Hair Extensions 101!

According to this fan video, Demi Lovato accidentally lost one of her hair extensions while she performed All Night Long on stage at her concert in Kansas City. Being the total pro that she is, she seemed to take the surprise in stride.

Anyone who’s had hair extensions knows that they can fall out easily—and that they always seem to do so when you least expect it. (Just ask a friend of mine who accidentally pulled one out as she was flirting with a guy. She decided to quickly hide it in her shirt…only she didn’t hide it well enough and he saw it peeking out!) 

But for those that aren’t as familiar with hair extensions, here’s a mini glossary of some of the options out there, and how likely they are to fall out:

1.    Clip-in Extensions

What they are: Whether these come as long, wide pieces of hair that reach across your whole head or as small, 50-strand pieces, they all attach to your hair with a simple clip (check out to see tons of length, color, and price options). Most celebs clip-in a few of these extensions to make their hair extra-full for the red carpet and photo shoots. These are by far the least damaging option, and they’re completely versatile—you can remove them or re-attach them as often as you want.  

Chances of them falling out: If you tug on them, or shake your head a lot, they will pull out. Your best bet: Tease your hair in the spot where you attach the clip. Then the clip is less likely to slip out.

2. Strand-by-Strand Extensions

What they are: This option is often referred to as Great Lengths, which is the most popular brand that makes them. Each extension comes as a 100-strand lock of human hair (the hair is mostly sourced from India). At the top of the extension there’s what looks like a plastic cap; your stylist places that cap to a similar-sized section of your hair, and melts it onto your hair using a hot flat iron-like tool. You’ll likely need up to 100 extensions for celeb-worthy thickness and length. 

You can also get extensions like these glued onto your hair (which is a less expensive option, and something women with more damaged, weak hair must do).

Chances of them falling out: If your hair is healthy, you most likely won’t lose any in the first month. But by the second month, pieces will start to fall out occasionally, especially when you brush your hair or run your fingers through it. Hair that’s very dry or damaged won’t be able to hold on to the extensions as well, so they’ll fall out more easily.

3.    Sewn-in Weave

What it is: Your stylist braids your hair into very tiny, very tight braids along your scalp, and then sews the hair extension onto the braids.

Chances of it falling out: If you wash your hair too often (more than once or twice a week), you’ll loosen the weave. You’ll also need to go back to the salon once a month to have the braids re-tightened.

Any which way you decide to go, hair extensions are a fun way to dramatically switch up your look. You just have to know what you're getting into before you commit!