7 Aug 2019

All About My Hair Extensions || Great Lengths 101

I've been getting asked quite frequently about my hair extensions as of late (I feel like my hair has grown SO much in the past couple of months, which is probably why you guys are taking notice. haha) and I thought we were due a little update on the topic! You guys sent over some great questions, so lets jump straight in! 


For the past 7 years, give or take, I've been wearing Great Lengths Hair Extensions. My very first set were from the brand Balmain (in specific, Balmain Double Hair Extensions).


My Great Lengths are single individually bonded extensions (although, Great Lengths do supply tape in extensions too)! The bonds are tiny. To apply them, your stylist will pick out a really small section of your own hair, wrap the bond around it and then using a little heat applicator (that basically looks like a mini straightener), bonds it to your hair just below the root. As I said, they are super small bonds and go virtually unnoticed. For the most part, people have no idea that I wear extensions (I have physically had to pick them out so that people can see them in the past. Haha). I'm pretty sure there are individual extensions out there with larger, slightly more noticeable bonds but these ones definitely slide under the radar. 

I've never tried tape in extensions, although, my first set of Balmain extensions were somewhat of a hybrid between individual bonds and tape ins because they were on a strip. I personally far prefer individual bonds. I find them much more comfortable to wear and easier to manage (especially when it comes to tying your hair up - no playing around with hiding tapes and trying to get them to sit flat against your head.. if you know, you know. haha).


Right now, no. I get about 3/4 of a head of extensions. I get my extensions for both thickness and length and wore a full head of extensions for years. For the last 3 years or so I decided to cut down on the amount of bonds I get in. I prefer the feel of less extensions - a full head feels a little too full for me, if that makes any sense? Haha. I think this is just something that I've managed to figure out over the years and it works for me. I was always a little more comfortable with the thickness once a month or so had passed and they had started to thin out a little bit through brushing / styling etc. This is definitely a personal choice though and if you decide you don't quite want a full head, your stylist will be able to advise you on the least amount of strands you can opt for whilst ensuring that they blend properly with your own hair.


I'm not sure if it's just because I've been wearing them for so long, but I honestly don't feel them at all. They really aren't something that I notice or even think about. As I mentioned above, the bonds are super small, so you can't feel much. I guess I notice them most when they've been freshly applied (which still isn't much) but after a couple of days they completely loosen up. 

When it comes to growth, because they aren't tape in, you don't really notice the growth. Actually, anyone other than you wouldn't notice the growth at all. You might just feel the bonds around your ears (sounds strange, but you can just feel the bonds because they're harder than your hair. haha) as they grow down but again nothing really irritating. 

For brushing, you can use a soft bristled brush or tangle teaser to brush over the bonds and they won't catch on them at all. I just use a regular paddled brush now and I'm just conscious that I don't brush over the bonds. 


Going on my own personal experience, yes! 100%! I originally had extensions applied because I really damaged my hair with hair straighteners when I was in school - I'm sure anyone that can remember the time when GHD straighteners first launched can relate. Haha. (I'm not kidding, you guys, my hair could never be straight enough. I would come home from school and straighten my hair even if I wasn't going anywhere. Thankfully, I've learned over the years. Haha). Anyway, I had the extensions applied for length and thickness and now, my own hair is in so much better condition. I find that I don't heat style my hair quite as much when I have extensions in because they're great at holding a style (ie. if I curl my hair today, I usually won't have to re-curl it in the days following). 

All that being said, my own hair is still never going to be as thick as it is when I have extensions in (I've never had super thick hair, it's always been pretty average) - which is why I still get them applied. Also, in between sets of extensions, I like to give my hair a good trim to keep it healthy!


This is one of the most common questions I get asked and, although I can't speak for any other brand of extensions, in all the years that I've had Great Lengths applied, they've never ever damaged my hair. I really do think it's down to proper care and maintenance (i.e. simple things like making sure that you brush them and that you don't leave the bonds wet so that your hair doesn't matte). Having them applied and removed correctly and carefully by a hair stylist will also make a difference.


For reference, if I didn't wear extensions, I would still blowdry my hair and I'm good with using products, styling etc. so I don't think they are any harder to maintain. The only real maintenance is making sure that you brush them and that you don't let the bonds air dry. If you leave the bonds wet (or to air dry) they can matte - you can let the rest of the hair dry on it's own though! Also, avoiding using conditioner around your roots / bonds is something to keep in mind - that can cause the bonds to prematurely weaken and slide out earlier than they should.


Another set of questions I get asked really frequently and also a set of questions that are really hard to give a solid answer to because each case is so different. With proper care and maintanence, they should really last you at least 5 months (I've definitely gotten a little longer out of them but never any less than 5 months). The cost completely varies based on how many strands you're having applied, the length of extensions you're getting and where you're getting them applied / who is applying them. Ball park? I could say they start at approx. €700 and can go up from there - again, that's super hard to say for sure though! 

Okay, that's about it! I'm pretty sure I've covered your most frequently asked questions / main topics of interest but if there's anything I've missed, do be sure to pop me a message and I'll help out as best I can! If you are interested in getting extensions, I would totally recommend going for a consultation with a stylist who can give you a better idea of cost and what would suit your needs! :)

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