What Are I-Tip Hair Extensions? + Pros and Cons

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

When you search for hair extensions for thin, damaged hair online, you’ll find that there are several kinds to choose from, which can be confusing.

Getting bombarded with a lot of information on the Internet can end up with you buying the wrong kind of extensions that don’t match your needs and preferences at all.

A cropped view of the hair specialist doing an i-tip hair extensions to a blonde woman in a salon

Luckily, we’ve got the solution for you: I-tip hair extensions! These extensions add volume, cover up damaged strands, and help you up your hair game effortlessly.

But what are I-tip hair extensions? 

If you’re hearing about them for the first time, let us take you on a deep dive into the qualities and the pros and cons of I-tip hair extensions. We’ll also discuss which factors you need to consider before buying them.

Have fun learning!

What Are I-Tip Hair Extensions?

I-tip extensions are individual strand hair extensions (or small bundles of hair) that are attached to your natural hair strand by strand, unlike most types of hair extensions, which are installed in wide wefts. 

You’ll be able to distinguish them from other types of pre-bonded hair extensions because they’re fastened at the top, resembling the shape of the letter I. 

Most I-tips are considered semi-permanent because they can stay attached to your hair for several weeks before needing to be replaced or removed altogether. 

Another aspect that makes them different from other types of hair extensions is that they don’t require heat to apply. Instead, each strand is clamped onto your real hair at the roots with micro rings or small copper beads.  

This is why I-tip hair extension installation is sometimes referred to as “cold fusion,” which is less damaging and irritating than “hot fusion” methods like keratin bond hair extensions.

Many hairstylists recommend getting I-tip extensions for anyone who wants to switch up their hairstyle because they can add length and volume to almost all hair types. 

Also, they’re a great choice for adding vivid highlights or subtle flashes of color to your hair. 

Pros of I-Tip Hair Extensions

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What are I-tip hair extensions?” you may be wondering why you should choose them over other types of hair extensions. 

Well, the reason is simple. There are so many advantages to getting I-tip hair extensions! Take a look at a few of its benefits below. 

Better Alternative to Hot Fusion Extensions

Many women are wary of the damaging heat and chemicals used in hot fusion hair extensions. 

If you’re among those who prefer a heatless and glueless installation method, I-tips are a better alternative for you. 

I-tips require no heat and damaging adhesives. They only need small beads or micro or nano rings for them to be applied to your natural locks. 

Great for Short and Thin Hair

Let’s face it; not everyone is blessed with thick and beautiful tresses. 

A brunette woman with a short, thin hair touching her face, smiling isolated on a pink background

If you have short, thin hair, I-tips will work to your advantage. Each of the pre-bonded extensions adds density and volume to your mane, but they’re also lightweight, which means they won’t put a strain on your natural locks. 

No Damage or Discomfort

Another great benefit of I-tip hair extensions is that they don’t damage your natural hair or make you feel uncomfortable while wearing them.

As long as they’re properly installed and cared for, they won’t harm natural strands. 

The beads used for these extensions are very tiny and light, so they won’t irritate or pull on your scalp.

Reusable and Long-Lasting

When your natural hair begins growing out, you’ll need to have your extensions refitted. But the good news is you can reuse your extensions every two to three months for up to 12 months! 

Since I-tips are meant to be semi-permanent, they’re made with high-quality human and synthetic hair extensions. 

Not only do these extensions last longer with proper care, but they also look and feel more natural. 

Discreet Tips

With I-tip hair extensions, you can sit back and relax without worrying about your artificial hair showing!

The beads keep the extensions hidden successfully because they’re very small in size. Plus, they come in different colors that camouflage seamlessly under your natural hair.

Ideal for Highlights

When you opt for I-tip hair extensions, you can get creative with your hair in limitless ways! 

You can customize and play around with each strand to make your new look stand out from the crowd. A good way to do this is by dyeing your extensions in different colors to create cool highlights. 

Available in Various Lengths and Textures

I-tips are sold in different textures and lengths, so you can choose to match them to your current hairdo or use them to change up your hairstyle.

Whether you want a few inches of added length or flowy, mermaid-like tresses, I-tips can deliver impressive results if installed properly and distributed evenly. 

Natural Movement

Hair extensions in wide wefts usually don’t move naturally, inhibiting the free movement of your natural hair.

But hair extensions like I-tips, which are installed strand by strand, allow for flawless natural movement. They move just like your real hair.  

Perfect for a Wide Variety of Hairstyles

With I-tip hair extensions, you can customize your hair in any way you like — anytime and anywhere. 

Since they are installed discreetly, they blend effectively with your natural locks. You can curl them with a curling iron or use different styling tools to achieve gorgeous hairstyles. Totally fun!

Quick Removal

Detaching them from your natural locks is an incredibly easy and uncomplicated process. 

All you need to do is locate the small beads and press on them with pliers. Once the beads open up, the I-shaped tip will slide down quickly. 

Cons of I-Tip Hair Extensions

A closeup of a woman's brown hair with hair extensions

Of course, there are still a few downsides to I-tip hair extensions, including the following:

Regular Reinstallation

Even if you’re already wearing the best I-tip hair extensions from the most reputable brand, regular reinstallation is still mandatory and non-negotiable.

Like other semi-permanent extensions, the tips will be moved further down when your hair begins growing out. 

Without regular reapplications, the hair extensions may become visible.

Special Installation Tools

Another disadvantage that you need to consider is you need to secure special tools for I-tip installation, such as beads and a unique pair of pliers. That said, these are sold at a relatively affordable price. 

Take note that you also need to be able to use these tools properly to avoid damaging your extensions.

Tedious Maintenance

Hair care tasks like washing and brushing may get a little tricky when you’re wearing micro I-tip hair extensions.

You’ll need to adjust the way you wash and brush your hair. For example, when brushing your hair with I-tips, you need to stay away from the beads and start combing from the ends moving up.

Additionally, you’ll need to exert extra effort in caring for them. 

Difficult to Install 

Most people who can install their I-tips conveniently at home are usually no longer novices. 

But if you have no prior experience in installing I-tip extensions by yourself, the process can be quite complicated. It’s easy to get lost in all the looping of strands and beads. 

In order to do it properly, you need to know how to part your hair, how many strands to get, how to properly get the strands through the beads, and how to close each bead. 

But don’t worry. We’ll give you easy tips on how to install them properly in the next section. 

How To Install I-Tip Hair Extensions

Installing I-tip hair extensions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the number of pre-bonded strands you are installing and your skill level. 

To give you an in-depth look at how I-tip hair extensions are installed, check out our step-by-step guide below.

Tools for Installation

  • I-tip hair extensions — These are the individual hair strands that will be attached to your natural hair
  • Loop pulling needle — This is a tool used to pull a small section of the natural hair through the micro ring. 
  • Pliers — This is a specialized pair of pliers used to close the beads around the I-tip hair extensions and your natural hair strands. 
  • Beads — These are micro rings or copper beads that are used to attach the I-tip hair extensions to your natural hair. 

Steps for Installation

  1. Gather all the tools you need, or get a complete hair extension tool kit like the Orgrimmar Hair Extension Tool Kit.
  2. Brush your hair to make sure it’s smooth and tangle-free.
  3. Part your hair into horizontal sections using a rat tail comb. 
  4. Separate the top layer of your hair with a clip. 
  5. Brush the leftover strands again to avoid tangles.
  6. Insert the microbead into the pulling needle until the bead settles on the lower portion of the loop part.
  7. Grab a section of your natural hair and make sure it’s narrow enough to go through the bead. 
  8. Slip the section of your hair through the loop of your needle. Hold the hold it taut with your left hand. 
  9. Use your right hand to push the bead at the bottom of your loop needle upward until it’s close to your scalp, then hold the bead in place. 
  10. Use your left hand to pull the needle to insert your hair through the bead. 
  11. Get your I-tip hair extension. 
  12. Hold the bead in place once again and push your hair weft upward into the bead. Make sure it’s placed correctly to keep it from poking your scalp and causing itch or discomfort. 
  13. Clamp the bead shut using hair extension pliers. Doing this closes the bead, bonding the extensions to your natural hair. 
  14. Repeat steps 6 to 11 to install the I-tips to the rest of your hair. 

Check out this video to see the I-tip hair extension installation process in action:

Care Tips To Make I-Tip Hair Extensions Last

How long do I-tip extensions last? They usually last around 14 weeks before needing a reapplication. The extensions themselves last around 8 to 12 months. 

Their longevity depends on how well they are maintained at home. 

In order to keep your I-tip hair extensions for a longer time, you may want to follow the steps below. 

Brush Your Hair the Right Way

To avoid greasy and knotted hair, brush your dry hair at least twice a day with a soft-bristled comb, as this tool won’t pull on your natural hair or extensions. 

When your hair is wet, it’s best to brush it with a wide-tooth comb. 

Make sure as well to start brushing at the ends of your hair extensions and move your way up. Avoid brushing the beads so as not to move or tug them. 

Also, don’t tug or pull on any knots. This can also destroy the microbeads. You can gently detangle them with your fingers instead. 

Dry Your Hair Gently

When drying your hair with a towel, don’t rub it forcibly. Doing this can move the beads and create tangles in your hair extensions.

Use Hair Extension-Friendly Shampoo and Conditioner

Make sure to use shampoo and conditioner designed specifically for hair extensions, such as the Matrix Total Results Shampoo and Conditioner.

Apply these products in areas where there are no microbeads. Never rub your hair in circular motions to avoid messing up your hair. 

Wash Your Hair With Cold Water

Using cool water in the shower keeps your hair cuticles closed, preventing tangling. 

Follow the Proper Heat Styling Methods

Styling your extensions with heat tools is fine as long as you don’t use them near the roots of your hair. Otherwise, you may risk damaging the beads. 

When styling your hair with hot tools, don’t forget to apply a heat protectant to avoid frizz and heat damage. Also, ensure that the hot tools do not exceed 300°F in temperature to avoid damaging the extensions.

How to Remove I-Tip Hair Extensions

Ready to take off your extensions? Good news: the process is relatively simple. 

Tools for Removal

  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Pliers or tweezers
  • Tail comb

Steps for Removal

  1. Separate the area of your hair where the extensions are attached. 
  2. Use a pair of specialized pliers to squeeze the bead in the opposite direction to which it was closed and flattened. This will allow the bead to open up. 
  3. Once the bead has opened up, gently pull the extension and the bead out of your hair. 
  4. Comb out any tangles or knots that may have formed. It’s important to be gentle and use a wide-tooth comb to avoid damaging your hair.
  5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 until all the extensions are removed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I-Tip Hair Extensions vs. Microlinks: What’s the Difference?

The word “microlinks” is used as an umbrella term for any type of hair extension that uses micro rings or microbeads to attach to the natural hair. 

So I-tip hair extensions are one of the two types of microlinks. The other type is microlink weft extensions, which also uses beads to attach extensions to the natural hair. 

But instead of applying extensions strand by strand, microlink wefts apply beads to several small sections of the natural hair and attach a single large weft of hair to them. 

Are I-Tip Extensions Damaging?

While the application of I-tips is less damaging than other extensions, such as tape-ins and keratin bond extensions, they still can cause damage if not applied or cared for properly. 

If they’re installed too close to the scalp or if their bond to your natural hair isn’t strong enough, they’re more likely to detach and pull out natural strands of hair, which could cause breakage. 

Additionally, placing too much tension on the hair due to improper installation or excessive styling can potentially lead to hair loss or traction alopecia

To reduce the risk of damage, opt for a professional installation and make sure that your stylist uses top-quality products specifically designed for I-tip extensions.

It’s also important to go for regular maintenance appointments as recommended by your stylist to make sure your hair stays healthy and gorgeous!

What Are I-Tip Hair Extensions? The Ultimate Solution to Thin, Flat Hair!

All in all, I-tip hair extensions provide an excellent option for those looking for added length without sacrificing quality or style.

But if you’re getting hair extensions for the first time, it’s best to consult a professional hairstylist first. 

A woman with long blonde hair extension in a salon.

You can also use the guide to their pros and cons above to help you weigh your options and make the right decision. 

But if this article has convinced you that they’re the best hair extension type for you, go and get ’em, girl!

Want More Artifical Hair Options and Care Tips?

Check them out here:


  • 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *