Posts Tagged ‘extensions’

I wanted some extensions in the front of my hair. My head is mostly shaved, but the top is long, and I wanted it looonnnngggerrrr. I figured the easiest, most flexible way to accomplish this was to use human hair (because I could wash it, curl it, and otherwise treat it just like the rest of my hair, and it’d look quite natural) and attach bits singly using the Micro Links system. For this, I’d need what are called “I-Tips.”

These little strands of hair (that have tips on one end that look like the ends of shoelaces) are about $25 for 20. Jeeeeez, that’s a lotta money. It’s especially a lot for someone like me, who is depending on the extensions for bulk and not for a random streak here and there. Plus all the ones I found were at 18″ long– waaaaay too long for me, so I’d end up cutting half of them off.

Instead, I picked up some human hair weft. (I went to Sally Beauty Supply for mine, but it’s available online as well.) It’s 12″ long, and was about the same price as the I-tip extensions. Since it was blonde, I was able to color it however I liked. So I did, using a variety of Manic Panic dyes that I use on the rest of my hair.

Tools of destruction. Kinda.

Once the dye had set (I usually let it sit overnight, just cuz) and been washed out, I let the hair dry and straightened it with a flat iron to work out any weird kinks.

Then I gather my supplies: A piece of freezer paper to cover my workspace, some E-6000 glue, little scissors, and the weft.

Before making I-tips, it’s a good idea to see a real one in person. The tips are shaped like shoelace tips, but are considerably smaller. Assuming you’re going to install these with metal links (more on that in another post), you’ll need the tips to be pretty small or they won’t fit. If you have the links already (click here to buy them from one of my favorite hair shops), set a few out to look at as you make the tips so you can compare the sizes.

Also, if you’re going to dye the weft, do it before making the tips. Since it’s not attached to your head yet, you can do all sorts of fun stuff– fades from one color to another, spots (hard, but possible), stripes (easy). I use Manic Panic dye on mine, but you can use your favorite dye. Make sure to rinse it really well and let it dry completely. Wet/dye-coated hair won’t glue well.

Okay! Make some I-tips!

1. Tape a piece of freezer paper, shiny-side-up, to your workspace. Sure, you can skip this step. I just figured you wouldn’t want glue and bits of hair all over your table.

2. Open up your E-6000. Now, to be fair, you don’t need to use E-6000 for this. Liquid Gold also works, and is usually what hairfreaks recommend. But I didn’t have any, so I used E-6000 and will describe my method with it. Also, you probably shouldn’t use your bare fingers like I did. Wear some gloves.

Anyhoo, squeeze out just a bit of the glue. It’s kinda tricky to do this while you’re holding loose hair in your hand, so do it in advance.

3. Grab a little section of hair on your weft. I used sections about 1/4-1/2″ wide. YMMV depending on the type of weft you have. Grab ahold of the hair a couple of inches below where it’s all stitched together. Carefully snip across the top of the hair, just under the stitching. Use your free hand to pull out all the tiny short hairs that will be on top of the section (weft is made with a shorter section at the top. We don’t want this in our tips– it’ll just mess things up).

Ignore the blackened fingers. I was rumbling with Voldemort.

4. Get a small dollop of glue on your finger (you’re wearing gloves, right? Of course you are). Use your thumb and forefinger to distribute the glue onto the top of the loose hair you’re holding. I did this by pinching my fingers together with the hair between them. Make sure all the strands are coated. Then start twisting the hair together into a tiny little rope. Keep twisting and twisting and twisting– the glue will start to set, which will keep the twist nice and tight.

Once the twist is set (watch to make sure it’s not unraveling), set the tipped hair aside to dry (on something the glue won’t stick to, like the shiny side of freezer paper. See? Aren’t you glad you did that?). Repeat the process for all the extensions you wanna make.

5. Once all the tips are dry, take your scissors and snip off the rough tip of the glued end. The tip– meaning, the bit with the glue on it– should be about 3/4 of an inch long. You don’t want it too big, or it’ll stick out funny once installed. You also don’t want it too small, or the hair will fall out. It takes a bit of practice. Again, it’s useful to have a “real” I-tip extension for comparison.

That’s it! I made mine and wore them for about two weeks. The tips stayed together just fine, and when I removed them I was able to save most of them for reuse (a few got too ratty because they were snarled around my dreads). Remember, using higher quality hair will mean your extensions last longer. My hair was pretty cheap, and though I didn’t mind the extensions looking a bit chewed up, they got that way FAST. Slightly more expensive hair will net you long-lasting, great-looking extensions that still save you a ton of dough.

Questions? Comment!