In the past ten years, hair extensions have become a big business. 

Especially in the aftermath of the 'lob' when so many of us took the chop, extensions have boomed all over the world.

Most celebrities, including Blake Lively and Elle Macpherson are admittedly well acquainted with them and most have relied on clip-ins to add volume and length for red carpet events.

Also many Irish celebrities such as Rosanna Davison, Georgia Salpa and Roz Purcell rely on extensions to give their hair more bounce and flare. Ceira Lambert and Zero One salon are huge in Ireland for giving the elite the best extensions on the market – and the demand is growing more and more every year. 

Despite all of this, hair extensions can still have a reputation for looking fake and obvious, as well as being hard to look after. 

Just look at Britney circa early 2005!


Extension professional Louise Bailey tells Harper's Bazaar about all the ins and outs of hair extensions – from which ones are best, to which last longer and which are easier to look after. 

What type is best?

"The quality of natural extensions is better and they offer a more natural finish," explains Louise. "Synthetic hair is more obvious and burns when you use heat on it. 

"Remy quality human hair extensions are best as these are less irritating and easier to work with."


Temporary Vs permanent

Permanent hair extensions are amazing as you'll never be without gorgeous locks. However, they are also harder to look after and they need a lot of maintenance – as well as being way more expensive. Clip-ins are a good alternative – and they can last for six months if you look after them properly.

Plus the beauty of clip ins is you can take them out: so they're good for experimenting with different colours and lengths. 


How should you care for clip ins?

"Wash the ends before each use to give them volume and apply a heat protect product before using heated tools, like you would your natural hair," Louise tells the magazine.


How to find the right shade

Extensions are already dyed and come in tonal hair shades. Louise says that most hair extension specialists will use about three or more shades in any given hair to achieve a natural looking finish.

However if you're matching the colours yourself, try to get a tester swatch and compare the shades in natural light for the best outcome. 


Length and volume

"For length, attach the clip-ins lower down," says Louise. "If your hair is short or you want to want extra volume, go further up to toward your crown."