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Before you invest in extensions, do your homework. "Research, research, research before you purchase hair," says Corney. This is especially true if you are purchasing hair online. "Online shopping doesn't allow the 'touch it, feel it' option. I recommend watching demo videos if available, look for customer feedback and consumer product reviews."
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There are several companies popping up that offer hard to believe deals on so-called luxury hair. According to Corney, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. "Buy 1, get 1 free is always a red flag," warns Gabi. "If you order online, call the customer service number first. If you can't get someone on the phone prior to placing your order, don't order from there."
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Corney says it's imperative to know the difference between phrases like "100% natural," "100% pure," and "100% virgin." Although they sound similar, they are not one and the same. "Many retailers claim that their hair is 100% virgin meaning it's not chemically treated or altered in any way. Yet some hair extensions are just that. Hair from China, Russia and or Brazil are often chemically treated either before or after the dealers buy them and are then sold to the retailers. True 'pure' hair or 'virgin' hair comes from Indian women who come to temple to sacrifice their hair in a practice called tonsure," explains Corney.
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As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you need a quick fix, it's fine to buy packaged hair from the beauty supply store, but if you want a long-term solution, it's best to buy hair by the bundle from a legit extensions retailer. "Quality hair extensions start at about $100 per bundle depending on length, texture, color and company," explains Corney. "Typically, it will take 2-3 bundles for a full install."
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When it comes to buying hair, there are a few items that should always be a priority. "When buying hair, consumers should first consider the source, look for hair purity, weft thickness and shedding," says Corney. Other things to think about before investing in a weave is the versatility of the hair (can you wear it curly and straight? Can you color it?) and the look and feel of the hair (does it feel stiff or soft? is there any noticeable fraying or split ends on the hair?).
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Human hair extensions should be taken care of and maintained just as if it were your own hair. Beware of too many products or heat damage. "With the proper care you will be able to enjoy your extensions for many months to come," says Corney.
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If you're stuck in a hairstyle rut or don't know what kind of hair to purchase, it's best to enlist some professional help. Many hair companies also offer in-person consultations where you can sit with an expert who will match your hair texture or answer questions about a new look you'd like to try. "Brands like Indique in New York and Extensions Plus in L.A. are two places I'd recommend," says Corney.
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The beauty of extensions is that they are versatile and allow for several different styling options. If you're going to invest in a good weave, think about how you'll want to change your look in the months to come. If you start with straight hair, consider doing a roller-set, or if you order dark hair, add highlights after the first six weeks. "Hair is the ultimate accessory," says Corney, so feel free to switch things up to keep it fresh!
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