Hair Extensions Methods

There are many methods out there to get long hair, which method should you use for the look you want?

The comparison chart below is from many years of personal experience with various hair extension methods by our salon owner The Extologist (Allana Fabrikant Kanevsky). You can see all the methods side by side in the chart, and read the detailed description of each method at the bottom of the page. You can also read the comparison chart of hair extensions companies that she has used (coming soon). You will find a similar chart on The Extologist website.

  • Strand By Strand
  • Tape In Extensions
  • Clip In Extensions
  • Glued Tracks
  • Sown Tracks
  • Microlocks / Loops
  • Skin Graft
  • Laced Wigs
  • Style Longevity
  • 3 – 6 months
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • 1 day or event
  • up to 1 week or first shampoo
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • 3 – 6 months
  • up to 8 weeks
  • up to 8 weeks
  • Initial Price
  • $800 – $3,000
  • $600 – $2,000
  • $50 – $500
  • $100 – $700
  • $200 – $800
  • $900 – $4,000
  • $300 – $5,000
  • $500 – $10,000
  • Application Time
  • 3 – 8 hrs
  • 1 – 3 hrs
  • 10 – 15 mins
  • 30 – 120 mins
  • 1 – 3 hrs
  • 2 – 6 hrs
  • depends on size
  • 15 – 30 mins
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • $100 – $300
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • removal price + application price
  • removal price + application price
  • $500 – $3,000
  • depends on size
  • N/A
  • Checkup Time
  • 6 – 8 weeks
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Removal Price
  • $200 – $400
  • $50 – $300
  • $0
  • $50 – $100
  • $50 – $200
  • $400 – $600
  • depends on size
  • $50 – $100
  • Removal Time
  • 2 – 4 hrs
  • 1 – 2 hrs
  • 10 mins
  • 1 – 2 hrs
  • 1 – 2 hrs
  • 2 – 4 hrs
  • depends on size
  • 10 – 30 mins
  • Strand By Strand
  • Style Longevity
  • 3 – 6 months
  • Initial Price
  • $800 – $3,000
  • Application Time
  • 3 – 8 hrs
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • $100 – $300
  • Checkup Time
  • 6 – 8 weeks
  • Removal Price
  • $200 – $400
  • Removal Time
  • 2 – 4 hrs
  • Tape In Extensions
  • Style Longevity
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • Initial Price
  • $600 – $2,000
  • Application Time
  • 1 – 3 hrs
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • N/A
  • Checkup Time
  • N/A
  • Removal Price
  • $50 – $300
  • Removal Time
  • 1 – 2 hrs
  • Clip In Extensions
  • Style Longevity
  • 1 day or event
  • Initial Price
  • $50 – $500
  • Application Time
  • 10 – 15 mins
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • No
  • Checkup Price
  • N/A
  • Checkup Time
  • N/A
  • Removal Price
  • $0
  • Removal Time
  • 10 mins
  • Glued Tracks
  • Style Longevity
  • up to 1 week or first shampoo
  • Initial Price
  • $100 – $700
  • Application Time
  • 30 – 120 mins
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • No
  • Checkup Price
  • removal price + application price
  • Checkup Time
  • N/A
  • Removal Price
  • $50 – $100
  • Removal Time
  • 1 – 2 hrs
  • Sown Tracks
  • Style Longevity
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • Initial Price
  • $200 – $800
  • Application Time
  • 1 – 3 hrs
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • removal price + application price
  • Checkup Time
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • Removal Price
  • $50 – $200
  • Removal Time
  • 1 – 2 hrs
  • Microlocks / Loops
  • Style Longevity
  • 3 – 6 months
  • Initial Price
  • $900 – $4,000
  • Application Time
  • 2 – 6 hrs
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • $500 – $3,000
  • Checkup Time
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • Removal Price
  • $400 – $600
  • Removal Time
  • 2 – 4 hrs
  • Skin Graft
  • Style Longevity
  • up to 8 weeks
  • Initial Price
  • $300 – $5,000
  • Application Time
  • depends on size
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • depends on size
  • Checkup Time
  • N/A
  • Removal Price
  • depends on size
  • Removal Time
  • depends on size
  • Laced Wigs
  • Style Longevity
  • up to 8 weeks
  • Initial Price
  • $500 – $10,000
  • Application Time
  • 15 – 30 mins
  • Looks Natural
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Yes
  • Checkup Price
  • N/A
  • Checkup Time
  • N/A
  • Removal Price
  • $50 – $100
  • Removal Time
  • 10 – 30 mins

Extensions Methods Descriptions

The comparison table above shows the methods of hair extensions side by side, but what does each method mean in detail and how will they affect your natural hair and your look?

Please note that these are only our personal experiences and opinions of each of these methods. Click on each tab to read the full description, and as always, if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

Strand By Strand / Keratin Bonds

Ever wonder what hair extensions method all the celebrities use? Well, this is the one!

Strand by strand hair extensions is the method of choice for most of my clients as well. Not only is it the most natural-looking of all the extension processes, it also lasts the longest (about three to six months). Individual strands of hair are applied to your own hair and are held with a special protein bond, which allows the hair to move just like your own. You can wash and style it, or even pull it back into a ponytail when you just don’t have time for anything else. This is the most natural custom way to create long hair.

(Please note: some brands of strand by strand hair extensions are not recommended for people with fine or thinning hair.)

This method of hair extensions is applied strand by strand with hot or cold fusion. The bonds can be made of a keratin based product or other natural-based substances that can be very similar to the material that makes up human hair and nails, and is considered to be non-damaging to your own hair. While some will have bonds that match the color of the hair, others can be all one color or clear. Some companies will vary the amount of individual pieces of hair that are included in each bonded strand. For example some will consider 20-30 human hairs to be one strand (which means, the price per strand varies depending on the manufacturer). Most brands have pre-bonded hair that can be cut to custom fit the thickness of each person’s own hair type and texture.

How long to apply Strand By Strand Hair Extensions in our salon?

The application time depends on the amount of hair being added. For fullness, the hair application appointment can be anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. For a full head of hair, it can take 3 to 8 hours.

How long do Strand By Strand Hair Extensions stay in your hair?

The extensions themselves should last anywhere from 3 to 6 months (maintenance goes a long way in extending the time the extensions will last). Regular visits for check-ups are suggested from 4 to 6 week intervals.

Clip-In Extensions

Clip-in hair extensions are clipped directly to the hair with tiny hair clips and are available with all types of human and synthetic hair. The higher the quality of human hair, the more expensive it will be per clip-in piece. This is an easy do-it-yourself solution for adding length, changing up your style, or adding volume. Clip-ins come with hair and clips pre-attached.

Clip-in extensions are also a great place to start if you are serious about getting hair extensions but not sure how you would look with long hair, if you would like a special look for a night out or a big event, or even if you are looking for a cost effective solution for hair extensions. It’s a great option for photo shoots and fashion shows.

Clip-ins come in several different widths of weft hair, pony tails, bangs and falls. Hair can be reused anywhere from a few weeks to years depending on the quality of hair, proper use and maintenance.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Clip-in hair extensions can be very dangerous for those who really want long term long hair and wear clip in extensions on a regular basis. The clips are usually made of metal, metal covered with rubber, or softer material or plastic. If the clip-in hair is left in the hair for long periods of time, clipped in too tight or the metal clips are thin and have sharp edges, you are risking bald spots where the clips are attached to your natural hair. They will either be cut by the metal clips or broken from the pressure and friction of the clips resulting in traction alopecia. Sadly, I’ve seen this too many times on clients from other salons.

When attaching clip in extension at home without a professional teaching you the proper placement (especially for women who have really short hair and purchase really long clip in extensions), it is very difficult to place them so the clip in extensions blend with your natural hair. They have to be purchased or cut to the perfect layered lengths to blend well and look like the real thing.

Glued Tracks Extensions

Glued track wefts are available with all types of human and synthetic hair. The higher the quality of human hair, the more expensive it will be per weft.

A bonding glue or adhesive material is brushed onto the weft of the extension hair and then it is applied to the root of your own hair. The extensions can be easily removed by a bonding remover. There are many types and variations of adhesives available, including waxes and medical grade adhesives. Please note that there have been cases where women had an allergic reaction to the bonding material, so I always recommend to do a patch test on your arm.

This method is great for temporary extensions when you want you want to add some length or volume. It will last up to a week or until the first time you shampoo your hair. Unlike sewn tracks, with glued tracks there is no need to create tracks of your own hair prior to installing the extensions. They do last a bit longer than clip-ins.

Like clip-ins, glued tracks have to be purchased or cut to the perfect layered lengths to blend well and look like the real thing. They lack natural movement and can look bulky on the head if too many are applied in attempt to create volume. Hair can be reused depending on the hair quality and glue/bonding agent.

Sewn Tracks Extensions

Sewn tracks are when wefts of extension hair are sewn into tracks created by cornrows, braids or stitched onto the head in either horizontal lines or circles. The extension hair is sewn into the knotted track with a needle and weaving cord.

These extensions can last from 4-8 weeks and can be washed and styled like your own natural hair. Wefts are reusable and can be reused for up to 3-4 months depending on the quality of hair. This hair extensions method is one of the oldest ways to achieve length and fullness.

The only drawback is that it can cause traction alopecia and tends to cause a very sore scalp for up to a week or two depending on your sensitivity. If done too tight it can pull your own hair out of the head. I do not recommend this method for anyone with fine or thinning hair.

Microlocks / Loops Extensions

With microlocks, human hair is attached with tiny locks (cylinders) or a sleeve that is either clear in color, or matches the color of your hair. Some of these micro products are made out of specially formulated polymer materials. Others are made from flexible nickel or copper tubing that is squeezed shut/molded onto your hair to hold the extension in place. These metallic locks are non-magnetic and do not rust, but if you have any kind of metal allergy or sensitivity, this extensions method is not for you. Some hair extensions experts and companies claim that the micro locks and links can be reused, even up to three times in some cases. However, in my experience, once you “close” the tube, it’s very difficult to unlock and reuse them. Moreover, once the extensions are cut to the desired length/layers on your head, it would be extremely difficult to figure out how to place them back once you take them off to reapply. The removal process would make perfect reapplication nearly impossible.

These extensions come in two sets so that after 6 months, you can remove one set, apply the second, and send the first set to the manufacturer for refurbishment. They’ll send you back your first set in brand-new shape. This is about half the cost of the original set, and takes a few months for the process to complete.

Skin Grafts

Skin graft hair extensions are attached to a man-made piece of “skin” and then grafted to the scalp. This method is made specifically for severely damaged hair, hair shedding due to medication, people suffering from bald spots or with “see-through” hair.

The main points to know about this hair extension method is that while all the other extensions anchor only to the hair, this method anchors to both the hair and the scalp . This therefore eliminates the pulling and tugging feel associated with weft extensions. The grafts are reusable and can easily be trimmed from its original length to cover certain bald areas. This would be a good, non-damaging solution for people who have thinning hair, and I would recommend to keep them in for up to 8 weeks.

Laced Wigs

The terms “lace front wig” and “full lace wig” are virtually the same and creates the appearance of a very natural front hairline. A lace front wig is constructed with fine lace in the front and a variety of materials in the back of the head. A full lace system is the most intricate, and will look natural from every angle regardless of how the hair is brushed or styled. The main objective of a lace front wig or a full lace wig is to look beautiful and natural! You do not want anyone to ever think you are wearing a wig.

A full lace system is usually preferred to any other type of wig because of its style, design, beauty and how natural it looks. It caters to individuals who wish to change their hair style without damage to their own hair, or to those who may have experienced hair loss or hair damage. Even if you’d like to give your hair a break from daily styling without compromising your look, purchasing a custom lace front wig could be the right option for you.

Wigs come in different lengths, colors, textures and densities. They can be synthetic, human hair and synthetic mix, or 100% human hair and are attached with different types of adhesives. Several kinds of specialized tape and glue are used for keeping the wig in place. Wigs can be purchased already made and styled, or custom designed prior to ordering by a specialist.

Please note: if any wig is left on too long or too tight, there is a chance of causing friction alopecia.  Wearing wigs for more than 6 or 8 weeks at a time is not recommended.