The best hair extension
Who doesn't feel the need to change the look of their hair from time to time? If you don't have the nerve to go through with something permanent, like cutting or dyeing your hair, hair extensions are the perfect alternative. They clip into your hair so you can easily put them on -- and take them off -- at a moment's notice, but they still add impressive length and thickness. Some hair extensions even offer particular styles, which allow you to give bangs a try for an evening out or add a wavy ponytail when your natural hair isn't cooperating.
Take a look at our buying guide for all the information you need to choose the ideal hair extensions for your hairstyling routine. Our top pick is a long, glamorous hair extension from S-noilite, which features five sturdy clips to keep it in place all night.
Considerations when choosing hair extensions
Full wefts vs. hair pieces
Hair extensions are available in two types:
Full wefts are entire sections of hair that are designed to add length and volume across the whole head. They typically come in sets that include wefts in a variety of sizes, with wider wefts for the back of the head and narrower wefts for the sides of the head.
Hair pieces are extensions that are used to create specific hairstyles. You can find extensions that are already fashioned into ponytails or buns, so you can quickly add one to your hair and head out the door. You can also find extensions that allow you to clip bangs into your hair to instantly change your look.
Natural vs. synthetic
Natural hair extensions obviously offer the most natural look because they can easily blend with your hair's texture. They can also be treated just like your natural hair, so you can color them and use heated styling tools on them. You'll pay more for natural hair extensions, but they typically offer the best look and overall durability.
Synthetic hair extensions are more affordable, but they can often be difficult to blend with your natural hair. Most synthetic extensions can't be heat-styled or dyed either, and they don't offer the same durability as natural hair extensions.
If you want extensions that make your hair look longer, you can find options in a variety of lengths. For adding volume, though, shorter extensions are often the best choice.
Extensions that are between 10 and 12 inches typically fall just short of the shoulders.
Extensions that are between 14 and 16 inches usually hit at the top of the back.
Extensions that are between 18 and 20 inches generally fall between the middle and lower back.
Extensions that are 22 inches and longer typically fall to the tailbone or beyond.
If your main goal for your extensions is to give your hair volume, their weight is a crucial feature to consider. Hair extension weight is measured in grams, with options ranging from 30 to 200 grams.
Extensions that weigh between 30 and 70 grams are fairly thin, so these work best if you have extremely fine hair.
Extensions that weigh between 70 and 80 grams work well for fine and thin hair for boosting volume and adding length.
Extensions that weigh between 90 and 120 grams are an ideal option for most people with fine to average hair who want to add length and volume.
Extensions that weigh between 130 and 190 grams work well for people with average hair who want to add significant length and volume.
Extensions that weigh 200 grams or more are extremely heavy, so they're usually not that comfortable to wear.
You can find hair extensions in several different textures, so you can choose a style that matches your natural hair. You can usually find extensions in straight, wavy, and curly styles. If your hair is naturally curly, you'll likely want curly extensions -- but if you regularly straighten your curls, you may want straight extensions as well.
Number of pieces
Full weft hair extensions often include multiple pieces, so you have enough to place them all over your head. Some extensions feature three pieces -- a piece for each side and one for the back -- but other hair extension sets contain up to 10 pieces. The more pieces that a set contains, the more coverage you'll get, which means the most added volume and length.
For your hair extensions to look natural, they must match your hair color. Finding a matching shade can be a challenge because some extensions only feature a few color options. You'll usually have more luck if you opt for extensions from a company with a wide shade range. If you can't find an exact color match, you can always opt for natural hair extensions and dye them to match your hair.
Hair extension prices
Synthetic extensions are the cheapest -- single pieces can range from $5 to $18, while full weft sets typically cost between $10 and $25. Single-piece natural hair extensions usually range from $25 to $60, while full-weft sets with natural hair can cost between $35 and $200, depending on how long they are.
Q. How much time do I need to put in hair extensions?
A. It can vary based on how many pieces are included in your hair extension set and how experienced you are at putting them in. Some single-piece extensions only take a couple of minutes to put in, while sets with multiple wefts may require up to 15 minutes, particularly if you're new to the process.
Q. Do clip-in hair extensions damage your hair?
A. Clip-in extensions usually don't do much damage to your hair -- the clips typically aren't any worse for your hair than putting it in a particularly tight ponytail. However, you may experience some damage if you wear the extensions every day because the constant tension can cause your hair to break.
Hair extensions we recommend
Best of the best: S-noilite 27" Curly Synthetic Clip-in Hair Extension
Our take: A single full-head weft that can add dramatic length for special events and is available in more than 50 colors.
What we like: Easy to place hair extension thanks to its five sturdy clips. Offers a soft, natural look. Available in both curly and straight styles. Large color selection makes it easy to find a match for your natural hair.
What we dislike: Some users don't find the synthetic hair as heat-resistant as manufacturer claims.
Best bang for your buck: S-noilite Fashion One-Piece Clip-In Bangs
Our take: Single-piece hair extension that gives you instant bangs.
What we like: Allows you to give bangs a try without actually cutting your hair. Clips in for easy placement. Made of soft synthetic hair that can be styled easily. Available in several different shades.
What we dislike: Nothing.
Our take: One-piece extension that allows you to add an instant ponytail but isn't comfortable enough for everyday use.
What we like: Easily attaches to your natural hair with claw-style clip. Made of synthetic hair that's able to be washed and styled. Can be worn curly or straight simply by flipping the extension upside down. Works especially well for special occasions.
What we dislike: Has a heavy feel, particularly if worn for long periods.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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