Long, silky hair. Straight or wavy hair. Kinky, curly, bold, beautiful hair. If you weren’t born with it, or you want way more than you have now, hair extensions can help you pick up where Mother Nature left off. The “hot” trend in the hair and fashion industry continues to be hair extensions due to their versatility and immediate results. Celebrities like Eva Longoria, Beyonce and Jessica Simpson are known to drastically alter their hair styles and hues overnight.
“As more stars and celebrities begin to experiment with new hairstyles, hair weaves have become even more ubiquitous. Like hair coloring, a hair weave is a relatively easy and non-invasive way to change your appearance,” says Amoy Pitters, master hair stylist & owner of Manhattan based salon Amoy Couture Hair. Women have been using hair extensions (weaves) to enhance the natural beauty and uniqueness of their hair. Amoy continues, “Extensions have been long thought of as only for the rich and famous; however this is no longer the case. New technology and consumer education is driving cost down while at the same time, increasing the quality of products that are now available.” Obviously fashion models use hair extensions quite often, both personally and professionally. Amoy is one of the go- to stylists for fashion models.
According to Amoy, if you are considering adding extensions to your natural hair, it is very important to explore your options to understand the effects each technique will have on your hair and how natural it looks. For example, for shorter hair, it’s best to sew in extensions to attain an even flow of layers. For longer locks, Amoy would recommend fusion or micro link weaves to add fullness and texture. All of these options depend on the style each is going for and one’s budget. Additionally, it’s important to consider necessary precautions to minimize the risks of damaging your natural hair and scalp.
Choosing the Right Hair Type
It is important to know that the type of hair you add to your own will seriously affect how realistic and attractive your extensions look. “Extensions and weaves come in both synthetic and natural forms (human hair) and you will want to think carefully about your lifestyle and desired look before choosing a hair type,” advises Amoy. Amoy only uses human hair in her salon, as it is more suitable for use with free-flowing styles and less damaging overall. There are many types of human hair to choose from. Your personal preference, hair type, and cost restrictions will determine what type of extensions you and your stylist will choose.
What Kind of Extensions Does Amoy Recommend?
• Sew-in extensions: Amoy’s most popular extension service, where the natural hair is corn-rowed onto the scalp, and the weaving is sewed onto the braid. This type of extension not only allows the natural hair to grow without interference, and with proper maintenance, the extensions should last up to 2 ½ months. Human hair is a must for this type of extension.
• Integrated extensions: For this service, there is no corn-rowing of the natural hair. Instead, the extensions are sewn through a rolled bundle of the natural hair. The benefit of this method is there is decreased tension on the scalp and it the result appears like natural hair. Because the natural hair is not braided onto the scalp, the shelf-life of this particular style is not as long as sew-in extensions.
• Great Lengths Amoy offers Great Lengths extensions, which is a non-invasive extension process that attaches human hair to the natural hair, strand by strand, with a specialized machine.
Other Types of Extensions:
• Lacefront extensions: While this type of extension has gained popularity in the African-American community, Amoy do not offer this service because it is not really meant for everyday use. A “lacefront” is a wig that has a lace attachment which, optimally, blends into the wearer’s forehead for a seamless look. It is primarily used by stage performers and entertainers who need lots of movement and versatility. However, the lace insert is very fragile and a human-hair wig is quite pricey. For someone looking for an everyday style, Amoy recommends sew-in extensions.
• Bonding: Simply, bonding is not good for the hair. The adhesive used to bond the extensions is very damaging to natural hair. It can cause a great number of split ends, and only an extensions specialist can remove the bonds.
How Long Do Hair Extensions Last?
According to Amoy, most hair extensions have a lifespan of two months. However, she strongly advises against keeping the same set of extensions for longer than three months. “Just like the body’s skin, the scalp needs to be cleansed thoroughly to remain healthy. Extensions prohibit the scalp from getting the ‘scrub’ it needs to grow healthy hair,” says Amoy.
Hair Extension Maintenance
Hair extensions are washed and treated the same way as you do your natural hair. Always wash your scalp as well as your natural hair and the weave hair every 7 to 14 days. However, hair extensions do tend to wear out with normal wash and wear. Weave hair is especially prone to becoming brittle and dry because it is not attached to the scalp and therefore doesn’t receive any of the body’s naturally nourishing oils. “Your natural hair will become dry and brittle if it is not washed, conditioned and moisturized on a regular basis,” says Amoy. She recommends using gentle products to clean your hair and to keep your hair moisturized with a deep conditioner.
From sleekly styling the tresses of such stars as Naomi Campbell, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow and Rihanna, to crafting the hair designs on runways of such legendary fashion houses as Christian Dior, hairstylist, Amoy has established herself as an authority on all things beauty and style. Mentored by industry icon, Odile Gilbert – and featured in the famed work Her Style – Amoy launched her impressive career as a sought-after hair stylist in the fashion industry, booking her career-first fashion show in Paris, styling the locks of the runway models for the Christian Dior couture collection in January 1998. There, recognizing her unique skill set, Amoy styled the house’s legendary designer John Galliano’s own hair for his final bow. Soon after, Galliano himself began requesting Amoy as his personal hairstylist. Fashion maven Donatella Versace was next in line, and the rest is history…
Today, her impressive clientele includes Iman, Kerry Washington, Mary J. Blige, Joy Bryant, Selita Ebanks and Maggie Rizer.
Setting herself apart from others in the industry is Amoy’s hands-on method to developing her techniques— unlike many stylists, Amoy practices her styling techniques on herself before applying them on clients. Following such an approach allows Amoy to develop and discover new cuts, shapes and colors, ensuring that her style and vision are always evolving. One of Amoy’s most sought-after signature styles is extensions. Amoy’s one-of-a-kind approach to this complicated beauty procedure is known for creating beautiful looks that are easily maintained, modified and recognized in the industry as Amoy’s trademark. Amoy’s expertise also includes editorial, bridal, celebrity, blow-dry, cut and color styling.