With a million and one brands out there, getting your hands on a good batch of extensions is like finding gold. The unlimited supply makes it hard to sift through and differentiate the average extensions from the fierce extensions—there’s a big difference. I’ve had my fair share of extensions and can easily point out the brands I won’t ever be revisiting. It took a whole lot of trial and error, research, and crowd-sourcing to find my favorite brand. It felt like I hit the lottery when I discovered Indique Hair Extensions.
Worn by A-listers like Rihanna, Zendaya, Jennifer Lawrence, and Gabrielle Union, these coveted locks are my crème de la crème.
Here, I'm wearing Indique extensions:
When wearing extensions, be cautious of tangly, shaggy strands that shed everywhere. It’s one of the most common characteristics of poor-quality extensions. Pay attention to the sizes of the extensions’ wefts, shade range, and texture. Always feel your extensions before you commit to them; they should be smooth, soft, and natural to the touch. Ever catch yourself staring at your favorite starlet’s hair and wondering how you can get yours to look the same? Well, you can start with familiarizing yourself with the extensions they wear.
Naturally, we should start with the brand I'm wearing. If your hair is naturally curly or kinky, this will likely be your go-to brand. Everyone from Oprah to Jorja Smith loves Indique—Chaka Kahn loves them so much she even released a collaboration. All of the hair is 100% natural, virgin, and top of the line.
"The tape-in wefts from Hair Lingerie are great for adding volume and length," says George Papanikolas, who is Matrix's celebrity stylist and does the hair of celebrities like Madonna and Hailey Bieber. "Unlike many other extension brands that don't take well to coloring and highlighting, Hair Lingerie can be easily customized to blend perfectly with the client's color. The quality of the hair is very soft and silky and stays this way, which allows the client to reuse the hair. All they need to do is wash and add more glue to the wefts to reuse.
They come in large pieces, so application is fast and easy, plus the large pieces distribute the weight so that they don't rip out the hair.
"They're also easily removed with oil sprayed on the tape, which makes them slide off. The removal process can be the most damaging to the hair as it can cause lots of breakage. For the client, it's important to keep the extensions hydrated with Biolage R.A.W. Re-hab Mask ($30)," Papanikolas says.
A relative newcomer on the scene, Insert Name Here (also known as INH) was founded by two former Colourpop employees who saw a market opening and jumped on it. No, the extensions aren't real hair, but they're good enough for Ariana Grande, so they're definitely good enough for us. The brand is—naturally—most famous for their easy-to-use ponytail extensions.
"My favorite go-to for hair extensions is His & Her Hair, based in L.A.," discloses Larry Sims, Schwarzkopf's celebrity hairstylist, known for his looks on Zendaya and Gabrielle Union. "Their assortment is endless, especially for textured hair. They always hook me up when I'm in need of a custom style, and their creations are gorgeous. They have options for every hair type and color, so there's literally something for everyone. Think textures like loose waves and Hollywood glamour curls in shades like standard blonde, brunette, ombré, and more.
The quality is the best, in my opinion."
However, when it comes to wigs, Sims admittedly has a different favorite: "My top pick for wigs has to be Cal East Imports—they're beautiful, great quality, and affordable. There's nothing else you could ask for."
If hair extensions look so good that Gigi Hadid will wear them on the red carpet at the CFDA awards, they'll certainly amp up anyone else's hair for a few days as well. This particular 'do was created by Victoria's-Secret-Angel-favorite hairdresser Danielle Priano using two different lengths of extensions to create that dreamy, fairy-like look.
His & Her Hair isn't the only place Larry Sims goes for extensions. He continues on to tell us, "Another favorite is Extensions Plus because they also have a wide variety of wigs, clip-ins, sew-ins, and more for all hair types."
The Hair Shop is a standard, national, no-frills no-gimmick brand for any kind of hair extensions you could want. Their extensions are beloved by pros, so much so that Glen Oropeza (whom you might know as @glencocoforhair) uses them on nearly all his high-profile celebrity clients, Olivia Culpo and Paris Hilton included. If you want the go-to extensions for pros, these are as close as you'll come without a cosmetology license.
If a friend of yours posted asking for hair extension recommendations, Luxy would definitely come up in the conversation. That's how ubiquitous this hair brand is. Given the fact even Jen Atkin is willing to use them on Bella Hadid, we'd be willing to bet you'll be happy with a set, too. Can't decide which? There's even a quiz on the site to help you along.
Did you know that socialite-favorite designer brand Balmain makes hair extensions? Thinking about it, it makes sense given the same people we see wearing their clothing are often also the ones with hair on point. They even have a whole haircare line and salons—which means we have a new bucket-list place to get our hair done.
Next up: the must-know details if you're interested in trying tape-in extensions.