They’re “everywhere” on TV. When you see those long, curved strands of hair on celebrities, anchors and contestants, you can be pretty sure they’re not real—just like some other physical attributes! I watched George Lopez’s new dating show on Fox, “Take Me Out,” and estimated that approximately 80 percent of the 30 women had hair extensions. It “feels like” women are starting to look the same.
I’m not immune. Last Thanksgiving, I succumbed to the temptation of hair extensions, but not before a thorough self-grilling focused mainly on: “Maybe I’m too old to have long hair.” I can’t say they’re a boomer beauty trend.
Throwing common sense to the wind (again), I embarked on my extension journey, adding six inches of Great Lengths classic bonded extensions to my medium-length mane. I had hair!
The process took approximately two hours to apply the hair strands of “Indian Temple hair” with a “modulating” bonding technique. I was told my head might hurt for a day, but in fact, it hurt for 1.5 months—I’m highly sensitive, and I know such tenderness isn’t the case for most women.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with “all that hair,” and soon began to dread washing and styling—postponing as long as possible. It required separating my own hair on top and plowing through the rows of bonds on the side and back—mostly in the back, since I had two “bundles” applied to my hair.
Styling required drying with a big, round brush, then flat-ironing “around” the bonds so as not to melt them—which I ended up doing anyway, but which may have made the bonds last longer. This was a pain. My brush got stuck in the bonds, and I was hesitant to really “go for it” and brush really hard.
I wore my extensions for seven months—a new record, since my stylist confessed that most only wear for three. At $600 for the application, however, those extensions needed to last. I had problems with tangles around the bond, and had to get help on one bad hair day when a giant mat appeared in my ponytail.
Bye, bye, bonds
When I had the extensions removed this week, many were hanging on “by a thread.” The stylist used a solvent to soften the bond and then, it’s manual labor. I did lose quite a few of my own strands in the painstaking removal process.
I’d lost a dozen or so extensions already, but prying the rest out hurt my tender noggin. I do feel sort of bare-headed, but I don’t feel inclined to wear my hair up constantly any more, away from my face: I wore the extensions in an elastic band 95 percent of the time because they got in the way.
Different types of extensions are available in wefts, clip-ins, heat-free protein bonds, microtubes, shrink tubes and more: I can’t speak to those, but I’d do extensions again if they weren’t so labor intensive or expensive. If you’re a boomer gal who’s considering, find a stylist who does them frequently and ask plenty of questions. An Internet search will reveal plenty of sob stories, so buyer beware if endeavoring to be the “fairest of the fair.”