Tape-In Extensions: What You Need to Know About this State of the Art Technology in Hair Extensions

Thousands of women have achieved the long and flowing look of full, voluminous hair that they can’t grow naturally with the help of hair extensions.  Hair extension technology is continually evolving and improving and there are a number of methods on the market today that adapt to the specific needs and budget of each and every woman.

From the quick fix of clip ins to the more traditional glue-in methods of pre-bonded extensions; from the braided or woven extensions to the individually connections of beads or micro links, there are a number of options to consider.  The tape-in method is another increasingly popular hair extension method for many women. In this brief article we’ve compiled all the important information you need to know about this state of the art hair extension technology.

What are Tape-In Extensions?

Tape-ins are also known as skin wefts.  Wefts of hair (either natural or synthetic) are attached to your natural hair usually near the hairline to add volume, style or length.  A special type of cellulose tape is used to adhere the weft to you natural hair and can stick for up to 8 weeks before a necessary re-installation.  The wefts are wide, but extremely thin and lay up directly next to your scalp making the extensions literally invisible. You can even pull your hair into a pony tail without the risk of anyone noticing.  Also, since the wefts are so wide, they can be installed fairly quickly and you don’t have to worry about hundreds of individual extensions.

The Process

Tape-In extensions are perhaps the quickest way to achieve the great look of long, flowing hair.  It may take only 30 minutes for a professional stylist to give you the extensions you’ve dreamed of.  Karen from Palm Beach Salon walks us through the process of getting your tape-ins installed.

  1. I always begin by dividing the hair into extensions more or less the width of each weft.
  2. Once the rest of the natural hair is out of the way, I isolate the section I’m working on and connect the weft as close to the scalp as possible, trying to make sure that the weft is completely in line the client’s scalp.
  3. I put another tape weft underneath the attached tape. That way, the extension is firmly in place and the tape is completely hidden between the hair extensions.

Though the process is quick and pretty straightforward, non-professional stylists can run into problems.  If the wefts aren’t placed close enough to the scalp, they can become visible over time as hair grows out. Furthermore, if the tape adhesive isn’t lined up correctly with the direction of the natural hair, tangling and matting is sure to occur. In serious cases, the tape-ins may even need to be cut out of your natural hair if serious tangling ensues.  It’s always best to find a stylist with experience installing tape-ins to ensure the best look.

Why Choose Tape-Ins?

You’ll want to take into account your budget, the style you’re going for, and how dedicated you are to maintaining your extensions before deciding on a method.  Tape-ins are a great option if you’re on a tight budget as they are one of the cheapest technologies on the market.  Also, if you’re in the need for a quick fix, tape-ins are a great alternative because they can be installed so quickly.

Most hair extension companies use quality human hair for their extensions which will allow you to heat style your tape-in extensions if you choose.  Tape-ins work best for women with medium to long length hair as they will blend in better with longer hairstyles than with shorter hair styles.  They are compatible with most types of hair textures from extremely fine to thick and full.

Tape-in extensions are right for you if adding texture and volume is your main goal in getting extensions.  Since the wefts on tape-ins are so wide, there is no risk of your extensions looking stringy which is a main complaint with other methods that have thinner bonds.  Tape ins usually work best when they’re used to add volume to parts of your hair instead of getting a full, complete head of extensions.

Tape-in methods usually last for a couple of months at best. If you want a more permanent look, then tape ins might not be right for you, but if you want a quick fix up that can give you added length and style for a couple of months at most, then tape-ins are for you.

Another factor to take into account is the maintenance required to keep your tape-ins looking great. Because tape-in extensions rely on adhesives, you’ll need to take some extra care when styling and grooming to assure you don’t affect the adhesive.  You’ll also need to schedule monthly checkups with your stylist to reapply the tape ins closer to your scalp as your natural hair grows out, and if you don’t have the time for those monthly checkups, then the tape-in method will be difficult for you.

Caring for Your Tape-Ins

Caring for tape-in extensions is usually a lot easier than other extensions.  Since the wefts are so thin, you won’t have to deal with trying to cover up the lumps that come with beads or woven braids.  Also, since installing tape-ins doesn’t depend on using heat or other chemicals, there is almost no risk of damaging your natural hair during installation.  If you’re worried about the potential of extensions damaging your natural hair, then tape-ins are by far the least damaging and safest alternative.

If your tape-ins are made from natural hair, then you can use heat styling devices.  As with all hair, however, it’s best not to overdo it and save the curling iron for special occasions only.  Never try to comb through wet hair or pull through tangles as this can cause the adhesive to weaken and potentially come lose.  Also, take extra care when using conditioners or hair oils.  If these products come in contact with the adhesive on the tape-ins, they could cause the adhesive to lose its hold and come undone.  Condition your hair well below the tape in to avoid causing irreparable damage to the tape-in extension.  Lastly, if you love to be at the pool, then you’ll need to use a swim cap.  Getting your hair constantly wet can affect the adhesive and cause it to wear out faster.

Every 6-8 weeks you’ll need to visit your stylist to have him or her take out the adhesive and move it closer to your scalp.  A solution is sprayed onto the adhesive causing it to lose its stickiness and removed easily.  The great thing about tape-ins is that if removed properly by a trained stylist, they can be reused many times thus making it more economical in the long run.


There are dozens of brands of tape-in extensions on the market and each brand offers different advantages and disadvantages. The most important thing is to find a company that makes their tape-ins from natural hair.  Talk to your stylist about the brands they offer so you can find the best fit for your hair.