July 13th 2020
Friends told me I looked really well – I'd actually had hair extensions
September 8th 2018 / 0 comment
Jane Druker tried Jo Hansford's speedy new hair extensions service – and in just 30 minutes had long, thick, swishy locks
I have the kind of blonde, fried and flyaway British hair that has been compared (by hairdressers btw) to Kate Moss. Very fine, lots of it, dyed it forever. This summer at the ripe ol' age of 52, I decided to try extensions. Not any old extensions though – these are natural hair tapes as used by Jo Hansford Hair Extension Specialist, Nicole Crush – designed to look like your natural hair (and dyed to match) which add volume not simply length.
While I have a full head of hair, the ends taper off - tadpole-like - and trims are for breakage management only. I reach a certain length (below shoulders usually) and then my hair thins to the absolutely wispy. This only started once I started dyeing it in my mid-twenties, as a child my naturally dark hair was more thick and manelike. A look I still long for.
Image credit: Liz McAulay/woman&home
How the service works
The tapes are bonded to your hair at the root, adding volume instantly. I had three tapes applied to each side of my head and six at the back. The whole thing took just 30 minutes. They are attached by slotting a grip into place rather than using heat and glue, making easy work of thickening and lengthening.
You can have the tapes in for four to six weeks and upkeep wise, I started using more high-quality shampoos and conditioners to keep them looking healthy (absolute favourites were Christophe Robin Regenerating Shampoo, £32.50, and Conditioner, £57.50, with Prickly Pear Oil; and Jo Hansford Expert Colour Care Everyday Shampoo, £16, and Conditioner, £18). I also invested in a Tangle Teezer for wet hair, £11. It proved essential for dealing with the larger amount of hair on a daily basis.
I had ‘My Little Pony’ swishy hair – the kind you see on Instagram attached to five-star hotels, cocktails and lizard skin lined swimming pools, hurrah! The tapes added an inch and a half in length which was fun but the major benefit was the thickness of my hair and how consistent it was all over my head. I could also wear it up really easily (the tapes weren't easily visible as they were hidden under handfuls of hair), and I loved wearing it in a big bouncy ponytail or, another firm favourite, a side plait.
And, here’s the funny bit. My husband, ever eagle-eyed about any new fashion purchase on my person, spectacularly failed to notice my new hair. He thought it just suddenly “got long!” And friends also failed to notice my hair wasn't real - they would simply say “You look so well!” or “Wow, have you been on holiday?” I bloody loved it!
I had been a bit concerned that it would be a tad 16/64: you know, when you look like a kid from behind but when you turn around, a 50 plus face is revealed. Or it would be another trashy trend a la Kardashian - like Bambi eyelash extensions and boxy stencil brows - but actually this felt like a really fun addition to the beauty artillery. At a cost of 400 quid though, I probably wouldn’t do it that often, but the results are genuinely life-enhancing.
Mine lasted longer than promised too. Eight weeks later after a holiday (filled with sea and swimming), and an inch of regrowth, I had them removed. Another swift 30-minute process - and felt a whole lot lighter as a result. Long hair is beautiful but it's also more weight and work. Amazingly I get to keep the hair too – it's currently stored in a bag in my closet – looking all the while like one of my long-haired Chinese rabbits! (I currently have seven of those and they also require constant hairbrushing). I can have it refitted at least three times, so it’s a special occasion addition in my back pocket. Result.