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July 2013

Hair Extension Terms

Hair Extension 101: Hair Extension Terms

Hair Extensions - Hair that is attached in some form to the base of hair growing from the head in order to make the appearance of additional hair growing from the head. Hair extensions differ from wigs in where the natural hair is left exposed, the hair extensions integrated into, and mixed amongst, the natural hair.

Remy or Remi - Is a term used to describe extension hair that has been cut from the head of a donor and kept in alignment to ensure a correct cuticle thus eliminating the need for cuticle removal through processing and acid washing the hair. Fallen hair, or shed hairs, used to make extension hair end up multi-directional in the cuticle and, thus, need this stripped from the strand in order to minimize tangling. This processing and acid washing will break down the hair making a silicon coating necessary to add sheen and strength to the extension hair which is washed from the extension only after a short period of time leaving the extension dull and straw-like. Remi extension hair is necessary for long wear strand processes. As a term widely used in the industry (many times in a deceptive manner) true remy hair carries great reviews so extension hair sources should be thoroughly researched prior to purchasing the extension hair.

Cuticle-aligned - Hair which grows from any head has the cuticle in one direction. Those with sensitive touch can run their fingers up and down a hair shaft and will feel a roughness when going in one direction and a smoothness in the other direction. Hair naturally falls, sheds, from our heads and can be found in places such as our hair brush, sink or shower. Many extension hairs are collected from brushes and get turned around, upside down, and as these hair cuticles rub against each other in opposite direction, they tangle terribly. There are 2 options for avoiding this in human extension hair. One, is to remove the cuticle altogether. The hair is stripped in processing and then silicon is added to replace the lost luster of the extension hairs. This offers a short term solution for the extension hair and produces an inexpensive product. The extension hair quickly becomes dull, lifeless and straw like due to the processing. The second solution is to not use fallen, shed hair altogether. The extension hair is cut from donor heads and left with a living, aligned, single directional cuticle to eliminate the need for stripping and harsh chemical processing. This is a more expensive solution and product but well worth the investment if long term hair extension wear is the goal.

Virgin - This is a term meant to indicate untouched extension hairs. Gentle washing, no processing whatsoever. Since most donor hair is black or very dark brown, it is nearly impossible to find virgin extension hairs in lighter, Caucasian hair colors. Medium to light brunette and shades of blondes are achieved only through processing and bleaching the darker hairs, then depositing color as desired. 

European - A term used to indicate a finer, more Caucasian-like hair. This hair is not about the location in which it is acquired but usually it's alternative processing along with shaft size and the hairs ability to better blend with thinner hair strands. European is a term typically used with remy for the same reasons and commonly used in a deceptive manner which, again, means that you as a buyer need to be aware and on occasion when buying hastily, beware.

Weft - This is extension hair on a track. Hairs are sewn into a thick mass of threads on one end allowing the hairs to flow freely at e opposite end. The weft is many times used in weaves, sewn into the existing hair or glued in using weft glues made of latex and/or kinds of toxic wet and cold glues as well as tape for taped in hair extensions. Typical weft methods are worn 4-6 weeks, about 1 month, before the extensions need to be removed and replaced.

Note: ManeMaxx supplies wefted extension hair for its strand by strand hair extension method. We do this so that you can easily keep your hairs neat while applying. Theses threads (the weft) are removed prior to using when doing ManeMaxx. Loose hair strands are used for applying ManeMaxx hair extensions.

Weave - Most commonly meant as a term describing hair extensions which are sewn into, or braided into, the hair. Usually, the existing hair is braided (and the extension hair track, weaved over) to create an unseen cover in the hair extension weave but this is term has become more recently used for any method or technique of wearing hair extensions.

Strand-by-Strand - Is not a literal single strand hair extension method. This refers to small bundles of extension hairs attached to small bundles of natural hair. This creates a breathable space between extension strands to allow for natural movement of the extension hair as well as a cleaner, longer wearing hair extension method. Most strand by strand hair extension methods can be worn for many months at a time before removal and replacement or position adjustment is needed.

Bond - Refers to the material used to attach the extension, typically a hot glue or wax. Hair extension strands may come pre-tipped, with i-tips or u-tips referring to the shape of the glue tip on the hairs or are dipped into a bonding material. Wefts can be attached with bond which is squirted on, or painted on, to the track of threads holding the hairs together.

Fusion - Is a name for a glue bond on a bundle of hairs and describes the method by which this glue bond is used. The extension hair bundles are "fused" into the natural hairs with a heated wand or pressed hot into the hairs while manipulating the "fusing" as the heated glue bond dries. This causes a permanent bond which will usually need some kind of alcohol, acetone or other harsh chemicals or oily solvents to break down the bond and remove the extension.

Cold Fusion - This is another name for a glue bond which uses ultrasonic waves to manipulate the molecules in the glue to cause the same reaction as the fusion hair extension method, yet without the direct heat. The results are the same as hot fusion hair extension methods and require the typical harsh chemicals or oily solvents to remove the hair extension attachments.

Soft Bond - A wax based bond in which the small bundles of extension hair are dipped (fondue style) into a vessel containing a heated wax-like material. A flexible attachment is created and can be worn for many months. The soft bond hair extension is removed easily by bending the attachment back and forth to break it. The soft bond uses no alcohol, acetone or other harsh chemicals and solvents to remove.

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