The 3 Most Common Hair Extension Mistakes—And How To Solve Them
When done properly, a full head of hair extensions should be undetectable, and perfecting your tape-in extension technique can make you mega dollars. But with extension installation, things can also go wrong fast—and there’s nothing worse than bad hair extensions! Don’t worry, we’ve got you—Hairtalk Master Educator Alicia Iannone (@liciebaby) went live on BTC’s Facebook to show us the perfect, moneymaking way she installs Hairtalk extensions, plus she talked us through how to avoid the most common extension mistakes hairdressers make.
Check out the starting length on Alicia’s model (and assistant, and friend!) Casey Hanstein. Keep scrolling to see the three top extension installation mistakes, products and the entire how-to video!
Mistake #1: Installing Too Many Extensions
Not only does over-installation LOOK bad, it also can be pretty painful for the client.
Solution: Space each weft about a pinkie-width apart, or even as close as the width of a tail comb’s tail…but don’t let them touch. “They’re cousins, not sisters,” Alicia says.
More Installation Tips:
- Clean partings are key. “An artist wouldn’t design on a dirty canvas,” Alicia says, so you shouldn’t install on messy partings. Use a small clip to keep baby hairs out of the way—if those little hairs get caught in the tape, it can tug your client’s head and be painful!
- Stay at least two fingers-width from the hairline. Why? This ensures the client’s natural hair can cover the tape when she pulls her hair back, plus it won’t be uncomfortable when she wears sunglasses.
- The subsection of hair where the extension is applied should be the same size and density as the extension weft. Too thin of a slice won’t hold the extension, and too thick of a slice will cause the extension to pop open. (21:42)
Mistake #2: Installing The Wrong Color
Matching extensions to the root color is a no-no, and so is using only one shade of extension on the entire head.
Solution: Color-match at the mids and ends, the not roots (14:00). “They’re called extensions for a reason. Since they’re extending the hair, that’s where you want to match,” Alicia says. She also always uses two shades for each “sandwich” she installs. “Even on Level 2 hair, it’s not all a Level 2—I’d use a Level 2 and a Level 3,” she shares. Dimensional color is the key to natural-looking hair!
More Color Tips:
- Use the Hairtalk Pops of Color to add bursts of vibrant hues without commitment. Alicia says she’ll add a few to her clients and remove them after a week or two, then reapply the client’s natural-shade extensions in their place for a fun few weeks of lavender, teal or peach hair!
- Create a personalized highlight with this trick (see it at 27:00): Apply a Pop of Color weft on the bottom of the slice, then use texturizing shears to thin out a natural-colored weft for the top of the slice. This allows the Pop of Color to peek through without a bold panel of color, offering a softer look.
- For super-blonde babes, the 60A shade will be your best friend. And for clients who are “ice queen blonde,” you can tone the already-platinum 60A! Alicia recommends toning before application by keeping the hair on the palette. Wash the hair, tone (avoid getting toner near the tape tab), rinse then condition. You can also tone on installed extensions, again keeping toner away from the tape. Hear more at 47:23!
Mistake #3: Installing The Wrong Length
Super-long extensions on a bob are just not going to blend. Avoid an obvious installation (or a mullet…and not the cool kind) with extensions that are the proper length for the client.
Solution: Choose extension length based on the client’s current hair length. Hairtalk extensions come in 13-inch, 17-inch, 21-inch or 25-inch lengths. On a client with a bob, the 21-inch length would be too obvious—Alicia recommends using the 13-inch, then working up to longer lengths as her real hair grows. (Watch her talk this out at 45:30!)
More Length Tips:
- While super-long extensions will look odd on short pixies and bobs, you CAN use extensions to add fullness or Pops of Color—don’t let existing hair length limit your solutions!
- To add actual, undetectable length, the client’s hair will need to be roughly to her shoulders.
- Use extensions of different lengths on one head for a natural result. On this model, Alicia used 21-inch extensions towards the bottom of the head, then switched to 17-inch extensions as she moved up the head.
- Use different width sizes for truly custom-fitting extensions. Alicia says she uses mostly Originals up the back of the head, but will often use more Petites on fine-haired clients. The Petites are also great for higher areas, and use the Minis to fill in small spaces for complete customization.
- After installation is complete, shape the hair with scissors using slide-cutting. “I never say ‘cut’ to an extensions client!” Alicia says. “Always say ‘shape’!”
Watch the Facebook Live
See the entire process in the video, and keep scrolling for more photos!
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