Hair & Makeup

Hair extensions: the red-carpet beauty secret

The trick behind many A-listers’ enviable manes, hair extensions are not what they used to be. CHANELLE HO gets the update on the Hollywood beauty secret that no one talks about

Thick and glossy hair like that of Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen and Zendaya is a must for red-carpet-style glamour

Whether it’s Botox or fillers, there are certain things that women like to keep quiet when it comes to beauty. Hair extensions, long associated with damaged, unnatural-looking hair, were one of them. But hair extensions have come a long way, with everyone from starlets to supermodels relying on them to create the luxe volume required for the red carpet. And the best extensions aren’t about dramatic transformations, according to LA-based hair extensions specialist and co-founder of Bomane salon, Andrea Jaclyn. “Most women want thickness and volume over length because it has an anti-aging effect,” she says.

Choosing your extensions

There are many different types – wefts; clip-ins (the best for one-off events); tape extensions – but the individual bonds that are attached to your own hair using keratin (to mimic hair’s natural protein) and heat are the least damaging in the long-term and the most long-wearing. They are also the best semi-permanent solution for thicker hair, according to Jaclyn, who uses ethically-sourced natural hair. “Be realistic. Hair extensions need to suit your face shape and blend in with your natural color and texture, otherwise they won’t look real,” says Jaclyn. Once applied, ensure your stylist cuts and styles them into your natural hair.

How to apply extensions

“I add subtle pieces only where needed: for thickness and ‘guts’, a few pieces placed at either side of the crown and around the front of the hairline is all you need,” says Jaclyn. If extensions are placed too close to the scalp, it heightens the risk of traction alopecia (when hair falls out because of weight and strain). “They should sit at least a centimeter from the scalp, which will feel more comfortable, too.”

Taking care of extensions

“The secret is moisture, and lots of it,” says Jaclyn. “I love the Davines range because the conditioners are deeply nourishing but also free from protein, which can react badly with extensions.” One of the biggest mistakes is a careless hair wash. “Don’t squeeze your hair into a ball on the top of your head when you shampoo, and avoid scalp massages as they loosen the bonds,” she advises. Instead, apply shampoo directly to the scalp and carefully through the ends, only using conditioner on the mid-lengths and ends (the same goes for hair oil). Use a detangling spray before brushing wet hair, and sleep on a silk pillowcase to stop the lengths from getting tangled. With the right routine and products, your hair extensions should last for at least three months. Once hair starts matting or knotting, it’s time for a refresh. Shop our edit of extension-friendly haircare below.


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