To miss-quote the great Amanda Lepore,
Girl, you know you love that fresh weave feeling, straight from the salon feeling like a budget Beyonce. At least I do. I’ve been doing my hair at home for a long time. I’ve not been into a salon for around 5+ years. I’ve nothing against hairdressers (some of my best friends are hairdressers) but, my hair is very *VERY* fragile and I enjoy doing it.
Whether you go to the salon or not, so many girls (and boiz), are using extensions from clip-ins to weaves and lace front wigs. It’s a great way to add extra volume and length. I’m not going to warn you too much about how terrible hair extensions can be for your hair, but, I am going to give you a little bit of advice, with some help from my friends.
I have afro-Caribbean hair, or kinky, curly, frizzy – whatever you want to call it. So, I am going to focus on my hair type but don’t worry I won’t leave any of you out ;)
I spoke to my good friend James Oxley (high-school buds), who is now a high-flying London-based Session Stylist (you know the ones that do celebrities and fashion shows). I can vouch for his skills – we’ve even done a shoot together (me as photographer). Anway here’s some of his feiiiiirrceee work, he can take over from here.
I can vouch for his skills – we’ve even done a shoot together (me as photographer). Anway here’s some of his feiiiiirrceee work, he can take over from here.
So if you’ve gone full wig or half wig (Google it). Here are some of James’ tips. Whether you take it off at night or have it taped/sewn in.
“Make sure you are using the right products for your wig. Regular cleansing and styling products are stronger than wig cleansing and styling products, they can leave residue causing breakage to the hair strands. They can also irritate your scalp if left unrinsed from underneath the wig. Follow the manufacturers guidelines for products, talk to a wig specialist and get their recommendations. Regularly brush your wig with a cushioned natural bristle dressing brush (eg. Mason and Pearson).”
“You want to use soft brushes with natural bristles. As I mentioned above, the Mason and Pearson or YS Parks Beetle and Turtle Dressing Brushes. The natural bristles will smooth the hair a lot better and the nature of the cushion and flexible bristles will allow you to brush without snagging the lace or any hair underneath.
Let’s talk lace. The ultimate in the world of Beyonce weaves. Lace fronts (either as the fringe piece, closure piece or full wig) are a great way to blend the hairline naturally. If you do it right, you really can’t tell if that it’s not real. Anyway, on to the professional.
“For best results, make sure your lace is custom fitted to you, it can be an expense but it is so much more worth it when it comes to blending. Again follow manufactures guidelines on whether to use glue or tape.
Glue vs. Tape
“They both have benefits. Tape has less grip – but is easier to change when wanting to use multiple wigs. Glue has loads of strength but is harder to remove when doing constant changes. Remember, always patch test your glue and tape for sensitivity. ”
I’m sure this is the bit you’re eagerly scrolling down to. As extensions get more popular, I think we get lazier. Take care of your extra hair ladies. James’ turn…
Human v.s Synthetic
“They both have their strong points. Human hair is always my preferred choice for editorial and celebrity work. It responds like real hair to styling, colouring, it looks more natural and blends with your own hair. Synthetic, even with heat-safe products on the market, is harder to use to create style with longevity, as they don’t absorb product. However, with synthetic hair, high-visibility colours can be achieved and they are generally a lot cheaper.”
Should I pay more for quality?
“100%. There are plenty of brands on the market with different prices. Premium Now are an affordable brand with great quality. I find they style and colour well. For high-end, I will always go with Hair Raisers. The quality of their hair is unbelievable for the price and they have so many options!”
“Again, natural bristle brushes are the best. They are very kind on the hair. Fantastic for dressing out styles, blow drying smooth. Otherwise, GHD Ceramic Vented brushes are brilliant for styling.”
Products for battling frizz/matting/dullness
“My personal favourite brands are Bumble and Bumble, their products are very light weight and conditioning. BB Styling Spray is amazing for heat styling and Brilliantine to finish, to help with frizz and add shine. Phyto is another personal favourite. They use botanical extracts to give nourishment. Their leave-in treatment spray is fantastic for detangling adding shine and moisturising the hair.”
Washing your weave
“Always use gentle cleansing shampoos or specialist wig shampoos. If possible, remove the extensions or wig prior to washing. Wet down with Luke warm (not hot) water. Place a small amount of shampoo in your hand and glide it gently from base to ends. This will stop matting. Do this a few times while squeezing the product through. The rinse thoroughly and condition. Pat dry with a towel and apply your products.”
Looking after your (real) hair
“It’s hard to look after the scalp while wearing wigs or extensions. Make sure you rinse products off the scalp after washing and thoroughly dry underneath. If the scalp is left wet, you run the risk of an irritated scalp or worse, fungal infections. Always make sure you see a trusted wig/extensions specialist. If your tracks are too tight, have them loosened. Traction alopecia (hair loss due to follicle tension) can occur if this is repeated over long periods.”
“Always make sure you see a trusted wig/extensions specialist. In between having your wig/extensions fitted, make sure you give your scalp a rest, plenty of scalp massages to stimulate. Kerastase do a fantastic shampoo (Bain Prevention) which helps nourish te scalp and reinforce the hair, a leave- in treatment called Initialiste does the same.”
“Any signs of over tension, infections or of your extensions/wig are causing you issues, visit your specialist or pharmacy as soon as you can. Never try to remove a wig or extensions yourself unless you have been trained how to! *Note from Sarah: Or unless you’re me and you’re a pretend hairdresser for one day each month, but on a real if you don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t do. I learnt from the best ;)* You may do more damage.”
I also tried Mashooq hair oil on my own hair while I was working on this piece with James. It’s the perfect thing to put on your hair after a wash and before a hair dry. It leaves silky and smooth – easier to braid as well for extensions.
I can’t thank James enough for spending a little time and sharing some advice. I’ll be doing more posts in this series of sorts. What do you want to hear about next?
Don’t forget to check out James on his website: http://www.jamesoxleyhair.com or Instagram: @JamesROxley