Follow Up: Tape-In Hair Extensions Experience

After almost 6  months with long, voluminous, blonde hair extensions, I type this post extension-free and with hair that barely touches my shoulders.  Let me tell you how I got here.

If you want to read about my tape-in hair extension installation experience, click here

braid

The way we were

Do I miss my extensions?  Yes and No.  Did I love having them? Yes and No.  Would I get them again?  Yes and No.  Instead of continuing to play this super fun guessing game, I’ll just give you a list of my pros and cons of having tape-in hair extensions:

Pros

  • The biggest and most obvious pro was the increased length and volume the hair extensions gave me.  It was AMAZING and borderline life-changing.  I’ve always had very thin hair that never grew much past my shoulders, so being able to swing around a long, full ponytail made me feel like Britney Spears circa 2003 and that is never a bad thing.
    Image result for britney spears 2003
    How I felt I looked  (Image Source)
  • I was able to save the majority of the hair extensions.  My stylist, Ashley, sent me home with a bag of hair (not creepy at all!) since the hair itself was still in very good shape.  The tape bonds on the other hand…not in great shape.  Six months of use was all they could take.  But – Ashley indicated that the hair could be re-used as fusion extensions if I’d like to eventually put them back in.  Fusion extensions require less maintenance (no monthly removal and re-installation like tape) and can be kept in for 3-4 months.
  • The extension removal process only takes 20 minutes!  Win.
  • I was a bit scared that I would lose a ton of hair from wearing the extensions so long and from the removal process, but I was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case.  However, my hair had not been cut or trimmed in 6 months so naturally the ends looked, well….incredibly terrible and dead when the extensions were removed.

Cons

  • Speaking of the removal process – When the extensions were all removed, I felt like I had no hair.  None.  Zero.  Now obviously I still had hair but the feeling was very odd and unsettling after having long, thick hair for so long.  It was jarring.  I couldn’t stop touching my natural hair and feeling like it was MUCH thinner than it used to be, although really it was basically the same as before extensions.  I had a glass or three of wine when I came home and quickly got over it.

Image result for bill murray kingpin

How I felt I looked  (Image Source)
  • If you color or highlight your hair like me, it can be tough for the stylist to work around the extensions.  Not impossible by any means, just more of a hassle and adds an extra 30 minutes to the appointment.
  • I will preface this bullet by saying that I had my extensions during the dead of winter in Chicago, and that usually deters me from wanting to walk to the gym, but the extensions also added to my increased ability to say “Nope” to working out.

    Getting tape-in extensions wet or sweaty means immediately having to wash and blow dry, and who wants to do that every day when you have super long, thick hair?  I was on a routine of washing/blow drying/styling only twice a week and filling in with dry shampoo the rest of the time.  Hence working out didn’t happen much more than twice a week, either.  Whoops.

alone, bed, bedroom

Who needs exercise when you have great hair tho
  • Say goodbye to running your fingers through your hair when you have tape-in extensions.  Or massaging your scalp.  Or being able to easily scrub that shampoo around in a lather like they do in commercials.  It definitely took awhile to get used to having to be so gentle with my hair and scalp.  And truthfully I missed being able to run my fingers through my hair.
  • Speaking of scalps, that bitch is going to ITCH like you wouldn’t believe, at least for the first week or so after having the extensions installed.  Thankfully after the first week or so the itch went away (and I got used to the added weight of the hair).  At least I now have acquired a new skill – the weave pat.
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(Image Source)

  • The is the most minor of the cons, but I couldn’t put my hair up into a high ponytail or bun anymore.  If I did, the extension bonds would show and no one wants to see that.  This wasn’t all terrible though because it forced me to come up with new half up/half down styles, braids and lower ponytails.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really loved having tape-in hair extensions.  They definitely required a bit of work – and more than a bit of money – but they made me feel amazing and gave me a big confidence boost.  And isn’t that really the point of anything we do in the name of beauty?

Since I was able to keep most of the hair I purchased, and it was v. v. expensive, I may have the extensions put in next fall.  I wanted to give my natural hair and my scalp a break for the spring and summer, at the very least.  So I leave you with the final tip to do what I did – schedule a hair cut for the day after extension removal.  Your natural hair will need it, trust me.

I decided that after having long hair for half a year, I was ready to get rid of all those dead ends and go with a lob (long bob).  My inspiration?  ‘Sex & the City’ Carrie, Season 4, Drunk at Vogue + Betty Draper.  Did I pull it off?

carrie

new

I hope you enjoyed my extension experience review?  Any questions for me?  Let me know 🙂

Budget Beauty: Queen Helene

Hi! I’m alive!  My sincere apologies for the posting hiatus, my real life job got in the way and I’ve also been trying this new thing called “Don’t Spend All Of Your Money On Beauty Products Because You Need To Pay Rent And Eat.”  So in the spirit of frugality, today I have a post for you on one of my latest budget beauty discoveries: Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream.

qh

Photo Credit: sallybeauty.com

Now I know that the word “cholesterol” paired with packaging straight out of 1965 might not be all that appealing at first glance, but there is a reason the Queen Helene brand has been around since the 1930s.  QH products have been used by generations of women because they’re high quality and incredibly affordable.  I guarantee your Mom or Grandma has a tube of the Queen Helene mint julep face mask somewhere in her bathroom.

mask

The OG of face masks

The Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Cream popped up on my Amazon recommendations, and since Amazon is the greatest gift to mankind and has never failed me, I figured I’d give this actual tub of lard a shot.  Here are the details:

  • An intensive cholesterol conditioner that penetrates severely dry, damaged and chemically-processed hair.
  • Strengthens and conditions; gives added moisture to sun-dried, over-processed hair.
  • With regular use, hair regains softness, healthy sheen and long-lasting manageability.

This product clearly is not for those of you blessed with naturally great hair.  This product is for people like me who put their hair THROUGH IT – bleaching/coloring, chemically processing, heat styling, sun exposure, etc.

If you’ve been less than kind to your hair, or just have naturally dry, curly hair like me, this stuff will seriously work some miracles.  Even better, it’s cheap!  You can get a 15 oz. tub from Amazon for $6.99 and I’ve seen it cheaper at Walgreen’s, Sally’s and CVS.

How To Use

This stuff can be a bit tricky to use, and my first couple tries I didn’t use it correctly and thought I had wasted $7 that could’ve gone to much better use at Taco Bell. Thankfully the kind souls of the internet pointed out the correct way to get the most out of it:

  1. Shampoo as you normally would.  Towel dry hair.
  2. Grab your tub of cholesterol (doesn’t that sound…sexy?), mix a small handful of the cream with a squeeze of your favorite conditioner and a little bit of warm water.
  3. Apply all over hair and work in as you would shampoo.  This cream is great for your scalp, too.
  4. Cover hair with a plastic shower cap.
  5. Heat up a damp towel in the microwave for 45 seconds and put the hot towel over the shower cap.  This is KEY.  If you don’t use heat, the cholesterol just sits on top of your hair without sinking in and you’ll be left with a greasy, limp mess when you rinse it out.  You need to warm it up and melt it in.
  6. Hang out for 30 minutes to an hour.  When the towel feels cool, get it damp, heat it up again and throw it back on your head.  I usually reheat the towel 2-3 times during the course of an hour.  Yes, this sounds like a lot of work, but do what I do and refill your wine glass each time you heat up the towel and I promise you will be having a great time. Bask in the glow of self care.
  7. Rinse out thoroughly with warm water and apply a small amount of conditioner.  Let that sit for a second or two and do a final rinse with the water as cold as you can possibly stand it.

I do this treatment at least once a month, twice if I can remember to, and it leaves my hair super soft, shiny and I swear it feels thicker.  That may just be wishful thinking but I’ll take it.

shine

Not even my terrible bathroom lighting can dull that shine

Are you a fan of Queen Helene?  Have any budget beauty recommendations?  Let me know!

Tips for Maintaining Dyed Blonde Hair

I am not, and never will be, a natural blonde. Everyone knows blondes have more fun and if you know me personally, you know that one of my main priorities in life is having fun at all times.  Thanks to science and bleach, I’ve been having my hair dyed and highlighted blonde for a good 15 years and I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever go back to my natural brunette color.  Blonde just suits me.

However, anyone who regularly colors their hair knows that the process can be expensive, time consuming and very harsh on your hair.  Thankfully, there are a few easy tips and products you can use to maintain bleached/dyed blonde hair and stretch out your money and time between trips to the salon:

  1. Stay near your natural color

This one kind of goes without saying, but, trying to go platinum blonde if you naturally have jet black hair is going to be a very long, very expensive, and probably physically painful process.  We’re talking about bleach here.  That shit does NOT play around and can sting like a thousand wasps are burrowing into your scalp.

curls

My natural color is a fairly light brown so I stick to a honey-colored blonde dye with a half-head of bleach (platinum) highlights thrown in every 3 or 4 months.  Every six weeks I have only the new growth (roots) touched up with the dye and that helps keep the rest of my hair from being colored/damaged more than it needs to be.  Which brings me to my next point…

  1. Condition. Deep condition.

aussie

Bleach and dye are incredibly drying and damaging to the hair. That’s just the way it goes.  You can help slow and repair that damage with weekly deep conditioning treatments.  My absolute favorite is the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioners.  The bottle says to leave it on for three minutes but I’m a “Go big or go home” kind of person so I typically apply this conditioner post-shampoo, throw a raggedy shower cap over it (sexy!) and let it sit for an hour while I rot my brain with the latest episode of Real Housewives of NYC.

10

Another conditioning product I love and use religiously is the It’s a 10 Blonde Miracle Leave-In Treatment.  This leave-in smells great, protects your hair during heat styling, detangles, enhances shine and helps keep color treated blonde from turning orange and brassy.  This stuff is legit.

  1. Use a purple shampoo

Another ally in the fight against brassiness, purple shampoo helps balance the yellow tones in blonde hair to make them brighter.  John Freida makes a good purple shampoo but I’m cheap and buy the generic Clairol Shimmering Lights Shampoo online or from Sally’s.

purple
Photo credit: thethriftygirlsguide.com

As you can see, this shampoo is extremely purple so a little goes a long way.  If you use it too often or leave it on too long it can actually give your hair a purple tinge.  If that’s your thing, rock on.  If not, only use it once or twice a week.

  1. Don’t wash your hair so often

batiste
Photo credit: berenicebeauty.wordpress.com

This is a tip for really anyone but especially for us bleach blondes.  Unless you’re getting crazy sweaty, there’s no need to wash your hair daily.  Washing every day strips your scalp of its natural oils and when you’re dehydrating your hair with bleach and color, you need all the moisture you can get.  It may take your hair and scalp some time to get used to not being washed every day, but you hair will thank you once it adjusts.  Plus, color won’t fade as fast when you’re not stripping it with shampoo chemicals every day.  Get some dry shampoo (Batiste is my hands-down favorite) and learn to embrace the natural body and shine slightly dirty hair can give you.

Hope this helps all of my other faux-Marilyn Monroe’s out there!