What are Tape-in Hair Extensions?

Tape-in hair extensions are ideal for clients who desire the versatility of longer, fuller hair and the flexibility to try different styles without changing their natural hair. Tape-ins don't require the extensive, demanding installation process; the commitment, or the expense of other types of extensions such as sew-ins or fused/bonded method. Conversely, tape-ins are more durable than temporary, non-adhesive clip-in extensions.

Tape-in extensions apply just as the name suggests: they are affixed to the hair with medical-grade adhesive tape. Tape-ins are simple to install and to remove without damaging the hair. They can be installed in an hour or less, sometimes in as little as half an hour, and require no additional tools (i.e no needle and thread like sew-ins). Also, tape-ins are reusable when installed and cared for properly.

More than other types of extensions, tape-ins adhere much closer and more evenly against the head. It helps that the base of a tape-in hair weft tends to be very thin, allowing for easier application and closer fit to the scalp than other types of extensions. They offer the client more versatility in style, cut, and color without causing damage to the client's natural hair. Tape-ins are ideal as a protective style for women recovering from hair damage such as breakage. In fact, many stylist use single-sided tape-in extensions as a gentler option for women with thin or fine hair.

The installation process is simple but requires the precision of a professional stylist for the best results. To apply, two separate wefts of extensions, generally an inch wide, sandwich a very thin strip of the client's natural hair. (For the single-sided tape-in method, stylists use one tape-in weft per section instead of two.) The final look depends on the placement and distribution of the extensions throughout the hair, along with a seamless blending of the extensions with the client's natural hair. To achieve a more natural look, the color of the tape-ins should closely match the client's real color.

Tape-in extensions can last up to eight weeks with good care. This means washing the hair as infrequently as possible, no more than three times a week. When it's time to clean the extensions, wash them with dry shampoos or sulfate-free shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks. Also, clients should brush often, at least three times a day, using a specialized hair extension brush designed to minimize any pulling against the extensions' bond. Another way to maintain the look is to reposition them as the client's natural hair grows. One option is to move the extensions half an inch lower to accommodate hair growth.

Similar to the installation process, the removal of tape-in extensions is simple and less time-consuming than other methods but it's also best left to a professional stylist as improper removal can cause damage to the hair. For gentle removal of tape-ins, a stylist will use a solvent--generally alcohol-based but can also be oil-based--to dilute the adhesive bond of the extension, causing it to slip off of the hair without any residue.

Several beauty brands offer tape-in hair extensions in many lengths, styles, colors, and textures. Some brands provide premium human hair with other features including chemical-free hair colors, unique color blends, specially weighted wefts for fine or thin hair and invisible sew lines for a more natural look.

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