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DIY Hair: How to Install Tape-In Hair Extensions

I love finding alternative ways to style my hair without using heat or products. I can achieve salon results without damaging my hair!

Here's how tape-in hair extensions can be done at home!

Here's how tape-in hair extensions can be done at home!

It's Salon-Free

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 '80s! 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 to try out extensions, visit my hair extension guide. If you've already purchased tape-ins, let us continue with the instructions!

How to Apply Tape-In Hair Extensions

With a little practice, applying tape-in hair extensions is pretty easy. Before we get started, here are a few helpful tips to remember.

  • Use a friend: This is 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 (sad face) 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.
Start with a clean head of hair and a worried look!

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

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.


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.

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.

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.

Mullet time!

Mullet time!

4. Attach Extension

A good way to tell if your section is thin enough is to 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!

Second row down!

Second row down!

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.

I got it done in about two hours, but I was also working by myself. It's quicker and easier with a friend!

Seems legit!

Seems legit!

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.

Cut Your Own Hair!

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

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:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2014 Alex Rose


Christina on March 17, 2017:

How many pieces of extensions did u use ?

michelle on January 14, 2017:

Haha not to be smart but I thought the same thing when reading 'words' comment. I understand how men want to be attracted to 'real ' women. But when you think about it what is 'real ' women? This is real women.

In other words real women come in all shapes, sizes, tastes, styles, opinions, desires, creative expressions etc.

I think theres a balance between being yourself as a woman, or person for that matter and trying to look good in order to attract a man or someone from the opposite sex. . Yes we like to look beautiful to men, but not at the risk of losing who we are in the process. To do so would be taking a step back 50 years when our whole worth came from our acceptance from men and society.. Its still too much of an issue from my point of view.

Boy I have a lot of thoughts about how men dress, act, look, speak, present themselves from a womans perspective that I would love to give them some much needed advice, so I 'get' it. . I think until there is a more level playing ground and men are willing to clean up their act as far as their 'appeal' to us goes. Then they probably dont have too much leverage in saying how they like us to look, act , be.

I know you guys have tastes and preferences in the opposite sex, thats your God given right. But women have them too. Sadly, not many men meet my standards to be honest.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on March 02, 2016:

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.

Miranda on July 28, 2014:

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!

Kristine Manley from Atlanta, GA on July 15, 2014:

Wow! This is great.

Biddrup Kumar Mallick on July 15, 2014:

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

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 15, 2014:

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 Kumar Mallick on July 15, 2014:

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 :-)

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 15, 2014:

Thank you sir! And thanks for visiting!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on July 15, 2014:

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

swilliams on July 15, 2014:

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!

Alex Rose (author) from Virginia on July 15, 2014:

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.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on July 15, 2014:

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!

Janus Joshua Angeles from Philippines on July 15, 2014:

So pretty

poetryman6969 on July 15, 2014:

looking good!

Lucy Jones from Scandinavia on July 15, 2014:

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.

swilliams on July 15, 2014:

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

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 04, 2014:

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