About a month and a half ago, I got hand-tied hair extensions! Getting extensions had been on my radar for quite a bit after suffering from a pretty good deal of postpartum hair loss in the months after Olivia’s birth. My hair had gotten noticeable thinner and was clearly falling out quicker than it was coming back in, and it was starting to affect my confidence levels. Of course, that’s such a minor thing in the grand scheme of life and there are SO many more important things than your hair. BUT, I think it’s pretty safe to say that many of us do at least care about our hair, and if it starts suddenly falling out…that can be scary and/or can definitely impact our security in our physical appearance. I’ve always been a fan of things like makeup or trying non-permanent procedures to enhance or change up different things for fun; the key is never associating your physical appearance with your self-worth.
You are beautiful and enough regardless of your hair length or hair volume, whether you’ve got Victoria Secret bombshell waves or a bald head.
Just felt that was worth saying to start off this shindig since something like hand-tied hair extensions may be seen as “frivolous” to some. I hope this encourages you to consider them if you, too, are struggling and/or have struggled with something like postpartum hair loss, or any hair loss from a medical trauma or diagnosis. It can be a really worthwhile alternative even for the short-term to feel like your best self while your natural hair grows per usual.
SO. For my own hand-tied hair extensions, I went to my girl Mary who actually JUST opened up her OWN salon with her friend Cara (who is also fabulous and helped put in my wefts!). She’s a true prodigy and a literal expert at hand-tied hair extensions (AND color – she has done mine for maybe the past 2 or 3 times I’ve gotten a color change!), so I knew there was no one else I’d trust with my weave! 😉 Especially with something like extensions, you reaaaaally want an expert on your head. There are SO many horror stories out there about ridiculous amounts of damage or breakage or straight up hair LOSS that can happen from incorrectly-applied extensions, or the wrong KIND of extensions on your hair type, so having someone who knows their stuff is an absolute must in my book.
For all of my local/Philly girls, Mary is that, so book your consult with her + Cara!
First up, my before/after. The left is the day we first put them in, and the right is about a month of having them!
We documented the process of putting in my own hand-tied hair extensions so that you can see a bit of the behind-the-scenes if you’re considering them for yourself! Stay tuned to my instastories today (@ericaligenza), because I’ll be uploading the videos we took + some Q&A with Mary to see it all in action, too. 🙂
I had 3 rows of hand-tied hair extensions put in, and then Mary blended my cut and color so that the entire thing is cohesive and a beautiful finished product. (I was a bit nervous upon seeing the original weft since it obviously does NOT blend at first – but Mary works magic and makes it happen!). The next few shots show the process of actually doing that, to take you from a totally mismatched situation, to looking like you just grew luscious Amazonian queen locks overnight. 😉
Hand-Tied Hair Extensions Q&A
Why hand-tied extensions over other types?
Hand-tied extensions (when put in correctly) can be the least damaging! Other types of extensions have gotten a bad rap over time for causing bald spots or hair loss because of the amount of pressure they can put on your natural root. Some benefits of hand-tied hair extensions over others:
- Minimal tension (when inserted correctly). My girl Mary is a true EXPERT and knows the exact balance between hair densities so that you’re not damaging your natural hair at all with a too-heavy weft of fake hair over it.
- No tape, glue, or heat
- Creates a track with your own hair, whereas other methods use thinner strands of hair that can lead to an imbalance in tension and eventual hair loss
- They’re real human hair that can (+ should) be styled, washed, + cared for like any other
How do you match natural hair to extension hair?
Hair is matched as closely as possible to what clients’ hair is; it comes in straight or wavy options, and your stylist should know best which to order based on your natural hair type!
Can you still put your hair up?
Yup! You can wear up high in a bun, keep it low – whatever you wanna do. You can work out in them, wash per usual, etc. Just be careful with a formal up-do (like if you’re in a wedding) to not put bobby pins THROUGH the actual wefts, as it could damage them.
Do you have to wash it differently?
You wash your hand-tied hair extensions the exact same way you’ve always washed your hair, just remembering that it’s more hair on your head now! Wash under and over them, and just scrub to ensure you’re cleaning your scalp effectively! And be sure to brush your hair as normal, too. Start at the bottom, work your way up, and use a Wet Brush! Hold the weft in place (so that you don’t accidentally dislodge or damage anything) and brush right over it.
You won’t technically even need dry shampoo on the wefts because THINK ABOUT IT – your hair becomes oily at the root as your scalp produces natural oils. But the weft isn’t actually connected to your scalp. So the fake hair isn’t getting oily because there’s no actual root connected to your head to get oil! I went 8 days between washes on my last shampoo day which was definitely the longest I’ve ever gone. I think it’s a combo of what I just mentioned with oil production, as well as just naturally touching your hair less because you don’t want to monkey around with the extensions.
What shampoo do you use?
I had to switch to all sulfate-free, color-safe products once I got my extensions (although sulfate-free products are always better in GENERAL for all hair types, and color-safe products are always better for color-treated hair!). So far I’ve been using + loveloveloving this line from Living Proof!
What kind of maintenance/follow-up is required?
I have to go in every 8-ish weeks to get the hand-tied hair extensions moved up as my natural hair grows. My hair does seem to grow pretty quickly, so I’m pretty close to that 8-week mark, whereas some folks can go closer to 10 weeks before needing them shifted.
Would you ever get hand-tied hair extensions yourself? Any more Q’s about them?
I hope this was a helpful look behind-the-scenes at mine – stay tuned to Instagram (@ericaligenza) for updates on mine! I’m getting my first shift done next week, so catch that action happening live on Stories. 😉