Hair Extensions Methods

There are many methods out there to get long hair, which method should you use for the look you want?

The comparison chart below is from many years of my personal experience with various methods of hair extensions. You can see all the methods side by side in the chart, or read the detailed description at the bottom of the page. You can also read the comparison chart of hair extensions companies that I have used here.

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time

Strand By Strand

  • 3 – 6 months
  • $800 – $3,000
  • 3 – 8
    hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • $100 – $300
  • 6 – 8 weeks
  • $200 – $400
  • 2 – 4
    hrs

Tape In
Extensions

  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $600 – $2,000
  • 1 – 3
    hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $50 – $300
  • 1 – 2
    hrs

Clip
Ins

  • 1 day or event
  • $50 – $500
  • 10 – 15 mins
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • No
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $0
  • 10
    mins

Glued
Tracks

  • up to 1 week or first shampoo
  • $100 – $700
  • 30 – 120 mins
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • No
  • removal price + application price
  • N/A
  • $50 – $100
  • 1 – 2
    hrs

Sown
Tracks

  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $200 – $800
  • 1 – 3
    hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • removal price + application price
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $50 – $200
  • 1 – 2
    hrs

Microlocks / Loops

  • 3 – 6 months
  • $900 – $4,000
  • 2 – 6
    hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • $500 – $3,000
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $400 – $600
  • 2 – 4
    hrs

Skin
Graft

  • up to 8 weeks
  • $300 – $5,000
  • depends on size
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • depends on size
  • N/A
  • depends on size
  • depends on size

Laced
Wigs

  • up to 8 weeks
  • $500 – $10,000
  • 15 – 30 mins
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $50 – $100
  • 10 – 30 mins

Strand By Strand

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • 3 – 6 months
  • $800 – $3,000
  • 3 – 8 hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • $100 – $300
  • 6 – 8 weeks
  • $200 – $400
  • 2 – 4 hrs

Tape In Extensions

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $600 – $2,000
  • 1 – 3 hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $50 – $300
  • 1 – 2 hrs

Clip Ins

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • 1 day or event
  • $50 – $500
  • 10 – 15 mins
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • No
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $0
  • 10 mins

Glued Tracks

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • up to 1 week or first shampoo
  • $100 – $700
  • 30 – 120 mins
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • No
  • removal price + application price
  • N/A
  • $50 – $100
  • 1 – 2 hrs

Sown Tracks

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $200 – $800
  • 1 – 3 hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • removal price + application price
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $50 – $200
  • 1 – 2 hrs

Microlocks / Loops

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • 3 – 6 months
  • $800 – $3,000
  • 3 – 8 hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • $100 – $300
  • 6 – 8 weeks
  • $200 – $400
  • 2 – 4 hrs

Skin Graft

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • 3 – 6 months
  • $900 – $4,000
  • 2 – 6 hrs
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • $500 – $3,000
  • 4 – 8 weeks
  • $400 – $600
  • 2 – 4 hrs

Laced Wigs

  • Style Longevity
  • Initial Price
  • Application Time
  • Looks Natural
  • Can You Swim With Them
  • Checkup Price
  • Checkup Time
  • Removal Price
  • Removal Time
  • up to 8 weeks
  • $500 – $10,000
  • 15 – 30 mins
  • star ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar ratingstar rating
  • Yes
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $50 – $100
  • 10 – 30 mins

Methods Descriptions

The comparison table above shows the methods of hair extensions side by side, but what does each method mean in detail and how will they affect your natural hair and your look?

Please note that these are only my personal experiences and opinions of each of these methods. Click on each tab to read the full description, and as always, if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

Ever wonder what method all the celebrities get, well here it is! Strand-by-strand is the method of choice for most of my clients. Not only is it the most natural of all the extensions, it lasts three to six months! Individual strands of hair are applied to your hair and are held with a special protein bond, which allows the hair to move just like your own. You can wash and style it or even pull it back into a ponytail when you just don’t have time for anything else. The most natural custom way to create long hair. (Some brands are not recommended for people with fine or thinning hair.) Strand by Strand Extension hair is applied strand by strand with hot or cold fusion. The bonds can be made of a keratin based product or other natural-based products that can be very similar to the material that makes up the hair and nails and is considered to be non-damaging to your own hair, some will have bonds that match the color of the hair and some will be all one color or clear. Some companies will vary the amount of individual pieces of hair that are included in each strand. I.E. some will consider 20-30 human hairs to be one strand and the price will vary depending on the company. Most brands are pre-bonded hair can be cut to custom fit the thickness of each individuals hair strands. The application time depends on the amount of hair being added. For fullness anywhere from 1-3 hrs and for a full head of hair 3-8 hrs. They can last anywhere from 3-6 months depending on proper maintenance. Regular visits for check ups are suggested anywhere from 4-6 weeks. High end lines will have a hair extensions contract, maintenance guide, check list and guarantee.

A seamless tape in hair extension that gives the look of a full coverage weave, yet no bulk. It is also the fastest hair extensions method in comparison to the wefts.

There is no stitching on the seamless wefts so they lay very flat. The tape in method requires no adhesives on the scalp, no hair weaving or hair braiding, no potentially damaging hair clips, absolutely no chemicals in your hair, and no messy removal.

This system is ideal for people with thinning hair, who want to just add length and/or volume, or for those who simply want to add highlights or lowlights to their hair without chemicals.

I recommended this method to stay in for about 3 to 4 weeks and removing with a solvent. The hair can then be reused.

Clip In Hair Extensions are clipped directly to hair with tiny hair clips and are available with all types of human and synthetic hair. The higher the quality of human hair the more expensive it will be per clip in piece. This is an easy do-it-yourself solution to having temporary long hair or different hair style. The hair is purchased with the tiny clips already attached.

Clip in extensions are also a great place to start if you are serious about getting hair extensions but not sure how you would look with long hair, if you would like a different look for a night or a special event, or even if you are looking for a cost effective solution for hair extensions. Great for photo shoots and fashion shows.

Clip ins come in several different widths of weft hair, pony tails, bangs and falls. Hair can be reused anywhere from a few weeks to years depending on the quality of hair, proper use and maintenance.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Clip in hair extensions can be very dangerous for those who really want long term long hair and wear clip in extensions on a regular basis. The clips are usually made of metal, metal covered with rubber or softer material or plastic.

If the clip in hair is left in the hair for long periods of time, clipped in too tight or the metal clips are thin and have sharp edges, you are risking bald spots where the clips are attached to your natural hair. They will either be cut by the metal clips or broken from the pressure and friction of the clips resulting in traction alopecia. Sadly, I’ve seen this too many times on clients from other salons.

When attaching clip in extension at home without a professional teaching you the proper placement (especially for women who have really short hair and purchase really long clip in extensions) it is very difficult to place them so the clip in extensions blend with your natural hair. They have to be purchased or cut to the prefect layered lengths to blend well and look real.

Glued Tracks wefts are available with all types of human and synthetic hair. The higher the quality of human hair the more expensive it will be per weft.

A bonding glue or adhesive material is brushed onto the weft of the extension hair and then it is applied to the root of your own hair. The extensions can be easily removed by a bonding remover. There are many types and variations of adhesives available, including waxes and medical grade adhesives. Please not that there have been cases where women had an allergic reaction to the bonding material, so I always recommend to do a patch test on your arm.

This method is for temporary extensions when you want you want to add some length or volume. It will last up to a week or until the first time you shampoo your hair. Unlike sown tracks, with glued tracks there is no need to create tracks of your own hair prior to installing the extensions. They do last a bit longer than clip ins especially for women who have really short hair and purchase really long clip ins.

Glued tracks have to be purchased or cut to the prefect layered lengths to blend well and look real. They lack natural movement and can look bulky on the head if too many are applied in attempt to create volume. Hair can be reused depending on the hair quality and glue/bonding agent.

Sown Tracks are when wefts of extension hair are sewn into tracks created by cornrows, braids or stitched onto the head in either horizontal lines or circles. The extension hair is sewn into the knotted track with a needle and weaving cord.

These extensions can last from 4-8 weeks and can be washed and styled like your own natural hair. Wefts are reusable and can be reused for up to 3-4 months depending on the quality of hair. This hair extensions method is one of the oldest ways to achieve length and fullness.

The only drawback is that it can cause traction alopecia and tends to cause a very sore scalp for up to a week or two depending on your sensitivity. If done too tight it can pull your own hair out of the head. I do not recommend this method for anyone with fine or thinning hair.

With Micro locks, human hair is attached with tiny locks(cylinders) or a sleeve that can match your own hair color or can be clear. Some of these micro products are made out of specially formulated polymer materials. Others are made from flexible nickel or copper tubing that is squeezed shut to or molded to the your hair to hold the extension in place. The good news is that these metallic locks are non-magnetic and do not rust, the bad news is if you have nickel or copper allergies you will not be able to wear them. Some hair extensions experts and companies claim that the micro locks and links can be reused, even up to three times in some cases. But not in my experience, once you close them it’s very difficult to unlock them and reuse them.

The hair extensions itself has to be ordered in two sets (will explain why further down) and there are claims that it is reusable as well. My concern with that is once you put the hair in, cut it to the desired length, are you going to label each piece to where it goes on the head so you can reuse it later? The idea is that you would move them up instead of taking them out every time they grow out more than a few inches, but that’s just not realistic. The hair that the extensions are attached to will not be in the same neat section it was when you first put them in no matter how hard you try to keep it untangled. But after 6 months the hair (no matter how good the quality is) will not be in the best shape so this is why you get 2 sets. Once six months is up u take the 1st set out and send it back to the company to be refurbished (which is about half the cost of the original set of hair and takes a few months) then they attach the new set and you wear it while you wait for the first one to come back.

Skin graft hair extension is attached to a man-made skin and is then grafted to the scalp. This method is made specifically for severely damaged hair, hair shedding due to medication, bald spots or see-through hair.

The main points to know about this hair extension method is that while all the toppers anchor only to the hair; this method anchors to both the hair and the scalp . Therefore eliminating the pulling and tugging feel associated with weft extensions. The grafts are reusable and can easily be trimmed from its original length to cover certain bald areas. This would be a good non damaging solution for people who have thinning hair, and I would recommend to keep them in for up to 8 weeks.

The term lace front wig and full lace wig are virtually the same and has a very natural front hair line. It is constructed with fine lace in the front and a variety of materials in the back of the head. A full lace system is the ultimate system since it will look natural from every angle regardless of how the hair is brushed or styled. The main objective of a lace front wig or a full lace wig is to look beautiful and natural! You do not want anyone to ever think you are wearing a wig.

A full lace system is usually preferred to any other type of wig because of its style, design, beauty and naturalness. It caters to individuals who wish to change their hair style without damage to their own hair, or to those who may have experienced hair loss or hair damage. Even if you’d like to give your hair a break from daily styling without compromising your look, purchasing a custom lace front wig could be the right option for you.

Wigs come in different lengths, colors, textures and densities. They can be synthetic, human hair and synthetic mix or 100% human hair and are attached with different types of adhesives. Several kinds of specialized tape and glue are used for keeping the wig in place. Wigs can be purchased already made and styled or custom designed prior to ordering by a specialist.

One thing to consider, if left on too long or too tight there is a chance of causing friction alopecia, so wearing wigs for more than 6 or 8 weeks at a time is not recommended.