What are the Different Types of Hair Extensions?

Hairstylist consulting client on different types of hair extensions

Long hair has been featured in everything from fashion and entertainment to history and art. Throughout time long hair has been a physical feature highly sought after by many. While a long, thick head of hair is our hair goal, getting that kind of length naturally is easier said than done. Luckily, thanks to innovation, different types of extensions give the look of long, voluminous hair.

Hair extensions add hair, either by track or small bundles, to the hair you already have. They can help add length and help fill out finer, thinner hair. Utilizing different types of hair extensions can give glamorous length and boost short or patchy styles. They blend into your natural hair in a number of ways using a variety of hair types and materials.

Methods of Hair Extension Application

Some of these hair extension processes can take several hours to complete. Hairstylists should ask the client how much time they have available for the hair extension application. The hairstylist will need to consider what the client is willing to pay for different types of hair extensions. A labor-intensive extension technique might yield stunning results, but it can be costly. The more labor and focus required of the hairstylist, the more it is likely to cost the client.

How Long Will Extensions Last?

The amount of time a client plans to keep the hair extensions in plays a significant role. If they only want added length for a week or two, they should choose an adhesion technique that isn’t as permanent.

The kind of hair extension method the client chooses will ultimately depend on the condition of their natural hair. For example, someone who has naturally thick and coarse will need different options than someone who has fine hair. If the client’s hair grows at a fast pace, they will need to have more maintenance appointments.

Weaving/Stitching Hair Extensions

This technique takes a small section of the client’s natural hair and use it as an anchor braid horizontally across their scalp. Then the sections of extension are stitched or sewn into the anchor braid using a needle and cotton thread. This makes for secure and long-lasting hair extensions, but they also require the wearer to have thick hair to properly cover the base braids. Having an anchor braid can make the client’s scalp sore and make their weave extensions feel heavy and uncomfortable.

Micro Bonds

Micro bonds use different types of loops and beads to fix hair extensions in with the natural follicles. This hair extension technique is also referred to as micro-link, micro-bead or micro-loop extensions. A small loop is used to pull hair through natural hair and then a metal bead is used to clamp and bundle the extensions to the client’s own hair. This effect can create a professional blended look for the hair extension, but it has a few downsides. Depending on the texture and natural movement of the client’s hair, the bead bond can create a slight imbalance over time. The application of these micro bonds also requires heat, which can damage hair at the bonding site.

Fusion Bonds

Fusion bonds are the most demanding in terms of time and labor. They are also the most permanent option to extend the client’s length or enhance the hair’s volume. Bonds fuse the extension to the client’s hair with an adhesive like keratin. Fusion bonds can be done in extremely tiny portions depending on the amount of time and money a client is willing to spend and how skilled and dedicated the hairstylist. Fusion bonds also have the risk of serious breaking and are difficult to undo.

Tape/Clip In

These are the least natural looking option, but they are also the least permanent. Taping or clipping in hair extension tracks can allow the client to try a new look without fully committing to it. It also allows the client to switch up their look more frequently while they make more permanent decisions. Clip on hair extensions are a low risk for severe hair damage. While other hair extension techniques cause damage that takes years to undo, taped or clipped in hair extensions have a limited impact on the client’s natural hair. These methods also have their downsides, though. They require strategic blending and a lot of personal maintenance.

Remember to consider all of the factors before making a final decision with the client on which technique to go with. If they are new to extensions it might be wise to go with a more temporary option that is less commitment and easier to maintain than one of the more dedicated, demanding choices.

Types of Hair Used in Extensions

The kind of fixation method a hairstylist chooses for their client’s hair extensions might affect how naturally they blend in with their natural mane. However, the way the hair itself looks and moves depends on the kind of hair that is used to create the hair extension itself. While there are synthetic and substitute options on the market, the most obvious and natural option is to use human hair. Here are the three basic categories to choose from when shopping for the actual hair.


Virgin hair extensions are the classification given to hair that has never been chemically processed or altered in any way. No dyes, bleaches or perms. No silicone or chemical preservation treatments after collection. Virgin hair is as natural of a hair extension option as one is ever going to get.


Remy hair is a bit trickier to define. It isn’t exactly virgin hair, because Remy hair can have had certain degrees of chemical treatment prior to collection. However, where virgin hair is prized for its purity, Remy extensions are sought after because of the way they are collected. Remy extensions are single sourced. The hair comes from a single person. The hair is also bundled before cut or directly after to ensure that all of the hair follicles remain laying in the same direction. This type of hair extension gives a client a more natural blend and even coloration but can be a little more expensive.


Composite extensions can use a combination of hair types and material sources. They can even be blended or mixed with synthetic extension materials. There aren’t strict standards for the quality of hair accepted and fewer restrictions regarding how much chemical treatment is allowed. Different types of hair extensions in this category come from collecting and sorting through donations of hair that have already fallen out, typically by way of a hairbrush or natural shedding. While these hair extensions may not be the most realistic option for adding length and volume to a client’s hairstyle, they don’t require a large investment.

Have Fun With Your Hair!

Someone doesn’t need long hair extensions to be stunning or beautiful, but hair extensions can be a lot of fun. They can also help fulfill the fantasies of having long, flowing locks without having to commit the years of time to growing them. It also can allow the client to have a different texture than their hairs may normally have. Whether they are hoping to sport a different look for a couple of nights or for a full hairstyle transformation, hair extensions are great means of self-expression and cosmetic experimentation.

A good rule to keep in mind when it comes to different types hair extensions is that quality hair and a competent stylist are going to be the difference between a miracle and mistake. With hair extensions, as with so many things in life, you’re usually going to get what you pay for.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about different types of hair extensions interest you into becoming a hairstylist? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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