How to Choose between Different Types of Hair Extensions

Popular types of hair extensions

With the abundance of hair extension types and techniques on the market today, it can be understandably tricky deciding what’s best for you—especially if you’ve never used extensions before. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a difficult decision if you do some research and determine what exactly you’re looking for. Here are some of the most popular types of hair extensions:

  • Fusion: This is a classic method that’s been used for over 25 years. Small groupings of extension hair are attached to your own hair using keratin protein bonds.
  • Microlink: This technique uses small beads to attach extension hair strand by strand to your own hair.
  • Braidless sew-in: Wefts of hair are attached with thread using your own hair as a base.
  • Skin weft: Also known as tape-in extensions, wefts of extension hair are added between strands of your own hair and attached using a thin polyurethane strip with tape on one side.
  • Clip-in: As the name suggests, wefts of hair are attached to your own hair with clips, allowing for easy application and removal.

Now that you know the basics of several different types of hair extensions, ask yourself the following questions, and talk to your hair stylist for additional recommendations.

What type of hair do I have? If your hair is damaged or over-processed, you’ll want to steer clear of the fusion technique. And if you have particularly slick hair, you might have trouble getting the beads with microlink to stay in place. Braidless sew-in, skin weft, and clip-in extensions can be used with just about any hair type.

What kind of look do I want? If you want to lengthen thick hair, braidless sew-in may be your best bet. If you want to add slight fullness and subtle length, choose the skin weft technique, which doesn’t require a full head application. If you want to add colorful highlights for a special occasion, you’ll want to choose clip-in hair extensions, since they can be removed after the event is over.

How much do I want to spend? Fusion is the most expensive method, but the hair extensions also last about 4 months with little maintenance, so you may find they’re a good investment. Micro-link and braidless sew-in are slightly less expensive, also last for up to 4 months, and can be re-used, which should save you money in the long run. Skin weft extensions are similarly priced, last 6-8 weeks, and can be re-used. Clip-in extensions are the most affordable option, making them a good choice if you want to try hair extensions for the first time or wear them for a one-off event.

How much maintenance am I willing to perform? You can treat fusion and braidless sew-in extensions like your own hair, although you need to remember to keep curling and flat irons away from the bonds of fusion extensions. Microlink and skin weft extensions both require you to avoid using oily hair products near your scalp, so they need a little more work. Clip-ins are the lowest maintenance option because you can take them out whenever you want, wash them periodically, and even curl or flat iron them. However, wearing them for too long can damage your own hair, so you need to make sure you’re only using them occasionally.