How to Determine The Quality of Your Hair Extensions BEFORE Application.
Don't be so knotty.....
Sorry I couldn't resist a cheesy hair joke. All kidding aside, do you know how to test for "Good Hair?"
If you're hairstylist reading this blog, you know there is nothing more frustrating than getting a call from your client about "knotty" or naughty hair. It's time consuming for you and the client to fix, and we all know that time is money honey.
The hair extension industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry and I've spent the last 15 years educating salons on the category. I've also overseen the quality control and product development side as well. Oh and I've done over 3,000 tape in applications myself.
I'm going to share with you a few tricks to determine the quality of your hair extensions BEFORE application.
Here's a few things you should know first, before we get to the testing part:
- It's normal to get bad hair from time to time. It's just the nature of the beast. No extension company is perfect. If they say they are RUN- it's a load of crap.
- Yes, work with extension companies that have great hair but also work with the company that takes care of you when you do get bad hair.
- Do you know the warranty policy of the company you buy hair from? A reputable company that stands behind their hair will have a fair policy in place for you and them. All hair should have a warranty procedure in place.
Virgin (blonde) hair is relatively non-existent.
I'll prove my point. Virgin hair is defined as hair that is never been chemically processed. That Level 10 you bought, is because the head it was cut from was a LEVEL 10 NATURALLY.
The majority of hair comes from Asia, which includes India and China. Ask yourself, how many Asian women do you know that are a Level 10 or anything above a 4 for that matter?
Do you see where I'm going with this......... Virgin blonde hair is ALMOST a myth. It does exist but it is rare. If your supply is low and your demand is high, that makes for very expensive hair. Just in case you're curious, most virgin blonde hair is going to come out of Russia.
Let's get to the testing part.
I always evaluated human hair on a scale of 1-10. 10 being perfect and 1 being Inverted. An acceptable variance when testing human hair is between 8-10. A perfect 10 is hard to come by and is perfection.
10 looks like- Beautiful cohesive color, no fading outside shade range, holds curl extremely well, no tangling, no inversion.
9 looks like-Beautiful cohesive color, holds curl well, little to no tangling, no inversion.
8 looks like- Beautiful cohesive color, fades up to 1 shade range even with proper products, holds curl well, slight tangling but remedied with a conditioning treatment. No Inversion.
Here's what to look for:
- For the most part, like 99% of the time, all human hair is going to be coated with a conditioning treatment or some form of silicone. Touch the hair-does the hair feel overly coated? Does it look too shiny-like doll hair? If it does, we aren't starting out on the right foot. Hair is overly coated to hide quality issues. You'll see this done more with your lighter shades because of all the processing that hair has gone through. Remember that level 10-12 was originally between a level 1-4.
- Cuticle test. This is easier than you think. All hair extensions should be cuticle intact. Some companies will remove the cuticle at the factory because it makes it easier and faster to process. Obviously that kills the quality and length of wear. So to test for cuticle, first pick up two or three strands. Next run your fingers down to the tip and hold it with one hand, while you take your other hand (using index finger and thumb)and run it up in the opposite direction. If you get resistance when you are doing so you are actually feeling the cuticle. If it feels the same in both directions- RED FLAG! Cuticle has probably been removed.
- Back to inversion! Remember inversion is when you have cuticle going in two different directions. Typically when you hear about hair extension horror stories you are hearing about inversion. Funny enough, Inversion doesn't have anything to do with the actual quality of the hair. The hair itself can be amazing quality BUT when it was being made into a hair extension it was put together incorrectly. So here is how you can test for it. It's called a wash test.
- Shampoo the hair to get rid of any coating on the hair. Press excess water out.
- Now take a wide tooth comb and try to comb through the hair. If you can't get your comb through the hair beyond natural tangling-you've go inversion.
- You can also do a rub test on dry hair. I'll again do this after the hair has been shampooed and even with a little conditioner added.
- Once the hair is dry, hold the base of the extension and have someone rub the extension between their hands for a few seconds. If the hair is inverted you will not be able to get a detangling brush through the hair without ripping.
Phew- that's a lot of information to process but I hope you found it useful. Performing these few steps before an extension application can help you and your client avoid "hair extensions from hell!"
See ya on the flip side Kizzys!