DIY Hair: How to Install Tape-In Hair Extensions

Most would suggest that you go to a salon and get your extensions put in. Actually, everybody would. But I'm here to tell you that it's possible to do it yourself, and not screw up!! Like Axl Rose said, "all you need is just a little patience." And hey, it was the 80's! He may or may not have been speaking about extensions.

Seriously though, if you are used to creating things with your hands (sculpting, styling, building, drawing) then this should be easy. The concept is actually pretty simple - you sandwich your own hair between two adhesive strips of somebody else's hair!

If you're just somebody looking for what sort of extensions to try out, visit my hair extension guide. If you've already purchased tape-ins, let us continue with the instructions!

Tips to Remember

Use a friend. Not mandatory, but it will definitely be quicker and easier if you have another set of eyes and hands. If you don't have any friends (sadface) you can use two mirrors to see the back of your head and do it yourself.

Be aware of placement. You don't want to put your extensions too close to the edge of your scalp (by your face and stuff), lest they be seen. Also avoid putting them too high up towards your part!

Sticky to sticky. You're going to be sandwiching a layer of your hair between two extensions. Make sure the sticky bits from the top and bottom extension are touching each other, for maximum adherence.

1. Wash Your Hair

Make sure your mop is clean before you try to stick stuff to it. Wash and dry your hair completely before starting. That way, your extensions will last longer! If you have dirty hair when you're trying to adhere the wefts, they'll come out quicker, usually at the worst time possible. Like when you're standing with your friends and running your fingers through your hair, and suddenly a giant patch comes out in your hand.

Start with a clean head of hair and a worried look!
Start with a clean head of hair and a worried look! | Source

2. Section (Bottom to Top)

It's easiest to start from the bottom of your scalp and work your way up. Start your first row an inch or two up from the bottom of your scalp. Using a comb, part your hair evenly. Pull the top half up and secure it, leaving the bottom half hanging down.


3. Gather a *Very* Thin Section of Your Hair

Notice how "very" is emphasized. This section of hair is going to be sandwiched between two extensions. It's important that the adhesive "tape" on the top extension touches that of the bottom extension, so that the two stick together. Use your comb to get a nice even section, that is as wide as one of your extension wefts.

EVEN THINNER than this! It's hard to maneuver a camera and hair at the same time.
EVEN THINNER than this! It's hard to maneuver a camera and hair at the same time. | Source

4. Attach Extension

A good way to tell if your section is thin enough is attach the bottom extension in place, flush against your scalp. Once you've done that, use your finger to see if you can feel the stickiness of the tape through your own layer of hair. If not, use your comb to carefully pull some of your hair off of the tape. When you can feel the sticky, attach the top extension.

Press the top and bottom wefts together firmly, for about 20 seconds. Just make super extra sure that they're stuck to each other, so water won't get between them while you're showering and make them come out.

You'll get the hang of it as you keep working. As mentioned earlier, don't put the wefts too close to the edges of your scalp - then everyone will see where they attach, and they'll know you're a fraud!

Mullet time!
Mullet time! | Source

5. Repeat!

Make sure you place the wefts right next to each other, avoiding gaps. When I was finished, I had 5 rows of wefts going up my scalp. You have to be extra careful not to place the wefts too high on your scalp, because that also puts them at risk of being visible.

This is going to take forever - I got it done in about two hours. But, I was also working by myself.

Second row down!
Second row down! | Source
Seems legit!
Seems legit! | Source

6. Cut and Style

If your hair is a bit longer than mine, and already layered, you shouldn't have problems blending your hair into your new extensions. However, if you have a short blunt cut, you're going to have to do some trimming. As you can see below, long extensions and short hair look stupid.

Something's not quite right.
Something's not quite right. | Source

You may want to see someone for the cutting aspect - but again, if you're good with arty things then you can probably cut your own hair. I've been doing it for ages, and it seems to be a lot like sculpting.

What I did was layer the extensions, so that the length of my hair faded in nicely to my 20-inch extensions. I ended up looking super-scene when finished.

Scenie Weenie
Scenie Weenie | Source

Styling Pro Tip:

This hairdo worked so well when curled, and it helped my hair to blend into my extensions better. If you have a short blunt haircut, you'll notice that some of your hair will stick out from underneath your bottom layer of extensions, totally giving you away. Take all of these short hairs and bobby pin them to your scalp, so they won't be seen under your longest layer of extensions.


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More Hair DIYs

I hope this article was helpful in your extension journey. Please share your experiences and updates with me! If you're interested in more Hair DIYs, check out these articles:

How to Take Care of Extensions
How to Bleach an Ombre
Five Gorgeous Pastel Hair Colors

Also, my sister has written an article on how to take care of long hair. Check it out!!

More by this Author


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Wow, I did not know there was such a thing as tape in extensions. Interesting read, and I enjoyed the photos, too! Pinning.

swilliams profile image

swilliams 2 years ago from Arizona

What a unique article! you look beautiful with long and short hair! What a creative model! Voted up beautiful!

starbright profile image

starbright 2 years ago from Scandinavia

What a job, but really nice when finished and the long hair suits you. This would probably have cost an arm and a leg (lots of dosh) if you'd had this done at a hairdressers. Fantastic and well worth HOTD - thanks for sharing.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

looking good!

Janus Joshua profile image

Janus Joshua 2 years ago from Philippines

So pretty

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Is faking the look where society is going? Maybe I should pertain this to just black women. However, I might get disliked for saying this but if isn't broke don't try to fix it. Many down-to-earth and true men prefer to deal with women that showcase themselves with their natural make up and with their God given hair and other attributes. It is very romantic for a man to rub his hands and fingers through her hair without running into obstacles whether the hair is long or short. It's about accepting her for who she is and what she has naturally. Too often the "put ons" just don't look real (hair). Many colors (nails) look too artificial. True beauty starts naturally from the inside. Thank you beautiful mess for allowing me to voice my opinion. Congrats also for your Hub Of The Day!

a beautiful mess profile image

a beautiful mess 2 years ago from Virginia Author

Thanks all for your feedback! And word55, I appreciate your perspective. Just let it be known that I don't do anything to my hair to please a "true man" - nor anybody else for that matter. I cut my hair, I wanted it to be long, and I wanted to try extensions. It wasn't because I didn't feel attractive enough, or because I was trying to "fix" anything. Simply a hair experiment from someone who like to try things out.

swilliams profile image

swilliams 2 years ago from Arizona

You are a very unique writer. I love how you carry yourself. You are confident about trying out new things that many women wonder about, but may be afraid to do so. You define what it means to be a woman of creativity. Keep up the great work!

word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

I understand, you're very attractive no matter how you do your hair. You're an excellent writer too :-)

a beautiful mess profile image

a beautiful mess 2 years ago from Virginia Author

Thank you sir! And thanks for visiting!

Biddrup Mallick profile image

Biddrup Mallick 2 years ago

Hello @a beautiful mess, I'm just a fresher here and going here and there to learn the new thing. I have a sister who has long hair. I have sent this article to her. She asked me about video tutorial. Did you make any video tutorial for this hub? If yes, could you share the link? Thanks :-)

a beautiful mess profile image

a beautiful mess 2 years ago from Virginia Author

I didn't make a video, unfortunately! But there are plenty on youtube that she could look at, just by searching "install tape-in extensions." I'm sure they wouldn't be too different from this tutorial.

Biddrup Mallick profile image

Biddrup Mallick 2 years ago

Thank you so for this suggestion. Let me tell her right now. :-)

Kristine Manley profile image

Kristine Manley 2 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Wow! This is great.

Miranda 2 years ago

That looks great! Thanks so much for sharing this; it's so useful. I already have naturally long hair, but I showed it to a couple of my friends and they loved it! You're so gorgeous, too!

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 7 months ago from Northern California, USA

I absolutely enjoy your style of writing. I recently saw tape extensions at the beauty store and was wondering how it worked. Your instructions on how to put in tape hair extensions is fantastic. The photos are very helpful. Excellent hub.

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