I love thick, flowing, excessively-long, barbie-style hair. There. I said it and I am not ashamed.
For me, long hair is the epitome of femininity and sensuality. When my hair looks sad, I feel sad too, so it's essential I get that fabulously fresh weave in before an exciting holiday with the girls or a special night out.
I have been unashamedly in love with hair extensions for many years now, and thankfully due to the non-invasive methods of my regular stylist, Shannel Watson of Secret Extensions, my natural locks have remained in a pleasing condition.
Shannel shuns the use of toxic glue, which is the most common attachment method of extensions in the UK and is known to cause damage to the hair, severe irritation to the scalp, dermatitis and all manner of allergic reactions.
For those of you who prefer individual extensions, Shannel has invented her own hand-tied extensions called Brazilian Knots, involving the attachment of thin strands of natural hair to the roots by a tiny plait and organic cotton thread. The whole process takes about 4 - 5 hours but the results are truly worth it.
From my experience, I feel that as long as you look after your extensions (hold the hair from the roots before you brush, plait your hair before you swim/sleep, use high quality, nourishing hair products etc) and stay away from the ones that are attached by glue, your hair will be fine.
Shannel Watson smiling. Smiling, because those customers keep on coming back...
Whilst I've been lucky enough to find such an expert hair extension technician, it has been quite the conundrum to find the perfect hair to enhance my needy mane.
That is until I heard about Zen Luxury Hair Extensions - beloved by beauty bloggers, models in search of beautiful barnets and the sultry Kardashian sisters.
The company's website states that it has over 35 years of experience in the industry and that it uses a special source guaranteed to provide 100% virgin Remy hair of the highest quality.
As always, I was at first skeptical about such 'too good to be true' claims. I was overly familiar with such pompish talk from extension brands and would usually end up crying into a frazzled, shaggy mess after a few weeks of trying an unknown hair company's hair.
Zen Hair actually impressed me.
You can purchase three different 'series' of Zen hair - Pure, Luxury and Ultimate, which all increase slightly in quality levels.
I opted for three packs of the Luxury Series in 20 inches. This brand of hair is sold in a much smaller amount that other hair extensions, so you will need at least 3 to 4 packs for a satisfactory, voluminous look.
Each section of hair features a sticky section which is supposed to be stuck directly onto the roots of your hair. Being a pure weave advocate, Shannel simply sewed the hair into thin braids and the effect was outstanding.
The whole process took about 45 minutes and I was left with gorgeous long, shiny tresses, worthy of a cheesy shampoo advert - as you can see in the images below;
After blow drying only
After extensions are curled using heated rollers
I would recommend Secret Extensions and Zen Luxury Hair to anyone interested increasing the volume and length of their hair. After three months, the quality of my tresses are in perfect condition and for the first time ever, I am able to reuse the same hair when I get my weave redone next week.