• Amy

My Extension Nightmare

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.