Rapunzel, let down thy gorgeous extensions

Extend it
Last Updated 18 May 2013, 07:15 IST

It just takes extensions to get long hair or coloured highlights within minutes.Ever wondered how Priyanka Chopra’s hair became all long and shiny for advertisements for hair products when all the recent photos show her with short hair? Or have you ever been mystified how different celebrities flaunt varying lengths of hair at different points of time? The answer to that mystery is not a wig. It is a hair extension.

Our first encounter with it was when there were school functions. The key to creating plaits which would dangle below our waist. As we moved on to college, they modified themselves. They became shorter, thinner, more manageable and colourful. But now, they have moved up the evolutionary ladder and have become a fashion essential. If these words “hair extensions” still bring to your mind those precious three strands of jet black synthetic hair used during the school days, be prepared to be surprised.Moving over various hair oils and lotions that promise to make hair grow faster and make it thicker, these extensions can transformthin hair or even short hair into gorgeous flowing locks in a matter of minutes. There is also no worry about pins sticking into the head or worse, the extension falling off. The hair extensions available now are made up of natural hair and they come in various colour tones and textures so that they can blend in with the hair and give a flawless look. Though for the youngsters these extensions are a fashion accessory, for the mature crowd it may act as the extra add on for special occasions.

Although there are a variety of hair extensions available in select stores, it is better to get them done from a salon as they will be able to help you select the perfect colour and texture for the extensions to match your hair. Also, a professional hairdresser can cut and style the extension in a way that it blends in effortlessly with the hair.While the fashion conscious crowd is going gaga over this accessory, the most popular ones stand out. Here are the three best loved and most used extensions of the day:

Coloured highlights, streaks

This is the best option for those who want to have streaks but do not want to colour their hair. These extensions are available in strands of a variety of colours ranging from the usual burgundy and blue to even neon green. They are glued to a particular stand of hair and are brushed out so that it blends with the hair and looks completely natural.

The adhesive used is hair-friendly and so it does not damage the hair shafts that it is attached to. They need minimal care and can be curled or straightened just like the rest of the hair. If maintained properly, they can last for years though they need to be readjusted to the hair strand every two months or so, depending upon the hair growth.

However, care has to be taken to not use a conditioner on the scalp, especially where the extension is attached to the hair shaft. Regular use of the conditioner on that part of the scalp would dissolve the hair glue and make the extension come off.Pocket pinch: Natural coloured extensions can cost around Rs 500 while the coloured ones can go up to Rs 1, 200 per strand. Long, voluminous hair

The braided or clipped variety not only provides long and voluminous hair, it does so discreetly. While the clip ons can be clipped to the hair shafts and be removed at will, the braided ones are, like the name suggests, braided into the hair. So there is no tension of the extension falling off even while brushing or styling it. Any kind of styling techniques like straightening or perming, or even spa treatments like hair spa can be tried on these extensions.

They need to be readjusted to the hair shafts every couple of months but the hair extensions can be used for three to four years or more, depending upon how well it is taken care of. However, one has to be careful while brushing the hair, especially the area where the extensions are braided with the hair. The length of these extensions can range from 12-34 inches.

For a quick party hairdo which will make heads turn, clip ons are most appropriate. They come in sets of five to eight and can be worn and removed at will, without any professional help. However, for a lasting solution, the braided ones can be a good option.

Pocket pinch: These extensions are priced according to their length. The range starts from around Rs 30,000 for a 12-inch extension.

Highlighting, adding volume The newest member of the block, these extensions come with an adhesive that can be taped on to the hair shafts. The hair is uniformly attached to the tape so even if it is used near a parting, the tape does not show much. This extension gives a more natural look compared to the first kind as the tape is hardly ever visible. They are available in both natural and funky colours and is thus becoming a favourite.This type is ideal for thin or fine textured hair and can be used for years though this extension too has to be readjusted after every two months and requires being brushed regularly.

Pocket pinch: Each taped strand of extension begins from around Rs 3, 500.So if you are open to experimenting, go ahead and give these extensions a try and become a Rapunzel in minutes.

(Published 17 May 2013, 12:59 IST)

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