Hair extensions are one of the fastest-growing markets in the beauty space right now. Particularly popular are clip-in extensions (they earned a spot in our 2024 trend forecast), and it’s easy to see why. Clip-in extensions temporarily add length and volume to your natural locks for the ultimate end result: a boost of confidence. It’s a great solution for those who like to switch up their style frequently.
With the pros predicting extensions will be bigger than ever this year, now is the perfect time to learn more about clip-ins. Understanding the necessary installation, styling, and maintenance is key to determining if this type of hair transformation is right for you.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to color-match your clip-ins to your natural hair, keep your extensions looking healthy, and more. Follow these expert tips and tricks from master stylist Senada K. Ceka of the leading hair extension brand Bellami Hair. But first, watch the pro in action below!
What are clip-in extensions, and why are they so popular?
Clip-in extensions are temporary hairpieces that attach to your natural hair using small, discreet clips. They offer a quick and easy way to add length, volume, and fullness to your hair without the commitment of permanent or semi-permanent extensions. Ranging in price points from low to high, you can find clip-ins made from human or synthetic hair.
The benefits of clip-in extensions are bountiful—much like they’ll make your mane. Here’s what makes them a popular choice for hair enthusiasts:
Unlike permanent or semi-permanent extensions, clip-in extensions require no commitment, allowing you to experiment with different lengths, styles, and colors without the long-term investment.
For those seeking a temporary hair transformation on a budget, clip-ins are generally more affordable than other types of extensions—an attractive selling point.
Versatile Styling Options
Clip-in extensions can be styled in various ways, from sleek and sophisticated to voluminous and playful, allowing you to experiment with different looks.
Our hair carries emotional ties, sometimes linked to self-esteem. Hair hang-ups may be annoying, but clip-in extensions can boost self-confidence by temporarily providing instant length, volume, and fullness.
Demystifying Clip-In Hair Extensions
Clip-in hair extensions are often shrouded in misconceptions, leading to hesitation and a lack of understanding of their true potential. Let's address these misunderstandings head-on:
Myth #1: Clip-in extensions will damage your hair.
“When applied and cared for correctly, clip-in extensions do not damage hair,” Ceka stresses. “They attach to your hair without adhesives or chemicals, allowing your natural hair to rest and preventing long-term damage.”
Myth #2: Clip-in extensions are complicated to use.
Clip-in extensions are incredibly user-friendly and designed for easy application and removal at home. Their versatility makes them a convenient choice for those who prefer to manage their hair extensions independently.
Myth #3: They don’t make clip-ins for textured hair.
Curlies and coilies can certainly hop on the clip-ins bandwagon. Clip-in extensions have had a major makeover in recent years when it comes to inclusivity, and now many brands offer them in various hair types, textures, colors, and lengths.
Myth #4: Clip-ins are strictly for styling hair for big events.
While clip-in extensions are ideal for adding length and volume for special occasions, they can also be incorporated into your everyday hairstyles, seamlessly blending with your natural hair for a fuller, more luxurious look.
What to Consider Before Getting Clip-In Extensions
When shopping for clip-in hair extensions, prep and understanding the lingo are super important, as you’ll see below:
Choosing the Right Length and Color
Selecting the right color and length for your extensions is key to getting a seamless blend with your natural hair. Ceka advises choosing a length that works well with your haircut. For example, if you have layers, you may need both shorter and longer lengths to blend with the cut.
As for color, look at the ends of your hair—this will be the most important area for the extensions to blend in. If you need help with color matching, Bellami's live customer support and Beauty Bars provide professional assistance.
Understanding "Wefts" and "Grams"
You might have seen the “wefts” and grams” on packaging when perusing online or the aisles of your local beauty supply store for extensions. Ceka breaks down the terms, explaining that “wefts are individual sections of hair sewn together, and grams represent the weight of the extensions.”
Wefts come in wider sections that hold more hair and have more clips for support (reserved for the back of the head) or smaller sections with less hair and clips (designated for areas closer to the crown and frame of the face). A pack of clip-in extensions will come with wefts in various widths so you can get the most realistic results. The choice of gram weight depends on the desired thickness, volume, length, and density of natural hair.
Most hair you purchase, human or synthetic, comes covered in an invisible keratin film. Ceka emphasizes the importance of washing off the keratin film from the clip-ins before styling. “This will ultimately help hold whichever style you decide to go with for longer,” she notes. Using color-safe products is essential—scroll for more on cleansing extensions!
How to Install Clip-In Extensions
Fans of clip-in extensions enjoy convenient application and removal compared to other types of extensions that are chemically bonded or sewn in. The beauty of clip-ins is that “installing” can be a do-it-yourself process. Ceka walks us through how to install clip-in extensions:
STEP 1: Prep and Part
Create a part in your hair horizontally at the bottom of your head. Clip the rest of your hair up and away from the part so you have a clear space to work.
STEP 2: Tease and Snap
Tease at the part. It’s helpful to use a texturizing product like Redken Root Tease Spray for extra grit, ensuring your clip-ins stay locked in and don’t slide out. Then grabbing your widest weft, adhere the attached mini combs to the teased portion and snap them in.
STEP 3: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Unclip the hair you moved out of the way, and repeat these steps, using gradually smaller wefts as you work your way up to the crown and sides. “Be sure not to go too high up on the crown since you want to avoid the wefts peaking out and taking away from the illusion it’s your own hair,” Ceka advises.
As you part, be sure to leave enough of your natural hair out to cover the wefts as you continue to part up the head.
Pro Tip: “Four to five wefts is the typical amount to use for a single head of hair,” says Ceka.
How to Care for Clip-in Extensions
Proper care and maintenance are essential for extending the lifespan of your clip-in extensions and keeping them looking their best. This includes:
Store Extensions Properly
The pro urges people to store their clip-in extensions in a clean and dry place when not in use, preferably in a designated storage bag or box to prevent tangling and damage. Bellami Hair offers a convenient zip-up Carrier Hanger designed specifically for this purpose (which doubles as a tool to keep extensions in place when styling them before installing them).
Use a Color-Safe Haircare System
In general, you should aim to wash your clip-in extensions every 15-20 wears, Ceka says. Just as you would with your own colored hair, opt for a system of products that will prevent color fading and maintain the hair's integrity. We love Biolage Professional Bond Therapy for rehabbing clip-ins that have had some wear and tear. Pre-shampooing, let your extensions soak in the line’s Intensive Treatment—great for deep conditioning, reduced breakage, and a smooth finish.
Air Dry Extensions
Allow your clip-in extensions to air dry whenever possible to keep your extensions healthier for longer. This is also a great choice if you want to embrace your hair's natural texture.
...Or Use Hot Tools on Low Heat
Always apply a heat protection spray, like Biolage Professional All-In-One Multi-Benefit Spray, to shield the extensions from potential damage.
Avoid Sleeping With Extensions
Ceka strongly suggests removing your clip-in extensions before sleeping to prevent tangling, pulling, and damage.
How to Style Your Clip-in Extensions for Salon-Worthy Results
You might be under the impression that styling clip-in extensions should strictly be left in the hands of a stylist. But it’s totally possible to achieve salon-worthy hairstyles with your clip-ins at home—see our pointers below:
Be mindful of wefts.
Always consider the placement of clip-ins when choosing styles, so wefts are concealed. You’ll want to minimize the use of heavy styling products, too, especially near the roots or clips. These can cause buildup and weigh down the extensions.
Experiment with various styling techniques, from curling and straightening to braiding and even certain half-up half-down hairstyles. If you’ve never had the opportunity to sport long glam waves or a voluminous fluffy blowout, take advantage of your XXL-length locks.
One thing’s for sure, long hair always looks best with a sheen. Add a few drops of Biolage Professional All-In-One Multi-Benefit Oil to add a glossy shine to your long-haired style. (And don’t be afraid to accessorize—bows, like pictured above, are a trendy addition to any look.)
Embrace the Transformative Powers of Clip-in Hair Extensions
When chosen and maintained correctly, clip-in hair extensions can be a fabulous addition to your beauty routine. With them, you can enhance your hair, experiment with different looks, and radiate confidence with a mane that reflects your style. Remember, when in doubt, consult a professional hairstylist for expert advice on selecting, applying, and styling clip-in extensions for your specific hair type and desired end result.
Ready to explore long hairstyles you can sport with your newfound length? Read 25 Low-Maintenance Long Wavy Hairstyles That Will Be Your New Go-Tos.
Use our salon locator to book an appointment to try some of these extension options for yourself.