A quick scroll through social media this blustery winter season will reveal no shortage of “I’m Cold” makeup tutorials. Think: creating the appearance of flushed cheeks and a rosy nose to mimic how skin reacts to icy weather using a bit of strategic blush placement. While no actual exposure to the elements is required to nail the frost-bitten makeup look, the hair version of the biting trend is a bit more functional. We’re talking about security blanket hair extensions!
We collaborated with Mizani ambassador and hair extension guru Carla Marcelle and scored a firsthand look at a security blanket hair transformation, featuring 100 percent human hair, in the salon. She also discussed her favorite ways to style extensions and offered advice on caring for XXL locks. So ditch your scarf and keep scrolling for all the inside scoop on the newest must-have winter accessory.
What is security blanket hair?
Security blanket hair is when your locks are long enough to wrap around your neck, doubling as an extra layer of protection against the cold. While many of us can only dream of growing our hair down to our waist, extra-long extensions are the ultimate secret weapon to pulling off this cozy winter look.
“Everyone loves a great hairstyle that is also functional,” says Marcelle. “When you wear longer extensions, you are also rocking a veil of hair. Even for myself, I can step out rocking my favorite jacket, knowing I’m still going be kept warm with my hair. And who doesn't love to see long locks underneath their favorite beanie?”
How do you wear security blanket hair?
Just like a warm blanket or your favorite fluffy scarf, the best way to wear security blanket hair this winter is to let it softly envelop your neck and shoulders to keep you toasty in a pinch.
When you’re stepping into the frigid cold, Marcelle’s go-to extension look is sleek and pin-straight with tons of shine.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a quick change-up, braid the hair at night to create natural-looking, heatless waves. Adds Marcelle: “If you curl the day before, it will help them last days longer.”
What else should I know about security blanket hair?
For the ultimate snow bunny look, Marcelle loves pairing security blanket hair with “I’m Cold” makeup.
“I love this combo because the pop of color [using blush] really brings out your face,” says the extension expert. “Sometimes, we want to hide behind our hair, but pairing these two can help you show off our best features without being overwhelmed by your blanket of hair.”
However, once the snow starts to melt, there’s no need to toss your XXL extensions aside at the first inklings of spring.
“Long extensions are great year-round,” notes Marcelle. As the weather heats up, she recommends trading in your blanket-like locks for more natural, lived-in looks that amp up the texture while sweeping strands off your neck, including whimsical braids, bubble braids, or a sleek, slicked-back ponytail.
How do you make security blanket hair appear the most natural?
Unlike the choppy, mismatched hair extensions we experimented with in the early 2000s, the faux hair of today looks as realistic as ever.
“It starts with the install,” says Marcelle, “Your stylist will customize your experience to include texture and color that fits your needs and lifestyle.”
She recommends first considering the type of security blanket extensions you want. Closures (featured in Marcelle’s transformation video) are full coverage hair extension attachments that cover and protect your natural hair, offering you new texture ideas to play around with.
On the other hand, if you want your natural hair to be a part of your finished look, Marcelle says that your new extension texture and its maintenance should be considered. Even if you decide to go this route in the dead of winter, frizz (yes, it’s still a thing during this season!) may threaten to expose the outlines of your extensions from your natural hair.
“Humidity is a real thing no matter the season,” says Marcelle. “Keeping things as natural as possible means the extension hair has to behave like yours. So if you have natural wavy, curly, or coily hair, you've already experienced a frizzy day. Matching your texture minimizes the chance your hair will separate from your extensions.”
Lastly, the Mizani ambassador notes that security blanket hair extensions can reach a whopping 28 inches in length. However, keeping your height in mind and understanding what is realistically safe to manage in your daily routine is the best way to determine how long you should go.
How do you care for security blanket hair?
If you budgeted time and money for hair extensions, chances are good you’ll want to protect your investment at all costs.
“Human hair extensions can range from $200 to 2000 for services only, and hair investments can be just as vast in range,” says Marcelle.
That said, ensuring your everyday styling habits are as gentle as possible on your mane can make all the difference.
“Just like the natural hair, extensions can be dry, and you can damage them or overcompromise them with heat,” says Marcelle. “Be sure to use moisturizing and heat protecting products when styling extensions.”
She loves Mizani’s Style Shifter Society Heat Screen Heat Protectant Spray and Mizani’s 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner for detangling, heat protection, and shine. In addition to the salon-grade products you apply, the type of heat styler you choose also plays a role in how well your extensions hold up. For this reason, Marcelle relies on L’Oréal Professionnel’s Steampod Hair Straightener + Curling Iron, which features exclusive steam technology that won’t compromise the moisture levels in your hair like traditional flat iron plates can.
“[Human hair] extensions are great and last up to a year if cared for as directed,” says Marcelle. “Shampooing daily is not recommended, and a shower cap should be kept on hand for days you will not be shampooing. Use sulfate-free, professional shampoos.”
Here are a few other tips from Marcelle to keep top of mind to preserve the health and longevity of your human hair security blanket locks.
- Brush three times a day.
- Follow your stylist’s instructions for color care.
- Get used to using a silk pillowcase or bonnet.
- Always moisturize the hair.
- Follow up with your regular appointments with your stylist and stick to the appointment schedule they recommend for touch-ups.
Find more salon products to help maintain your security blanket hair on Hair.com.