Wearing extensions isn’t an instant love affair — they take some getting used to, though young women from this part of the world start out early, the journey is nothing but a fairy tale that no other person can tell on their behalf.
Hair extensions commonly called ‘attachments’ in Nigeria has become a core of the hair industry across Africa and the world in general. However, the experience can often be explained by William Shakespeare’s ‘unease lies the head that wears the crown’.
Here are some 27 problems girls who wear hair extensions face:
1. They take some getting used to. Whether you get clip-ins, tape-ins, glue-ins, keratin bond, pre-bonded, sew-in, or a weave, the subtle feeling of having something in your hair is as annoying/similar to being subtly strangled by a turtleneck sweater.
2. Synthetic hair extensions are affordable, but can look cheap when they don’t blend into your hair. Synthetic hair doesn’t contain moisture like real hair does, so it won’t shine naturally — instead, it has a super-shiny, unnatural sheen to it. They also don’t blend in as seamlessly, can get tangled easily, and can’t be styled and re-styled. But if synthetic strands are all you can swing or if you just want to wear them for one night and don’t want to break the bank buying fake hair, make sure you get a color that matches your real hair undetectably.
4. They require a lot of time and effort. You’ll be in the salon chair for at least an hour and a half for your stylist to put in a full set of extensions.
5. You have to get a haircut to blend the extensions flawlessly. Even if they’re clip-ins, if you don’t get a special haircut that blends your hair with the extensions, you’re going to look like you’re wearing fake hair, which is not the goal.
6. You always have to do your hair. There is no such thing as a wash-and-go style when you have extensions. You’re either curling your hair or straightening it to blend it all together.
7. You have to be super-careful when blowing out your own hair or having someone else do it. Because you can’t put the same tension on it that you would on natural hair.
8. You have to be even more gentle when you brush your hair. Brushing your hair like you just don’t care without extensions can cause breakage. But brushing your strands with wreckless abandon with extensions will not only cause breakage, it could possibly rip your hair right out. OUCH!
9. You also now have to change the way you brush your hair. With extensions, the Marcia Brady way of brushing your hair (from roots to ends) to distribute the oils from your scalp onto your strands for healthier locks is no longer the “right way.” The right way is now working your way up to the extension from the ends (like you would if you have tons of tangles) to ensure you don’t accidentally get your brush stuck in your new weave and pull your real or fake hair out.
10. And because you’re not brushing the oils from your roots to your tips, you now have to manually add hair oil onto your ends. That way they don’t become dry and brittle, since they won’t be getting any natural oil love.
11. A shower cap and dry shampoo are you new BFF. Obviously you need to keep showering regularly, but you want to try and stretch the time in between your shampoos as long as you can to keep the water-shampoo combo from breaking down the glue, which is where the shower cap/dry shampoo combo come into play.
12. Your head and neck tend to get hot. Your scalp isn’t used to the amount of hair you just added onto your existing strands, so you can find your head overheating, thanks to your new ‘do.
13. They weigh on your natural hair. Not like a ton of bricks by any means, but you can definitely sense that there is something attached to your hair.
14. They make your scalp itchy. The strip of tape-in extension or glue-in piece attached to your hair can rub against your scalp, itching it. And then when you go to scratch the itchy spot, you have to be careful you don’t accidentally tug on the bundle of hair included in the extension with your fingers, or else it will pull and hurt.
15. High ponytails/top knots are a thing of the past
17. You never can seem to put in the clip-ins again as perfectly as your stylist did the first time. They’re always wonky. Want to learn how to put them in properly? Ask your stylist for a how-to, or read this and this.
18. Washing your hair just got challenging. Gone are the days of scrubbing your scalp vigorously and haphazardly — now, you have to be super-careful when sudsing up your strands so you don’t pull on the extensions.
19. And you can only use sulfate-free shampoo. Because sulfates (a type of cleansing agent in shampoos) can break down the adhesive holding the extension onto your hair.
20. You can’t roll your hair up into a towel anymore when you get out of the shower. You don’t want the extensions to get water-logged, so you need to squeeze and blot your hair with a towel (don’t ruffle it around because this creates friction, and will leave your hair and extensions a knotted mess), then let it air-dry a bit (to minimize the amount of heat damage from your dryer), and then finally blow it dry all the way.
21. The thought of your boyfriend running his hands through your hair sends chills up your spine. The inner workings of your hair now feels like a construction site; there are tiny pins or clips everywhere. So, he won’t be able to even get his hands up in there and if he does, it will be a bitch to get them back out.
23. As they grow out, if you don’t get them done again in the amount of time your stylist tells you to, they’ll be noticeable. They’ll start to twist and turn, poking out of your hair, and revealing your extension secret plain as day.
24. You feel like your hair has thinned when you or your stylist takes out your extensions because you suddenly had a shit-ton of hair and now you suddenly don’t. In all reality, you just went back to the normal amount of hair you had before, but it just feels like so much less that you think your hair is now thinning, and a panic attack ensues.
25. They can come out if they’re not properly secured.
26. Getting them out is as much of a process as having them put in. And you could be left with remnants of tar-like glue on your scalp and in your hair for days afterward if your stylist doesn’t take them out properly.
27. If you don’t give your hair a break every six months or so, the hair can weaken at the root and you could get bald spots. Extensions are applied right at the root, but when you allow the extension to grow out too much with your natural hair growth, the extension could weigh on the root and over time, your delicate, tiny hairs could be pulled out, leaving a bald spot.
Carly Cardellino – Cosmopolitan
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