The mane attraction

Now boasting faster application times and longer lasting results, there’s never been a better time to consider the business benefits of hair extensions

Whether they’re your bread and butter or just another string to your bow, hair extensions are becoming an essential skill for every hairdresser. Once the reserve of WAGs, they’ve become a sought-after transformation tool for shoots and catwalk shows – leading to them being accepted by the fashion elite. And moreover, with the majority of A-list stars sporting them for the red carpet, they’ve become a must-have secret beautifier for special occasions among us mere mortals too.

The good news is that it’s never been easier to offer hair extensions in the salon: with the diversity of systems on offer, there’s something to suit every type of business and client. And what’s more, as technology evolves, revolutionary products offering faster application times, less visible bonds and longer lasting wefts of hair are re-shaping the market to make it more appealing to an ever-widening client base.

The revolution

When hair extensions first hit the market there were limited options available for stylists and application time for a full head could run well into six hours. Now however, product houses have managed to slash this time down considerably with innovative methods and techniques.

Extending profits

Claire Bartley, marketing director of Racoon International, reveals how to make the most extensions for your business

  • Extension work demands a totally different way of thinking. When cutting you’re thinking about how much hair to remove; with extensions, you’re thinking about how much hair to add.
  • The value of solid education can never be over-estimated. Consummate understanding of extensions – their potential and their limitations – is essential.
  • Review your training to keep not one but two steps ahead of what clients want.Extensions taking hours to apply is a misconception. More volume and body can be done in a lunch hour.
  • To maximise profit, charge an hourly rate for extensions work (£75 an hour is about average) plus the cost of the hair.
  • Recognise that not every hairdresser makes an ‘extensionist’ just as they don’t all make colourists. They must want to do the work and build their skills accordingly.
  • Remember the most rewarding aspect of delivering a good extensions service is the joy you give to someone. The emotional impact of hearing a client say “These extensions make me look amazing” is beyond measure.

Tel: 0844 335 0999

Today there’s a colossal choice of systems on the market from micro loops to cold fusion and a range of temporary solutions that make creating length and volume even quicker and easier. Moreover, the modern systems are often kinder to the hair too.

One of the latest advancements on the market is Great Lengths’ Multisonic system, which allows stylists to apply five bonds of hair at once – thus speeding up the application process considerably. “These days speed is just as important as the results achieved,” says Great Lengths ambassador Paul Faltrick. “Clients often get restless so quicker methods help them be more comfortable. Multisonic allows hairdressers to apply a full head in one to two hours.” The company offers over 55 shades of hair and says it has also updated its processing methods to ensure greater quality.

The need for speed

Micro-ring extensions are also gaining momentum as the modern choice for hairdressers that want to offer natural results in super speedy time. Tatiana Hair Extensions in London’s swanky Kensington has built a solid business using this application alone. The system’s popularity has also soared thanks to its promise of being kinder to the hair since no heat or adhesives are involved. Using tiny copper rings, the extension is threaded through the real hair and clamped down – leading to results that last up to four months. Moreover, depending on quality, the same hair can often be reapplied so clients can get eight months’ wear for the price of four. Volumize Hair Extensions ( supplies luxurious Indian remy hair for this method and prides itself on offering superior customer service and next day delivery.

Meanwhile, newly re-branded Hair Development (Tel: 0207 790 4567) offers a wide range of accessories for a successful extensions business. And although it’s not brand new, the company is touting its Strongest Link Mini Strands application system as a hot contender for micro-rings in 2012. Similar to its contemporary, mini strands of human hair are fed through a link with the client’s own hair and then pressed into place using its Supreme Pressing and Releasing tool. This offers a virtually invisible bond while the company promises it will last for at least three months and over 100 shampoos.

But if you’re looking for a super quick client turnaround, Hair Contrast UK’s Tape On/Tape Off system offers a viable solution. Using wefts with waterproof tape attached, stylists can personalise and fit a full head in under an hour. Clients will then need to visit the salon every eight weeks for maintenance where the hair is removed and readjusted. The benefits of the system are that the hair can last up to a whole year providing the client maintains the extensions as directed by the salon (a full home care manual is supplied for every client). Starter packages begin at £395 + VAT, which includes a in-salon training for all staff and a full head for extensions for the first client so the start up cost is recouped from the first bill (Tel: 01908 867 316

Extended wear time

Long-lasting hair is also one of the main advantages of salons using Racoon International’s bonding system. Exclusively formulated for the company, small translucent bonds (about the size of uncooked grains of rice) bond the extensions to superfine sections of the wearer’s hair. Scientifically proven not to damage hair, the bonds are easy to apply and quick to remove, leaving no trace or residue. But the best news is that if cared for correctly, they can last up to six months. “Racoon International’s bonded extensions offer the most effective system on the market today,” says Claire Bartley. “The supreme quality re-useable hair extensions are available in a fantastic range of colours which can be blended to perfection.

Root to point correct and cuticle intact, it can be worn for up to six months with regular maintenance.” (Tel: 0844 335 0999

Lastly, also offering an extended wear period of up to six months, Additional Lengths’ new Remi Cachet range has been making waves in the industry thanks for its high quality luxe hair and versatile bonding. The company offers the line in either weft form or tipped with high quality Italian keratin adhesive (Tel: 01642 827 213

So if you’ve been considering the benefits of training in hair extensions, there’s never been a better time to take the plunge. And even if it doesn’t constitute a major part of your menu, it’s a technique that’s becoming an essential part of a modern day salon service.