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I invested in Hair Extensions: Was it worth it?

Updated: Apr 29

written by ASHLEY SELLEKE


Growing up, mermaid-like hair has always been a distant dream that I admired from afar. My entire life, I’ve had light brown roots that I highlight to bright blonde and a length that never quite extended past my clavicle. I never hated my hair, but I always envied the women who were able to home grow long locks that made curls, high ponies, messy buns, and braids look absolutely flawless.



Four months ago, I saved up some moolah, bit the bullet, and strutted into the salon to partake in a consultation in hopes of getting a natural-looking extension option that I wouldn’t look back at and sigh, “Oh, dear, why did you do that, honey?”


My biggest concern was that though I loved the idea of having a full head of long locks to style to my heart’s desire, I didn’t want the extensions to ruin my hair. We’ve all heard a horror story or two about someone, somewhere who got hair extensions and later became dependent on them because they left the natural hair frail, damaged, and sad.


Enter: the Natural Beaded Rows method of hair extension application, created by Danielle K. White, founder of DKW styling and owner of the podcast Big Money Stylist. In her pursuit to find an extension option for her fine, collarbone-length hair, she tried almost every existing hair extension solution on the market. She found her hair becoming damaged, leaving her more dependent on extensions. With her experience, she learned that more areas of attachment on the hair meant more damage, and she set out to find a method that would provide her clients with long, luscious locks without sacrificing the integrity of their natural hair. The solution? NBR extensions, a method that uses 100% natural hair sewn together and attached using a bead and string.

 

My stylist gave me a “no-BS” rundown of price, time commitment, and upkeep while assuring me that the investment was fully worth it.



First impressions:

Before I got my extensions sewn in, my stylist and I decided on length. I wanted my hair to fall mid-boob, so after a quick evaluation, we settled upon two 18-inch rows of human hair that she glossed and colored during a routine coloring of my natural hair. Two days later, I returned with eyes sparkling, ready to sport the hair of my dreams.


It took about two hours for my stylist to section out my hair, sew together the extensions, and secure them snugly to my head. I was shook at how well they blended, and she cut a bit into my natural hair to make the blend even more seamless. For 20 minutes post-application, I feel like I blacked out. It looked incredible, but was it me? Never had I ever had long hair before. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. Who is this beautiful, sexy woman? I don’t know her! I had either just made the best investment of my life or the biggest mistake. I immediately wanted more cut off because I was overwhelmed with the length and volume, but my stylist, calmed me down and reassured me, saying, “If you want to cut it, we always can, but see how you feel in about a week.”


Guess who didn’t want to trim it after that first week? As the buyer’s remorse resolved and I became acclimated to seeing myself looking glorious AF as I passed mirrors and store windows, I fell madly in love with my new head of hair.

During and after the application, the woven strands of hair (AKA wefts) were a bit snug but never painful. It almost felt like I was wearing a small plastic headband during the first few days after installation. That sensation resolved in about a week as my natural hair grew away from my scalp. 

 

Styling:

The extensions hold their style a lot longer than my natural hair, which is so nice for days where I would otherwise have to wash just to freshen up the style. On that note, I’m washing my hair much less frequently than I do sans extensions. The extensions are natural hair, but they don’t produce their own oils, so they do a great job of absorbing my natural oils. I swear by dry shampoo and always have some on deck just in case, but honestly, I haven’t had to use it very much—and that’s waiting five days to rewash my hair. 

Now for my absolute favorite aspect of having NBR extensions: The sectioning is insanely perfect. Whereas other types of extensions place the wefts in a horizontal fashion, NBR extensions are placed in a halo formation for the most natural look, which allows me to wear my hair any way that I normally would without extensions. With these extensions, I’m able to wear my hair in so many different styles. I can still put it in a high pony (praise be!), low pony, and half-up. 

 

In Conclusion:

If you’re on the hunt for a natural-looking, seamless hair extension and aren’t afraid to spend a pretty penny, NBR is for you. There are, of course, cheaper options that exist for hair extensions, but I simply don’t want to risk damaging my natural hair and would rather pay for a quality product. I found my stylist by searching the IG hashtag #NBRChicago and finding some of the work that she highlighted on her page. 

So, yes, I 10/10 would recommend NBR hair extensions to a friend. I’ve gotten so many compliments and, even better, many comments such as “I had no idea those were extensions, they look so real.” I absolutely feel like myself with these puppies in and, to me, that’s worth every penny.



Salon Bilancio. San Rafael, CA


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