Unlike the disposable, packaged weaves of yesteryear, today’s premium, virgin extensions are considered more of an investment. A head-full of virgin hair will cost around $300-$500 and should last up to one year with proper care. Virgin hair costs more because the cuticles are still intact and not fortified with silicones which makes the hair last longer and look more natural. Ericka Dotson, owner and founder of Indique Virgin Hair, helps us untangle the truth about purchasing, wearing and maintaining these expensive strands.
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Consult with the Experts
Dotson recommends scheduling an in-person consultation with a stylist who specializes in extensions to help you get started. This will help lessen your chances of being unhappy with your hair after you’ve made a non-refundable purchase. “My team and I like to spend as much time as we can with the client to ensure that they are happy with their purchase,” says Dotson.
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Consider Your Lifestyle
Before dropping big bucks on your next weave, be sure that you’ll have the time for upkeep and maintenance of the hair type you select. “You may want long, straight hair but if you workout frequently or have a really busy schedule, you may not have the time to style it,” says Dotson. “That’s when it would be best to opt for a curly texture which is easy to ‘spray-and-go.’ You need to think about those things.”
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Protect Your Real Hair
Just because you’re enjoying a new, weaved ‘do, don’t forget about protecting your natural hair, too. “Always wear a silk scarf at night and avoid tension around your edges. A lot of us are losing our edges because the hair is too tight,” says Dotson. If you feel any discomfort on your scalp or pulling of your natural hair, be sure to notify your stylist right away to avoid permanent hair loss.
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Mix and Match
If your natural texture is in-between two different types of extensions, feel free to request a custom blend of hair. “A lot of my clients now are starting to mix two similar textures to give the hair a more natural look and feel,” says Dotson. “That’s the beauty of getting premium hair and meeting with a consultant in-person before you buy.”
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Go Back to Your Roots
When experimenting with colored extensions, Dotson recommends keeping your natural color at the roots for a more natural-looking, seamless blend. “You don’t want intense color from the root to the end. You want to have a nice, rooted look,” says Dotson.
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Cleanse & Condition with Care
If you need to wash your hair in-between salon visits, Dotson says to choose a shampoo specifically formulated for dry hair. “This will help make sure you’re giving the hair the moisture it needs.” In addition to shampooing, Dotson also says you can deep condition your weave, too. “The more you shampoo and condition it, the better the hair gets.”
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Don't Obsess Over Products
Just because you’ve purchased an expensive hairpiece does not mean you only have to use high-cost products on it. “I’ve had clients get great results with drugstore brands such as Suave, Dove and Garnier Fructis,” reveals Dotson. “The key is to make sure it’s a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.”
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Limit Heavy Styling Aids
Dotson also agrees that you don’t need to use a lot of styling products on the hair. “If you’re accustomed to using packaged hair, you may be more likely to put tons of products on the hair in order for it to look right,” says Dotson. “That’s not the case with premium hair. You should use as few products as possible—and please no oil sheen!”
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Try Heat-Free Curling Methods
Virgin hair reacts to heat the same way your natural hair will, and with repeated use of heat styling tools, the extensions can become damaged and frayed. Instead of curling irons, Dotson says a rod-set is the way to go. “A roller-set is truly amazing. It stretches out that cuticle, makes the hair nice and shiny, gives it volume and lasts up to two full weeks without having to re-curl the hair,” says Dotson. Pin-curling the hair at night will extend the life of your roller-set.
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Experiment with Color
If you’re ready for big, bold color, Dotson says you’ll experience less fading and dullness with premium hair extensions. “Our blonde shades are dyed for two days,” reveals Dotson. This two-day process ensures your hue will stay true for up to one year, even with regular washes.
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Try a New Trend
If you’re looking for a new trend to try, Dotson says it’s all about soft waves. “I really think people are going for that wind-blown, beach hair. It’s not tightly curled but it’s not straight either,” says Dotson about the current trend in hair extensions.
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Handle With Care
In the long run, your tracks will stay in tact with a simple dose of TLC. “Treat the hair as if it were your own,” says Dotson. “Maintain the integrity of the hair by avoiding a lot of heat and being gentle when styling. With proper care, the hair can last up to one full year.”
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