Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Hello all you caffeine-addicted queens. If there is one thing I've struggled with in life, it's my hair. As a pageant girl, you're expected to have thick, long, shiny hair and mine has never fit the bill. I've been cursed with ridiculously thin hair. Now, I'm not being dramatic here! I can take all my hair in one hand, and it's probably about as thick as my middle finger, and that just won't do.
So, needless to say, I've done my fair share of experimenting with products and treatments to increase texture and thickness. Now, if you're familiar with hair extension products, you know they can be pretty pricy. Clip-ins are usually your cheapest option. For my clip-ins I would buy a $300 set from Sally's and have my hair dresser dye the extensions and my natural hair so they would match... totaling about $450-$500. Clip-ins usually can last you a pretty long time if you're taking good care of them. They're a great option for most pageant girls who don't need to wear them on a daily basis.
But I am not most pageant girls. I needed a long-term solution to my daily hair concerns and tape-in extensions seemed to be the best bet. Tape-ins can last a few months to a year depending on how well you care for them. They tape onto your actual hair so you can wear them to bed, in the shower, etc. Thus, you eliminate the hassle of having to put in your extensions daily. Tape-in's are normally performed in a salon and can cost you upwards of $2,000 for the hair and installation. But do I look like I can afford that with my career in research? No, no I do not. So, after a few hours googling tape-in extensions and a glass of wine, I rashly purchased $80 worth of tape-in hair extensions off amazon.
Now, I was like a little kid when this package came. I could not wait to get my hands on it. The first thing I noticed was the smoothness of the hair. It felt great! It came in pretty average packaging and was kept together in a net. At first glance, it was a shade or two lighter then my natural hair but I was sure it would blend once it was installed. After my excitement wore off, it was time to put them in!
Thankfully, I have experience with hair extensions and was confident in my abilities to install them myself. If you are not experienced with extensions, I would definitely recommend doing research on the proper placement of your pieces or would recommend taking your hair to a salon and asking them to install it. It took me about a half hour - forty minutes to put in about twenty pieces. If your hair is on the thicker side, you will definitely want more pieces. For me, I wanted to add length and just a bit of volume, but not too much, so twenty pieces was enough. I will also say that I was styling these extensions for everyday use, not pageant use, if I were to put in extensions to compete with, I would add more pieces.
Once everything was in, I was faced with the dilemma of styling. It was very obvious where my natural hair ended and my fake hair began. I needed layers! So what did I do? Well, I got another glass of wine, obviously, and I turned to YouTube. I watched video after video until I crafted a technique of flipping my hair over one layer at a time, and trimming the hair to match the layer above it. Since the lower layers have longer to stretch, the hair comes out longer. How did it look? Not too bad. From there, it was eyeballing the hair, adding a few cuts here and there and adjusting the angle. Viola! Beautiful, long thick hair.
All in all, no one could tell the difference! I got tons of compliments on my hair and questions about how I grew it out. The hair was pretty easy to manage, but I had to get into the routine of regularly combing and braiding the hair before bed.
My final recommendation: These are great! ...depending on your use.
Were I to compete in a pageant, I might choose to splurge on high quality, expert-cut extensions. However, if you're interested in adding a little length or volume to your hair for daily looks, you can't beat the price on these. Make sure to follow the tips I've listed below and send me a message if you experiment with these extensions!
Research how to install them and the proper placement before getting started.
If you purchase my recommended pack from Amazon, I recommend changing the tape to a more durable brand.
Before installing your intensions, wash, dry, and straighten your natural hair.
Do not apply any heat to the tapes when installing them OR during daily wear.
Do not wash your hair for three days following installation.
When washing your hair, be sure to use a shampoo made for hair extensions and only condition your ends. Do not condition the tapes. Try to only wash your hair every three days or so.
Brush your hair twice a day. Sleep with the hair in a braid on a satin pillowcase to protect the hair from damage and tangling.
When removing the extensions, purchase a "Hair Extension Remover" Spray to loosen the tape before removing. Following removal, cover your hair in a deep treatment conditioner and leave on for an hour. Then, wash and comb your hair. Some residue may remain.
Until next time...