How-to: Clip-In Hair Extensions

Sophia Panych, Allure magazine

I've always stayed far away from clip-in hair extensions. They make me think of Bump-Its, Britney Spears during the K.Fed years, and horrible shows like The Bad Girls Club, with women ripping each other's fake hair out. I recently discovered that several of my friends keep clip-ins handy for getting thicker, longer-looking hair for a night, and they always look good-but I still wasn't entirely sold on the idea of wearing something in my hair that could potentially fall out or make me look like a pop star on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

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That all changed when I met up with hairstylist Ken Paves yesterday at the launch event for his new collection of Hairdo By HairUWear products. (They're out this fall and include textured ponytails and ombré-dyed extensions.) With three quick clicks and a few swipes of a flatiron, Paves converted me into a clip-in fanatic-my hair looked, and felt, thicker and the 16-inch piece blended in seamlessly with my natural hair. I was lucky enough to have Paves himself put mine in (which I kept in all night!), so I took the opportunity to grill him for his best tips and tricks for putting them in myself.

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Create a good base.
You need to give the hair some grip so that the combs on the back of the extension have something to hold onto and don't just slip out. Paves recommends spraying a medium- to strong-hold hair spray and using a comb to tease the area where you'll apply the clips.

Be a master of disguise.
Fine-haired ladies like myself need to be more careful that the top of the extension doesn't peek through our natural hair. Teasing the section of hair just above the clip and just below it will provide the necessary coverage and also give you some extra hold.

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Use your heat tools.
The most important step is to blend your natural hair and the extension together. Paves wrapped both my hair and the extension around his flatiron, to make sure they flowed into one another and to ensure that each layer had the same loose, wavy texture. Use a large-barrel curling iron for bigger curls or, if you want everything to be superstraight, run a flatiron over both your hair and the extension in the traditional way.

Shake it up.
When you're finished, use your fingers to shake your hair and the extension, allowing it to fall naturally into place.


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