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All About Hair Extensions

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Hair extensions are BIG business. I've known stylists who have quadrupled their income by offering hair extension services. The variety of extensions can be intimidating, but this helpful list will help guide you through the world of long, luscious hair.

1. Where Does the Hair Come From?

The hair used to make extensions comes from all over the world. The majority of the hair comes from countries in Asia where young women will have it harvested to support themselves and their families. Since this type of hair tends to be naturally dark and coarse, it is usually heavily treated with chemicals and silicones to lighten the hair and make it smooth and shiny.

Another majore source in the hair trade is India. Much of the hair from India is "temple hair" or hair that is shaved by young men and women as a sacrifice to their god, Vishnu. This source has recently come under attack because the temples sell the hair to manufacturers to make extensions, while the offerers do not see a dime of the profits.

2. Types of Hair Extensions

There are numerous types of hair extensions on the market. Clip-ins are a great temporary option, or you can sew or braid the extensions if you're looking for something more permanent. The technique that has the longest shelf-life is bonded hair extensions that are attached to individual clusters of hair. All of these option make hair extensions extremely versatile and perfect for almost anyone who is looking to boost what nature gave them.

Clip-in extensions are great for weddings, photo-shoots, a hot date or any other time you're looking for a temporary boost. Bonded extensions are a better option for the client that has severely thin hair and is looking for an everyday solution. Be warned that bonded extensions can be damaging on fine, weak hair and clients should be fully informed about the positive and negative aspects of the service before going forward.

3. Choosing the Right Type of Extensions

It can be a little intimidating when you walk into the beauty supply store and there's a wall of hair extensions staring back at you. It doesn't help that it's usually behind the counter being guarded by an exasperated worker who's ready for you to make up your mind already. So what should you know before you go?

First of all, like natural hair, extensions are labeled from dark to light according to the hair color level system. Next, you'll figure out how much length you'll want which is measured in inches. Then you'll have to decide on the texture and quality of the hair you'll want to be working with. You can usually go with a mid-range brand, unless it's for a client who will be using them every day, in which case you'll want to invest in hair that is of higher quality and more durable.

If I'm using extensions for a temporary occasion like a photo shoot or a wedding, I usually spend $35-$85 per pack of natural human hair. If you're interested in spending the big bucks, some hair can sell for over several hundred dollars.

Hair extensions usually come attached to a woven track which you can pin into up-dos and hair styles, or even better, purchase clips that you can easily sew onto the tracks. Your local beauty supply store should have a variety of clip sizes.

Using clips makes them much easier to use and attach into the hair, and they also look more professional. To boost revenue, sell extension sets to your clients so they can use them at home.

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