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Types of Hair Extensions

Types of Hair Extensions

Hair extensions are the most luxurious salon service available. In our opinion, most people don’t appreciate the privilege of being able to add length, volume or even chemical-free highlights with hair extensions.

Choosing a hair extension method can be overwhelming, as there are so many different options available on the market. Choosing a method that works best for you depends on several factors, including hair type, lifestyle, and budget.

Hair extension methods can be broken down into three categories; hot / cold fusion, weft and clip-in extensions. We have put together in detail more information on the different methods, including pros and cons as well as recommended maintenance.

Hot / Cold Fusion

The hot or cold fusion technique is where extensions with a glue bond are attached to small pieces of your hair using warm or cold application techniques. Strands of about 20 to 30 individual hairs can be attached with either a glue application point or with a micro link. Most companies that offer bonded hair refer to this method as a keratin bond.

Hair Extension Application 1

Hot Fusion - Keratin Bond / U-Tip

Keratin U-tip bonds lined with silicone are attached to the hair using a heating element. Your hair is placed between the U-tip and sealed with a hot extension tool that melts the bond to your hair. The silicone lining of the U-tip creates a barrier to protect your natural hair. The bonds are attached close to the root, leaving some space to allow natural movement of your hair.


  • Most suitable for coarse, thick hair.

  • Hair extensions can last up to six months with proper maintenance, making this type of application the most durable.


  • One of the timeliest methods of hair extensions, experienced hairdressers can complete in 2-3 hours.

  • Heat is required for an application, and as a result can lead to damage to the client’s hair.

  • Not reusable, although some companies can send the hair back, and certain manufacturers will reapply the glue.

  • Wearers often complain of a headache several days after application. You may also experience discomfort or an itchy scalp within the first couple weeks after application.

  • Although this method is durable and long-lasting, 80% of hair extension damage occurs after 8 weeks of wear.

  • Application requires a high learning curve for stylists, which may result in hair damage and breakage if not applied properly.


  • Avoid any oil-based products or over-styling.

Cold Fusion - Micro Links / I-Tip

Hair extension method where small sections of your hair are pulled through a small bead or lock and clamped shut with a special tool. Reputable companies use copper cylinders lined with silicone to protect your natural hair.


  • The application uses no heat or glue and can last for several months.

  • Hair extensions can last up to six months with proper maintenance, making this type of application the most durable.

  • Hair is reusable, and any extensions that may have slid down or off can be fixed by the stylist.


  • One of the timeliest method of hair extensions, yet experienced stylists can complete in 2-3 hours.

  • Beads or locks can be visible if not placed appropriately and will slip more easily than any other method.

  • Wearers often complain of a headache several days after application. You may also experience discomfort or an itchy scalp within the first couple weeks after application.

  • Not suitable for thin, fine hair as the bonds can be visible through the hair.

  • Due to the long application time, installation cost can be expensive.


  • Avoid use of oils or silicone-based products near the attachment.

Weft Extensions

A weft of hair about 2-4 inches wide is applied to the hair in rows, rather than as individual strands. Wefts can be applied using tape-in, glue-in, or sew-in / braided method.

Hair Extension Application 2

Tape Extensions

Tape in hair extensions is the newest method of extensions available. They are applied using either double or single-sided polyurethane tape. With double-sided tape, the weft is applied to the hair after the backing has been removed from one side. The weft and the attached hair are pulled upwards, and another weft is applied to the other side of the tape to “sandwich” the hair. Clients with extremely thin hair, especially around the temples and side of the head, may require a single panel applied with single-sided tape.


  • Very quick method of application. Usually about 1-1.5 hours.

  • No heat or tools required for an application.

  • Panels lay flat on the head, virtually undetectable. Suitable for thin, fine hair.

  • The safest method of hair extensions available, as the weight of the panel is spread out over a larger area, causing no damage to the client’s hair.

  • Hair is reusable and the method of application lasts between 6-8 weeks.


  • You can’t wash your hair or excessively sweat for 24-48 hours after application as the bond needs time to cure and adhere properly to the hair.

  • The use of any silicone or oil based products directly on the adhesive may cause the panels to slip.


  • Avoid any silicone or oil-based products at the root of the hair. Brush hair daily from root to tip. Style hair as normal.

Glue-In Extensions

Short-term hair extension method, where glue is applied to the base of the weft and attached to the hair. Wefts will only stay in the hair for a few days and can be removed using an oil-based solvent.


  • Suitable for someone looking to have extensions for a short amount of time without having to take the extensions in and out before bedtime.

  • The least expensive form of hair extensions.


  • Glue can cause damage to the hair if applied or removed incorrectly.

  • The weight of thick wefts can cause headaches or even tension alopecia.

  • If the glue is applied to the scalp during application, the hair follicles can clog and cause bacterial scalp infections.

  • Can only be used temporarily.

  • Limited styling options.


  • Hair must be reapplied every few days or after you shower.

Sew-In / Braided

Commonly known as a weave, sew-in or braided extensions are ideal for coarse, curly or thick hair. The client’s hair is braided to create a base for the extensions, and then the wefts are sewn into the braids using a needle and thread.


  • Oil or silicone-based products may be used at the scalp as slipping will not occur unless the braids become loose.

  • Most suitable for thick, coarse hair.

  • No heat or glue is required for an application.


  • The application can take several hours.

  • If the hair extensions are not washed regularly, bacteria can build up and cause infection.

  • Extensions may be uncomfortable and cause headaches after an application.

  • Limited hair styling options.

  • Tight braids can cause tension or traction alopecia.


  • Wash hair regularly. Avoid over styling, as this can cause the braids to come loose. Shampoo, blow-dry curl or straighten as you would with your normal hair.

Clip In Extensions

Clip in hair extensions is a temporary hair extension method, where wefts of hair are applied using small pressure sensitive clips. Clip in hair extensions is a great option for those who are not ready to commit to wearing extensions on a daily basis.

Hair Extension Application 3

Clip In / Temporary Extensions

Most suitable for special occasions or events when extensions can be removed before bedtime. If you prefer to not wear clip-ins, there are also clip-less halo extensions available that are attached using an undetectable wire.


  • Greater versatility by having the option to put in and take out the hair on a daily basis.

  • Non-commitment means you have the ability to change your hair colour or style often.

  • Hair can be taken in and out by the hair wearer, without having to go to a hair stylist.


  • Clip in hair extensions cannot be worn by hair wearers for long periods of time and must be removed before bedtime.

  • Not ideal for thin, fine hair as clips and base could be too bulky or heavy for the hair wearer.


  • Wash hair extensions as infrequently as possible and apply a deep conditioner if the hair becomes dry or dull. Use a wide tooth comb or loop pin brush to comb extensions.