Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (2024)

Table of Contents
Our top hair extension picks of 2024: Best Ponytail Hair Extensions Best Budget Hair Extensions Best Braiding Extensions Best 4c Hair Extensions: Best Indian Remy Hair Best Professional Tape-Ins Best Loc Extensions Best Yaki Hair Extensions Most Natural-Looking Hair Extensions Best Hair Extensions for Fine Hair Insert Name Here Bella Insert Name Here Bella The details What to try The reviews Locks & Mane Clip-In Extensions Locks & Mane Clip-In Extensions The details What to try The reviews Darling Hair Pre-stretched Braiding Hair Extensions Darling Hair Pre-stretched Braiding Hair Extensions The details What to try The reviews Kinkistry Koilistics Clip-Ins Kinkistry Koilistics Clip-Ins The details What to try The reviews Indique Hair Pure Straight Hair Extensions Indique Hair Pure Straight Hair Extensions The details What to try The reviews Great Lengths Remy Tape-Ins Great Lengths Remy Tape-Ins The details What to try The reviews Boho Locs Goddess Locs Boho Locs Goddess Locs The details What to try The reviews Mayvenn Seamless Clip-Ins Mayvenn Seamless Clip-Ins The details What to try The reviews Bellami Hair Piccolina Hair Extensions Bellami Hair Piccolina Hair Extensions The details What to try The reviews Hidden Crown Halo Extension Hidden Crown Halo Extension The details What to try The reviews Remy NY Ponytail Remy NY Ponytail The details What to try The reviews True Indian Hair True Signature Wefts True Indian Hair True Signature Wefts The details What to try The reviews Glam Seamless Remy Tape-in Glam Seamless Remy Tape-in The details What to try The reviews The Hair Shop Skinny Clip-Ins The Hair Shop Skinny Clip-Ins The details What to try The reviews Which type of hair extensions are best? Which type of hair extensions are best? At-home hair extensions Professional hair extensions Which hair extensions last the longest? Which hair extensions last the longest? How do you wash hair extensions? How do you wash hair extensions? How often do you wash hair extensions? How often do you wash hair extensions? How do you maintain hair extensions? How do you maintain hair extensions? Do hair extensions cause hair loss? Do hair extensions cause hair loss? References
Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (1)

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True story: I once cut my own hair and was left with an uneven mess of "layers" and a whole lot of tears because, yes, I'm dramatic. But that's when I became a firm believer in the magic of hair extensions, and my ultimate mission became finding the best hair extensions that are relatively affordable yet still look expensive as hell. My friends with different hair types and I have personally tested one-night-only clip-ins, professionally installed extensions, keratin-bonded extensions, and sew-ins that protect your natural hair, all in the pursuit of finding the crème de la crème of hair extensions.

And trust me: Good hair extensions—like, reputable, well-made, perfect-for-your-hair extensions—are a quick way to get longer, thicker hair overnight—regardless of what the hell your DNA is doing. That being said, it’s not always easy to find the best hair extensions when there are a million bad (sorry, but true) options out there. So to help you sift through the blah, I teamed up with two experts, hairstylists and hair extensions experts Kat Lewis and Justine Marjan, to give you the full rundown on the best hair extensions for every hair type, texture, and need:

Our top hair extension picks of 2024:

    For the full list of the best hair extensions, keep scrolling. Then I got all your FAQs about the hair extensions answered, including a full breakdown of the different types—like Remy and yaki hair, sew-ins, I-tips, tape-ins, and keratin bonds—along with which extension type is best for your hair, application tips, post-extension care, and more.

    1

    Best Ponytail Hair Extensions

    Insert Name Here Bella

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (13)

    1

    Best Ponytail Hair Extensions

    Insert Name Here Bella

    Now 25% Off

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (14)Easy to put in and remove
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (15)Each ponytail style only comes in one length (between 16 and 34 inches)

    The details

    TBT to the ponytail extensions of our middle school days that were shiny, plastic-y, and came in, like, two shades of blonde. Thankfully, it’s 2023, and extensions brand Insert Name Here (INH) now exist. INH is known for its ponytail extensions that come in a zillion customizable lengths, styles, and colors that range from $49 to $63.

    The brand’s extension hair is made of a synthetic, vegan blend they call “Infini-Flex,” which makes it budget-friendly and surprisingly soft. But if you’re more into Remy hair (aka 100 percent human hair that has never been chemically processed or dyed, and the cuticles all face the same direction), try INH’s range of human hair clip-in extensions. But one of the brand’s coolest innovations, IMO, is their half-up, half-down extension sets that include one clip-in ponytail extension and two clip-in wefts to give you length everywhere else.

    What to try

    INH’s ponytail extensions are some of the easiest to install yourself: Secure your own hair in a ponytail, insert the extension’s comb into the base of your ponytail. Then, to hide the extension base, wrap the extra piece of hair around the ponytail, pinning any excess with a bobby pin. They have about a dozen varieties: short swoopy Bella, long and curly Zoe, long and sleek Mia, and even the long with tinsel Kasey.

    The reviews

    "This beautiful pony is such a perfect way to make a statement on any occasion," reads one review. "Also the quality of this pony is so great for the price; the texture feels like real hair, and blends so magically."

    TRY THEM OUT

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (17)Available in cropped 12-inch length to add volume to short hair
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (18)Some reviewers say the topknot can be hard to blend with their own hair

    The details

    If you’re new to extensions and don’t want to spend a fortune before you know if you’ll love them or not, try Locks & Mane. The brand's extensions are made with 100 percent human Remy hair, so you're working with top-tier real hair at relatively affordable prices (like, the top-knot extension starts at only $35).

    What to try

    Start with the brand's specialty: clip-in extensions, which come in 14 different hair colors and feature clips lined with silicone, so they don’t pull on your natural hair. You can choose between 12- or 18-inch lengths for your clip-ins (which start at $155 and are featured here in this pic), or you can go for the ponytail slide or topknot twist, which will give you volume and length without the clip-in confusion.

    The reviews

    "I can’t say enough good things about these clip-ins," one reviewer writes. "Super secure and natural looking. I’ve recommended them to all of my friends. My hair is a cooler blonde than the toasted, so I used purple shampoo and now they’re a perfect match."

    TRY THEM OUT

    3

    Best Braiding Extensions

    Darling Hair Pre-stretched Braiding Hair Extensions

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (19)

    3

    Best Braiding Extensions

    Darling Hair Pre-stretched Braiding Hair Extensions

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (20)Available on Amazon
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (21)Reviewers love that the hair has no smell or itchy coating
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (22)Some testers say the hair feels too heavy on their scalp

    The details

    If you’re looking for affordable, pre-stretched braiding hair, you definitely need to check out Darling Hair. The brand specializes in synthetic “textured hair extensions,” including crochet extensions, ponytail extensions, and faux loc extensions, and all of the extensions have a soft and natural feel to them. Plus, you can buy them on Amazon, which is a major plus for anyone who feels a little ~uncomfy~ buying from random websites with confusing return policies.

    What to try

    If you want to copy the next-level hair look in this photo, opt for a few packs of the Darling Pre-Stretched Thrive Braiding Extensions in the 52-inch length. They come in three monotone colors and one dip-dye finish, so you can customize your braided look depending on what you pick up.

    "Easy to work with, great texture, and my box braids came out exactly how I wanted."

    The reviews

    "Easy to work with, great texture, and my box braids came out exactly how I wanted," one tester notes.

    TRY THEM OUT

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    4

    Best 4c Hair Extensions:

    Kinkistry Koilistics Clip-Ins

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (23)

    4

    Best 4c Hair Extensions:

    Kinkistry Koilistics Clip-Ins

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (24)Reviewers say it was easy to match their curl pattern
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (25)Need 2 to 3 packs, depending on your volume preferences

    The details

    If you’ve ever tried shopping for hair extensions that actually resemble your 4c hair, you already know there’s a massive void in the market for tighter textures. Enter: Kinkistry, founded by Angelia Fite’, which offers clip-ins, lace closures, draw-string ponytails, lace fronts, and headband wigs, all in textures ranging from 2b waves to 3a curl types to 4c hair, so you can really match your own hair texture—or, obvs, try out a new one.

    What to try

    If you want the most natural-looking clip-ins, you gotta try these. Kinkistry’s clip-ins come in seven different textures, including 4 a/b coils, 4 b/c coils, and more. If you’re not sure which one to try, take a look at the Kurlgenics clip-ins, which resemble 3c/4a textures, and go from there. Prices for all of the clip-ins range from $115 to $180, come in lengths of 10 to 28 inches (!), and can be dyed or straightened at home on your own.

    The reviews

    "I am in love with these kurlgenics clip-ins," one reviewer notes. "Everyone thought it was all my real hair."

    TRY THEM OUT

    5

    Best Indian Remy Hair

    Indique Hair Pure Straight Hair Extensions

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (26)

    5

    Best Indian Remy Hair

    Indique Hair Pure Straight Hair Extensions

    Now 20% Off

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (27)Very minimal shedding, according to testers
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (28)Have 10 retail locations across the U.S. to test IRL
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (29)Doesn’t offer clip-ins or tape-ins

    The details

    Talk to enough stylists, and you’ll hear the name “Indique” thrown around when it comes to high-quality hair extensions. And it makes sense: Indique extensions are 100 percent Remy hair. Another major plus? Indique’s extensions are sewn in a way that they don’t shed, so you can (gently, still) blow-dry, curl, and set your extensions like your natural hair.

    What to try

    If you want totally untouched and natural virgin Indian Remy hair, try the Indique Pure Collection. It’s the OG Indique style and comes in a mix of Straight, Wavy, and Curly textures (my personal fave), with lengths of 10 to 30 inches, and prices ranging from $130 to $350.

    The reviews

    "My overall experience was great!" reads one review. "I decided to invest in some PURE wavy/curly textures earlier this year. I am more than satisfied with the results. As a former salon owner/stylist, I appreciate QUALITY hair extensions. I’m a fan!!"

    TRY THEM OUT

    6

    Best Professional Tape-Ins

    Great Lengths Remy Tape-Ins

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (30)

    6

    Best Professional Tape-Ins

    Great Lengths Remy Tape-Ins

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (31)Available at tons of salons across the U.S.
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (32)Can be hard to wear half-up styles without showing tape

    The details

    Fact: Great Lengths, which has been around since 1993, has ridiculously good quality extensions. Not only are the extensions 100 percent Remy hair, made in Italy, and blended by hand. The hair extensions range from professional pre-bonded to tape-ins (lengths 14 to 22 inches) with a mix of natural shades to bright, bold hues (hi, neon blue).

    What to try

    The tape-in extensions, for sure. Yes, you’ll need your stylist to tape them in for you since they’re salon-based hair extensions (DW—basically every reputable salon offers them), but the results will be so worth it, thanks to the fact that they have a medical-grade adhesive strip, meaning they won’t slide out of your hair at 2 a.m. after a night of dancing. Plus, they can be reused up to three times or left on your head for a full four to six weeks. Um, yes, pls.

    The reviews

    "Best extensions, and I love how the product is ethically sourced and traceable," notes one reviewer.

    TRY THEM OUT

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    7

    Best Loc Extensions

    Boho Locs Goddess Locs

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (33)

    7

    Best Loc Extensions

    Boho Locs Goddess Locs

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (34)Testers say they’re very lightweight
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (35)One pack can cover your entire head
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (36)Can get tangled, according to some reviewers

    The details

    Always wanted to try locs but still can’t bring yourself to fully commit to the timeline? Behold: Boho Locs. They’re handmade faux locs made from synthetic Kanekalon hair that are crocheted into a cornrow base, giving you all the length and twist without the downtime. You can order them in bob-length (12 to 16 inches) or longer lengths (22 to 24 inches), and keep them in for up to 12 weeks.

    What to try

    The O.G. Goddess Locs, for sure—but, like, good luck trying to decide which of the styles to try (you can get red ombré, triple-toned blonde, gray and silver, classic black, and a zillion more). If skinnier locs are more your thing, try the Empress Locs, or if you want even more texture, curls, and volume, go with the Mermaid Locs. See? Like I said—choices.

    The reviews

    "This is my go-to style for vacation," one review reads. "Just rocked them in Costa Rica and Rome in extreme weather. The locs hold up very well even after getting wet and in high heat!"

    TRY THEM OUT

    8

    Best Yaki Hair Extensions

    Mayvenn Seamless Clip-Ins

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (37)

    8

    Best Yaki Hair Extensions

    Mayvenn Seamless Clip-Ins

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (38)Quick customer service response, according to testers
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (39)Some reviewers wish the tape was stickier for an easier install

    The details

    If you’re just looking for excellent hair in general, check out Mayvenn. The brand offers bundles, closures, lace frontals, wigs, and, of course, extensions, all ranging in textures (like straight, Yaki straight, wavy, and curly) and lengths. And the quality of hair is top-notch too: Remy, virgin, or dyed virgin hair, depending on the style you’re looking for.

    What to try

    The clip-in Yaki hair is honestly the best in the game. Refresher: Yaki hair is straight hair with the texture and look of chemically relaxed hair—so not super-sleek, yet still pressed and shiny (to compare, this is the texture of the straight hair vs. the texture of the Yaki straight hair. See?). Mayvenn's Yaki Straight clip-ins are full Remy hair and come in two colors—black or soft black—and two lengths of either 16 or 20 inches.

    The reviews

    "I absolutely love this hair," notes one tester, adding, "it exceeded my expectations. I don’t think I’ll be using any other brands as long as Mayvenn exists. Bundles were in excellent condition, true to length and thick. Perfect, perfect, perfect!"

    TRY THEM OUT

    9

    Most Natural-Looking Hair Extensions

    Bellami Hair Piccolina Hair Extensions

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (40)

    9

    Most Natural-Looking Hair Extensions

    Bellami Hair Piccolina Hair Extensions

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (41)Available in six different weights depending on your hair’s thickness
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (42) Some reviews say they had a hard time matching their color online (but can be done at a Bellami location)

    The details

    Cosmo's former deputy beauty director Chloe Metzger swears by Bellami’s extensions, saying, “the quality is just wildly good—it truly does mimic real, born-with-it hair.” The brand offers primarily 100 percent Remy human hair, but also some high-quality synthetic hair (kind of a rarity, TBH). So, really, you can’t go wrong with whichever hair you choose, which is good, because there are a ton of options: clip-ins (long lengths, bangs, and ponytails), sew-ins, tape-ins, keratin-tip extensions, and I-tip extensions, all at customizable lengths, densities (so you don’t rip out your hair), and colors.

    Overwhelmed? Yup, I get it. But luckily, most of these need to be professionally installed, so either visit a Bellami Beauty Bar if you live near one or have your own hairstylist help you choose the right type to install, or just go the temporary way with some fun clip-ins.

    What to try

    Chloe, who actually went on a trip with Bellami to learn more about these extensions, personally wore and loved the 18-inch Piccolina clip-ins, which are $129, come in 17 colors, and are made with 100 percent Remy human hair. Want your clip-ins to look even more natural? “Next time you get your haircut, take your clip-ins with you and have your stylist cut them to frame your face and hair length,” says hairstylist Kat Lewis.

    The reviews

    "This is my first time using extensions and I’m in love," one tester writes. "I’m using them to give some volume to my thinning hair. They are easy to put it and blend great with my natural hair."

    TRY THEM OUT

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    10

    Best Hair Extensions for Fine Hair

    Hidden Crown Halo Extension

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (43)

    10

    Best Hair Extensions for Fine Hair

    Hidden Crown Halo Extension

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (44)Extensions have tapered ends that blend easily into fine, thin hair
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (45)Can be hard to disguise short hair without additional clip-ins

    The details

    Hidden Crown extensions are known for blending seamlessly into fine hair, thanks to the fact that they don’t attach to your roots like traditional extensions. Instead, the extension hair is adhered to a clear wire that sits gently around your hairline (underneath the top layer of your hair) like a halo. The result? Fuller, thicker-looking hair without visible clips or tapes—even if you don’t have naturally thick hair. Grey’s Anatomy star Camilla Luddington wore Hidden Crown extensions on her wedding day (pictured here), so they’re already celeb-approved.

    What to try

    Um, the Hidden Crown Halo Extensions, of course. Prices range from $199 to $449, depending on the length you want, and the 100 percent human Remy hair is available in 28 shades (including highlights). Plus, you can try the Daydream style, which has tapered ends that blend more seamlessly into thin and fine hair types.

    The reviews

    "I’m very happy with my halo extension," one tester writes. "I have natural black hair and the jet black is a perfect match. I purchased this to wear for a wedding and it definitely helped accomplish the look I was going for."

    TRY THEM OUT

    11

    Best Ethical Hair Extensions

    Remy NY Ponytail

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (46)

    11

    Best Ethical Hair Extensions

    Remy NY Ponytail

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (47)Ponytail extension is offered in eight lengths
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (48)Each order is custom-made and ethically sourced in Vietnam
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (49)Only available in two shades (black and brunette)

    The details

    Here’s a not-so-fun fact about fake hair: It can be a really shady business. And frustratingly, it’s difficult as a consumer to know exactly where your hair extensions are coming from and whether they were ethically sourced. Remy NY, however, buys its hair (at a high price) directly from women in Vietnam while helping to provide them with work opportunities. And the hair itself is gorgeous: completely virgin (meaning it was never chemically treated or dyed) and available in clip-ins, keratin tips, ponytails, and wefts.

    What to try

    Because this is the purest of the pure hair (virgin Remy), the color options are limited: only brunette and black. So to make color matching easier, try the ponytail extension, which comes in lengths of 10 inches to 24 inches and starts at $149. And fun fact, you can dye it just as you would your normal hair—so if you have a slight auburn tint to your hair, you can always color your extensions with a temporary color gloss or take them to your colorist and have her dye them whatever you want.

    The reviews

    "These are the highest quality extensions out there, and I really love how ethically sourced they are. I'll only buy from ethically sourced brands."

    TRY IT OUT

    12

    Best Sew-In Hair Extensions

    True Indian Hair True Signature Wefts

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (50)

    12

    Best Sew-In Hair Extensions

    True Indian Hair True Signature Wefts

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (51)Testers say the hair stays soft and smooth for up to five months
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (52)Some reviewers say the extensions get tangled easily

    The details

    WWTD, amirite? And apparently, Taraji does True Indian Hair extensions (along with Rihanna and Serena Williams), and thus, I trust in True Indian Hair. The New York City–based company uses 100 percent unprocessed human hair that, according to the brand, it gets “directly from donors in East Indian Temples and Brazil.” Thankfully, you don’t have to go that far to get them—you can order straight, wavy, and curly bundles, silk and lace top closures, clip-in ponytails, and more.

    What to try

    Honestly, spring for the True Signature wefts, which can be sewn in by your own hairstylist if you don’t happen to be in NYC. Or if that sounds like a ton of work, go for the EZ Clipz, which, if you couldn’t guess by the name, are super-easy clip-ins that range from $180 to $300 and come in lengths from 14 inches to 26 inches.

    The reviews

    "I am so extremely happy that I finally I found a place to purchase QUALITY 100% virgin cuticle hair," notes one tester.

    TRY THEM OUT

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    13

    Best Tape-In Hair Extensions

    Glam Seamless Remy Tape-in

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (53)

    13

    Best Tape-In Hair Extensions

    Glam Seamless Remy Tape-in

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (54)Reviewers say they feel comfortable against their scalp
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (55)Some testers say the extensions get stringy and dry after a month

    The details

    If you’ve ever Googled “What kind of hair extensions does Khloé Kardashian wear?” Glam Seamless is your answer. (And amongst the other famous people donning these tape-ins on their heads? Ashley Graham.) Although Glam Seamless offers clip-ins, halos, wigs, and wefts, they brand is kind of the ultimate boss in tape-in extensions (which both Khloé and Ashley wear). The hair extensions are 100 percent Remy hair (cuticles intact and facing the same direction) and are loved by celeb hairstylists like Chris Appleton and Giovanni Vaccaro.

    What to try

    No surprises here, but you should most definitely try the tape-ins. Depending on which type you choose (highlights vs. full wefts vs. wavy, etc.), they come in lengths of 12 inches to 24 inches and have 10+ different shade types (including highlights, balayage, and pastels). Try the Glam Seamless Remy Tape-Ins, which come with 20 tape wefts for $130.

    The reviews

    "The hair is great quality; my Glam Seamless tape-ins usually last me around a year which is very impressive compared to other companies I’ve tried," one reviewer writes. "I get questions about my hair constantly and I will recommend Glam Seamless every time."

    TRY THEM OUT

    14

    Best Clip-Ins Hair Extensions

    The Hair Shop Skinny Clip-Ins

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (56)

    14

    Best Clip-Ins Hair Extensions

    The Hair Shop Skinny Clip-Ins

    Pros
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (57)Available in varying weft sizes and clips depending on your hair’s thickness
    Cons
    • Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (58)Extensions might be too thin if you already have thick hair

    The details

    Ask a few celebrity hairstylists for their favorite hair extensions brands, and The Hair Shop is guaranteed to make the list (I know this because I legitimately just asked). Why? It could have something to do with the founder Ryan Tokko being one of the innovators of clip-in extensions back in the ’80s, so you’ve gotta assume the papa of extensions (as I shall now call him) knows a thing or two about really good fake hair.

    What to try

    The Hair Shop’s Skinny Clip-Ins, which are narrow strips of single extensions that you can use to amp up volume and fullness at the sides of your head when your hair is down or in a half-up ponytail or to beef up a braid when you clip them in the back. They are $41, come in lengths of 14, 18, and 22 inches, and are available in 30 different shades. They’re basically the training wheels of at-home hair extensions.

    The reviews

    "These blend so beautifully at the root!" writes one tester. "The color is perfect match, very high quality, and great for fine hair—love it!" adds another.

    TRY THEM OUT

    Which type of hair extensions are best?

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (59)

    The best type of hair extensions for you depends on whether you want to install them at home or in the salon. Although clip-ins are most common (and usually cheapest), that doesn’t mean they’re your only option—or even your best option. Here’s a quick rundown:

    At-home hair extensions

    • Clip-ins are pre-clipped strips of extensions that snap onto sections of your own hair right at the root. Usually, clip-ins tend to be the easiest to play around with at home and can be found at more affordable prices.
    • Tape-ins are pre-taped strips of extensions that are taped or glued along your roots by a stylist (preferable) or by yourself (usually best for one-night-only situations).

    Professional hair extensions

    • Sew-ins, also known as weaves, are extensions that are sewn to your own braided-up hair with a needle and thread by a stylist.
    • Keratin extensions are tiny strands of extensions that are professionally heated and bonded to your own hair with a keratin-based glue.
    • I-tips are strands of extensions that are professionally crimped to strands of your own hair with a flattened microbead without using any heat or glue.

    For what it’s worth, unless you’re looking to get your hair extensions professionally installed, you’ll probably be in the market for clip-in hair extensions or temporary hair pieces, like ponytail extensions, headband wigs, or clip-in bangs. But if you want your extensions to last longer and look realistic? Go for the professional-level tape-ins, keratin, or I-tip extensions, and opt for 100 percent human hair vs. synthetic hair.

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    Which hair extensions last the longest?

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (60)

    Hair extensions can last from one night to six months, depending on the type you buy. I-tip extensions last the longest (between six and eight months), while keratin-bond extensions can last between five and six months.

    On the more temporary side are tape-in and sew-in extensions, which will stay in anywhere from six to eight weeks. To make temporary extensions last even longer, you can get the bonds or tape moved up every six to eight weeks as your hair grows. Even still, after three or four move-ups, you’ll likely want to get a full re-install to deep-clean your scalp and make sure the bonds and tape are positioned evenly.

    How do you wash hair extensions?

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (61)

    Each type of hair extension requires a slightly different washing method. For clip-in extensions, you can wash them in the shower or the sink, just like you’d wash your own hair (here’s a clip-in extension-washing tutorial), and you can air-dry them flat to help them keep their shape (don’t blow-dry without checking the instructions first). If you’re working with professionally-installed extensions, though, you can wash them as you’d wash your own hair with shampoo in the shower and either air-dry or blow-dry them.

    Regardless of the type of extensions, Marjan says you should always wash your extensions with sulfate-free shampoo to avoid drying out the hair. Remember: Hair extensions lack your scalp’s natural oils that keep your own hair moisturized, so they’ll be more prone to drying out, getting poofy, or fraying at the ends. Which is also why you should always smooth a moisturizing deep conditioner through the ends of the extension hair every time you wash.

    Just remember: If you have tape-ins or professionally installed extensions, avoid putting conditioners near your scalp where there are tape and bonds, says Marjan. Oils can dissolve adhesive or loosen bonds, which will shorten the amount of time you can wear them. Instead, keep them smooth and shiny by running hair oil through the lengths of your extensions when they’re wet or dry.

    How often do you wash hair extensions?

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (62)

    How often you wash your extensions will depend on the type of extensions you have and what types of hair products you use. If you’re layering hairspray or texturizing products on your human hair clip-in extensions, you should wash them every two to three wears, but if you keep them product-free, you don’t need to wash your clip-ins until after 15 to 20 wears.

    However, if your extensions are synthetic, you should only wash them if they get gunked up with product or start to have a funky smell, because over-washing can cause them to look stringy and dry.

    Any professionally installed extensions (tape-ins, I-tips, and keratin bond extensions) should be washed between one and three times a week, depending on your hair’s natural oil levels. Don’t worry about shampoo loosening up your extensions; it’s actually better for your tape-ins and beaded extensions to get a good cleanse with a sulfate-free shampoo, because excess oils on the scalp can make the bonds and tape slip more easily.

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    How do you maintain hair extensions?

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (63)

    If you want your hair extensions to remain in good quality, they’ll require some maintenance, whether they’re clip-ins or professionally installed. Marjan recommends protecting your extensions just like you would your natural hair, which includes brushing regularly and avoiding damage whenever possible, especially when styling or sleeping.

    When it comes to brushing, always use a flexible bristle brush that won’t pull and snag, and make sure to hold your extension clips/tapes/bonds down with your hand before brushing to keep them locked in place. As for minimizing damage, try to limit heat-styling to twice a week at most (extension hair often holds a curl better than, say, naturally fine hair, so daily touch-ups aren’t usually needed).

    You’ll also want to protect your hair at night: Sleep on a silk pillowcase or with a silk-lined bonnet to avoid tangles, and consider tying your hair into a loose, low ponytail or braid before bed if you’re prone to knots.

    Do hair extensions cause hair loss?

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (64)

    Hair extensions themselves won’t cause hair loss, but wearing hair extensions repeatedly for years can result in damage due to prolonged tension on your scalp. The heavy weight of extensions “causes stress to the hair follicle over time, which results in chronic pulling and traction,” says dermatologist Karan Lal, MD. The result? “Your hairs can start to break off and become thin,” he says.

    But remember: “Traction alopecia doesn’t happen after one tight hairstyle or set of extensions,” says Dr. Lal, “it happens from years of low-level repetitive traction.” Be diligent about taking your extensions down on time and giving your scalp a break for three to six weeks in between, he says. And if you really want to avoid additional damage, try clip-in extensions instead, since they’re easily removable and the most temporary of extension types.

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    Siena Gagliano

    Associate Editor

    Siena Gagliano is the associate editor at Cosmopolitan, where she primarily covers beauty, fashion, travel, and lifestyle. Wanna know how to get the best brows of your life? Gotchu. What about how to find the best fashion deals of the season, the softest sheets on the market, or exactly how to use retinol without irritating your skin? Check, check, and check. Before joining Cosmopolitan, Siena was a writer at Bustle and several other media outlets. As her 2024 goal, she has vowed to find the best (extra) dirty martini NYC has to offer—and yes, that means ~attempting~ to try every cute co*cktail spot in the city (hit her up with some recs, pls). Follow Siena on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at that magazine life.

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    Beth Gillette

    Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers skincare, makeup, hair, nails, and more across digital and print. She can generally be found in bright eyeshadow furiously typing her latest feature or hemming and hawing about a new product you "have to try." Prior to Cosmopolitan, she wrote and edited beauty content as an Editor at The Everygirl for four years. Follow her on Instagram for makeup selfies and a new hair 'do every few months.

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    Chloe Metzger

    Deputy Beauty Director

    Chloe Metzger is the deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the editorial content and growth strategy of the hair, makeup, and skin space on digital, while also obsessively writing about the best hair products for every hair type (curly girl here; whattup), and the skincare routines that really, truly work (follow her on Instagram to see behind-the-scenes pics of that magazine life). She brings nearly a decade of writing and editing expertise, and her work has appeared in Allure, Health, Fitness, Marie Claire, StyleCaster, and Parents. She also has an unhealthy adoration for Tom Hanks and would like to please meet him one day, if you could arrange that. Thanks.

    Behold: The 14 Best Hair Extensions You Can Actually Afford (2024)

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