Monday, February 14, 2011

Extensions: the good & the bad, the long & the short

**Let me start by saying this is a story of a pattern of bad hair events that lead to extensions. This post has been a long time in the making and is dedicated to my Sister, who saw me through this repugnant time even though she's never even dyed her own hair**

I never thought I would have any personal experience with extensions- they always weirded me out. Wearing someone else's hair on my head and trying to pass it off as my own? Where did this hair even come from? All my thoughts regarding them could be summarized with: "Ew" and/or "f*ck no will I ever get those".

But let's back it up a bit here, pre-extensions- I was quite happy with my hair. My best friend Shanin had referred me to a fabulous salon and I was loving how the girl there transformed me from dark to light with ease. She was nice, her prices were reasonable and life was good.

However, one day in early 2009 I received an email from a local, well-known salon chain in Portland offering half-off their services. Though I was happy with my current girl, I figured I would use this coupon and then return to my regular salon life the next month- saving $60 bucks was the draw. So I went for it and ended up booking with a random girl on the other side of town, I arrived- coupon in tow at the appointment and told her I wanted to continue as a blonde. I had been a healthy Lauren Conrad blonde for awhile... but this girl decided to turn me into Heidi Montag. It looked AWFUL, so white, so fake... blah. I quickly determined that I needed to stay with this girl so she could fix it- mistake! Over about 3 months, she turned my once-normal hair into this disgusting freak show of white mess. I was in despair, my hair was so unhealthy and I needed to remedy the problem ASAP.

In a vain effort to get back to where I was, I figured that to fix this hair- I need to go to an expensive hair stylist, so I opened the listings in the most RITZY part of downtown and booked with another new girl.

At my appointment there, I told the girl I wanted to go dark because I didn't think my hair could handle anymore bleach right now. She agreed. Then she asked if she could do some damage control to my whittled ends. I said yes but ever so slightly as I still wanted longer hair.

The ensuing moment defined my hair life for a year and a half (god, I'm dramatic...). I mean, I guess she cut off "all the damage" but she didn't leave much else.

This girl raped my scalp.
She assaulted my groove.
She stole my essence.
She butchered my crowning glory.

All of a sudden, I was stuck with what I can only describe as a glorified mullet. I couldn't put it in a ponytail because all of the sides still stayed down as they were too short (ewww), I couldn't do ANYTHING with it. I cried. I freaked out. I tried to make do to no avail. I felt disgusting.

Beaten, saddened and revolted with my new look, I went back to my original girl and explained the entire thing. Her suggestion? Extensions. They'd ease this self-hate and make it easier to deal with as my hair grew out.

So, on that wonderful day- I went from the LEFT below to the RIGHT below, and it was a very wise decision indeed.

{Spring 2009: I have like no good pictures that show the haircut because it was horrid. Just know it was 5,000 times worse than what shows here}

I ended up having hair extensions for about a year and a half as my hair grew out. Per usual, I switched between blonde and brunette. Extensions were constantly a yin and a yang, when you took the time to do them... they could be so fun to mess with and complementary to any outfit. However, if you were late or rushed (a vice of mine), it often showed and was quite apparent that you weren't rocking' all of your own hair.

The interesting thing about my extensions was that I had them for the majority of the time that I've been blogging. I posted picture upon picture of me and discussed my makeup, my clothes, my shoes- but I never mentioned that I had extensions in my hair (though many of you could tell- smart girls!).

That wasn't because I was ashamed or embarrassed (everyone and their Mom in my life knew I had 'em) it was because of the fact that there was a small part of me that always wondered if my real hair was getting jacked up due to them. I was so scared I would read a comment of someone saying a horror story about extensions and I would sit there freaking out about the state of my own natural hair.

However, just like all good stories- this one had a happy ending. My extensions finally came out and I was eased of the financial and annoying burden of extensions. My own hair is growing and as far as I can noticeably tell- hasn't been grotesquely damage by the beaded strands ("extensions ruin all" rumor effectively SQUASHED).

{At the end of the day, I wouldn't recommend them. But I wouldn't say they're horrible either}

I still think extensions are odd and I would probably only ever get them again for a special event like a wedding but I can no longer insult them or think ill of the weird hairstyle. Because for that 1.5 years while I grew out my mullet, I was incredibly grateful to have seemingly normal hair... and I'm forever blessed with being able to spot extensions anywhere I go now, no girl who has them goes missed by me!

I guess the moral of the story is that this all started because I received a coupon for cheaper services, at the end of the day- that coupon indirectly resulted in me having the most expensive type of hair treatment a girl could have: some things aren't worth scrimping on.

Have you had any experience with extensions? Love 'em, hate 'em, Want 'em??? What's your take on this girly trend?
Final Notes: I had extensions made from real Indian hair. They were set using the beading method and I had to change them out and have them reset on the same clock that you would get your hair dyed. However, every 3 months- I had to purchase new hair as they get too gross. The purchasing of the hair and the extensive amount of time you pay your hairdresser to put them in... adds up real fast. Don't ever get them if you can't afford the upkeep.


Anonymous said...

you are so effin' funny i love it! i love the "girl from the other side of town" outcome! haven't done extensions, don't think i'd do it, but it looks great on you though.

Stevie said...

I have REALLY thin hair and can't have it long, or else it gets really stringy and gross, so I've always wondered what extensions could do for me. But I never wanted to deal with the cost and upkeep. Luckily, I look good with short hair and now it's in a pretty short pixie and takes me 5 minutes to style :-)

I'm curious, why didn't you just chop your hair off after the mullet incident? I think you would look so cute with a shaggy bob!

Anonymous said...

My stylist is one of my BFF's so I've been thinking about trying extensions since I was loving the longer hair, and now all of a sudden I want a change - shorter and lighter. Oh hair. Always something to think about.

My outfit posts might be getting sexier lately haha. I think its a combination of I'm starting to run out of options and I signed on to blog every outfit for 30 days lol.

Leia said...

I had no idea that you had extensions! I've always been a bit creeped out by them, to be honest, but I'm really glad they helped keep you happy with your hair till your natural hair grew back in :) I know a girl who has extensions and I don't like them because you can see an orange thread (in her black hair!) where the extensions have been put in. It looks really fake and unnatural and sticks up oddly - but yours always looks beautiful! I think you're totally right and if you're going to get them you have to take good care of them. I can't wait to see how your hair looks without them!

ellinelle said...

..hey sweetie ..OMG ..your story is exactly why I don't go to hairdressers because they just LOVE to CUT CUT CUT , the more they cut the better they feel I guess , I think I attended hairdresser last time about 10 years ago , somehow I don't have connection with scissor hands :)
I remember myself that I always end up crying afterwards ..I am my own hairdresser :) no problem for me to cut layers etc ..
..long beautiful hair is womens beauty and if somehow don't have it why not to use extensions ! I think they are great ..I had individual extensions years ago but they really ruined my hair because of the glue and the girl was hair extension specialist :) not one of the scissor team..I have natural hair now but now and then I use clip in extensions , they are amazing ..good quality extensions look perfect , you could never tell they are extensions ..

p.s I never thought you had extensions ..

PorkStar said...

I'm a boy, so no hair extensions for me. On the contrary, the less hair I have, the better.

I don't usually know when a woman has hair extensions or not, but it looks good though. Nice pictures and yeah, that butcher job looked... my goodness. : )

erika sorocco said...

I, myself, have never had experience with extensions; but, from the raggedy way I have seen them look on certain celebrities after a period of time, I don't think I'd ever use them. I'm all for long locks; but extensions seem extremely painful and costly. Nevertheless, you looked gorgeous with them in; but you will be even more stunning without them!! :)

Rhiannon Bosse said...

Girl I think you would look adorable with shorter hair! But I know what you mean about crying over short hair. I've been there too! Either way you are gorg!

I had glue in extensions once and loved how my pony tails looked. So glam and thick!! A HUGE pain to take out though that's for sure! xoxo

Laura said...

I am so sorry to hear you had such a bad haircut experience but glad you were able to find something to ease the pain during he regrowth!!

Unknown said...

When I saw the title of this post, before reading it, I thought to myself, "She better give me a freaking shout out on this one." Good GOD! Caitlin and her hair: the SAGA! As your living sister, I am glad they are gone and I think you look beautiful without them. Glad the mullet is gone and I will never forget some of those "hair-raising" moments.

Kara said...

Wow this post was sooo educational! I seriously know nothing about extensions and I NEVER knew you had them - not that I would have thought anything different if I had known, your hair is always gorgeous.

It's been a freaking pain in the ass to grow my hair out. Today I colored it for the first time in years because I need to distract myself from cutting it all off. Hair! What a pain in the ass!!

Amanda @ Life with A.Co said...

I just found this post (how did I miss it?!) bc of the link on your side bar (good call).

So interesting about your extensions - what an experience you've been through (what a hassle :(

Thanks for sharing (the good, bad and the ugly) as it was really insightful. I'm a fan of extensions but strictly clip ons.

Also, I was considering changing colorists but now am freaking scared to do so - maybe I should learn from your example and stick with my girl ;)

A.Co @ A.Co est. 1984

happy hour 24/7 said...

okay, i should really start boxing and packing up stuff, but i've said that like 10 times in the last hour - but this will be my last stop :)

here i am, asking people about extensions and no one else could give me an opinion. i was like, "i remember reading it from somewhere..." well, duh. it's from your blog. i just re-read my comment, hahaha full of shit! i'm taking the leap and getting them, clip-ons though, just cause (mid-life crisis, i think). my friend's 12-year old daughter, who's also my former student, came to my work (with her mom of course, she and i work together) and said she wanted feather extensions. then we went to youtube to look at how they're done and i accidentally clicked on the wrong link - this girl was talking about her luxy hair (i was like, did she just name her hair luxy?! wtf), but it's the brand of the extensions.

well, i did some research and decided i'd like to try the clip on ones. they even come in highlighted hair! i bought the human hair ones instead of synthetic. we will see. i hope they come today. anyway - thanks for reading and yay for summer weather this weekend!