Late last year, I dipped my head (…) into the new and exciting world of hair extensions. After 27 years of fine, flat, lacklustre hair, I thought it was about time I had the Zoey Dechanel locks I’d always dreamt of.
I started with clip-ins and although they gave me the bouncy look I wanted, they damaged my hair. So I looked into other options – extensions that would last longer, would fit into my daily routine and would be kind to my feeble follicles.
I’ve been getting my hair done at Russell Eaton, a hairdresser in Leeds, since August last year. I was so impressed with my gifted cut and colour that I went back again and again, always coming away with a spring in my step and a diva swish of my hair. They were my first port of call when it came to researching extensions and I was bowled over when they offered to provide the treatment for free, along with their partner Great Lengths.
Having bonded extensions applied is a serious commitment, so I wanted to make sure I did things right. After deciding to go ahead in April, I waited until June for my hair to grow and recover. Finally, after a fresh cut and colour, we were good to go.
My stylist at Russell Eaton, Jess, has bonded extensions herself and is an expert in their application and aftercare. A few days before my appointment, she cut and coloured my hair, making sure it was in the best condition. The cut was kept quite feathered on the ends – something I never go for, having fine hair, but necessary to ensure the extensions blended seamlessly with my own hair.
Once we’d got the colour right, Jess matched my hair to the extensions. We went for a blend of two colours for a really natural, flawless look. The hair was provided by Great Lengths – it’s 100% human hair that’s ethically sourced and has a traceable origin.
I arrived at the salon at 12pm and had my hair washed with a toning solution. This removes excess oil from the hair to ensure the extensions can bond easily. By 12.30pm my first bonds were in place!
My extensions were smaller strands, so they mixed perfectly with my fine hair. Each extension was applied using a heated tool to ‘bond’ it to my hair – the bond is a keratin mix, a substance found naturally in the hair. It’s not a glue, and it’s pH balanced, making it kinder to your hair and scalp. Jess applied the extensions in crazy-neat rows, moving up towards my head.
It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable at all and the time seemed to fly by. By 4.30pm I was all done. Jess cut and styled my hair, layering the extensions and cutting off some of the length.
I loved it immediately and have to force myself to stop stroking it on a regular basis. Jess mentioned that some people need a few days to adjust to having all that extra hair, but within hours I couldn’t imagine not having it. It’s entirely seamless and there’s no clue that it’s not mine. Because the extensions have been tailored to my hair type, I just look like one of those people with totally great hair. And I’m pretty smug about it!
I can feel the bonds when I touch my head and I’m more careful when brushing, washing and styling, but other than it feels like my own. It’s not heavy, it doesn’t pull and I am completely and utterly enamoured.
With TLC, my extensions could last up to 5 months before they need refreshing. And although this set was provided to me for free, I know I’ll be more than happy to pay for them myself the next time round. The cost of my individual extensions (as everyone’s will be different, depending on length/thickness) would’ve been around £500 – a lot of money, I know. But if you’ve suffered from hair-based insecurity for a long time – absolutely, totally and utterly worth it.
I’ll be updating my hair extensions journey over the next few months, including how to care for them. For now though, I’m going to practise my fishtail braid and stare at myself in the mirror. *swish*
What do you think – do you like the new look? Are you tempted by bonded hair extensions?
This treatment was provided to me for free for the purpose of reviewing. Great Lengths provided the hair and Russell Eaton provided the application and styling. I paid for my own cut and colour before the treatment.