You might want to consider this popular beauty trend for your big day.

By Jillian Kramer
Healthy Hair

For brides who dream of long, luscious locks for their wedding days—but who have fine or thinning hair—extensions may be the answer. And one extension method might be worth a deeper look: Hand-tied extensions offer length and fullness, and are virtually undetectable. While hand-tied extensions aren't anything new—in fact, they've been around for decades—they are gaining popularity, says Erin Frazee, owner of and hand-tied hair extensions specialist at Heyday Collective. That's thanks to advances in education that have made hand-tied extensions safer for fragile hair, the pro explains. If you're thinking about this extension method for your own celebration, here's everything you need to know before making an appointment.

How are they installed?

Frazee says hand-tied hair extensions stand out from taped, clipped, or bonded extensions because they're sewn into your natural hair. In this method, a row is attached using beads and thread, and wefts of hair are then attached to this track. "No adhesive is used at all," she says. "The 'hand-tied' part actually refers to the type of wefts of extension hair: A skilled artisan individually ties the highest quality human hair by hand onto a thread at the top of the weft. Because the process is so intricate, the top of the weft is extremely thin and delicate, allowing for multiple wefts of hair to be layered, and still be undetectable in even very fine or thin hair." Installation may vary from salon to salon (and based on the wearer's needs), but hand-tied extensions can take up to five hours to install. That time includes both the installation of the hair and custom color, which ensures the extensions blend seamlessly with the rest of your hair.

What's maintenance like?

This type of extension can last up to ten months, Frazee says, but they do require regular maintenance appointments every six to eight weeks. At those appointments, a specialist will tighten the wefts and freshen your color. (Those appointments last three to four hours, the pro says.) In between maintenance appointments, women can keep their locks in tip-top shape by using professional-grade, sulfate- and paraben-free hair products, as well as opting for leave-in conditioners. And, "if a honeymoon includes a tropical destination, it's important to remember that special precautions must be taken when swimming and when using sunscreen in order to avoid excessive tangling or discoloration, particularly to blonde extensions," Frazee says.

How much do hand-tied extensions cost?

They're not cheap. At Heyday Collective, for example, the "initial installation for hand-tied extensions can run from $1,250 to $2,500, which includes the extension hair, custom color to both the client's hair and the extension hair, cut, styling, and everything required to create a finished look," Frazee says. Maintenance appointments might cost anywhere from $425 to $625.

If you want them for your wedding, when should you schedule an appointment?

The first time you see a specialist shouldn't be on your wedding day, Frazee says. She recommends booking your initial appointment at least two months before the wedding date. "The initial installation appointment is typically more involved in terms of customized color, hair selection, and placement," she explains, while a follow-up appointment addresses any issues with color or placement. By booking a first appointment at least two months before the big day, you're ensure you'll have enough time for that crucial follow-up before the big day. "I like to book the tightening [follow-up] a week out from the wedding so the hair has enough time to loosen over the course of a week to be worn comfortably in any style on the bride's wedding day," she says.

Are they really any better than other options?

The short answer: Yes. And especially so for brides. "Unlike other types of extensions," says Frazee, "hand-tied hair can be worn up in a ponytail or topknot without fear anyone will know they're wearing extensions—as opposed to other methods like tapes, clips, or bonds, which can be difficult to hide if the hair is worn up." Hand-tied extensions are also a smart choice for women with fine hair because they cause minimal damage. According to Frazze, "when installed properly, hand-tied hair can be worn by those with even the most fragile hair, aiding in what could otherwise be an uncomfortable period of slow hair growth."


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