I always wanted Gisele Bündchen's hair. Guys might have wet dreams about her insane body, but I’ve been fantasizing about her hair for as long as I can remember.
What intensified my hair jealousy (hair-lousy?) is that my own hair cannot manage growing past my shoulders. No matter how hard I try, it frays and sheds every time I get it past my collarbone.
Yes, I know it's probably due to my forbidden love with double process, but my quest to become a blonde snowflake won’t stop just because I’m low-key balding.
Seeing as my hair refuses to cooperate, I’ve started exploring a different, faux option: extensions. I stick to the clip-in kind, because the idea of sewing something into my head gives me the heebie-jeebies. They appeal to the commitment-phobe in us all.
Let's have a refresher course on the many forms of extensions. Some can be purchased at any beauty supply store and played with at home, while others -- like RPZL's In An Instant -- benefit from a salon visit. However, you can buy a set online if you're far from an extensions virgin.
For some intel on fake hair, I got in touch with hair extension specialist and RPZL co-founder Lisa Richards. Prepare to have your mind (and hair) blown.
1. I really want to resemble a fairy princess. What should I look for when getting clip-ins?
Richards says RPZL suggests only using 100 percent Virgin Remy hair extensions to get the most natural look. She also says to look for clip-ins that have a silicone cushion on the clips "to help protect your hair from any tangling and/or breakage."
Yes, it’s expensive, but worth it. Virgin Remy hair is the creme de la creme of locks because it wasn’t dyed or processed in any way before being clipped onto your head.
Not all extensions are created equal. Virgin Remy hair is, of course, the hot dude at the bar that everyone wants.
Non-virgin hair -- AKA that creepy guy drinking rum and coke in the corner -- is processed or dyed to give it a different color or texture.
Synthetic hair extensions, which are usually the most affordable, have an unnatural shine to them, get tangled and look cheap.
2. OK, but how do I match my hair color to my extensions?
While your instinct reaction may be to match real hair to faux by root color, that might not give you the best match.
"RPZL recommends that you match your color to the ends and opt for the color that is most prominent in your natural hair,” Richards says. "That being said, clip-in hair extensions can also be used to create ombré and other trending styles."
Take, for example, Kylie Jenner and her blue tips. As long as it’s blended with either a great blowout or at a salon that knows what the f*ck it's doing, you'll be Gucci.
3. How much should I buy? I’m not buying drugs, so why is everything measured in grams?
Turns out, there’s no telltale indicator for how much faux hair works for you and your particular head. It’s all a matter of preference, according to Richards.
The basic rule of thumb is the shorter your hair is, the more grams you want your extensions to weigh.
Don't let the number of clips be an indicator of how much hair is in the package, because each clip could be relatively lightweight. Aim for around 20" of length. It'll hit just past your boobs.
The strands are measured in grams because they're too lightweight to count in ounces.
4. I got these awesome extensions. How do I style them so they look like my real hair and not like I have a fur baby growing on my scalp?
Blunt cuts, like bobs, are also the most difficult to style with extensions. To avoid it looking too noticeable, try wearing your hair wavy or curly, not straight.
The waves will add a more natural look and hide any bumps from the extensions. Ever wonder why the Real Housewives all have beachy curls?
You always make sure to check out the back when you're blowdrying or heat styling your hair, so be sure to do the same with extensions. Tease the crown if you have fine hair and enlist the help of an honest friend to make sure those combs are well hidden.
Whatever you do, don't look like Brit Brit circa 2005.
5. So, I can wear them forever and ever, right?
As with all extensions, however, Richards' number one piece of advice is to consult a hair extension stylist. Don't be that girl walking around with year-old clip-ins hanging on for dear life.
6. Is all my hair going to fall out and stop growing if I wear clip-in extensions?
In short, no. They're not attached to your scalp and won't impact your hair growth at all.
7. I just spent a small fortune on extensions. How do I ensure they don't fall out or do some other weird sh*t?
Taking care of your extensions should come as easily as maintaining your natural hair. Richards recommends using quality hair products (she swears by Rene Furterer) and weekly hair masks to rehydrate your faux locks.
Your extensions shouldn't fall out. This is why it's important to remove them every night, too, otherwise you risk damaging both your extensions and your hair.
8. I want to go blonde for spring, but I just got brunette extensions. Can I dye them?
9. Cool, but how often should I wash these puppies?
Be as nice to your faux locks as you would your real ones and you'll be good to go.
"It all depends on how much product is used on your extensions," explains Richards. "You should use the same quality products on your hair extensions as you would for your natural hair."
You can use your regular shampoo and conditioner on them, too. Just avoid silicone, parabens and alcohol, which you should be avoiding for your real hair anyway.
10. How much will it hurt if someone pulls out the hair, Real Housewives-style?
"It is not an oh-so-gorgeous experience," Richards warns. "And I don't recommend fighting with [your] friends."