Microlinks, sew-ins, clip-ins, the list of extension types for longer, more volumized locks can go on and on. But now, there's a new method that everyone is talking about, one that has those on the hunt for more length wondering: what are tape-in extensions? The seamless and flat method is taking over, and proving to be one of the most versatile, long-lasting methods out there.
"They're just like any other extension except they're literally attached to your head by a medical grade piece of tape," Smita Sharma, founder of hair extension brand Snobee Chic says to TZR. Sharma shares that unlike clip-ins, however, these aren't extensions you remove regularly. "Because it's such a powerful adhesive, once it's taped in there, it's not going anywhere. You can rest assured that it's not gonna budge." That said, Sharma says that to maintain the integrity of your natural hair, anticipate to have them in for quite some time. "They can last up to six to eight weeks," she says. "I don't sleep with my clip-ins, obviously, but anticipate sleeping in your tape-ins because they're going to be in your hair for at least a minimum of four weeks. I wouldn't try to switch them out before then as it could potentially damage your hair."
The application, however, does in fact resemble that of traditional clip-ins. "They usually come in sets of 40 to 60 pieces depending on how it's sold," Sharma says. "So I suggest that you section your hair out and then you can just literally tape them in wherever you need the volume depending on your preferred style."
For a head of hair that looks natural but still boasts volume, you should begin by parting your hair from ear to ear, then temple to temple, layering in different tiers of the head, and gradually ending with the nape of the neck area. "Put the most volume at your crown," Sharma says. "You want to make sure it mimics the natural hair growth pattern as much as possible. And since you can't necessarily see back there, have a friend lay them where you may need in the back if necessary." You should also consider adding more towards the perimeter of the hair. "People may have thinner hair sometimes like around their edges," Sharma says. "So feel free to add some more tape-ins there [for volume]."
Most impressive about tape-ins, is their versatility, which aside from microlinks, is unmatched. "You can wear your hair up in a bun, you can do a ponytail, anything, the flat lay of the tape-ins doesn't affect your ability to style your hair in any way."
But once installed, just like any other extensions, proper care is necessary, which comes with being a bit more delicate than you are with your natural hair. And while the changes to your routine won't be too rigid with tape-ins, there are some important things to consider. "Don't scrub too hard when washing your hair," Sharma says. "And be sure not to tug too hard during styling and brushing."
When it comes to washing, after shampooing and conditioning, air dry the hair 70% of the way before applying direct heat. This will not only avoid heat damage of the natural hair but also help to maintain the integrity of the extension itself. "Once the hair is mostly dry, then it can go through a dryer or a flat iron as it would normally."
Taking tape-in extensions out is what seems to be the true test. "You have to use a special solution that dissolves the tape," Sharma says. "It allows for an easy glide off." And the good news is, most tape-ins are reusable. "You can actually use them about three or four times," she says. "You just remove them and wash as normal, if they're human hair, and hang to dry. You'll be able to use time and time again."
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