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 '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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Alex Rose