Nowadays, you don’t have to have long, strong, healthy hair to look like you do—nor do you have to put on a full wig to mimic the look. Thanks to the many, many clip-in extension brands on the market, achieving a red carpet-worthy, down-to-there head of hair is as simple as snapping a few extension clips into place. Of course, if you don’t know the right technique, then your could-be stunning hair transformation could look, well, anything but. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be your reality, though—so long as you take the time to discover a few tips, that is. Keep reading to see our full guide on how to blend extensions with short hair.
What to Know Before Buying Clip-In Extensions
Before diving directly in, it’s worthwhile to know that not all extensions are created equally. “The key to a seamless clip-in hair extension comes down to hair quality, the color, and the length,” hairstylist Carolyn Gahan said in a previous interview with Byrdie. “But when you can accomplish all three, clip-in extensions can be such an easy way to create volume, fullness, and length.”
With that in mind, as tempting as it may be to snag a bargain set of clip-ins, when a seamless application is the goal, opting for higher-quality extensions is well worth it. Fortunately for us, many top-notch brands exist, like those from Luxy Hair, Barefoot Blonde Hair, and Insert Name Here (INH).
Speaking of the latter, INH has been expanding its options to cater to more hair types, as the Raye Raye x INH collection features extensions and accessories for wavy, curly, and coily textures. And regardless of the texture chosen, all INH clip-in extensions are made of Japanese synthetic fiber that’s designed to look like the wearer's real hair or Remy human hair. One look at the brand’s Instagram feed and tagged photos, and it’s safe to say these products live up to the claims.
Still, even with a set of high-quality clip-ins, knowing how to apply them makes all the difference in the world. With that in mind, keep reading to learn how to blend extensions with short hair according to INH's director of product, Shauna Lee.
How to Blend Extensions with Short Hair
Less Is Not More
When it comes to a natural-looking head of hair, Lee says that it’s best to opt for a hair extension pack with at least seven pieces, which is the baseline for all INH extension packs (outside of U-clips). This will ensure the most discrete coverage. “More pieces help hide the short, blunt areas better,” she explains. “Our Lites are for those who want a super natural-looking density, our Medium is perfect for a fuller fill and more density at the ends, and our Lux version is for those who want volume throughout without being over the top.”
Of course, if you feel like individually clipping in extensions is too much of a hassle, you can always opt for the previously mentioned U-Clip, which is a single large extension that you install between the top and bottom layers of your hair. The one problem with U-Clips is that they can sometimes look noticeable on short hair, so if you choose to take this route, Lee recommends opting for a curled end look, which will make your hair look layered as opposed to obviously boosted by extensions.
Straighten, Curl, or Crimp Your Hair
In order to achieve the most seamless blend, Lee says that you’ll want your natural hair to be the same texture as your clip-ins so as to not denote where your real hair ends and extensions begin.
Style Your Extensions If Necessary
Since some extensions come straight, you may need to style them, too. In order to create the least tension possible on your natural roots, Lee says to style your clip-ins before installing them to avoid any tugging. “Use a pant hanger to hang the extensions and curl each weft separately for a better blend,” she suggests.
Before applying any heat to your extensions, though, you'll want to ensure that they're designed to withstand high heat—it will say so somewhere on the packaging or in the description. Generally speaking, if you opt for a high-quality set from somewhere like INH, Luxy, or BFB Hair, you're in the clear. It's still always a good idea to check, though.
When heat-styling your extensions, remember to treat them as you would your regular hair: Use a heat protectant and set your tool to the lowest temperature possible to create a texture that holds with minimal damage. (If you're worried about applying products to your extensions, know that many stylists recommend that you do, while also advising that you shampoo and condition them after every few wears.)
Divide your hair.
Once your hair and extensions are styled, it’s time to divide your hair to prepare to clip in your extensions. Rather than clipping them on top of your hair, Lee says to sandwich your extensions underneath your top layer of hair, near the occipital area. To do this, just divide your hair at the occipital area, clip the top layer up, clip in your extensions, and then continue the process of styling and blending.
Clip In Your Extensions
When clipping in each weft, Lee recommends backcombing the hair (brushing down toward the roots) in order for the clips to securely adhere for long-lasting wear. After applying the first weft, move down the back of your head, securing wefts beneath layers of your natural hair. Then, move toward the sides to ensure that your hair looks even all around.
Blend Your Extensions
While clipping in your extensions with care makes a big difference in the end look, Lee says that you’ll still want to gently comb your entire head of hair once everything is in place to really blend your natural hair and the extensions together. Once you get the result you want, enjoy how seamlessly blended the extensions look with your shorter hair.
Up Next: Discover everything you ever wanted to know about getting tape-in extensions.