Hair weaving and hair extensions are sometimes employed
to conceal hair loss or thinning hair in men and women.
However, one must be cautious as hair that is braided too
tight can cause traction alopecia and some glues and bonding
materials can also chemically damage your hair.
Hair weaves and hair extensions are terms used to describe
non-surgical hair additions consisting of human hair, synthetic
hair or a combination of both. They are added to existing
hair or scalp through a variety of techniques and as they
are dependent on the existing hair, they need reattaching
or tightening as the existing hair grows.
Thus, a hair weave is an attachment of false hair and hair
weaving refers to the process of braiding false hair to
somebody’s own hair in order to conceal hair loss
or to increase volume, thickness and length.
If done by a professional, the average hair weave lasts
for about two months. One can opt for a partial hair addition
or for a full one.
Hair weaving can be used in combination with hair transplant
surgery, and this is becoming popular with men and women
who do not wish to appear “under construction”
while in public – especially as successful hair transplants
can take up to 2 years to complete.
Several different techniques have been developed over the
years; they can be grouped under: Basic hair weaving
and Advanced weaving.
Basic hair weaving uses what is called
cornrow braiding, a method developed in the 1950’s,
that can produce good results if done by an experienced
professional. A weft of hair (a row of hair stitched together)
is woven through the hair, then the commercial hair, also
on a weft (sewn or tied together) is attached to the braiding
track with a needle and a weaving chord.
Advanced hair weaving uses hand-tied knots
instead of braids to form the track; the commercial hair
is then sewn onto the knotted track.
Most salon specialists do not call gluing or bonding “hair
weaving”. They draw attention to the fact that gluing
or bonding can break off the hair, can damage it or can
even leave bald spots on the head. Weaving is done by sewing
or whip stitching with a needle and cotton nylon thread.
Hair weaving does not damage the hair because it uses no
glues in the process and, on the contrary, is said to stimulate
hair growth. However, cornrow weaving should not be chosen
by the persons who have fine, thin hair or balding areas.
Attachments that place prolonged tension can cause permanent
hair loss at their anchor site.
As to the choice between human and synthetic hair, most
people prefer human hair due to its natural flow and quality.
However, some argue that it is more difficult to attach
and that it loses curls more quickly than some synthetic
fibers. Some acrylic fibers produced in Japan – Kanekalon
and Toyokalon are gaining ground, as they have
great resemblance to natural hair and cost less than half
the price of human hair.
The term “extensions” can refer to a range
of methods of attaching, from strand-on-strand to bonding
or clip-on systems. Commercial hair is usually attached
with a specialized hair extension adhesive. With bonding,
the natural hair is sectioned horizontally around the head
and the adhesive is applied to the wefting of the commercial
hair in order to be attached.
Bonding can last one day to one week at the best. Clip-ons
are for daily wear only, as wefted hair is attached to clips
and worn blended into the natural hair.