You may think that if you have short or fine hair, there’s no way for you to use hair extensions—but you’d be wrong. It takes a little extra care and effort, but you can use extensions, too. In this post, we’ve got some tips and tricks for applying hair extensions for short hair or fine hair (or short, fine hair), as well as some do’s and don’ts to keep your extensions looking as good and natural as possible.
Special Considerations for Short Hair
The first and most important thing to do when considering hair extensions for short hair is to make sure you have enough remaining thickness and length to blend and conceal the extension attachments. For a more realistic look, choose extensions that match your own hair color. You’ll also need to think about the texture of your hair: if your hair is straight, buy straight extensions. Likewise, for wavy hair, buy wavy extensions, and if your hair is curly, buy curly extensions.
Pay close attention to length and weight
Adding long, heavy bundles of hair extensions to short hair can strain the hair, causing breakage, and it can also lead to an artificial look. Lower-weight extensions that brush your shoulders are your best choice if your hair is short.
Best Hair Lengths for Different Extension Types
If you have short hair and you want to get extensions, you need to have at least some hair on your head to start with. If you want to get micro-rings, for example, your hair needs to be at least 4 to 5 inches (10-12 cm) for the rings to be fully covered.
For hair weaves, your hair needs to be 3 to 5 inches (7-12 cm) long at minimum. However, you’ll need a highly skilled stylist to conceal the work, so a weave really isn’t the best option for women with extremely short hair.
For clip-in extensions, your hair needs to be at least 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) long to cover the clip base and properly attach the clips so they don’t cause discomfort. Three inches (7 cm) is about the minimum length for tape-in extensions, too. Tape-ins are smaller than clips, so they’re not as visible, and even though they cause some damage, they are the best extensions for short hair on a budget.
Fusion techniques have minimum length requirements, too. If you’re considering I-tips, your hair needs to be 2.5 to 4 inches (6-10 cm) long. I-tips were highly popular a long time ago, but keratin extensions are now more popular for fusion techniques. For keratin extensions (also known as U-tips), your hair needs to be 2 to 3.5 inches (5-9 cm) long; installation of U-tips can take 2 to 4 hours, and it can be quite expensive.
Tips for Applying Clip-in Hair Extensions for Short Hair
It can be a challenge to apply clip-in extensions if your hair is short, so here are some tips to help you out. First, section your hair so that only a tiny bit is left at the nape of your neck, then clip the rest of the hair away from that section.
Back-comb this section at the nape of your neck and twist or braid it, then pin it flat against the nape of your neck. This is where you will clip the first weft of extensions. Continue to tease and back-comb your hair at the roots in sections as you continue to place the wefts; doing so will add grip to your natural hair.
You’ll want your extensions to sit higher on your head—sometimes almost up the crown—so they cover as much of your natural short hair as possible.
Styling ideas for short hair
Try mixing and matching two colors—your natural color and a lighter shade—to create a natural-looking sun-kissed effect. Curl your extensions before you clip them in. Keep in mind that curling will only work if your extensions are made of real human hair like those we sell at Jasmine Nicole; synthetic extensions will melt when exposed to heat. Then, once you clip the wefts in, curl each shorter strand with a piece of the longer hair. Finally, curl your top layer to achieve a seamless transition.
Applying Hair Extensions for Fine Hair
It can be difficult to apply extensions to fine hair, as there is not much for extensions to grip onto. Clips can poke through your hair, or they may not clip in firmly due to the fine texture of your hair. If you get the wrong weight of extensions, they can feel too heavy and uncomfortable, if not downright painful. But don’t worry, even fine-haired people can wear extensions—although your options are more limited than your coarse-haired peers.
Best Hair Extensions for Fine Hair
There are some types of extensions that simply won’t work for fine hair. Additionally, some types of extensions can damage or break fine hair, and you certainly don’t want that! We recommend buying lighter-weight extensions. Heavier wefts over 120 grams can be too thick and heavy to look or feel natural.
Although they are a bit bulky and may be hard to hide, clip-ins are one of the least damaging hair extensions for fine hair. They are versatile—you can give yourself a full head of longer hair or just apply a couple of rows for a low ponytail or bun. Try backcombing underneath and smoothing the top of your hair for a natural look and good grip.
Halo extensions are not as versatile as clip-ins, nor do they look as natural as clip-ins would look. However, halo extensions don’t damage your hair at all, as they sit atop your head like a crown rather than clipping to the roots of your hair. For the most natural look, you’ll need to get your halo extensions layered or texturized at a salon.
Do Not Use These Extension Types with Fine Hair
If you want to minimize damage to your hair and get a natural and comfortable set of extensions, there are several types of hair extensions you should avoid if you have fine hair. Tape-in extensions, for example, look natural and are easy to hide with fine hair, but the removal of the tape can also pull out your natural hair.
I-tips and U-tips cradle strands of hair and extensions together in a little taco-like tool, then a heat clamper squeezes around the taco to soften the keratin. Removal of these types of extensions can rip your hair out.
Micro-rings look natural, but as fine-haired beauty blogger Natascha Darling wrote, “The problem was, over the next few weeks, I couldn’t see underneath the weft to know that my hair was becoming ratted and dreaded.” Her hairdresser eventually had to cut the weft out of her head and a lot of her hair was broken in the process of getting the extensions and removing them. Not a good idea.
A weave? Don’t even think about it. Your hair is probably too slick and fine to hold the braids in place, so the extensions would eventually slip out. Not only that, but the tiny braiding causes hair breakage.
How to Blend Hair Extensions with Fine Hair
First, choose the right weight of extensions. We recommend 120 grams at the most, and we sell our extensions in 3.5oz bundles (about 100 grams). Make a solid base for the wefts by applying a small bit of hairspray to the root of the section you’ll clip the weft to, then tease the hair. Add your extensions in the “safe zone”—anywhere below the line of your eyebrows—so the clips or roots won’t show. Tease the hair at the crown of your head to make the blend between your natural hair and your extensions more natural and add volume at the top.
Layer your extensions: have a hair stylist blend your extensions into your natural hair to create a more natural look. And here’s a protip for you: come up with a numbering system for the wefts so you know exactly where each weft is supposed to be clipped in after your stylist makes them look just right.
Finally, style your extensions with a curl or wave, being sure to blend in your natural hair as well so the transition between your natural hair and your extensions is concealed.
Hair Extension Do’s for Short and Fine Hair
Do wash your extensions, preferably with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
Do get extensions made of virgin, remy hair for the most natural look.
Do get the correct brush. A mixed-bristle brush works best.
Do hold down your natural hair and the extensions with one hand while brushing with the other in order to reduce breakage.
Do keep your extensions on a holder to help you dry and style them.
Do keep up with your hair extension appointments. Extensions must be kept up, just like nails, lashes, or highlights.
Hair Extension Don’ts for Short and Fine Hair
Don’t get bun pieces or ponytail pieces; they look really obvious. Clip-ins or halos are best for creating a natural-looking bun or ponytail.
Don’t sleep in your extensions.
Don’t buy curly extensions. Buy straight ones and curl them yourself.
Don’t get pre-colored balayage extensions; the color job is typically not as good as you would get in a salon.
Don’t get synthetic hair extensions; they are more difficult to blend, often cannot be heat styled or washed, and won’t last as long as virgin, remy hair.
Are Extensions Good for People with Very Fine or Thinning Hair/Balding?
If your hair is very fine or you’re experiencing medical hair loss, your best option is going to be a hair piece or full wig. Jasmine Nicole sells luxury perucas made with 100 percent virgin, remy hair and customized to fit your head. If you’re experiencing medical hair loss, check out our guide to cranial prosthesis and medical insurance coverage to see what your options are.