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Whether you’re looking to add length, volume, or a little bit of both—the easiest (and fastest) way to do so is with hair extensions. And while extensions were once thought of as a super high-end service reserved solely for celebs on the red carpet, they’re now more accessible than ever with tape-in options you can use at home.
As the name suggests, the extensions are attached to a strong adhesive. When applying them, the natural hair is sandwiched in between two extension pieces, and the adhesive attached to the scalp, explains Leigh Hardges, stylist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon. Application is fairly quick and easy; it requires no tools or chemicals, and can take less than an hour to apply a full head’s worth with minimal damage when done correctly, adds stylist Gina Rivera, CEO of Phenix Salon Suites. (Though on that note, if you plan on sporting extensions for more than just one night out, it’s always best to leave it up the pros, since the placement of each piece is critical.)
Curious to try the best tape-in extensions? Try any one of these and watch yourself transform into a real-life Rapunzel.
Hardges is a fan of these extensions, both because of the “great quality” of the hair and the predictable results they deliver. There’s an incredibly wide range of color and length options, as well as wavy varieties for when you want a little texture. You can also pick from different types of tape wefts and visible or non-visible sew lines (the spot where the hair and the tape meet). They even have singular pieces meant for easy DIY application, ideal for anyone who doesn’t have time for a trip to the salon.
Rivera suggests these for anyone looking for some of the best quality extensions out there. “These Remy virgin hair extensions are a terrific choice because the hair used has cuticle layers facing the same direction from root to end. This ensures that the extensions behave exactly like your own hair, and can be washed, blow-dried, curled, flat ironed, colored, and even permed,” she says.
She also points out that they’re incredibly lightweight and supple, making for a full and voluminous effect.
For those not quite ready to shell out the big bucks on extensions, this wallet-friendly pick is choice. Satisfied Amazon shoppers repeatedly comment on how impressive the quality is, particularly given the price tag. Made of Remy hair, they come in a nice variety of lengths, weights, and colors, and last one to two months. However, they also come with replacement tape which can be swapped in to extend the life even longer, and the tape used also happens to be hypoallergenic.
Another one of Hardges’ picks, this is a great pro option for the salon. “The hair is thick and tangle-free, and consistently good every time,” she says. Also noteworthy is the unique type of tape they use, which sits perfectly on the scalp and can be removed quickly and easily.
Maybe you’re trying to match your hair color exactly, or maybe you’re looking for extensions in just a slightly different color to create faux highlights. Or maybe you want a crazy bold hue for a one-time event. Either way, you can find the color you need with this brand, a recommendation from Rivera who lauds both the selection and quality.
There are, wait for it, 60 different shades of tape-in extensions to choose from, ranging from natural blonde and brunette to funky green and purple. Plus, they’re all made of Remy hair and come with more pieces per package than many other brands offer.
Generally speaking, most extensions come in three, four, maybe five different lengths. But these come in a whopping seven options, ranging from 12 inches all the way to 24 inches. This makes them choice for creating any and every kind of hair look, as well as those with shorter strands who are perhaps looking to add a little bit of length and fullness but in a super subtle way. Made of Remy hair, they can also be treated and styled as you would your own locks.
The adhesive on these is a unique polyurethane tape that was developed and tested over three years—meant to deliver both secure applications, easy removal, and comfortable wear the entire time. The end result? Six to nine weeks of wear for each application, but up to a year's lifespan for each piece, perfect when you want to reuse your extensions. Each one also has double-sided tape so that you can sandwich the natural hair in between each weft—there’s also a single-sided tape option for finer hair. Not to mention that there are varying lengths and plenty of colors to choose from, too.
This affordable option offers plenty of versatility; it can be used with any hair extension application, including tape, weaving, or clip-ins, making these a great pick for anyone who likes to change up how they use their extensions. Available in a few shades, each one is perfectly multi-dimensional to blend well with a variety of natural hair colors. And with a higher percentage of strands than may other 18-inch extension options, you also get uniform thickness and volume from top to bottom.
Made of 100% human Remy hair, these are an Amazon fan favorite. They consistently pull in five-star reviews, with shoppers raving about the quality and affordable price. They come five lengths ranging from 14 to 22 inches and 17 shades, though if none of those are doing it for you, you can also color them, though keep in mind that you can’t lift (AKA lighten) the color.
Hardges notes that in order to keep the look as natural as possible, stick with no more than 12 to 15 extension pieces throughout your hair; using more than that can make them look very obvious.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there.
Meet the Expert
- Leigh Hardges is a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. A self-proclaimed product junkie, she has over 15 years of professional experience and has worked with many brands as an educator and stylist. She’s also a black hair expert.
- Gina Rivera is a hair artist and the CEO of Phenix Salon Suites, one of the fastest-growing salon companies in the beauty industry. She’s also the creator of her own line of styling products and infrared styling tools.