The Gift of Having Hair: What Extensions Can Offer You
Hair extensions are much more than a simple fashion accessory; they can truly change lives. For many women who deal with thin or fine hair, their self esteem may be affected by the fact that they can achieve the envious look of long flowing hair. Hair extensions allow women from all walks of life to achieve the hair styles they have longed for.
For other women, hair extensions may offer a cure for serious health conditions that simply don’t allow them to grow hair. Stephanie is a model from southern California. In her profession, having beautiful hair is a necessity. But Stephanie has suffered from alopecia—a condition that causes severe hair loss—for a number of years. She used to use clip-in extensions to cover up her hair loss, but because of the added stress that the clip-ins put on her already weak hair, she has recently transitioned into using tape-ins which offer less pull on her natural hair.
“The great thing about tape-ins for me is that I don’t lose a whole lot of hair when they take out the extensions to put in new ones. And for a woman like me who doesn’t have a whole lot of hair to lose, that’s really important,” says Stephanie.
Tape-in extensions can be placed in different parts of the natural hair. In the case of Stephanie this is important as it allows her scalp to be left open to promote new hair growth. Stephanie has been working in the modeling and fashion industry since she was a sophomore in college and her hair extensions have allowed her to continue to grow in the industry. “The majority of my colleagues don’t even know I use extensions,” she says.
Stephanie doesn’t try to hide her condition, but she finds it amusing that many times people consider her hair to be one of the best aspects of her image. “I don’t mind sharing my story, because I think it’s important for people to know that many times their supposed limitations can actually be empowering. With so much technological advancement, there are always options out there for people.
She says that she does wish she could grow naturally gorgeous hair, but “given the circumstances, hair extensions have allowed me to continue to what I love—model and participate in the fashion industry.”
As more and more people have learned that she uses extensions, Stephanie has become a sort of hair extension guru offering advices to her friends and colleagues. “I always tell people that it’s best to invest in the highest quality products on the market. The most important thing is to find great quality, natural hair and use a method that offers long term solutions.” She advises people to use a wide tooth comb and to avoid using hair oils that cause the adhesives in tape-ins to come undone. “I also use a loose braid every night to control the tangles that come from a long night’s sleep. Going to be with wet hair is the ultimate no-no as your hair will look disastrous in the morning. Treating your extensions with care is the most important thing you’ll need to do in the long run.”
Stephanie’s condition also causes her to realize how lucky she is to have the benefit of having hair extensions. “When I go to my doctor, I have to take out the extensions and it’s always quite a humbling experience. I guess I’ve gotten used to seeing myself with a beautiful, full head of hair, and even I forget that I have these unsightly bald patches all over my head,” she laughs.
Learning to be grateful for what her extensions allow her to do is a continual process for Stephanie. “Every time I get in front of a camera I feel thankful for being able to do what I love. I think that I’ve learned to be comfortable with who I am and this has made all the difference. I don’t feel the need to hide the fact that I have extensions, but rather consider them a vital part of who I am and the image I promote.” Stephanie believes that this honesty about who she is might be able to help other women suffering from similar conditions to embrace who they are with more honesty and fullness.
Though Stephanie cherishes her full head of hair, she also knows that she is more than her hair. “I hate when people only focus on my full head of long, flowing hair. I guess it’s a great compliment to my stylist, but I think that I am more than just my hair. When it comes to dating, I want to find a partner who is more interested in me than just in my hair,” she adds.
One of the greatest parts of having hair extensions for Stephanie is the self confidence that it allows her. “Every time I walk into a room full of people, I feel confident about who I am. I used to feel vulnerable and timid, and I don’t think any woman should have to feel that way. Having extensions has allowed me to more fully be myself and I hope other women can also feel the same no matter what they’re facing in life.”