When you think hair extensions, you often think of 90s and early 00s girl bands, footballers’ wives and reality TV stars. But extensions are actually much more widely used… you just probably don’t notice. There’s barely a celebrity on the red carpet who hasn’t had a little help in the form of some well-placed extra hair.
We spoke to Karl Warner, senior stylist and BeautyWorks master extension specialist at Pastels Salon, to find out how to take our locks from limp to lustrous.
It’s really important to meet with your stylist before hair is ordered to discuss the look that you’re trying to achieve. Maybe you have a blunt bob but want a bit more volume on the sides, maybe you often wear your hair in a high ponytail but want some extra length. Both the condition of your hair, and your lifestyle, will determine what type of extensions are best for you.
After our consultation, Karl decided to use a packet of slim line take extensions at the back, so that the hair would sit flat to the head, and 50 individual keratin bonds around the hairline to create a fuller look. He used BeatyWorks hair in the colour 613/18 for a mixture of light and medium blonde.
As most of the extensions were tape, this was way faster than we expected. After having a trim and a colour refresh, it didn’t take long to apply the strips. Karl then used the keratin bonds for neat rows of extensions on the hairline, making it easy to tie hair back without any tell-tale signs of extensions peeking through.
As easy as it is to get caught up in the moment, look in the mirror and think, “don’t you dare touch my mermaid hair with those scissors!” you have to blend it in. Karl lightly layered hair around the face to make sure there was no step between the natural hair and extensions, and softened the hairline at the bottom to keep the length without making it look bulky.
The whole process, including cut and colour, only took three hours.
The finished look was fresh and natural, while still keeping that dreamy mermaid length. Having tried many different types of hair extensions in the past, tape was a breath of fresh air. Because it’s completely flat, there aren’t any tube-like stands that are often a giveaway that someone is wearing extensions. It’s also very light and comfortable to sleep on.
The downside of tape is that you need to have it re-done more often than more traditional types of extensions, like keratin. Stylists recommend that you come in every 6-7 weeks for maintenance. The key here is to make sure that you get good quality hair so that it can be re-used – after almost a month of having the same BeautyWorks hair in, it’s still (almost) as soft as the day it was fitted.
Overall, we liked the tape so much that next time, we’ll probably go for a full head and ditch the keratin completely. Having both in at the same time made it very easy to compare the two, and while keratin bonds might be great for some people, for us, they didn’t feel or look quite as natural as the tape.
But one thing’s for sure, we’ll be visiting Karl again!
Tape extensions start at Dhs1,290. Pastels Salon Ritz Carlton Dubai Marina