Whether you’re looking to channel Ariana Grande’s power-ponytail, or Gigi Hadid’s luscious flowing locks, hair extensions have become all the rage for those who want to add volume and length without spending years trying to achieve natural growth. Here are some important details you need to know before you go to the salon.

How long do extensions last?

Haircare experts advise extensions can last anywhere from four weeks to two years, depending on what kind you get and how you care for them. Tape-in extensions offer a more temporary solution lasting for about four to eight weeks, while sew-in hair extensions can last anywhere from one to two years.

How should hair extensions be cleaned and styled?

Follow these four steps to maintain your extensions:

1. Treat them like your own hair: if your extensions are sewn, microlinked, or taped in, you can wash them along with your natural hair in the shower. Be gentle, though, so that you don’t loosen them while lathering or bushing while wet. If you’re too rough with them, you may risk loosening them and need to make trip back to the salon. If your extensions are glued-in or taped-in, its best to remove them and wash them separately.
2. Use a sulfate free shampoo & conditioner: Sulfates are added to shampoos and conditioners to make them foam and help clear away any oil build-up in your natural hair. Your extensions won’t have this natural supply of oil, so any products containing sulfates will dry them out and make them frizzy over time.
3. Make your own hair freshener: if you’re worried about washing, consider making your own spray with essential oils and water mixed together. Rosemary and coconut oil are safe to use and will give you a freshening up when needed.
4. Use a heat protectant spray: Before drying your hair with a blow-dryer, pick up a heat protectant spray to protect your extensions when styling. Heat protectant sprays add moisture to the hair follicle and stop natural moisture from escaping which will protect your extensions from drying out too quickly and becoming fizzy after blow drying or stepping out on a hot day.

Remy hair vs. Virgin hair…what’s the difference?

At The Salon Project, founder Joel Warren and his stylists use BELLAMI which are made with 100% Remy human hair. Remy hair is considered to be the finest quality of human hair because the cuticles are kept intact and not stripped, like in most other non-Remy hair extensions. Preserving the hair cuticles and aligning them in a unidirectional fashion creates extensions that are completely natural in appearance. Virgin hair is chemically unprocessed human hair, which is collected from a single donor.

Sew-in vs. Tape-in: which is more effective?

Because they take less time to apply, usually around an hour, tape-in extensions can cost less than sew-in extensions. Tape-in hair extensions are a relatively newer technique and are the best option for women with thin or fine hair. The extensions are bonded applied row by row, and because the tape wefts and thin and lightweight, there is less risk of damaging the existing hair.

Sew-in extensions are longer lasting, but will require a significant amount of time in the salon. The sew in method requires natural hair to be braided tightly into rows, and then sheets of hair are sewn-in layer by layer. The process can be uncomfortable and is only recommended if you already have full, and healthy amounts of hair, because the process can be damaging to thin or fine hair.

It is important to know that not every hair extension company is the same, and choosing the highest quality products will make all the difference. Low-quality, synthetic, and improperly applied extensions can be a recipe for disaster if you don’t do your homework.

Celebrity stylist Joel Warren offers his clients only the best in his new signature salons The Salon Project, located in three Saks Fifth Avenue locations in Long Island, New York, Miami and Boca Raton, FL. Warren and his stylists use Bellami extensions, which is the most recognized and reputable hair extension brand in the world. Call in today to discuss adding hair extensions with an expert stylist at The Salon Project today!

Here are five ideas you can use for inspiration to create a new look that is sure to turn heads everywhere:

Check out these long hairstyles for inspiration before your trip to the salon:

1. Taking a center-part to a new level, this simple yet sophisticated look adds a dramatic, yet understated element that almost anyone can pull off.
Embed from Getty Images
2. These long, soft and wavy curls add an elegant flair that can be worn casually or for a special event.

Embed from Getty Images

3. These long, blond locks add a sun-kissed, just-off the beach look

Embed from Getty Images

4. Embrace this chic braided look

Embed from Getty Images

Regardless of the look you’re going for, choosing the best quality product and working with a stylist who is expertly trained with the various techniques is absolutely essential. If you’re looking for a bold new way to transform your hair, adding hair extensions is an easy alternative to having to wait years for your natural hair to grow out.