After scrolling through Instagram and flipping through your favorite magazines, you’ve probably pondered how celebrities always seem to have such great hair. You’ve also probably attributed their stylish manes to pricey professionals who meticulously style hair to the nines, and not given it much thought beyond that. Truth be told, these A-listers are just like us and need a little help when it comes to fullness in the hair department. So how do they manage to have such lush locks at all times? It’s one of those things we know is the secret but don’t often talk about: hair extensions.
Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about Hollywood's biggest hair secret.
Best tressed celebs from Beyoncé to Kylie Jenner use extensions to create the voluminous styles we lust after. Seriously—almost every female celebrity is wearing extensions at any given moment, and not just a few—we’re talking above-average amounts, like a full head, in some cases. Celebrity extension specialist Priscilla Valles, whose regular clients include Chrissy Teigen and Christina Aguilera, says, “Believe it or not, most clients use extensions for thickness over length.” Extension expert at Ramirez Tran Salon in Los Angeles Violet Teriti echoes this notion, saying, “I would say 70 percent of females wear extensions these days. Most of them use extensions to create big volume.”
A common misconception when using extensions to fake fullness is that locks will be damaged beyond repair. But Teriti’s preferred method, micro-beaded individual extensions, will result in a gorgeous mane with zero harm to your natural hair. “The technique I use is invisible individuals. There is no glue, heat, keratin, or tapes being melted during installation, so my clients prefer it.” Each strand has a tiny copper bead through which the hair is threaded, and the beads’ silicone interior cushions and protects the natural hair. “It is installed one by one, almost all over the client’s hair, about two to three inches away from the hairline and half a millimeter away from the scalp. They are flat as paper, and no one ever will notice them even if hair is worn in a slicked-back ponytail.”
Valles is also a fan of individuals. “I work with individuals and tapes. Individuals are my favorite method. You can pretty much build a wig on a head,” she says. Getting single extensions like these may be the way to go if you need a more customized look. “You can also build a color, adding highlights or lowlights without coloring natural hair,” Valles adds. Wearers of the individuals can expect them to last for a solid three months or more, if you’re careful—but also be ready for a three-hour appointment at the salon for installation.
Other techniques are just as effective and might be right for you if you don’t need a full head of hair or are looking for something even more temporary. “I have some clients in a full head for thickness and length, or some clients just have a couple rows in for a little thickness,” says Valles. “Tape-ins are very quick and easy: two pieces of extensions with your hair sandwiched in between. It’s sort of like having clip-ins that last up to three months. You can reuse the hair with tape ins up to three or four times and are easy to take care of.”
The pros also give their advice to newbies looking for fake fuller hair with extensions. Teriti stresses the importance of quality hair and technique, “It’s very important to have the right technique and good-quality hair. I use hair imported straight from Russia. None of the hair is colored or even toned.” Valles says, “If someone is interested in getting extensions, my advice is to find someone who is a certified extensionist. From Great Lengths for individuals or Hair Lingerie for tape-ins, ask for before-and-after photos.” It’s always important to consult with a professional before fully committing, but it’s safe to say that embracing extensions is the fastest way to achieve fuller hair, whether you’re a celeb or not.
Interested in long-term options? Check out a review from a writer who wore hair extensions for nine years.