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Pieces of Perfection

Is your client unimpressed with her natural locks? No problem. Today’s refined hairpieces make instant transformation possible.

Pieces of Perfection P1It used to be that if one was born with thin tresses or chopped off her waist-length mane in a precipitous post-breakup fit of self-assertion, options were limited to cursing genetics or praying for miraculous overnight growth. But recent hair extension innovations have changed the game, making It possible for every pixie to boast flowing Lady Godiva locks (witness Beyoncé’s recent head-turning transformation from shorn waif to bobbed beauty). “Clients young as 20 and old as 80 are in on the craze, along with cancer survivors and those suffering medical-related stress loss,” says Vikki Parman, CEO of Oi Biase Hair USA. Agrees Ultratress Top Business Development Executive Rhonda McCarthy, “Most women can benefit from extensions-whether their hair is thinning or they simply want added length and volume.” Extensions provide instant fullness, yet not all are created equal. Adhesion methods differ, as do the hair types used.

Remy hair is collected from a single human source. Ponytails are cut precisely to keep the hair filaments running in a uniform direction. This looks natural, feels silky and prevents breakage. Most Remy products are acquired in India. “European hair is overly fragile, while Chinese offerings are too thick, making both unfit for the special applications required,” explains Stephanie Veissier, Co-Owner of So.Cap, Original USA Hair Extensions. Non-Remy hair, on the other hand, comes from multiple donors. Ergo the roots don’t align, so it’s treated in a hydrochloric acid bath to strip away cuticles-and, consequently, moisture. This results in brittle bristles prone to tangling. Other options exist, too. Technological advancements have improved the quality of synthetic fibers, making them lightweight and durable, so products such as International Hair Goods’ Micro Point Solutions are perfect for those suffering from hair thinning and loss.

Once devised, hairpieces can be fastened via various techniques. Strand-by-strand bonding is the most labor-intensive process {prep for up to three hours in a stylist’s chair), and thus the priciest. But such extensions last four to six months, depending on the rate of natural hair growth. And-when done right-they’re virtually undetectable. Warm fusion bonding uses pliers to heat the keratin in each faux lock and attach it to small scalp sections. Nearly identical is cold fusion bonding, which employs ultrasonic waves to form the keratin connection.

Weft extensions are both cost-friendlier and quicker to apply, wherein a track several inches long is secured one row at a time, rather than strand by strand. “Application can take five minutes for several samples and less than an hour to complete the full head,” marvels Nikki Hamilton, Platinum Seamless Sales and Marketing Director. Wefts sewn into braided cornrows were once popular, but these days, polyurethane tape is often employed, as it binds snugly. “Clients further love this system because it eliminates the risk of burning occasionally associated with bonding,” says Okyo Sthair, Sales Director at Simplicity Hair Extensions. The cons? Weft extensions are more visible to the human eye, and allergic glue reactions have been reported. Snap-on pieces require the least commitment and can lend lustrous thickness to any waning mane in seconds. “Our four-clip system functions like a barrette set,” says Top Secret Haircessory CEO Denise Rossouw, who explains that these prodUCts allow women to dramatically change up their styles in mere moments. “In less than a minute, your client can look like a different person!” Different in design yet equally simple to employ is the Halo Couture custom-fit microfilament wire that snuggles atop heads. Each boasts more than 100 grams of Remy hair, yet weighs only 3.5 ounces. “If you can wear a bra, you can wear our heavenly extension,” laughs Founder Tina Owens. Fine-fibered ladies may find fault with clip-ins, as they tend to peek through natural hair, but teasing ‘dos both above and below the clip or wire will provide needed coverage. Finally, for those who crave maximum concealment, Gemtress is a viable option, “Our wigs are synonymous with comfort and style,” shares McCarthy, who is also part of the Gemtress team. “Each product requires a special certification for dealing with medical hair-loss clients.” Proving that, regardless of need, there exists a perfect hairpiece for every individual. – By FRANCESCA MOISIN


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