“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life,” goes the old adage by Coco Chanel.
When I chopped my hair back in May, I’m not sure if I was changing my life or taking control of my life. Maybe a bit of both. It had been a difficult 2021, to say the least, not to mention the collective sh*t storm that was 2020. Certainly big changes were coming — a move to Colorado with three kids and a geriatric dog among them — but I also felt completely out of control. I needed to take something back.
So I decided to start with my hair.
Change My Hair, Change My Life?
I had always wondered what I’d look like with short hair and, hey, you don’t know till ya try, right? It took some getting used to. I literally needed a full face of makeup for a week straight to feel “feminine”…but I don’t regret doing it. Cutting my hair forced me to reckon with our societal standards of beauty and all the different ways one can display femininity.
Plus, I like shocking my husband.
But, after a few months, I felt ready for a change. The reasons for chopping my hair were no longer there. I missed having hair I could throw up in a messy bun or curl for date night. Honestly, I missed hair that I hadn’t been able to grow since high school.
I also really wasn’t feeling the grow-out process, and the resulting mullet I was sporting. So, I turned to hair extensions.
What To Know About Hair Extensions
I’ve tried various fake hair products in the past: ponytails, at home clip-ins…and honestly? They’re exhausting (and time-consuming).
So I was a little hesitant about hair extensions for similar reasons. Also because I hate small talk and foresaw 6+ hours in the chair trying to entertain my stylist (people pleasing issues). During my consultation, my hairstylist, Kara, informed me that it wouldn’t be the hours long process I anticipated because she uses tape-in extensions.
My skepticism must have shown, so she pulled out her hair samples (like paint samples for your noggin!) and showed me how the extension is glued together with medical adhesive and affixes to either side of a small section of my natural hair. “It’s a hair sandwich!” she exclaimed.
Gross, but also an apt metaphor.
Tape-In Hair Extensions: From Consultation To Application
The other part of the consultation was figuring out color/length. Since the extensions are made of real hair they can be dyed any color. I opted for matching my “natural” color (or as close to natural as I currently am to cover up the grays) and 18′ extensions, equaling 3 packs total. The number of packs ordered depends on your hair type.
The consultation is also the time to figure out if hair extensions are in the budget. Every stylist has a different way of charging, and it depends on the type of hair extensions, the stylist’s time, etc., Expect anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand. Once we had all that figured out, she placed the order and we scheduled my appointment.
True to her word, the actual application of the hair extensions took roughly an hour, then 10 minutes to straighten, 15-25 to shape and blend with my natural hair, and then 15-20 to curl.
If I didn’t need my roots done my guess is that it would have been roughly two hours, start to finish. The process was painless, a little hair tugging here and there, but truly the most painful part was the Joe Dirt mullet I sported for half of the appointment (tape in extensions are applied bottom to top).
While I expected a laundry list of “dos and don’ts,” I walked away with only a small card with a few pointers on it: braid at night, never wear in a pony in the middle of your head (go high or low), avoid super moisturizing shampoo and rough dry the roots. Ok, that I can handle.
My next appointment will be in 8-10 weeks to move the extensions up. At that point I’ll have a better idea of tried and true tips, plus caring for extensions and will be sure to report back. In the meantime you can find me playing with braids and cosplaying as a brunette Ariel.
If you’re in the Centennial area, check out Kara Peterson Hair Design. She is truly the best.