There seem to be two types of people in the world: those born with naturally fast-growing, thick, lustrous locks and the rest of us. While I've spent the last two years growing out the pre-lockdown lob I got back in 2019, I've had friends who, in the same time, have chopped off more than 10" for charity - and had it all grow back.
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To help get me out of the mid-length limbo I've been living in for the last few years - and to try out a new look this year - I decided to pay a visit to Taylor Rose, London’s leading micro ring hair extensions specialist. However, as a complete newbie to the world of extensions, I had a lot of questions and a fair few fears too. Would the hair extensions damage my natural hair? Would it be really obvious that I had them in? And was I really prepared for the upkeep that extensions require?
I transformed my mid-length locks into luxurious long tresses
Luckily, I was in great hands with the lovely Gem Jones, the salon's founder and owner who was able to not only transform my damaged, lacklustre locks into beautiful, long tresses but share the lowdown on everything you need to know about micro ring extensions…
What are micro ring hair extensions?
Micro ring extensions are arguably the best way to add extra length and volume to your hair because, unlike other methods, they use no glue, wax, weaving or tape. Instead, micro rings use a technique whereby tiny, undetectable copper rings are used to combine strands of your natural hair with expertly coloured matched extensions.
At Taylor Rose, they use 100% real hair which, unsurprisingly, both looks and feels incredibly natural, lightweight and soft. They offer three different lengths - 18”, 20” and 22” - but can also provide longer lengths upon request. I opted for 20” and was even able to select wavy hair extensions that blend seamlessly with my own hair’s natural texture. While Gem did inform me these can feel drier compared to their regular, luxury extensions, it was definitely the better choice for me. It’s almost impossible to tell where my hair ends and the extensions begin!
How long do micro ring hair extensions take to apply?
With her expert hands, Gem worked efficiently and quickly and I was out the salon and swishing around London with my brand new locks in no time. My full-head of extensions took three hours to apply, but if you choose to go for a three-quarter or a half-head, it will obviously take less time than this.
How long do micro ring hair extensions last?
This was one of the biggest selling points for me. While other techniques may last from as little as a day (clip-ins) to eight weeks (tape), micro ring extensions can last for between four to six months.
I opted for 20" full head extensions
Because over time your micro rings will move further away from your roots, maintenance appointments are required to adjust the micro rings back into their original position - and keep them from being noticeable. At these appointments, they simply unclamp the micro ring and move it back up the hair, meaning extensions are good for another few weeks!
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Do micro ring hair extensions ruin your hair?
The short answer is no. As I mentioned, because the process is so gentle on your natural hair, as long as you look after your extensions by attending your maintenance appointments, properly washing your hair (more on that later) and generally adopting good hair practices, you shouldn’t have any issues.
The Taylor Rose salon is located in Tooting Broadway, South London
In fact, as Gem tells me many previous customers have noted how healthy their hair is after taking their extensions out because while they were wearing them, they ended up using less heat styling products on their natural hair.
How do you look after your hair with micro ring hair extensions?
If you want your extensions to go far and last as long as possible, you want to be taking care of them as you would your own hair. You should always use a tangle teaser or specialist hair extension brush when brushing your (at least) 80% dry hair and always be gentle. Any vigorous brushing can result in shedding or can cause the extensions to slip down or come out as well as damage your natural hair follicles.
As for washing, it’s recommended that you only wash your hair two to three times a week with sulphate-free products. Hair should be 80% dry before blowdrying and you want to make sure that you dry the bonds at the root thoroughly. It’s also advised that you do not use heated tools over 185° when you're styling to keep your extensions in the best condition.
When it comes to your bedtime routine, it’s recommended that you never, ever go to bed with wet hair and secure your extensions in a protective style, such as braids. However, if you want to go one step further, you can also invest in a silk pillowcase or scarf as I did, which means you wake up to beautiful, untangled locks every morning. It also helps with keeping your hair clean between washes.
WATCH: A step-by-step guide to using clip-in hair extensions
How much do micro ring hair extensions cost?
Hair extensions are expensive, it’s no secret, but if you’re going to invest in some it seems that micro rings are the best option. Not only is the hair 100% real human hair, but you know you’re getting at least four months wear out of them - and perhaps even longer. Prices at start at £465 for a half head of 18”, and that includes the price of the hair as well as the fitting and bespoke colour match.
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