Permanent Hair Extensions: Everything You Need to Know

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Most of us have been through several expensive hair treatments that don’t help us achieve our hair goals, particularly our dreams of fuller, lusher hair. 

So what’s the best way to get lustrous and voluminous hair like all those superstars on TV and in the movies?

Simple: get permanent hair extensions! 

A hairstylist doing a hair extension on a woman in a salon

These extensions give your hair an instant transformation but still provide long-lasting results. 

If you’re not familiar with them, don’t fret. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of permanent hair extensions, share helpful information about their benefits, and give you tips on how to maintain them.

Scroll down to learn more!

What Are Permanent Hair Extensions?

Permanent hair extensions refer to the method of installing synthetic or human hair pieces in wefts or bundled strands to real hair. 

These are designed to add length, volume, and color to your hair for a long period of time.

But are they really permanent? Permanent hair extensions are not actually permanent in the strictest sense of the word because they don’t last forever. 

The reason they’re referred to as “permanent” is that they’re not meant to be removed or reattached on a daily basis like temporary hair extensions. 

Instead, they are meant to be worn continuously for several months before getting replaced or readjusted. 

Benefits of Getting Permanent Hair Extensions

Permanent hair extensions are getting so much love from a lot of people because of the wonderful benefits they offer.

Here are some of the perks of using them:  

Increased Length

If you’re upset about how short your recent haircut turned out, getting permanent hair extensions can help cheer you up!

Permanent hair extensions can add length to your hair, allowing you to achieve the length you desire without having to wait for your natural tresses to grow (which can take ages!).

Added Volume

Permanent extensions can give your hair volume a boost, making it look fuller and thicker!

They can also help conceal thinning or balding spots, especially if they’re installed properly and cared for regularly. 

Versatility

With permanent hair extensions,  you can experiment with different hairstyles and looks without having to commit to a specific haircut or color. 

For example, the strand-by-strand hair permanent extension installation method allows you to have highlights on your real hair without bleaching or dyeing it. Super fun, right?

Convenience

Temporary hair extensions need to be installed and styled properly to make them blend seamlessly into your natural hair. So you’ll need to wake up early and dedicate an hour or so to applying them every single day!

On the other hand, permanent hair extensions can be styled like your own natural tresses. This means you can save time and effort in your daily hair care routine. 

Confidence Boost

Many people find that having longer, fuller hair with permanent hair extensions can boost their self-esteem and confidence, allowing them to feel more comfortable and confident in their appearance. 

After all, our hair is our crowning glory. It would totally affect our self-image if our tresses don’t look good. 

Types Of Permanent Hair Extensions

One of the reasons that make long-term hair extensions wonderful is that they offer different ways for installation depending on one’s needs and preferences. 

Curious about them? Get to know each of the hair extension permanent installation methods below.

Tape-In Extensions

Tape-in extensions are a type of permanent hair extension that feature pre-taped synthetic hair or human hair wefts. 

Each weft comes with a one-inch-wide, medical-grade adhesive tape that’s placed at the top of each strip. 

They’re applied using the “sandwich method,” which is where the hairstylist sandwiches a small section of the natural hair between two strips of the extensions and uses the adhesive tape mentioned above to hold everything in place.

Generally, a full installation of tape-in extensions can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the number of wefts being installed, the thickness of one’s natural hair, and the skill of the stylist. 

Many people love this type of hair extension installation method because they are discreet. The thin strips lay flat against the scalp and blend in with the natural hair seamlessly.

You can check out this video tutorial for the step-by-step process:

Sew-In Extensions

If you have thicker or coarser hair, you’ll love this type of hair extension! 

Sew-in extensions are a type of permanent hair extension installation procedure where the natural hair is braided into a cornrow pattern, and the wefts of hair extensions are sewn onto the braids using a specialized needle and thread.

The stylist will repeat this process until all the desired number of wefts are installed. 

The full installation procedure can take about 2 to 4 hours, depending on several factors like the number of hair tracks installed or the volume of the customer’s natural hair.

Sew-ins can be made from human or synthetic hair, and they come in a variety of textures, colors, and lengths that match the wearer’s natural tresses. 

However, they are better recommended for those with thicker hair textures because more hair volume can provide a durable foundation that can support the weight of the sewn-in hair.

For a more detailed look at the process of installing sew-in extensions, check out this video:

Keratin Fusion or K-Tip Extensions

Keratin bond hair extensions involve a strand-by-strand installation process, which includes fusing hair extensions to the natural strands using an adhesive and bonding them to each other using a hot fusion tool. 

To do this, the stylist will place the keratin extension near the roots of your natural hair. Then they’ll use a heated tool to melt the keratin adhesive found at the tips of the hair extensions. 

The melted adhesive allows the K-tips to bond to your hair. 

On average, the process of installing keratin bond extensions can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours with the help of a professional hairstylist. 

We know it’s a little bit scary to think about using heat and glue to install hair extensions to your strands, but don’t fret. This type of permanent hair extension method uses keratin glue that doesn’t damage natural hair. 

Unlike some other types of adhesives, such as glue or tape, keratin adhesives are considered safe for natural hair strands because they are made from keratin, a natural protein found in hair, skin, and nails. 

Keratin adhesives do not contain harsh chemicals or ingredients that can cause damage or breakage to the hair.

Apart from that, a lot of people prefer keratin extensions because they’re easy to conceal, making them the perfect permanent hair extensions for short hair. 

Plus, they offer 360-degree mobility, which means they move just like your real hair. This allows for easy daily styling. 

To learn more about how keratin bond hair extensions are installed, watch this video:

Cold Fusion or I-Tip Extensions

The process of attaching the extension hair to the natural strands using small metal beads or rings has a few different names, such as cold fusion extensions, I-tips, and microlink or microbead extensions.

This type of permanent hair extension method involves threading a small section of your natural hair through a tiny metal ring, then inserting the extension hair into the same ring. 

After this, the ring is clamped shut with specialized pliers to bond the extensions to your natural hair securely.

The metal rings are made of copper or aluminum and lined with silicone to protect your hair from damage.

Many prefer this permanent hair extension method because it doesn’t require the use of heat or adhesives, making them a gentler option for those with fine or fragile hair. 

I-tips can be adjusted and moved up as your natural hair grows, making them a longer-lasting option than some other types of permanent hair extensions.

For a deep dive into the installation steps of cold fusion hair extensions, check out this helpful video:

 How Long Do Permanent Hair Extensions Last?

Refer to the table below to find out how long each permanent hair extension type lasts. 

Type of ExtensionTypical Life Span 
Tape-in extensions Six to eight weeks
Sew-in extensionsSix months to one year
Keratin fusion extensionsTwo to six months
Cold fusion extensionsThree to six months

Keep in mind that the life span of your extensions will depend largely on how fast your hair grows and how well you care for them. 

Things To Consider Before Getting Permanent Hair Extensions

Before you head to your favorite hair salon and have hair extensions installed long-term, there are a few things that we would like you to keep in mind.

Here are the things that you need to consider before getting permanent hair extensions.

Hair Type

Different types of permanent hair extensions work best with different hair types. 

For instance, keratin fusion extensions are ideal for those with extremely fine, straight hair, while sew-ins are great for those with thick, kinky hair. 

We recommend choosing hair extension methods that are suitable for your hair texture and thickness to ensure they blend seamlessly and you don’t end up compromising comfort over beauty. 

Regular Salon Visits

Wearing permanent hair extensions requires you to visit the salon every four to six weeks for upkeep. 

The exact frequency of salon visits depends on several factors, including the type of installation method and the rate of your natural hair growth. 

Cost

Hair extensions that are permanently installed can be expensive to get and maintain. 

Their price may vary depending on the type of extensions you get, the number of hair wefts used, and the skill level of the stylist.

So if you decide to get permanent hair extensions, you should factor in the cost of installation and upkeep in your overall budget. 

Time Commitment

The installation process for permanent hair extensions can be time-consuming, often taking several hours or even a half day. 

It’s important to be prepared and set aside enough time for the installation process. 

Rushing the process can lead to improper installation that can damage your hair.  

Consequences to Natural Hair

Permanent hair extensions can negatively affect your natural hair and scalp if they are not installed or maintained properly.

Here are a few of the most common unpleasant consequences:

  • Hair breakage — If your permanent hair extensions put a lot of tension on your real hair, they can cause breakage and damage over time. This is especially true if the extensions are too heavy or if they are not installed properly.
  • Thinning or hair loss — If the extensions are attached too tightly, they can pull on your natural tresses, which can lead to thinning hair or, worse, hair loss.
  • Scalp irritation — Adhesives used in installing permanent extensions can irritate your scalp or trigger allergic reactions. A good way to avoid this is by opting for latex-free adhesives or going for sew-in or cold fusion extensions. 
  • Tangling and matting — When you get permanent hair extensions and don’t properly care for them, they can get tangled and matted, which can damage your natural hair. 

Lifestyle

You need to consider your lifestyle and how it may be affected by having permanent hair extensions.

For instance, if you enjoy swimming, running, or playing sports, you may need to take extra care to protect yourextensions from getting damaged. 

Follow Proper Hair Care and Styling Habits

Following diligently proper hair care and styling habits is non-negotiable. 

It is vital for permanent hair extension wearers to follow a regular hair care routine at home to ensure that the extensions remain in good condition in between salon visits. 

How To Maintain Permanent Hair Extensions

Maintaining permanent hair extensions properly is important to keep them looking their best and to prevent your natural hair from any form of damage.

A photo of a woman's back and her long blonde hair with blonde hair extension

Here are some tips to help you maintain your permanent hair extensions.

Regularly Brush Your Hair

Use a soft-bristled or wide-toothed brush to gently detangle your hair, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots.

Be gentle around the extensions to prevent pulling or tugging on your natural tresses.

Use Gentle Hair Products

Invest in a shampoo and conditioner that are specifically manufactured for hair extensions. 

Your hair products should also be gentle on your natural hair, so make sure to avoid shampoos and conditioners that contain sulfates or harsh chemicals. 

Don’t Sleep with Wet Hair

Sleeping with wet hair can cause mats and tangles, which can be difficult to remove. They may also damage your extensions and your natural hair.

Instead, allow your hair to air dry or blow-dry it on a low-heat setting before hitting the sack. 

Sleep on Satin or Silk

Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase makes your hair rub against the fabric, causing friction and static that may result in tangles, knots, and even breakage. 

This is why sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase is recommended when wearing permanent hair extensions.

These fabric types have a smoother surface that’s great at reducing friction between the hair and the pillowcase.

You can also invest in a satin or silk sleep cap if you can’t avoid sleeping on a cotton pillowcase. 

Avoid Excessive Heat Styling

Heat-styling tools like flat irons, curling irons, and hair dryers are among the main culprits of natural hair and hair extension damage.

If you must use these tools, use a heat protectant spray or serum such as the HSI PROFESSIONAL Argan Oil Heat Protector that’s suitable for all hair types, and keep the heat setting low.

For human hair extensions, the recommended heat setting is 300°F to 350°F. 

For synthetic hair extensions, it’s best not to exceed 275°F to prevent melting and damaging the manufactured hair fibers.

Don’t Use Heavy Styling Products

Heavy styling products such as gels, mousses, and hair sprays can weigh down your extensions and cause them to become tangled and matted.

When you have permanent extensions on, use lightweight styling products instead and avoid applying them directly to the bonds and attachments. 

Some of the common ingredients that you may find in lightweight styling products for natural hair and extensions include the following: 

  • Keratin — A protein found naturally in hair that helps strengthen and smoothen hair while also adding shine and reducing frizz.
  • Dimethicone — A silicone-based ingredient that makes hair smoother and shinier.
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein — A protein-based ingredient that helps strengthen and protect hair while also adding volume and body.
  • Aloe vera — A natural ingredient that soothes and nourishes hair while also adding shine and moisture.
  • Jojoba oil — A lightweight oil that helps to nourish and hydrate the hair without leaving it greasy or heavy.

Get Regular Salon Appointments

We highly advise you to visit your stylist every four to six weeks to have your extensions checked and maintained.

Your stylist can remove any tangled or matted hair extensions, reposition any loose extensions, and replace any extensions that have fallen out. 

If you don’t get touch-ups, the extensions can put a lot of tension on your natural hair. This can make your hair brittle and prone to hair loss, which can be very difficult to reverse. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Synthetic vs. Human Hair: Which is the Best Option for Permanent Hair Extensions?

While synthetic hair extensions may be a good choice for temporary or occasional use, human hair extensions are generally considered the best option for permanent hair extensions due to several reasons, including the following:

  • Durability — Human hair extensions which are sourced from human donors are undoubtedly more durable than synthetic hair. They can last up to a year or more with proper care and maintenance.
  • Natural Appearance — Human hair extensions are the most natural-looking hair extensions. They look and feel just like your natural tresses, so they blend seamlessly with your real hair.
  • Versatility — Since human hair extensions are made from real hair, they can be styled just like your own hair. They give you more styling options such as blow drying, straightening, curling, or even coloring human hair extensions using the appropriate dyes. 

How Much Do Permanent Hair Extensions Cost?

The cost of getting permanent hair extensions can vary depending on the type and quality of extensions you select. 

On average, most permanent hair extension applications cost between $200 and $1,000, depending on the length and quality of the hair you wish to add. 

Additionally, professional-quality human hair extensions are more expensive than synthetic ones. However, they tend to last much longer with proper care.

The cost may also vary based on the type of installation method you request, how many pieces you need, the complexity of your natural hair texture, and if a stylist is involved. 

Also, the location of your preferred salon and the expertise of your stylist will have an impact on the cost of your permanent hair extension installation. Stylists in larger cities or high-end salons may charge more for their services.

Magically Transform Your Hair with Permanent Extensions

Got thin, dull-looking hair? Not happy with your recent haircut? Try permanent hair extensions!

These have been proven to be magical solutions to plenty of hair woes. They’re even considered a godsend for those struggling with thinning hair. 

If you are among those who have been trying their hardest to achieve their coveted hair goals, trying out our featured methods for permanent hair extension installation could be just what you need. 

Just remember that proper care is the secret to long-lasting hair extensions, so make sure to follow the care tips we’ve listed above.

Go ahead and get those extensions today!

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Author

  • Janille Gultiano

    Jan, a distinguished freelance makeup artist, also boasts a BA in Mass Communication, laying the foundation for her diverse talents. For over four years, she's carved a niche as a captivating content writer, with her articles resonating in various spheres. Beyond writing, her expertise extends to crafting robust Public Relations and Corporate Communications strategies. Each endeavor reflects Jan's unique blend of creativity and precision

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