Two months ago, I did The Thing. You know, the thing where I was feeling bored with my hair, and on a whim, I asked my stylist to give me bangs. My friends told me it was only a matter of time before I googled "how to hide bangs," but against my better judgment, I got them anyway. And surprisingly, I absolutely loved how they looked on me. They were chic, shaggy, cool, and just the right length — and they remained just the right length for about a week or so.
I'm not a high maintenance type of person. I hate making appointments, I get antsy in the styling chair, and I, personally, like my money where I can see it: in my bank account. Needless to say, I never went back to get a trim, and my bangs started growing out — to a length I didn't particularly care for on myself. So, three weeks later, I loaded up on the hair accessories. Bobby pins, barrettes, headbands — you name it, I used it to mask all traces of my grown-out fringe.
Amid my awkward bang stage, I heard about a type of semi-permanent hair extension that essentially melds to your hair and is so tiny at the base, it's virtually invisible. I already have long hair, so I didn't need the length at the back, but if I could skip the awkward-bang phase altogether, I was in. But could extensions placed so close to my hairline look natural? I decided to investigate.
I met with hair extension and wig brand Bellami to learn all about their offerings. Off the bat, I was shocked at the general versatility of extensions. I've only ever worn extensions (made by Bellami, funny enough) on my wedding day. It was a set of clip-ins that gave me thicker, fuller, mermaid-esque hair IRL. At the end of the day, I unclipped them and stored them away, but as it turns out, extensions go far beyond wedding-day glam.
Sitting with Kat Lewis, Bellami's head of education and extension specialist, I learned that extensions are great for adding volume and length, sure, but they can also help create texture and add color without the damage. Plus, they can be applied with a variety of application techniques, each one with a different final look and after-care instructions. After sifting through clip-ins, tape-ins, wefts, I-tips, micro I-tips, keratin tips, and micro-keratin tips, Lewis suggested I try micro-keratin tips on my bangs.
Keratin tip extensions, or k-tips, look like a small wisp of your own hair, but with a keratin-based adhesive at one end. They're installed using a heating tool, which melts the keratin onto tiny sections of your own hair and bonds close to the roots. (You can see this in action in the video above.) Bellami's k-tips are made up partially of the same protein found in hair, plus a silicone additive that creates a protective coating, preventing damage. When installed properly, they last anywhere from six months or until they grow out. Plus, it's Remy human hair, which means it can be curled, dyed, straightened, blow-dried, cut — anything you'd do to your own hair.
After my consultation with Lewis, she assures me it's totally normal to use keratin tips to "grow out" your bangs when you don't want them anymore. After all, they add length while looking totally natural, and by the time they grow out, my bangs will be long enough to be styled anyway. She suggests we go with micro-keratin tips because they're a fraction of the size. (Bellami's keratin tips are 0.83 grams, and their micro tips are 0.5 grams.) Since they're about to sit front and center, close to my hairline, Lewis says it's important we go with something lightweight that will blend in and look natural.
Lewis placed the extensions in rows, a tactic that keeps each bead hidden by another piece of hair. Because of this, we picked my part placement before getting started, and Lewis lets me know I'll have to wear my hair in this same part or pulled straight back to the tips hidden. I decided on a center part, and Lewis got to work. She placed approximately 20 Bellami k-tips on each side of my center part, and with each one she placed, I saw my bangs fade away. As you can see in my side-by-side photo above, even in my profile, my hair now falls differently. It's not curling at eye level anymore — it actually effortlessly falls behind my shoulder in a single swipe.
40 keratin tips later, my hair was back to where it was before I got the bangs. Lewis trimmed the extensions a bit and blended my short bangs with subtle layers. Up close, you can't tell I've gotten extensions (nor could you tell in my Instagram above). My long bangs are back, but the best part is, I cheated the growing-out phase — and TBH, I kind of feel like I cheated life a little bit, too.