My Nano Ring Hair Extension Journey

3 September 2021

 Hair Extension tips from someone who has had them for a month 😅

I did it! After spending the last three and a half years working really hard at ruining my hair by bleaching at home with box dye, getting it all cut off, dying it brown and then getting the straw like remanence of what was once a full head of hair professionally lightened again I finally bit the bullet and got 200g of someone else's hair attached to my head to help me not hate myself every time I see my reflection. 

I'd been wanting extensions ever since I got it cut or short but they're expensive and way out of my budget I would've hated my short hair less if there weren't so many layers (necessary because of the damage) making impossible to style but thanks to a very generous amount of birthday money I was able to start shopping around for quotes and info. I had decided that I definitely wanted to go for Nano rings, my best mate has had them as well as other friends and they seemed the longer lasting method and easy to maintain.

Shop around 

At first I started looking at a variety of salons and tried to work out prices etc. but with the extension industry being a competitive market, not many salons and stylists are comfortable with transparently sharing prices and those that do mostly only share the cost of hair and estimated costs for fittings; I also so noticed that some also have hidden costs for drying and styling afterwards and often push sales for products and I didn't want to end up spending money on things that I didn't need so I started looking at mobile stylists and noticed a slight decrease / more transparency in prices and more flexibility with appointments. 

Research Research Research

Being completely new to Extension Land meant that I had to spend time looking at bad and good extension fittings on YouTube, knowing the quality of service and product that I wanted to pay more made me picky with who I went with and less likely to invest money in poor extensions and a poor job. Things to look out for include a perfect colour match, flawless blend, enough hair at the top of the head and Nano rings that are flat to the head rather than poking out. I queried prices with one stylist and she said she could to a colour match via photo, I appreciate that this is possible in most instances but I wanted to a face to face consultation before I booked a fitting or paid for hair. In the end I found the perfect stylist who had reasonable prices, no hidden fees and did a really professional job, explaining each step and the aftercare needed and as a bonus we had a really good laugh during the few hours that it took to fit them in.

Prepare for pain 

Pain might be a slight exaggeration but they're bloody uncomfortable for the first couple of days and take some getting used to I would defo recommend taking some paracetamol before bed on the first night, the tight sensation combined with the feeling of having loads of little bits of metal stuck to your head makes finding a comfy position to sleep a challenge. I managed to tolerate the discomfort without pain relief because I'm hard and by the third day I'd got used to the situation and barely noticed them there until I went to scratch my head and felt a bead. High up do's are a no go for a while, I can do a one-up job a week later but to be honest having my long locks down and proud is my current go-to and when I want them out of the way, I pop it all in a plait and Bob is your actual Uncle.

Looking after them 

Aftercare was one of my biggest worries, I'd heard nightmares of extensions matting or falling out and I wasn't prepared to invest a tonne of money into something to end up destroying it after the first wash. I looked into the best and affordable shampoos and conditioners and found that the OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk range is working wonders on keeping my extensions and natural hair clean and soft, it's also paraben and sulphate free which is really important when it comes to extensions. I use a heat protector spray when styling as well as leave in conditioner and Phillip Kinglsey Bond Builder Split End Remedy which is an absolute miracle worker, you don't have it, get it. I also make sure that I exclusively use a tangle teaser brush or something similar - basically a brush without bobbles at the ends of the bristles to reduce snagging and pulling and always fully dry it before bed and plait it. 

Washing and Styling

Washing was the thing I was most daunted by when it came to getting extensions, I won't lie, before I had them I was prone to a quick dunk in the bath and rinse with the shower head after but extensions need to be washed in the shower with the head titled back to reduce matting and knotting and oh my god it felt like a weight was dragging me down when I first got them wet! I'm completely used to it now have got into a good routine of not washing them to often (twice a week) and making sure they're thoroughly clean. I start with massaging shampoo very gently into my scalp ensuring that I don't disturb the rings but also getting in all the nooks and crannies and then allowing that shampoo to rinse into the lengths and sort of rub it in with a top up of shampoo, I then add lots of conditioner to the lengths and the ends of my natural whilst avoiding the rings and roots and then leave it in for a couple of minutes to soak in the moisturising goodness. I allow my hair to air dry for as long as possible and then go over it with the hair dryer to make sure it's 100% dry and then style as usual. I tend to only use heat on my hair when I was it and straighten it, plaiting it each night gives it a nice subtle wave that lasts all day and using minimal heat reduces damage and wear. 

Would I get them again?

Absolutely, categorically a big massive yes. My hair has always been part of my identity almost like a comfort blanket and having it short made me feel less confident. I think I'm in a good enough routine to get longevity out of my current hair and will definitely invest in getting more until my natural hair has grown to a length that I'm comfortable with. There's various conversations about the risks that extensions pose to the integrity of natural hair but this something that I'll assess and make a final decision about when I have a maintenance fitting in a few weeks. For now, I am loving my long locks. 


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