Long luscious locks….who doesn’t want to have princess worthy hair? and now with the rapid growing business that is hair extensions, there are so many different types to suit everyones style and budget.
I have been pretty obsessed with hair extensions for many years. Clip in extensions, pony tail pieces, weaves and the more semi-permanent bonds have all been tried and tested. I do have long hair but it has got a lot thinner since having my babies and I longed to have nice thick hair again especially when it is up. The majority of my time I love to sweep my hair up in a top knot and with extensions in it make’s it look so much better.
Deciding to finally take the plunge and invest in some good quality extensions can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you go? who has hair that you love? can you find a good hairdresser who specialises in extensions and knows their craft very well? In a nutshell it does take time and lots of research but well worth it when your strutting about with gorgeous hair.
So many times I have seen girls with terribly applied extensions, it actually makes me shudder. There is nothing worse than seeing thick glued in bonds wrongly placed, not colour matched and matted beyond recognition resembling a bird’s nest. The whole point of extensions is that they are not noticable, that they blend with your own hair perfectly and look merely as the name suggests a natural extension of your own hair.
My advice do lots of research. Whichever salon you are interested in going to, look at lots of photos of previous customers, even chat to a few people who have them in and ask them the pros and cons of their particular extension. But remember not every type of extension will suit everyone and above all make sure you get booked in for a consultation. Nearly every salon will offer a free consultation where you can discuss your expectations and the extension specialist can get a feel for your hair and correctly colour match you and advise on what your best options are to achieve your dream hair.
I personally love Great Lengths hair extensions and have had them for years. They are the world leaders in hair extensions for over 20 years. Made from the highest quality of real hair. There is no shredding with them. The bonds are very thin and almost invisible which is how you can recognise quality hair extensions. They are patented protein polymer bonds which ensure quick and simple application.
The bonds are so small and blend to your own hair and are virtually invisible
The hair itself has a natural wave which suits my hair perfectly as it does have a curl to it, and you will also find that a natural wave will work for most people as the extensions are easily dried and styled. The Great Lengths hair extensions are so versatile you can have any cut, colour or style.
Great Lengths Extensions are only available in one of their certified salons. They pride themselves on only working with hairdressers who have trained and developed in their special training classes and who are experts at high quality application. Which brings me to my next point – my amazing hairdresser who literally is the Queen of Extensions! Drum roll please for the incredible Miss Paula McCourt, Owner of Paula McCourt Hairdressing.
The Queen of Extensions herself Paula
The very glamorous and chic salon
When I was pregnant I started my mission to research and find the best extension specialist in Northern Ireland. I googled a lot, rang salons, checked their websites, photos of clients and having went through literally everyone out there offering extensions I seen hundreds of photos of women with gorgeous healthy bouncy thick hair and I just knew the creater of such princess worthy hair was the person I had to go to.
A few months after I had my baby I booked in for a consultation with Paula. The reason I left it a few months was because when you are pregnant hair loss can be quite normal and for the first few weeks after birth due to hormone variations and therefore it would not be recommended to have extensions fitted until my hair loss returned to normal.
I had my hair coloured before my consultation so I could be colour matched properly and went along to Paula’s salon and was greeted by the most stunning, bubbly, friendly girl (with the most fabulous hair I might add) who you could see was so passionate and excited about hair and I felt immediately at ease. Paula went through all the different types of extensions she offered and gave her opinion about what she felt would work best for me and my lifestyle and we both agreed Great Lengths was the way forward. I went home so excited and counting down the days, hours and minutes until my appointment to get my hair extensions put in.
On the morning of my appointment I washed my hair but did not use conditioner as you want to make sure the hair is not too soft as that can cause the bonds to not properly adhere to your own hair. I smoothed my hair out but did not straighten it as this also can affect the application. The extensions themselves took just under 2 hours to be put in and then trimmed and blended to my own hair. The overall result is just amazing and I was delighted. For the first 48 hours you cannot style your hair or wash it as you need to let the bonds all settle.
My first set of extensions with Paula
When I did go to wash my hair the first time I wasn’t sure how I would find it, but it was a breeze. You just wash it normally as you would your own hair but being gentle with the bonds. Make sure to give it a good condition from mid lengths to ends. Don’t put any conditioner on your roots as this could cause the bonds to slide slightly. I find not putting conditioner on my roots means my hair wouldn’t go as greasy. Use only hair products that do not contain alcohol. Your hairdresser will recommend which products to use.
When you are drying your hair squeeze the excess water out first and don’t rub your hair with a towel. Merely pat it a little then use either a Great Lengths brush or a brush specifically designed for extensions with soft bristles to brush your hair out. Do not use a comb. When blow-drying I start at the roots and bonds as this will protect them when they are dried first and when they are dry I continue drying the rest of the hair.
It is recommended you comb through your hair with your fingers every day and separate each bond this is to prevent any matting. Also do visit your hairdresser once a month for them to check that there is no matting and to check the condition of your extensions.
Styling your hair is super easy and I find it so much easier than when I had no extensions. Great Lengths are so versatile and easy to work with.
So natural you won’t look like you have any extensions in at all
When it comes to the time to have them removed, removal of Great Lengths is so easy. Your hairdresser will apply a special gel on the bonds which soften and the hair literally glides out. As long as you take care of your extensions and really limit matting you will have no problems with your removal. Never attempt to remove extensions yourself, you will only damage your own hair and cause a lot of breakage. Always return to the salon who fitted them.
If looked after properly your extensions will last up to about 6 months, however this does depend on how fast your hair grows. It is recommend you get them removed every 4-6 months.
A lot of people will say extensions damage your hair but if they are applied, maintained and removed properly the application will not damage your hair.
It has been two year’s since I had my first set of extensions with Paula, and I have been with her every 5-6 months for a new set since then. Recently I decided it was time to tone my hair down a little and go from a very bright blonde to something more natural. I had been wanting to do it for some time but was very apprehensive at first but always loved the photos of Paula’s other clients with slightly darker blonde tones and also with me filming I needed something a little bit less bright so I took the plunge…..Paula really helped to ease my fears and I put my total trust in her. I know people will think that there isn’t much colour change but it is quite a few shades darker than what I was previously and overall suits my skin tone so much more. Paula was able to match me up to some lovely new blonde tones for my extensions and you can see below how just incredible it looks.
My hair after colour and before extensions applied
On the left my hair before my colour change and on the right after colour and extensions
Previously I always had bleached blonde highlights and root tint but to achieve a softer natural colour Paula created a smudged root with multi tonal ends and used an all over toner. As part of my colour I had Olaplex which is mixed in with the hair colour to prevent breakage and gives shine and health and is also used at the end of the colour process and it makes your hair look and feel so healthy, shiny and manageable. It prevents breakage when going through the colour process and something everyone should ask for when they are getting any colour treatment to their hair.
My hair was very dry from years of over bleaching but with one application of Olaplex it is soft and has a lovely shine to it which I never had before and has put so much health back into the hair strands and made it stronger. This is the holy grail in conditioning treatments, a must for everyone. The first time you get Olaplex you will be blown away at the wonders this does for your hair.
As my hair was so bright it will be a slow process to get to the overall colour that we want to achieve as it will wash up a little and it will be a few colour applications before we get there, but the result from the first colour application is amazing and I couldn’t be happier.
Working alongside Paula is the amazing Shannon who is a tremendous hairdresser and who has had my hair blown out, curled and red carpet ready on many an occasion. So if you are wanting to have the best hair you need to book an appointment now with these incredible hairdressers and if you don’t believe me just check out some of their handiwork by heading to their facebook – here – and Instagram – here –
The stunning and incredibly talented duo Paula & Shannon
Call the salon now for a consultation on 028 95 916579. Trust me you will thank me for it!
And while you are there why not book in for makeup with the incredible Kerry and for nails and some pampering with Orla Beauty.
This little haven is your one stop shop to looking and feeling fabulous!