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  • Long luscious hair in under a day

    The 411 on hair extensions
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    • Caring for your extensions
      "People need to realize, just because it's human hair on your head, there are some things you can't do with extensions," says Berkus. One no-no is washing your head upside down in the sink. The mot...
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      Caring for your extensions
      "People need to realize, just because it's human hair on your head, there are some things you can't do with extensions," says Berkus. One no-no is washing your head upside down in the sink. The motion pushes the hair in the opposite direction and can 'back up' and," adds Berkus, "become a nest of matted hair." Although swimming and water sports are fine, your locks need to be secured.

      Also, it's important to use proper products. Take your stylist's advice to ensure proper nourishment of hair extensions. Good maintenance is important as well. Washing the hair thoroughly, using a wide-tooth comb, and securing your "do" when riding in a convertible or on a windy day. "You have to keep them up and to keep them looking great all the time," reminds Roberts.
  • Divas, starlets and the girls down the block can have something in common — long, luscious locks. Crafted from real or synthetic hair, today's products make it difficult to tell where your own hair ends and the extensions begin. Glue them, tape them, sew them, clip, clamp or wrap them; if you've longed for luxurious hair, head to the salon for hair extensions.
    "I think that extensions are wonderful. You can add length and thickness overnight," says Lesli Roberts, owner of Medford salon, A Shear Vision. She and other stylists recommend human hair as opposed to synthetic hair. The fake locks can't be heated, so no drying, curling, straightening or highlighting — like human hair can be. Human hair won't melt, but it is more expensive.
    The initial purchase of hair can also be expensive running from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The longer (lengths to 24 inches) and the lighter in color, the more expensive it is. At first, says Jolene Berkus, owner of Envision Salon & Supply in Jacksonville, you're paying for the hair and the stylist's time. "When you come in for a consultation, we discuss the pros and cons, which system is best, and the options. Then we color match the hair, figure how many ounces and how much time it takes. It's a commitment, we need to be sure that they like it," she says. Those with a thicker head of hair can expect to spend more for extensions.
    Stylists can apply the hair in numerous manners, including double-sided tape, hot glue and sewing the "wests" (the small sections of extensions) into the client's hair. "The first two methods have been around for awhile. Pre-tipped strands of hair come with the glue on one end. You attach a few pieces at a time with the hot glue gun," says Roberts. For longer-term extensions, most stylists prefer new, patented options, such as Shrink Links and Rinex.
    Shrink Links doesn't involve gluing, sewing or braiding. Instead, explains Berkus, a certified extension stylist, the wests of hair are shrink-wrapped around the existing hair. This method offers a few advantages. Since the extensions aren't attached to the hair at the scalp, the hair can move more freely. This also simplifies shampooing and styling. Every 16 weeks, the stylist should remove the extensions, clean the hair and reapply them. Depending on your hair, this "tune-up" can take eight hours and cost hundreds of dollars.
    Roberts uses the Rinex system, launched last summer. This application process involves a little metal ring with two pieces of fishing line attached. She slips a few strands of hair through the small ring, and with a specialized tool, clamps the hair in place. Then, every six to eight weeks, the trained stylist opens the rings, and following shampooing, slides them up the hair shaft and reclamps them at a cost of $5 each to install and $3 each to tighten.
    Looking for a temporary, easy-to-use option? Head for the beauty supply shop and get clip-in extensions. For a lot of girls going to proms and weddings, these are fun and funky. In vibrant colors, synthetic hair doesn't cost as much to play with," says Berkus.
    If you've dreamed of long, flowing locks for your wedding and honeymoon, a special evening or simply looking for a change, use your head and add some hair extensions.
     
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