When it comes to buying hair extensions, there are a lot of options. A simple Google search for hair extensions returns a huge number of ads, sponsored shopping listings, online retailers, and map listings of salons near you that can install hair extensions.
Click into any of these listings and you’ll be presented with approximately one million different options for types of hair extensions, with a wide variety of prices. But knowing which kind of hair extension is best for you is just one of the things to think about—you’ll also want to educate yourself on the different materials used to make hair extensions, as this will impact everything from the price to appearance to how long your extensions last.
Read more about the different kinds of extensions on our page, The Difference Between Luxury Extensions and Ordinary Hair Extensions –>
Before you try to buy hair extensions, near or far, read on to learn how to evaluate whether a product is high quality.
What Are Hair Extensions Made Of?
There are two main families of materials that hair extensions can be made from: real human hair or synthetic hair. Synthetic hair isn’t hair at all; it’s made from acrylic, nylon, or polyesters heated and stretched into strands that resemble hair (like faux fur).
In your search for the perfect extensions, you’ll find options that are 100% synthetic, 50/50 blends of synthetic and human hair, and 100% human hair. Synthetics are generally cheaper, while human hair is more expensive. Both have tiers of quality—and unfortunately finding the best extensions isn’t just a matter of looking for a “100% human hair” label and clicking “buy.”
Synthetic Hair Extensions
Let’s start with what can seem like the most appealing option, especially if you’re on a budget: synthetics. True, synthetic hair extensions are cheaper, but there are reasons for that.
First, they do not last very long. If you’re looking for a quick solution or a fun pop of color, synthetics can be a good option—but they will wear out after a few months max, making them a poor option for those wanting a long-term solution. And keep in mind that the faster they wear out, the sooner you’ll need to purchase more. In long run, synthetics could prove to be more expensive.
Synthetic hair extensions, while made to resemble human hair, often do not actually look like or blend well with human hair. Because they are made from stretched materials, they lack any texture found in real human hair. The strands also tend to be stiffer, and as a result they will move differently than your natural hair—making blending a challenge.
It is also quite easy to damage most synthetics, so styling options are limited. They cannot be colored because the peroxide and ammonia in dyes would destroy the fibers. While some higher quality synthetics are “heat safe” at low temperatures, many cannot be styled with heat at all—so forget about hair dryers, straighteners, and curling irons. Even sun exposure, too much friction, hair products, or using a normal hairbrush can cause synthetic hair extensions to break down.
In short, you will need to be very gentle with any synthetic or synthetic blend and may have to add in some steps to your hair care routine.
Buying Safe Synthetic Hair Extensions
One key feature to look for is whether the extensions are flame retardant—not all are. The five main types of synthetics include Poly Vinylchloride (PVC), Non-Flammable Polyester Fiber (PET), Modacrylic, Polypropylene (PP), and untreated PET.
PVC, PET, and Modacrylic fibers are flame retardant, but PP and untreated PET are not. If put into contact with flame or heat, PP will burn and melt into an extremely hot plastic, which is obviously quite dangerous. If you choose to go the synthetic route, be sure to shop only reputable brands not just for a higher quality product—but a safer one.
Human Hair Extensions
Hair extensions made from human hair are more expensive than synthetics up front, but they are also much higher quality and longer lasting. Jasmine Nicole extensions, when properly cared for, can literally last forever. Human hair comes in a variety of textures—such as straight, wavy, and curly—allowing them to blend seamlessly with your own hair. Hair extensions made from 100% human hair behaves just like real hair… because it is!
While synthetics require very gentle care and special considerations, real hair does not. It can be colored, heat styled, and washed and dried normally. It is stronger and more resilient to damage than synthetics. You’ll still want to treat it well, of course, but you won’t have to worry that a day out in the hot sun or a night without a silk cap will destroy your investment.
If the first step to finding the best hair extensions is locating the ones made from real human hair, the second step is making sure you get high quality human hair. Quality depends on several factors, including how the hair was collected, whether it has been chemically processed, and where it was sourced.
Real Human Hair
This hair comes from humans, but if there are no other labels, it’s likely “barbershop hair” or “fallen hair” collected from various donors (literally from the barbershop floor), chemically processed to ensure consistent texture (weakening the hair strands), and without cuticle alignment (making it more prone to tangling).
Remy hair is human hair collected using a method that preserves the natural cuticle alignment of hair, meaning that it gets stored or attached to a weft or hairpiece in the natural direction in which it grew. This helps prevent tangling. Remy simply refers to this collection method—it does not guarantee that the hair came from a single donor or has not been chemically processed.
Virgin hair is Remy hair that has not been chemically processed and comes from a single donor. This ensures that the natural hair fibers have not been damaged by dyes, perms, bleaches, or harsh weaves. Remember, while virgin hair is Remy hair, Remy hair is not always virgin hair. Virgin hair is the highest quality option.
Where hair is sourced also has an impact on extension quality and appearance—and how well it will blend with your natural hair. We cannot speak to other brands, but at Jasmine Nicole, our raw hair is vetted and selected by a trained team. Once received, it undergoes a thorough and gentle hand-cleaning process to ensure the cuticles stay intact. No two bundles are exactly alike, because each comes from a different donor.
We currently source our hair from three locations around the world: India, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe. If you are considering hair extensions, we recommend choosing a hair texture and luster that matches your own. Because these extensions are made with virgin hair, your stylist can color them to perfectly blend with your own hair.
This hair is obtained from Indian temples. Because it has been sacrificed as part of a religious ceremony, the donors adhere to a strict diet, which is reflected in the natural medium luster of the hair. Hair sourced from India is the most available, due to the large number of people who make the pilgrimage to the temples each year.
- Place of origin: Chennai and New Delhi, India
- Luster: Medium
- Natural hair color range: Jet black, brown, salt-and-pepper gray
- Natural hair textures: Straight, wavy, and curly
This hair is acquired in the countryside of Cambodia from healthy females only. It is naturally coarse in texture.
- Place of origin: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Luster: Medium to Low
- Natural hair color range: Black, dark brown
- Natural hair textures: Straight, wavy, and curly
Eastern European Hair
This hair is super soft and silky, and it is collected from healthy females in Eastern Europe. It is the rarest hair type we offer.
- Place of origin: Eastern European and southern Russian territories (Uzbekistan and Tajikistan)
- Luster: Medium
- Natural hair color range: Natural black, natural brown
- Natural hair textures: straight, deep wavy
Where Can You Find High Quality Hair Extensions Near You?
We know that the variety of choices for hair extensions can be overwhelming, and we hope that if you’ve read this far, you’re feeling more informed and ready to make the best decision for you. If you are looking to buy the highest quality hair extensions around, look no further—we’ve got you covered. Visit our shop to order your own extensions or ask your stylist to purchase some for you. You’ll love the quality, and if you care for them properly, the same hair wefts can be installed again and again—making the investment more than worth it.