You may not realize it, but hair extensions are everywhere. Just scroll through your Instagram feed, your Netflix lineup or take a look around at the airport. Now, more than ever, it is easy to find a variety of methods and techniques to make your hair dreams come to life. But, as you may know, this luxury hair service isn’t for everyone and it isn’t cheap.
Extensions Price Not Always Equal
The first place to start when understanding the cost of great-looking hair extensions is to look at the cost of the hair being used for the service. A professional and well-trained stylist will have access to a reputable company that supplies real human hair. When it comes to real human anything, that should indicate to us, as consumers, that the service or product is going to come with an elevated price point.
If you search on the Internet or in a local hair store, you can be tempted by cheaper options promising beautiful, high-quality hair. But, let’s remember what grandma always told us: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is, at least, when it comes to permanent hair extensions (meaning hair extensions that can be worn for weeks to months without being removed or replaced). For this service, you will want the best-quality hair installed by a knowledgeable, experienced stylist, which brings us to the second part of the price-point explanation — the stylist.
Stylist’s Schooling Matters
There is no shortage of hair professionals, so pricing for hair extensions should be competitive right? Strangely enough, that’s not the case. If you do a quick Google search, you can usually find a handful of hair professionals offering hair-extension services (in any large city or state). A handful of these stylists will be priced significantly higher than their peers and often for good reason. Hair-extension training and education can cost a stylist anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars up to $5000 (or more), and that’s just for one class. Education brands understand the demand in the consumer market, so they price accordingly for access to their training and tools, which brings us back to the elevated price point for hair-extension application or installation services.
Just like with many industries, big, highly marketed brands can charge more for their training because consumers or clients recognize and trust these brands. Typically, the more the stylist charges, the more knowledge, and experience the stylist has. This knowledge combined with the ability to deliver a luxury service that the stylist stands behind is all a part of how they set their pricing. Great hair education and training can turn a complicated service (like permanent hair extensions) into an enjoyable day at the salon, with life-changing results. Cue triumphant music.
Method Training Important
If you take a deeper look into pricing, hair-extension-service costs can also vary widely, depending on the method in which the professional is trained. For example, tape-in methods can be learned easily online, with no certification or training at all (kind of scary, right?). This method is fairly easy to install and remove; however, it has been shown to be very damaging to fragile hair strands and cannot easily be concealed for styling purposes.
Other methods, such as individual hot- and cold-fusion hair extensions, use either a small bead or small piece of keratin wax to bond individual strips of hair to the client’s natural hair. For Caucasian women, this has been the most widely used installation method for decades. However, just like with the tape-ins, there is a high risk for damage to the natural hair, including tangling and matting, and they are not easily concealed or styled in a variety of ways.
More recently, hand-tied methods, more accurately known as bead-and-string sew-in methods, have made a buzz on Instagram and have created a large demand for hand-tied hair, which is the type of hair installed when applying these methods. Many stylists and professionals have taken advantage of the growing interest in these bead-and-string methods and have begun to offer them to clients at a low price point, with little experience or training. Professional and well-trained stylists will almost always have a higher price point for this particular hair-extension service due to its costly training and education.
Trusted hair extension companies value education and put a high price tag on their certifications and training, in an effort to attract serious, driven stylists to represent their brand. In turn, that confidence and competence with hair extensions will translate into the price and value of the service. Great work isn’t cheap, and cheap work isn’t great. You know the drill.
Lastly, a top-tier hair-extensions specialist will take every measure to perfect and be exact with the color matching of the client’s hair to the extensions. That’s right, even the hair extensions are custom colored by an experienced stylist.
Custom color-matching of the hair is crucial to the overall finished and seamless look; however, color matching the extensions will usually double the color pricing of the service. Stylists have to charge for the color they use, for the knowledge they acquire to effectively color hair extensions and for the time they spend coloring and preparing the hair to be installed.
So remember, no matter how common hair extensions may seem, they remain a luxury. When considering the price of this luxury, keep in mind both the hair and the work involved in creating your dream hair.
Can’t get enough of this hair talk? Check out the Nice Hair Podcast, which is a weekly podcast I host that’s dedicated to business, hair and not being a jerk (hence the name). For more info on hand-tied hair extensions, follow me on IG @hannahthebrunette. Happy Hair Day!