What Are Tape-In Hair Extensions? + How To Use Them

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Do you find yourself wishing for your hair to be longer or thicker? If that’s the case, then hair extensions may be the quick solution you’ve been looking for.

Hair extensions do more than just add length and volume. It’s also a great way to sport a new hairstyle fast without having to cut your natural hair. 

They can also be a good test-in-the-water option if you’ve been thinking about drastically changing your hair color. 

A pair of tape in blonde hair extensions on a white background.

So getting hair extensions is really a win-win situation. And if you’re ready to start using them, we’re here to tell you all about tape-in hair extensions. 

What are tape-in hair extensions exactly? 

Keep reading and decide for yourself if stick-on hair extensions are of great use to you!

What Are Tape-In Hair Extensions?

Tape-in extensions, which some may call “tape weave hair,” are pre-taped extensions sectioned in about 1.5-inch (4 cm) wefts.

As its name implies, the root of these extensions features a sticky tape that uses medical-grade glue, so it’s safe to attach them to your natural hair.

Its adhesive characteristic is what sets it apart from other types of extensions that can be clipped or sewn into your hair. Tape-in hair extensions are also available in various lengths, styles, and colors.

Many hair professionals and clients prefer this type of hair extension because it looks more natural than others. 

The best tape-in hair extensions to achieve this result features Remy hair, which are hairpieces that aren’t synthetic.

Tape-In Extensions Pros and Cons

Before we dive further into what are tape-in hair extensions, here’s a quick summary of their advantages and disadvantages compared to other types of extensions.

Pros

  • Painless and comfortable to wear
  • Reusable and economical
  • Easier to install and remove
  • Generally safe and won’t damage your hair and scalp
  • Looks more natural than other extensions
  • Best for thin hair but works great for those with normal to thick hair as well

Cons

  • Requires before and after care practices to prolong its use
  • Although reusable, tape-in hair extensions can only be kept for a year
  • At-home installation may not be best for beginners

How Do Tape-In Extensions Work?

The sticky part of tape-in hair extensions does most of the work, as you can tell by its name. 

When it’s new, the line of adhesive is typically sealed with a sheet of paper that is peeled off so the wefts can be attached to your natural hair.

Like other extensions, natural hair is sectioned into areas where you’d want to attach the tape weave hair. Once you tape one weft onto your hair, the section is then flipped to tape in another weft on the other side. 

So the two pieces of tape-in extensions will “sandwich” a section of your natural hair strands. This way, the extensions will be stably attached to your hair and are less likely to slip.

While the glue is medical-grade, tape-in hair extensions are only attached near the top end of a section of hair. It’s glued close to your roots but not exactly onto the scalp so that they’ll be invisible and look natural.

How Long Do Tape-In Extensions Last?

How long you can wear hair extensions should be one of the key factors to consider when deciding what type of extensions to choose. 

Tape-in hair extensions can be worn for six to eight weeks on average, so they’re usually grouped with other types of permanent hair extensions.

Within the same timeframe, there could be a noticeable change in your natural hair length. That means the tape-in extensions will likely move farther from your roots during this period.

So the natural hair between the scalp and the adhesive tab of the extensions could get tangled more easily, making it harder to remove the tape-in weaves.

But like with other types of extensions, how you take care of it after installation will also affect how long tape-in extensions last. 

For instance, if you prefer washing your hair extensions daily, it may last shorter than the average six-week wear.

How To Do Tape Extensions Installation at Home

An infographic featuring how to do tape extensions installation at home with instructions under before installation category and installing tape in extensions category

Some of the suggestions you’ll find will tell you to leave the tape-in hair extensions installation to the professionals. That may be the best action to take if you’re a beginner.

However, if you already know how to style your hair, doing this type of hair extensions at home is possible. 

So here’s a basic but detailed tape-in hair extensions guide if you want it the DIY way.

Before Installation

1. Choose the length of extensions. 

Tape-in weaves are sold in bundles and are usually available in 10”, 14”, 18”, and 22” lengths. It’s best to choose the length that’s closest to your natural hair so that you won’t have to do any trimming.

2. Having the right tools helps. 

Properly sectioning the hair when installing tape-in extensions is much easier to achieve when you have hair clips and a metal tail comb. 

When taping the extensions, it’s best to avoid touching the adhesive too much because the oils from your fingers might affect its stickiness. So having pressing pliers will help. 

You can find stick-on hair extensions being sold with these tools on Amazon, like this rather affordable kit from ColorYoung.

3. Wash your hair. 

You may want to use a clarifying shampoo and skip the conditioner. 

The main goal here is to remove oil and product buildup from your scalp because oils can get into the adhesive tabs and might loosen up the extensions.

4. Comb and blow-dry. 

Thoroughly comb your hair to ensure it’s tangle-free before installation so your extensions can properly stick to the strands. 

Also, remember that tape-in extensions work mainly because of its medical-grade glue.

It’s important to have completely dry hair and scalp before installation so your extensions will stick well and last as long as possible.

Optional: Call a friend. It’s very much possible to do this task on your own, so you can actually skip this tip.

But the truth is, the work will be much easier (and more fun) if you have your BFF around to help you with blow-drying, sectioning, and taping your extensions later.

Installing Tape-In Extensions

1. Determine the volume you want. 

Non-beginners can also skip this step. But first-timers will likely have to determine how many extensions they have to install so the result will look as natural as possible.

Before unsealing the adhesive, you can temporarily use hair pins to attach the wefts to your selected areas. This should give you a better idea of how the result will look.

2. Section your hair. 

Part your hair horizontally and evenly, starting from the bottom, and secure the remaining strands with hair clips. 

Ensure that the line where your hair is parted is clean and has no loose strands that can get in the way of the adhesive.

Here’s one nifty trick: Leave the first section of hair from your nape without an extension and only attach the first wefts on the next. 

By doing so, your extensions will remain unnoticeable even if you style your hair in an updo for the next few weeks.

3. Tape in the extensions. 

First, take out a thin section from the unclipped hair. Emphasis on “thin” — specifically it should only be about ⅛ inch thin. The “sandwich method” may not work if you grab a thicker section.

Tape in the first weft of extensions on that thin layer of hair — about ¼ inch from the roots. Gently lift this layer to briefly touch the adhesive and see if you can feel glue sticking through the other side.

Then tape in the second weft exactly on the underside of the first section and sandwich the thin layer of natural hair. 

If you have a pressing tool, here’s the best time to use it. Seal the sandwiched tape-in extensions for 20 to 30 seconds.

4. Section, tape, press, repeat. 

Do the same procedure for the rest of your clipped hair sections.

How To Maintain Tape-In Hair Extensions

There are misconceptions about maintaining hair extensions, like you can’t wash with shampoo or use a brush. It’s actually the opposite, so here are some tips for maintaining your tape-in hair extensions.

Wash Your Hair After 48 Hours

Yes, you can wash your hair even with tape-in extensions, but you MUST wait for at least 48 hours after installation to do so. 

You can go for three days without washing your hair with extensions. However, don’t wait too long until your hair and scalp get oily before your first wash. 

Oil is one of the things you must avoid to keep your extensions stable and glued in.

Use the Right Shampoo

After two to three days, you can wash your hair with shampoo. It’s even advised to wash your hair with extensions regularly. 

A woman is washing her hair with shampoo in the shower.

Oil and dirt buildup can loosen the adhesive of your extensions, so wash your hair regularly.

It’s also important to use the right shampoo; choose products that don’t have too much oil, silicones, parabens, and sulfate. 

These ingredients may be harsh or too moisturizing and make the extensions’ adhesive deteriorate sooner.

Brush Your Hair Regularly

Forgoing hair brushing is one of the biggest misconceptions about having hair extensions. You must brush your hair and extensions regularly, at least twice daily.

Doing the opposite can result in matting, tangling, and breakage, which might require removing your extensions earlier than expected. 

These issues can also make removing the tape-in extensions difficult and painful.

Brush your hair and extensions every morning to eliminate any tangles and knots from sleeping. 

Using a paddle brush or wide-tooth comb is best because they work better for detangling without being too harsh on your extensions.

Sleep With Dry Hair Only

Never sleep with wet hair. Damp hair is not acceptable as well. Tossing and turning while there’s moisture left in your hair is a sure way of getting it tangled while you sleep.

So after your night showers, gently dry your hair with a towel. This is also a good time to brush your hair and extensions to dry them properly and remove any tangles before sleeping.

Once your hair is dry, you can tie it loosely to lessen the tangling while you sleep.

Avoid Hair Oils and Serums

Another important question to ask is, what not to use on tape hair extensions? Well, there are two: oils and serums.

They can do wonders for your hair and scalp, but they can be detrimental to the longevity of your tape-in extensions. 

Hair oils are oily, while serums tend to have the same consistency and be filled with oil-based ingredients as well.

When you apply them on your scalp, they can easily drip down to the adhesives of tape-in extensions and make them slip away before their life span is even over.

How To Remove Tape-In Hair Extensions

Whether you had a professional install your extensions or went the DIY road, you can remove tape-in extensions yourself.

Aside from patience, you’ll also need a tape-in extension remover.

You can choose an oil-based product like the Piaou Tape In Extension Remover or an alcohol-based remover like the Tape-In Remover by The Hair Shop.

  1. Start by sectioning your hair where the extensions are, and directly apply the tape-in remover on the adhesive. 

    Because you’re applying it close to your scalp, you may want to choose an oil-based remover if your scalp tends to be sensitive to avoid irritation.
  1. Follow the instructions from the tape-in remover’s manufacturer. Most of these products must be left on the adhesive tabs for at least 30 seconds.
  1. Use your fingers to feel if the extension is starting to get loose. If so, gently pull it away from your hair to remove the extension.
  1. In cases where you have stuck extensions, you can keep using your fingers to help the remover to dissolve the adhesives. Experts advise using a plastic pintail comb to help separate them.
  1. Tape-in extension removers can leave residues on your hair. So you have to wash with shampoo and conditioner once you’ve successfully removed all your extensions.

Can You Reuse Tape-In Hair Extensions?

One of the best advantages of tape-in hair extensions is that you can reuse them after having them on for six to eight weeks. Most extensions of this type can also be kept for 10 to 12 months.

To reuse them, here are steps:

  1. You’ll first have to ensure the old adhesives are removed from each weft. If you see some glue residue, you can use the same tape-in remover and peel off the remaining adhesives.
  1. Wash the extensions with shampoo and conditioner. You can also apply some hair mask to it so it will look as nourished as your natural hair.
  1. Once the extensions are clean and dry, give them a brush to remove any tangles and knots that accumulated in the process. 
  1. You can start putting on new double-sided adhesive tapes on the wefts to get them ready for reuse. You can try these tapes from Suyya and The Hair Shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tape-In Extensions Good?

Yes. It’s one of the most recommended types of hair extensions because they’re generally safe to install on any hair type.

Putting tape-in extensions is also gentle and relatively painless because your hair doesn’t have to be pulled or tugged during installation, so it’s much less damaging to your natural hair.

Do Tape-In Extensions Ruin Your Hair?

While it’s painless and more comfortable to wear than other extensions, tape-in extensions are not completely risk-free. 

Not installing them correctly is usually the main cause of damage to your hair and scalp. So if you’re unsure about doing it at home, best to get a professional to do it.

The condition of your natural hair is also a huge factor because it will have to support the adhesion on the wefts for an extended period. 

So if your hair is prone to damage and is brittle, it’s best to have a professional check first if it’s suitable to hold the tape-in extensions. 

Forcing your natural hair to support the weight of extensions and adhesives could damage your follicles and lead to hair loss.

What Happens to My Hair After Tape Extensions Are Removed?

One thing you can expect after removing tape-in extensions is some hair shedding. But this is not necessarily a cause for concern.

Remember that you’ve taped in some sections of your hair for a few months, and those strands weren’t really allowed to shed normally while you had your extensions on. 

It’s normal for some hair strands to shed shortly after removing your tape-in extensions.

Can I Blow-Dry My Hair With Tape-In Extensions?

Yes. You can blow-dry your hair with tape-in extensions, but only if they are made from real human hair or heat-resistant synthetic fiber. 

If the hair extensions you bought are synthetic, do check the manufacturer’s label first to see if the extensions are heat-resistant.

Non-heat resistant synthetic extensions can melt when you blow-dry or expose them to other forms of heat. 

What Are Tape-In Hair Extensions — Answered!

Tape-in extensions can be used on any natural hair type, are economical, and can be done at home. It’s also not painful to put them on and wear them for several weeks, unlike other extensions.

It’s not surprising that many have been switching to this type of hair extension.

A blonde tape in hair extension being applied on woman's hair

Now you know what are tape extensions and how much effort you have to make to maintain them. 

Hopefully, having all this information will help you decide if it’s your best option for adding volume and length to your natural hair.

Learn How to Take Care of Natural Hair and Extensions From These Articles

Author

  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

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