The first documented use of hair extensions and wigs is around 3400 BC, in Ancient Egypt. Whilst body hair was a big no, thick hair on the head was seen as a status symbol. Wigs and hair extensions were worn by both men and women who were higher up in society. This included politicians, pharaohs and queens.
When we think of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra immediately springs to mind. Cleopatra’s hair was likely enhanced using hair extensions and wigs to create her now iconic, thick, braided mane.
Archaeologists have uncovered remains that show sheep’s wool was braided into the hair in order to add thickness. This is the earliest incarnation of hair extensions.
Egyptians are also credited with inventing wigs. Wigs were usually worn for ceremonial purposes and were created using human hair, vegetable fibres and sheep’s wool. They were often attached using beeswax.
Queen Elizabeth I was known for many things, including her hair!
She often wore height enhancing hairpieces and wigs throughout her reign, sparking a major trend during the Elizabethan era. She was famous for her tightly curled, red hairpieces, worn in the ‘Roman’ style. It was said that she first began wearing wigs after losing some hair due to smallpox and continued in an attempt to maintain her youthful appearance.
With access to the latest fashion and trends, Queen Elizabeth I was thought to have over 80 hairpieces. They were also commonly worn by courtiers and aristocrats but were unaffordable to most.
Elizabethan wigs tended to be made of sheep’s wool, as the Ancient Egyptian wigs were.
17th and 18th Century
The 17th and 18th centuries gave way to some of the most famous wigs in history. It was also when wigs started to become more popular. A man getting hair extensions now is much more common but in the 17th century, King Louis XIII of France was somewhat of a trendsetter.
He was one of the first high-profile males to wear a custom-made wig. He was said to wear a wig in order to cover up his baldness; however, they soon became a status symbol amongst wealthy men. For special events, it was common for wigs to be created that incorporated pearls and beads.
As the 17th century gave way to the 18th century, the wig trend grew. King Louis XIV (also of France) had a number of large and luxurious wigs created. There are many portraits depicting King Louis XIV wearing long hairpieces. Wigs were often created using human hair, as ours are. The hair however was collected from poor women who grew their hair with the purpose of selling it.
The 20th century is when hair extensions became part of the mainstream. With wigs previously being a symbol of status and wealth, the 20th century saw hair enhancements trickle down to the lower levels of society.
In the early 20th century, hats and hair pins were extremely popular. They also gave women the opportunity to experiment with new hairstyles, creating volume and curls to complement their hat and give the impression of fuller hair. Many women also collected stray hairs from their hair brush and used them to support complicated hairstyles. This is one of the first iterations of human hair extensions.
As the swinging 60s rolled around, big hair was all the rage. Beehives, full flowing locks and heavy fringes were the signature styles of the 60s. Unless you were blessed with extremely thick hair, hair extensions and enhancements were the ideal way to create the 60s look.
People often wore clip in hair extensions to thicken their hair and add the necessary length to create the classic 60s styles. Many people also wore specifically-made beehive hairpieces to add height.
When it came to the 80s, hair extensions were pretty commonplace. Glam rock and tv shows like Dynasty made big hair a must have. Whilst backcombing and perms had their place, hair extensions were one of the best ways to create a show stopping 80s hairstyle.
Synthetic hair extensions were very popular. Weave in hair extensions were also growing in popularity, with a wider range of styles becoming available.
The 90s may not have been about big hair, but hair extensions weren’t going anywhere!
The classic 90s hairstyle was all about poker straight, long locks. Clip in hair extensions were a great way to achieve the 90s look. They became cheaper to buy thanks to new techniques, making it easier than ever to replicate your favourite 90s icon’s hairstyle. Think Britney Spears and Naomi Campbell.
Coloured clip ins were also extremely popular. They were perfect for adding a pop of colour, and were often worn by those in the 90s rave scene. With cheaper hair extensions now available however, they tended to be made of synthetic materials that were prone to fraying and didn’t last very long.
The 21st Century
The 21st century is where hair extensions began to improve in quality, with human hair extensions growing in popularity.
2000’s hair was all about having fun. From chunky highlights and coloured streaks to crimped sections and fun hair accessories. Whilst clip ins were still popular for adding length, coloured sections or volume, other hair extensions techniques also began to emerge.
Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Richie began to appear wearing long hair extensions. In many cases hair extensions were attached to the hair using glue. This particular method is still used today but is known to cause damage to the hair. We always recommend the least non-damaging hair extension technique.
Early 2000s hair extensions were still largely made from synthetic materials but as we moved towards the 2010’s and beyond, human hair extensions became more common.
Hair extensions in the present day are more luxurious and natural-looking than ever. With 100% human hair extensions available, modern day hair extensions look better to begin with and last longer if looked after properly. They are also easier to look after with hair care ranges dedicated to those with hair extensions
The choice of hair extensions styles, methods and hair has also increased. This wider range of options means there are hair extension methods to suit almost any budget. You can choose from cheaper European or Asian hair or more expensive hair extensions that use Russian, Slavic or Indian hair.
In terms of attachment methods, there are options such as clip ins, tape ins, micro rings, Nano rings and more! You can use hair extensions to add length, add volume, or even to have different colour dimensions to your hair.
Previously getting a seamless blend with hair extensions was difficult but with modern techniques, different coloured strands can be combined to get a perfect match for your hair.
Of course, it is not just hair extensions that have grown in popularity. Bespoke wigs and Hair Replacement Systems are commonly worn by Men and women of all ages . Wigs are ideal for those with thinning hair and hair loss, but they are also great for changing up your look quickly and easily.
Hair Extension Methods: Which One Is For You?
Long, luscious locks are always in style, but not everyone has hair that grows to great lengths. The great news is, you don’t have to be genetically blessed to have long, beautiful hair. Many turn to hair extensions for a little extra help in the hair department. But there’s so many types to choose from – how do you know what hair extensions are best for you?
There are different types of hair extension methods available on the market. Choosing the method that works best for you depends on a variety of factors such as your hair type, lifestyle and budget. This post explains the popular categories of hair extension methods available today, to help you make an informed decision on your purchase of hair.
Sew-in/Micro-Weave: Sew-in extensions are ideal for coarse, curly or thick hair that’s able to handle them. They’re applied by being sewn into a tightly-braided section of your own, natural hair or held in with Micro-rings. This method can be worn for 3-4 months. Salon visits are advised every six weeks or so to ensure the section where it’s sewn is in good nick. The application can take several hours.
Tape-in Extensions: This is one of the most popular methods of Hair Extensions used by Hair Stylists . It involves sandwiching sections of the natural hair between two hair extension wefts. Volume applications take 20-30 minutes and full-length applications around 45-60 minutes. This method is suitable for thin, fine hair. They can be good for up to 5 or even 6 months without a big maintenance job.
Clip-in Extensions: These are wefts of hair that are attached to a clip. Clip-ins are of many different sizes so they can be placed all around the head. They are great for those looking for instant gratification for special occasions, and those who are not ready to commit to wearing extensions on a daily basis. The application of these extensions takes only a few minutes, and the durability of is highly dependent on frequency of use.
Micro ring/Nano ring: extensions were a revolution when they came onto the scene many years ago. The introduction of these cold fusion methods meant no more heated glue bonds or damage to the natural hair. A micro ring is a small metal ring, a Nano ring being even smaller usually lined with silicone (which protects the hair shaft). The application can take 2-6 hours.
Hot Fusion Extensions: Hot fusion extensions attach strands of hair to the client’s head with a keratin-based tip. The process uses a heating element to attach or fuse the keratin bond and extension to the client’s hair. Since human hair is 95% keratin, the fusion method is safe, comfortable and long-lasting. Can take several hours to install.
Latest Hair Extension Methods for 2023
The Beauty Center is always keeping up with the latest Hair Addition techniques out there, and for 2023 there is a few good ones! Quick installation, non detectable and hair is re-useable.