I have the kind of blonde, fried and flyaway British hair that has been compared (by hairdressers btw) to Kate Moss. Very fine, lots of it, dyed it forever. This summer at the ripe ol’ age of 52 I decided to try extensions. Not any old extensions – these are natural hair tapes as used by Nicole at Jo Hansford – designed to look like your natural hair (and dyed to match) which add volume not simply length. Whilst I have a full head of hair the ends taper off – tadpole-like- and trims are for breakage management only. I reach a certain length – below shoulders usually – and then my hair thins unattractively to the absolutely wispy. This only started once I started dyeing it in my mid 20’s, as a child my naturally dark hair was more equally thick and manelike. A look I still long for.
These tapes are bonded to your hair at the root sandwiching god given locks between two tapes which adds said volume instantly. I had three tapes at each side of my head and six at the back. The whole thing took 30 minutes. They are attached by slotting a grip into place rather than using heat and glue making easy work of thickening and lengthening.
Upkeepwise you can have these tapes for 4 –6 weeks. I am using a lot more good quality shampoo and conditioner (absolute favourite products are Christophe Robin or Jo Hansford which are all paraben free) and have invested in a Tangle Teezer for wet hair (essential). You are dealing with a lot more hair basically so every wet, dry, brush angle requires more effort.
The best bit? I had My Little Pony swishy hair – the kind you see on Instagram attached to 5 star hotels, cocktails and lizard skin lined swimming pools – hurrah! I’ve added an inch and a half in length which is fun but the major benefit is the thickness of my hair which is consistent at every length. No more tapering to an anaemic finish. I can also wear it up really easily – the tapes are not easily visible – hidden under thick handfuls of hair, so I love wearing it in a big bouncy ponytail or, another firm favourite, a side plait which is so generously voluptuous, it’s immediately youth-giving.
And, here’s the funny bit – my husband, ever eagle eyed about any new fashion purchase on my person, spectactulary failed to notice my new hair. He thinks it just suddenly “got long”! And friends I see also fail to notice my hair isn’t real, they simply say “you look so well”. “wow have you been on holiday”?I bloody love it!
I had been a bit concerned that it would be a tad 16/64: you know you look like a kid from behind but when you turn around the 50 plus face is revealed. Another trashy trend a la Kardashian – like Bambi eyelash extensions and boxy stencil brows – but actually this feels like a really fun addition to the beauty artillery. But, at a cost of 400 quid I probably wouldn’t do it that often but the results are genuinely life-enhancing.
Mine lasted longer than promised too – 8 weeks later (after a holiday filled with sea and swimming) I had them removed. Another swift 30 minute process – and felt a whole lot lighter as a result – long hair is beautiful but also more weight and work. Amazingly I get to keep the hair too – it’s currently stored in a bag in my closet – looking all the while like one of my long haired Chinese rabbits! (I currently have seven of those and they also require constant hairbrushing). I can have it refitted at least 3 times, so it’s a special occasion addition in my back pocket. Result.
Nicole, Hair Extension specialist. www.johansford.com
Love Jane X
This article first appeared in www.getthegloss.com