Ever since I was a teenager, I've been switching up my hair color and style. I've had it all: Short, shoulder-length, long, layered, blonde, black, purple, you name it. As I've gotten older, I prefer a more classic long-layered look with highlights. Ever since I had my son 14 years ago, I just can't keep up with the latest in hairstyles.
After being a dark brunette for about a year, I recently had a very subtle ombre done to my hair to soften my look. I know many women who have considered an ombre look but aren't sure if it would look good on them, or just don't know if they want to commit to the style. And if you want it done right, it can be pretty expensive to get a look you may not love in the end. I had a bad ombre experience once, which I had to fix with a bottle dye and another costly trip weeks later to a stylist who helped get my hair back to normal. I'm also weary about the store bought ombre dyes, as my hair tends to turn orange with any store-bought kits. I like a more ash or honey blonde look to compliment my dark hair and features, but it has to be done by a pro.
My advice: Get extensions. That way, you can see if it suits you before going under the bleach cap! Hair extensions are not something I use often. In fact, I used them once or twice years ago when my hair was shorter, but haven't had extensions in years. If you're a newbie or reacquainting yourself with extensions like me, I can promise you that they're easy to put on. If you find a good brand, the hair will look like your own.
Extensions typically come in a variety of lengths, textures and in a wide range of colors ranging from platinum blonde to mahogany chestnut. You don't want your extensions to be an entirely different texture than your natural hair, so look for 100 percent human hair bonded with keratin tips so it will blend in naturally. I used ombre hair extensions by So.CAP USA for this tutorial.
Just to make sure I was doing it correctly, I consulted celebrity hairstylist Sacha Quarles, who shared these important tips for putting in your own extensions:
"It's always smart to back-comb the base of where you are going to place the clip. Another way to give the clip a little more security is to hairspray the back-combed area. That is a one-two punch that will lock in those extensions." —Sacha Quarles, celebrity hairstylist
TUTORIAL: HOW TO PUT CLIP-IN HAIR EXTENSIONS IN
Photograph by Rachel Matos
After washing and styling as normal, make a part around the crown of your head and pin it up. Back-comb (tease) the area where you're going to place your extensions. This will ensure they stay in place securely. Untie your hair and comb or finger through your hair to blend the extensions with your own. My hair is layered so I cut a few strands of the extensions to match my cut, and used a curling iron to give my hair a more polished look.
Since my hair was already a bit lighter on the bottom, the honey blonde shade was perfect. If your hair is dark, I suggest just bumping it up one shade so it will look natural. The extensions are very easy to put on and style. In just a few minutes you'll be ready for an evening out with a whole new look!