself. I believe that all women should be able to afford the hair length they want, and know that they can do it themselves without breaking the bank.

In these ten years of instantly “growing” my hair, I have tried almost every single type of hair extension under the sun. I’ve glued them in, I’ve had them sewn into tiny cornrows that were braided underneath my hair and against my scalp [I do not recommend either of these methods – they are both itchy, painful, and rip unhealthy amounts of hair out of your head], and I’ve also had them taped in. This is much better on your scalp and hair, but it’s expensive to keep up. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford the setback of $500 every few months.

If you’re living on a budget like I am, then I have your solution. I buy my hair at Sally Beauty. They have tons of different colors, lengths and varieties. I recommend buying the real human hair versus the synthetic blend – it’s more expensive but it will last longer. And because I color my hair myself, I usually buy two different colors and sew them together to get the desired tone. If you have a darker hair hue and you can’t find an exact extension color to match, feel free to dye the hair. Just like the hair on your head, extensions can tolerate darker dye. I have experimented with brown hair and have had to dye my extensions in the past. When putting the weave together, I generally sew two or three layers together to create a thickness that will mimic my natural growth. Instead of gluing the weaves onto my head, though, I sew them onto clips, which you can also pick up at Sally [you’ll also need a sewing needle and thread, which you can find there as well]. Then you just tease your hair against your scalp where the clip will go, spritz lightly with hair spray, put the clip in, and you’re done. Well, and style as desired, obvi.

CARE AND MAINTENANCE! This is important if you want longevity. In all of the years that I’ve been buying my own extensions, the quality has gone down significantly. These days, the weaves don’t have as much hair, and the hair itself doesn’t last very long. When I used to glue mine in, I would wash them, sleep on them, tease them, hair spray them – I treated them like my own hair. And they lasted for months without thinning or frizzing. I still buy the exact same brand of hair, but I have learned that I have to treat it 100% differently. I still sleep in my extensions, but I would highly recommend that you don’t. They get tangled and frizzy after only one slumber, and the ends get dry and crispy [yes, crispy. It’s not pretty]. Extensions don’t receive the same natural oils from your scalp, which is why I rub Moroccan oil into the ends of mine every morning. Also, DO NOT WASH YOUR EXTENSIONS EVERY DAY. The shampoo and conditioner will strip what little “preservatives,” if you will, from the hair. I wash mine every two weeks or so. And all it takes is a tiny bit of shampoo and conditioner. And make sure you let them air dry! Using as little heat as possible on them is vital. And using a high quality heat protectant before you style will help keep them from aging rapidly as well.

The hardest part about all of this is “building” your extensions. I usually set aside two or so hours to put mine together – it’s a lengthy process, but it’s worth it if it means you’re saving hundreds of dollars.

Instant long hair? Saving money? These are a few of my favorite things..

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