Nano Rings: The Best Hair Extension Application for the DIYer

Updated on March 8, 2018

Nano-Tip Hair Extensions

Nano-tip hair extensions can be used for long and full hair and can last for several months.
Nano-tip hair extensions can be used for long and full hair and can last for several months.

The nano ring is the smallest and most innovative way to apply hair extensions currently on the market. These extensions are very comfortable, and the rings are so tiny, they are almost impossible to detect, even when you are wearing your hair up in a ponytail.

If you are a DIYer like I am, this is a dream come true. The nano ring is applied in the same fashion as its predecessor, the micro ring, and there are many informational videos and how-tos on the Internet available for both. However, this is a DIY project for two—I do recommend getting help with applying the rings to the back of your hair. The nano rings are so tiny, you can barely feel them in your fingers, which makes application without looking difficult.

The nano ring can only be used to attach nano-tip extensions to your hair; the regular I-tip hair extensions are too big and will not thread through the nano ring. At the end of each hair extension is a tiny wire. This is different than the tip of an I-tip hair extension, which uses a keratin bonding agent to glue the hair together; because of the wire, nano-tip extensions both are lighter and allow your hair more freedom of movement. You attach the extension by threading both the tiny wire and the hair it will be attached to through the nano ring (don't worry, there is a bead application tool that makes this easy), then clamping the two together using pliers to crimp the nano ring.

The hair I have purchased lasts up to three years with good care, and the actual application can last up to six months. Because of this, nano rings make for a very low-maintenance hair extension. It is also very easy to fix extensions that have slipped or grown out.

Nano tips and nano rings can be found for sale on various websites. When purchasing hair, make sure you choose remy human hair. The extensions will be in your hair for a long time, and while you will want to save money by doing the work yourself, you should really not skimp on the quality of hair you choose.

Supplies Needed for Nano-Ring Extensions

Nano-tip hair extensions come with small wires at the ends of each bundle of hair, making them light and almost invisible after installed.
Nano-tip hair extensions come with small wires at the ends of each bundle of hair, making them light and almost invisible after installed.

Things you will need:

  • Nano-tip human remy hair extensions. If you are going for a really thick, luxurious look for your locks, purchase about 300 strands. For a moderate boost, purchase 200 strands, and for a partial application, purchase 150 strands. These extensions can be purchased at various websites: I like AliExpress, because there are many different remy hair extensions to choose from, my communication and delivery was awesome, and I received free fake eye lashes and hair rollers with my purchase. Who doesn't like free?

  • Nano beads. They can be found at a few different locations, such as Ebay, Amazon, AliExpress. You will want to choose the color that best matches your hair.
  • Crimp pliers. They aren't that expensive, so don't use the pliers from your toolbox, trust me. You will want small pliers without any ridges to crimp the small bead. I find the curved tip pliers are the best. I found mine at the local craft store in the jewelry section, but you can also purchase them online as well.
  • Deep-cleaning shampoo. You are going to want to pull out all the dirt and oils in your hair so the crimp lasts. Do not use conditioner. I found mine at my local grocery store.
  • Leave-in spray-on conditioner. The hair is not attached to your scalp and does not get your natural oils, so it can dry out if not properly taken care of.
  • Hair clips for sectioning your hair. These can be found at any convenience or beauty store.
  • Bead application tool. There are a few types to choose from, but because the bead is so small and such a small amount of your own hair is used, the hook applicator tool worked best for me. Again can be found on the net!
  • Good pair of hair-cutting scissors. The safest bet is to go to a salon professional who knows how to cut extensions. However, if you are fearless like me, go ahead and cut them yourself—but be sure to use a good pair of scissors. Don't use your kitchen shears on this project.
  • A baseball cap. This process takes forever if you are doing it by yourself. I think mine took 10 hours to apply 300. I have very thick hair. The world doesn't care that you cannot be disturbed. I had to go pick the kids up from school mid-application and every salesman and friend knocked on my door that day. Keep some sort of hat nearby.

Tips to Read before Applying Nano-Ring Extensions

You will need a pair of pliers to crimp the nano bead that attaches the extension to your natural hair.
You will need a pair of pliers to crimp the nano bead that attaches the extension to your natural hair.
  1. Watch as many Youtube videos and blog posts as you can find about application (search microlink/micro-bead/micro-loop application) extension hair care, dyeing your extensions, and cutting hair, and read reviews of the product you are using before beginning your application. You want to be fully educated before even attempting this on your own. But it can be done successfully, I promise.
  2. Know the difference in hair texture and grade. I cannot stress enough the importance of good hair. You will want human hair and you will want a good grade. There are different textures, but I personally find Brazilian is a safe option.
  3. The hair will not match yours completely, so consider dyeing both your hair and your extensions to match. You will want to always dye darker. It is difficult to get extensions to dye lighter and look the same as your own hair.
  4. Understand you cannot cut hair extensions the same way you would cut your natural hair.
  5. Get a buddy to help you do the back of your hair. You'll want a nice and patient buddy since they will be spending hours on your hair. (For this reason, I do not recommend husbands.)
  6. Wash your hair at least twice with your deep-cleansing shampoo and dry your hair completely before beginning the application.
  7. Give yourself plenty of time. This is a long process, but the result is beautiful locks of hair.

Steps for How to Install Nano-Tip Hair Extensions

Repeat the steps below to attach the nano-tip hair extensions until you reach the desired coverage.
Repeat the steps below to attach the nano-tip hair extensions until you reach the desired coverage.
  1. To install nano beads, we will be working from the bottom layer of your hair (near the nape of the neck) to the top layer (the crown of your head). Section off the bottom layer of your hair with the stick end of your comb and clip up the rest of your hair out of the way.
  2. Load your bead application tool. If you have a hook, simply thread the bead over the hook so that the bead is resting on the stick. You can load on extra beads to use for the next extensions.
  3. Use the tail of your comb to section off a small amount of hair to which you will be attaching the first extension. Using your bead application tool, hook the hair and pull the first bead up over the hook hair so that the hair is threaded through the bead.
  4. Take a nano-tip extension. Insert the wire into the bead (if the wire is in a loop, you may need to flatten it first so that it will fit).
  5. Move the bead and the extension as close to the root as possible without pulling the hair. Using your pliers, crimp the bead so that it securely holds the extension in place.
  6. Repeat until you have reached the desired coverage.

Micro-Bead Extension Application

Although this video shows how to install micro-bead extensions, the technique is the same with nano rings. The difference is in the supplies—instead, use nano-tip extensions and nano beads.

Application Methods: How Do I Choose?

With so many options available on the market, it can be a daunting task to pick the right hair-extension application method for you. Salons and beauty product manufactures will all swear their methods are the best, which doesn't make it any easier to research the best application method to use at home. I personally recommend nano-ring hair extensions as the best method. However, let's take a look at the options on the market today, so you can make an informed decision.

Skin Weft

A long section of hair that looks like it is growing from the scalp using an imitation skin. The skin weft is applied by using a bonding glue directly to your scalp. They last 5-8 weeks before needing to be reapplied. Skin wefts are not for everyone. Skin wefts work well for hair loss associated with chemotherapy, radiation, alopecia, trichotillomania, hereditary hair loss, and surgery scars.

Hot Fusion/Keratin

Strands of the extensions are bonded to your hair using a keratin-based bonding polymer and heat (and because chemicals and heat are used during the bonding process, this process can cause some hair loss and breakage). Extensions applied by this method generally last for two to four months. Hot-fusion-bonded hair extensions are nearly invisible, and while wearing them, you can still wear your hair up.

However, you should be aware that the bond should only be removed by a professional. Therefore, the removal is an additional cost, and it will also cause stress on the hair.

Cold Fusion

Basically the same application method as hot fusion only instead of heating the polymer with an iron, an ultrasound applicator is used. This method is very pricey. Long-lasting and invisible, it is a great method for short hair, because without the heat, extensions can be placed closer to the scalp. As with hot fusion, cold-fusion hair extensions must be professionally removed for an additional cost and will cause damage to the hair.

Brazilian Knots

A strand-by-strand technique using elastic thread. There are no chemicals applied to the hair, and because the thread is lighter than glue, there is less pulling on the natural hair. Brazilian knots last about three to four months. This application must be applied by a professional and is time consuming and expensive. It can take anywhere from four to ten hours. This method can also be painful, as there is tugging and twisting on the hair during application.


This option is great for those who only want the hair for a special occasion or who aren't sure they want more permanent hair extensions. They are easy to apply and a great do-it-yourself option. However, keep in mind that they can be difficult to store since you need to keep them tangle-free and clean. You will have to wash these periodically. The styling options are limited because they cannot be heated and should not be exposed to styling products such as hair spray. They are heavy and can cause stress on the scalp and hair after long-term usage.

Micro Bead

This process is very popular with do-it-yourself hair enthusiasts. The micro-bead application is one of the smallest and easiest applications to apply. This is a strand by strand application using I-tip hair extensions and micro beads to crimp the extension onto a few strands of your hair. Although this method is the second best I have found (after nano rings), there is some definite room for improvement. The micro-bead is very small, but it is still usually about 4.5 mm in diameter. After applying about 300 of these, it gets heavy. Although the micro beads are nearly invisible, you can still see them if you try to wear your hair up unless you are wearing a low ponytail. However, they are easy—though time-consuming—to apply and remove. There is little to no damage to the hair.

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