I've been having this conversation with my guests again and again in my chair, so I think this post is overdue. Stay with me; it's a long one.
I'll start from the very beginning (a very good place to start.) I've been doing NBR extensions since November of 2014. When I started, all NBR artists purchased the hand-tied hair from one brand, as Danielle White (the creator of NBRs) recommended. Ill call it XHair, as I'm not trying to name drop and bash a brand. Actually, it was part of our contract, in order for our work to be considered legit NBR we had to use the XHair brand of hand-tied hair. Hand tied wefts are probably the least commonly used type of extensions because they're tedious to produce. Its hard to find a distributor who produces hand tied wefts so without question I went with the XHair brand.
I loved it at first. I never had any problems with matting or tangling. The quality was consistent. As more and more artists become certified in NBR and other extension methods using hand-tied hair became popular, we saw a decline in the quality of the Xhair.brand.
When I got my first batch of bad hair, I thought maybe the client did something wrong. She had excessive tangling, like dreadlock tangling. I thought she must be using bad products. Then the more XHair I ordered, the more problems my clients were having. For example, my sister got a batch of bad hair. She would brush her hair out after 5 minutes her hair would be back into a literal rats nest again. Again and again my clients were coming to me with the same issue.
You might ask yourself, Why didn't you just not install it when the bad batches came in? So here is a little extension education. All hair has a cuticle, think of it like little scales all pointing in one direction. The extension hair must keep the cuticle in tact, all pointing down. This means the hair has to be collected from the donor. Through shipping and processing and coloring and all of that, the hair has to remain facing the same way with the cuticle down. This can be tricky, and expensive. So picture hair being cut, and falling onto the floor, and then collected. Its near impossible to make sure all the hair's cuticle is facing the same way, so a cheap alternative is to strip the hair of its cuticle completely with chemicals, but the hair then becomes weaker, and can still tangle. What I believe was happening with the Hair brand was a problem with supply. They couldn't keep up their high standards of hair with demand of hand-tied wefts so they found cheaper ways to produce hair. It's impossible to know at first if the hair is bad because their extensions are coated with a layer of silicone, making it super silky smooth. Once that silicone wore off, after 3-5 washes the true quality would show. The hair would tangle, matte, like nonstop. It became a gamble to order hair from XHair because not every batch was bad, but I wouldn't know. It became way too risky to order, and cost me thousands of dollars in replacing bad hair.
I wasn't the only one experiencing this problem. All NBR artists across the nation were having the same issue. We talked about it at our NBR convention back in November of 2018 and Danielle was totally aware. Out of frustration came the birth of Isla, her own hand tied hair line. I was so freaking thrilled. I thought, "sweet, a couple months from now this new line will be released and all my hair problems will disappear." I was wrong.
If you're a client of mine you have maybe heard me talk about the NBR mastermind program. I was in the continued education program for NBR artists all last year. I made 5 trips out to Southern California in 2018 to continue upping my game with NBR. In 2019, the structure of the mastermind program changed and I made the difficult decision to invest in other color education this year, instead of solely in the mastermind program. So, I was out of the group. This meant I wasn't able to purchase the new Isla hand tied hair.
I was pretty bummed at this point. I know there are reasons they made the Isla line exclusive to current mastermind artists but here I am, over 4 years deep into my NBR career. By contract I'm technically supposed to be using the inconsistent XHair line that has gone from good to shitty, knowing there is the new Isla line coming out but because of my decision not to invest this year, I don't have access to it. Yeah, this kept me up at night for a while. In 2018 I invested over $6,000 in monthly dues for access to the mastermind program. I volunteered my time at conventions to be a pod-leader and help educate other artists on the method. I was pretty bitter for a while after I found out I didn't have access to the new Isla line. I felt like I was kind of left in the dust and that my previous commitment to the brand didn't matter.
So here I was, pouting a little, freaking out a lot, not sure where to go from here. Some of my clients had shitty hair, some loved their hair. I was having trouble marketing to new clients because I was freaking out about what hair to use. It was a rough time. I started digging and researching and I found about 6 lines of hand tied hair. Some of my clients offered to try them, and for the most part it was a nightmare. Every line I tried had something wrong with it. I even considered making my own hand tied wefts out of frustration (this was very short lived, ask Cassidy.) Then out of even more desperation I took another chance. I contacted a factory that produces extensions. They didn't have a hand tied line but they were willing to work with me. I explained exactly what I wanted, down the grams of thickness I desired of the wefts, the length, the colors, etc. When the hair finally came in I was 100% cynical but I had Cassidy install it into my hair. y'all. Game. Changer.
This hair has been amazing. The rep of the factory I've been working with has been amazing. They are super concerned with the quality of their hair. It's full. Its shiny. The cuticle is intact. It has been such breath of fresh air after dealing with crappy extension hair.
I feel like this post comes with a huge sigh of relief from me as well. Im so excited for this new line of hair, I actually don't even mind that I don't have access to the Isla line. Im sure Isla will be amazing, but I'm totally happy with the line I have now.
If you are interested in getting NBR in your hair, fill out my application here.
If you're an existing client ready to try this new line of hair at your next appointment, shoot me an email at AmyNeddermanHair@gmail.com or send a text to 574-575-2981.
To the clients who experienced the crappy hair, thank you so much for your patience while I figured this out. Now, let's get back to it.
with a renewed excitement,