Image Source: BeautyWorks
I've taken TLC's lyrics to heart many a time, from "I don't want no scrubs" to "You can buy your hair if it won't grow." Turns out the latter would be more relevant than the former, thank goodness, because my hair won't grow.
I attribute it to the fact that I like to be blond. I am happier as a blonde, thus extensions have played a pivotal role in my hair happiness over the past five years. Let me explain. Extensions fill in my sparse spots, give me the ability to create thicker, fatter braids, and make me feel pretty.
One glaring issue, though? Because I am an ash blonde, I have dark roots that contrast against my bleached strands. So when I clip in, glue in, or tape in extensions, they can come across as fake at certain angles, because the root of the extension is as light as my ends, so it doesn't blend into my natural hair color. And that's never a good thing. The point isn't for people to say, "I love your hair extensions!"
Jen Atkin has solved this little crisis, though. "In the salon, people are like, 'Why do (celebrities) look so perfect? What's your secret?'" she told me. "Listen, in this world of selfies and Instagram, everyone looks like perfection all the time. It's 2017, buy some hair!" That's why the hair mogul collaborated with British label BeautyWorks to create four varieties of hair extensions in 20 different shades that include a root, a highlight, and a lowlight.
"I was working on this collection for over a year, and I thought, what was missing from my kit? And for my client, that was extensions with a root painted on it," Jen explained. "It was so frustrating because I would have to take extensions in to [celebrity colorists] Tracey Cunningham and Sarah Conner, and ask them to paint a lowlight so it would match my clients' hair."
Her brilliant idea: cut out the middleman. "You can buy the hair and you're ready to go," she noted. "The wind can blow and you don't have to worry about people seeing your extensions. The root camouflages it completely."
Jen invited me to participate as a hair model at one of her Mane University classes in order to try the extensions out for myself. Clearly, I was excited, but I wasn't sure what to expect. I had been extension-free for about a year and a half. (I hadn't even worn clip-ins!) Would I become an extension worshiper yet again? Keep reading to find out.
First, we picked a type. The four extension lines include two long-term options for professionals to apply. There's the Invisi-Tape, which Jen had Sarah Conner install on me. The other is Invisi-Weft, and it's recommended to be repositioned and tightened around every six weeks. This is a great option if you don't want to apply extensions every day. They're also less likely to damage your hair than individual bonded hair extensions, and they cost less over time because you can reuse the hair.
The other two lines are user-friendly, at-home options. These include the Invisi-Clip-In and the Hair Enhancer. Jen refers to the latter as a "yarmulke of hair" that you apply to the crown of your head. Simply clip them in and remove them at the end of the day.
The at-home extensions were created to look as natural as getting them installed by a professional. Jen suggests taking them with you when you get your next haircut.
"Ask [your stylist] to cut the extensions so they blend," she advised. "You can get a small hanger and put it in the shower with you and wash it, condition it. It gives women the power to get the hair that my celeb clients have on set."
Another key for natural-looking extensions is don't overdo it. While mermaid hair can sound enticing to those of us who have sported shorter hair most of our lives, it's not going to sell the look.
"If you're short, you don't want to get too much hair or you'll look like Cousin Itt," Jen joked. "Don't go overboard. If you gob in tons and tons of hair, you're going to look crazy."
It's also important you actually brush through your extensions. It sounds like commonsense, but many extension wearers are worried they will ruin the bond or tape by brushing the hair. This is not the case. You can actually extend the life of your extensions by making sure they do not clump or dread at the root.
Another essential step is to use dry shampoo, which Jen touts as a magical product for extensions. She even came out with a foam formula. It saves you from having to wet your hair to clean it and fluffs up the extensions. Apply the formula at least six to eight inches away from your scalp, focused on the layers underneath, and massage the product thoroughly with your fingers.
I have had my extensions for about two months now and have already gone through my first round of reinstallation. Alexis Von Kuykendall, celebrity extension specialist at Ken Paves Salon in West Hollywood, told me I could get away with leaving the extensions in for eight to nine weeks because of how I cared for them. She also said that I could get at least one more installation out of this hair. Score!
I've enjoyed having my length and fullness back, and I personally don't remember that I even have them in — except for when they're first installed. They're always a little close to the root when they're put back in, so it takes a week or so for them to settle.
You can pick up Jen's collaboration with BeautyWorks online.
Add length with the Invisi®Tape by @beauty_worksonline. Invisible to the scalp our skin weft actually mimics the root growth of your own hair!! No more old style shiny PU tapes Invisible blend Lightweight, Handmade, 9 Months Guarantee, Coming in 20 colours including 5 new unique root colour blends by celebrity stylist @Jenatkinhair #tapeextensions #flatextensions #amazinghair #extralength #extravolume #thickhair #londonhairstylist #londonhair #claphamjunction #hairextensions #extensions #raven #invisitapes #jenatkin #beauty_worksonline #jenatkinshair #beautyworksstockist #claphamjunction