If you are looking to test out a new supplier for your mobile hair extensions business or salon, it is important to understand how hair extensions should be tested so that you are able to glean the most accurate results, as misinformation can lead to insufficient testing and inconclusive results which are unhelpful to you and your business.
Why test human hair extensions?
If you have selected a reputable and reliable supplier of hair extensions, testing is not always necessary as the company would have already undertaken rigorous assessments of the hair to ensure it meets the standards set by the company, and the reputation it has established. A reputable supplier will be able to provide detailed information on the origin of the hair, how long it will last, and how the hair should be looked after. Testing of hair extensions by the consumer is usually only undertaken if the source is unreliable, for example purchasing from a company overseas who lack information on their hair, or purchasing from another consumer via websites such as eBay.
How to test human hair extensions
The number one factor you must keep in mind when testing hair extensions, is that they should be tested under the conditions you expect the hair extensions to be subjected to. For example this would include using the correct aftercare recommended by the company you are purchasing from, and under the same extremes you would expect the hair extensions to be worn under.
What do we mean by “test”?
The idea of “testing” the human hair extensions is to essentially ensure that they will last the recommended time outlined by the supplier e.g. 3-4 months. The only way to truly test this type of product is to assess it over the period of time they are designed to last. A small amount of hair, typically one bundle, should be fitted in the hair of the individual who is testing them, and worn for 3-4 months. The extensions should be spread across the head for ease of assessment, or if you are fitting them yourself, they can be placed just at the front.
The hair extensions should then be treated under the guidelines of the supplier they have been purchased from. It is important to follow these guidelines as hair from different origins may need different levels of care, as will different textures of hair e.g. straight vs curly hair extensions.
It is very important that the correct aftercare products are used when testing the hair extensions. Each supplier will have their own or preferred products which have already been tested on the hair extensions to ensure they are a suitable formula. Do not fall into the trap of believing that hair extensions should be able to adapt to any type of shampoo and conditioner as this is not true. Hair extension hair whilst human, is not the same as our natural hair for a number of reasons which we will discuss in more detail further down. As well as the hair itself, the bonds require a certain type of shampoo to ensure they stay in place, therefore correct aftercare is paramount and this information should be passed onto your clients if you are a mobile fitter or salon. If your supplier lacks aftercare information in terms of items to purchase or recommendations, this is a tell-tale sign that the source may not be reliable, or that the seller my lack information on how to care for the extensions which can be problematic for the wearer further down the line.
Human hair extensions should NOT be treated the same as natural hair
For the most part human hair extensions are very similar to our own natural hair. They are of course made of the exact same material (human hair), and therefore can be washed, straightened, curled, and treated as normal in terms of day to day styling. The difference in human hair extensions and natural hair is the amount of care that is needed to maintain its condition.
Natural hair is attached at the scalp, and therefore will receive a consistent stream of nutrients delivered to ensure it stays soft, moisturised and healthy. Human hair extensions are not attached to the scalp, and therefore do not have the ability to do this. If left untreated across a period of time they will inevitably begin to show the signs of tired hair, as they are lacking a serious amount of nourishment. It is therefore of high importance that hair extensions are conditioned regularly, and ideally have an oil or butter treatment on a weekly maintenance routine to replenish the moisture levels in the hair that may have begun to diminish.
In terms of differences between our natural hair and human hair extensions it is also important to try to minimise washing time. Although it is possible to wash human hair extensions daily, and SimplyHair products are designed to be able to withstand this, just with our own natural hair it is advisable to only wash hair 2-3 times a week, as hair washing is considered a styling process.
Therefore with this in mind, when testing human hair extensions the hair should be worn for 3-4 months, using the correct aftercare and treatments to ensure and maintain the hairs quality.
It is incredibly important to realise that this product IS different to natural hair, and therefore needs to be treated with the time and care it requires and deserves.
How NOT to test human hair extensions
There are two main misconceptions when it comes to testing human hair extensions. The first being that hair extensions can be tested in a short period of time, and the second being that the hair should be put under an extreme amount of stress.
Where does this idea come from?
The idea behind testing human hair extensions in this way is as a time saving strategy to eliminate the 4 month testing period by putting the hair under the same amount of pressure in terms of washing, drying and straightening the hair, but instead of doing this across a long period of time, the hair is washed multiple times in a very short period in the hope this will reflect the condition of hair worn for 3-4 months. The second idea is that if the hair extensions can withstand neglectful treatment, including using incorrect aftercare, straightening or blow drying under extremely high temperatures, straightening when wet, excessive backcombing when wet, placing the extensions in chlorine or even extremes such as attempting to burn the hair extensions etc, then these are high quality hair extensions. This simply is not true.
Take for example our own natural hair, if in one day we decided to go swimming, and then wash our hair 4 times with no conditioner, then straighten when wet, the result would be hair that feels dry and damaged, and would need some TLC the following day to get our hair feeling back to normal again. Fortunately, natural hair has the ability to bounce back relatively quickly (unless permanent damage has been caused) and this is primarily due to our ability to produce sebum, the oil from our scalp designed to nourish hair. Hair extensions are not attached at the scalp, and therefore do not have this natural ability.
The idea of putting hair extensions under this type of stress to test its quality is comparable to purchasing a cashmere jumper and washing it on an extremely high heat to test how good the cashmere is, it simply does not work, and is not a fair test.
What if I know my client is not going to look after the hair extensions?
Often the reason for testing in this way is to see how the extensions will stand up under pressure if your client does not follow the advice you give her. If a client is not going to follow the advice you provide, and it is likely that your client will find a way to neglect the hair, it would be advisable to suggest an alternative method rather than permanent hair extensions. Hair extensions are a commitment and responsibility, and if you feel the client is likely to be carelessness with her aftercare routine this is a sign that they may face problems with wearing this type of extension in the long term, for example not keeping up with their maintenance appointments. In these instances your client should be advised to consider a less permanent method such as clip in hair extensions which would be more suitable to their lifestyle and commitments.
Know your product
Hair extensions must be tested under the conditions they were designed to be worn, over a prolonged period of time, with the correct aftercare. This is the only way to truly known if the hair extensions do last the listed time, and do have the longevity you are looking for. Wearing the hair extensions yourself for this period of time will give you first-hand experience as to how the extensions hold up, and will help you to guide your client in terms of looking after the hair extensions. You will be able to give your client honest feedback on the hair as you have worn it yourself, and will be confident in the information you can provide about the product. Simply testing 1-2 strands over a few days will not give you the level of understanding your clients will expect of you, and this is why understanding how to test hair extensions should you choose too is so important.
- Hair extensions must be tested for the amount of time they are designed to be worn e.g. 3-4 months
- They should be tested using the recommended aftercare products
- Tested for short periods of time will not reflect the quality of the hair extensions
- Hair extensions should be treated with extra care
- If your client is not able to commit to the after-care you provide, a less permanent method such as clip in hair extensions should be suggested.