What are hair extensions really like?

Hair Extensions
Hair Extensions after my hair cut.

What are hair extensions really like?

My Hair Extension Diary

by Casey Saumure – Salon Wife

Day 1

This is how these things happen.

After a long day of work, I stop by the salon to meet my husband for dinner.  The salon’s extension guru drags me into her chair to put a few ‘samples’ on me.  She says “You need a little pick-me-up”.  I’m tired, hungry and my feet hurt.  I just want to eat but my husband isn’t finished yet so I acquiesce.

What she did to me

She puts about 25 bundles on each side of my head.  She tugs a little but it doesn’t hurt.  No pulled hairs or headachy feeling like I expected.  She places them midway down the sides of my head on either side.  She’s attached the tiny bunches of hair with little metal clips that lay flat against my scalp.   She has carefully placed the hair just high enough above my ears to get my glasses and sunglasses on without trauma.  She tells me to go home and sleep on them.  The new length falls at my bust-line.  I do like them, but I am careful to voice any sentiment in case I’m back the next day begging her to take them out.  My stylist trims them to blend into my hair better while I test drive them.  Right now, it looks like a very long graduated bob.  Thrown back into the commute, dinner and our 4-year olds bedtime routine, I fall asleep that night almost entirely forgetting they are in.

Day 2

Every Mom hears Disney movies

I wake up and drag myself out of bed. I’ve forgotten my test hair until I look in the mirror. I hear the donkey in Shrek saying “I’m sexy!”, and laugh to myself.  I like the way the new hair feels on my skin.  I check my pillow fully expecting a little fallout. Maybe a clip or two or some stray hair, but my pillow is clean.  My hair has some natural wave to it.  This morning, the extensions are the same as my hair.

I’m going in

I’m now wanting the back of my hair to match the front.  I call the salon to book an appointment.  The second visit takes a four to five hour block of time and requires two stylists.  She’s booked solid and I can’t get in for a week.

Day 3

The Install.  

I return for my second visit. Bring a great book and a double-tall mocha and relax. It took half a day for the install. This was definitely a commitment.  We compare two different brands of hair she had mentioned. One is a higher-end. It’s luxurious. Silky smooth, and flawless. The other is what she called ‘Indian Temple’ Hair.


What is Indian Temple Hair?

In India, the Temples make a large part of their income from ‘Hair donations’.

Women make pilgrimages to give tithe at their temples.

Removing one’s hair is said to remove your beauty.

But, it is a great honor in Indian society is to have your hair donated to your temple instead of donating money.

The Temples sell the hair as income.


Decisions are made

The Indian Temple Hair is not much different in my hand. We decide on a few of the expensive ones around my face and the rest is Indian Temple Hair. Other than taking a long time, the process is no different than any other hair service. There’s a little tugging, hair clipping and flipping going on. The extensions come in little bundles and are attached with what looks like a fancy pair of pliers. A little metal tube is inserted around a small bunch of your natural hair and the bundle of new hair is put into the tube. Then clamped shut with the pliers. All the new hair is carefully placed by size underneath the top layer of hair.  She color blends each tiny bunch by sight.   When my pro is done she flat irons my new hair to perfection.  I’m handed a set of instructions and warned not to shampoo every day. I’m booked to come back in a week to check the locks and shape the new hair.

Day 4 Say Whaaat?

I’m in the grocery store picking up supplies. And the guys are checking me out. These dudes are staring.  I check for toilet paper on my shoe. I decide it’s humorous.  As I catch my reflection in a window I realize you cannot tell that I have any sort of hair attachment. The hair looks natural. It matches my hair color perfectly. The hair is beautiful.  It’s no different than if I had grown it myself. Thr rumor is true.  Men seem to love long hair. My new little hair cap does feel different. I would describe it like a heavily beaded top. They’ve got a little weight to them. Doubling the hair on your head definitely adds some weight and takes a little getting used to. I feel like I’m wearing a little beaded cap.

Day 5 Falling into a routine.

I shower and shampoo at night and ignore the “don’t shampoo every day” advice.  Delicately untangling my hair and drying it before bed.  For my fellow daily shampoo girls, that maddening feeling of greasy hair against scalp just isn’t there. There are 150 little clips holding the hair off my head. I use a volumizer at the crown on my damp hair, drying it with the round brush for volume. I skip the center of my head where the clips are and add a leave-in conditioner to the very long ends. In the morning, I take a quickie shower with a shower cap.  After putting on my make-up and flat ironing my hair, I’m pleased.  W hen I let my hair dry naturally you can barely see where my hair meets and the extensions fall.

Day 6 The Summit.

A warning about day 6, this is your summit. My clips have loosened up a little and the few tight parts have disappeared.  After a long day, I’m watching TV in the recliner and I cannot lean back. I don’t know what was twisted to cause such major discomfort.   I pour a glass of wine and try to relax.  A horrifying moment descends and the hair extensions are just too much. My husband walks in and talks me out of my frantic search through the toolbox for pliers.  Pawing through my hair we find one little clamp, pinched by a pony-tail I wore most of the day.  I like to call this day the summit.  You have achieved your goal and you just want to come down off the hill.

Day 7 Time to cut it.

I return in a week for a hair cut and ask for more length to be taken off.  Not a lot, just some.  I understand why she made the follow up appointment a week later. We just paid for all that hair-why would we CUT it?  But it does indeed need shaping. She expertly shapes my layers so the extensions blend better. She takes my own hair off both the top and the underside too. I would have freaked had she done this a week ago. Not yet accustomed to my new hair, shaping your own hair into the extensions is a huge commitment you cannot back out of. I see the wisdom in the ‘cooling off period’. The hair looks even sexier and better than it did before. And now it feels completely like my own.


I wrote this because I heard either hype driven by companies that want to sell you hair extensions or horror stories of hair-gone-wrong. I knew somewhere in-between was the truth. Would I do it again? Yes, I would.  Extra hair takes extra time. Caring for your new hair can be broken into pieces and integrated right into your schedule.

Pro Tip

Systems should be selected carefully for quality and longevity as well as competitive prices. You should always ask for an extension consultation.  So you know exactly what they will cost and so you can have your color matched.  Prepare to leave a deposit at the time of your consultation.  It is reasonable to expect the deposit to be non-refundable.


About GS HAIR:

GS HAIR’s namesake, Greg Saumure is a Vidal Sassoon Graduate (Santa Monica)- Master Stylist and Colorist. He has over 30 years experience behind the chair as a stylist, colorist, educator and owner of one of Sacramento’s Best Salons. He has launched careers of hundreds of local stylists through his rigorous training and education program.

We are located at 2398 Fair Oaks Blvd. Ste 9, Sacramento, CA 95825. Book direct (916) 838-4642 we text. E-mail us at [email protected] We are in the modern building at the corner of Fair Oaks Blvd and Fairgate Drive.  #ontheboulevard See you at the studio.

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