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Many women would love to try hair extensions, but they don’t understand them. That’s truly unfortunate. Here’s how to turn that around and get to know them better for your next hair salon visit.

What Are They?

Hair extensions are basically sections of hair that you add to your own natural hair to extend the length of it. Some women use them to add length when they don’t have enough hair or they’ve had a bad haircut and can’t wait for it to grow in.

They are usually attached by a professional, and may be made of either real human hair or synthetic fibers. Companies, like will weave the extensions into your hair in the most natural way possible, or you can try weaving it yourself (though this can be difficult).

How Much Do You Need?

This all depends on the length and fullness of your natural hair as well as the look you want to achieve with the extensions. As a general rule, if you want to add fullness, and your own hair is similar in length to the extensions, you should use about 2 to 4 ounces of hair.

This will give you lots of volume. If your hair is a lot shorter than the extensions, then you’ll use more. The longer the length you want, the more hair you will need for the extension.

Remy Hair?

Remy hair refers to hair that’s cut from one donor. It’s usually the healthiest hair because it’s hand- picked strand by strand to make sure that all of the cuticles are intact and properly aligned. If you take care of it, remy hair will stay soft and look great for a long time.

What About Shedding?

All extensions shed to some degree, but some do more than others. However, the higher the quality you buy, the less you should worry about extension shedding. In that sense, you get what you pay for – which shouldn’t be all that surprising.

How To Wash Extensions

Washing and conditioning is done very carefully. Basically, you wash the hair in one direction from top to bottom. Put the shampoo and conditioner in your hands and work it into your hair. Don’t wash the hair upside down or in the sink, because this causes scrunching on top of your head.

You should focus on using shampoos and conditioners that hydrate and add moisture. If you do use moose and gel or hairspray, it should be products that are alcohol free because alcohol is a drying agent and very bad for hair extensions, which get no moisture in the usual ways.

Never use bleach or attempt to lighten the extensions. It’s not going to look good.

How Long Will They Last?

This depends on how well you take care of them. In general, they should last you for 6 months, but well-maintained ones can last up to a year before they need to be replaced.

Odessa A. Doe is a hair stylist. She enjoys writing about hair care. Her posts can be found mostly on beauty and style blog sites.