Hand-tied extensions are beginning to have their moment, and we predict the industry will be hearing more about the technique even more in 2020. How do you know if this is the right method for you and your clients?
Hand-tied extensions refer to the actual application technique of the extension, which is done by beading the natural hair then hand-tying the extension weft onto your natural hair. They require no tape, glue, or heat. The hand-tied method applies an entire weft to a sturdy, beaded, braid-like row.
Cindy Lopez is a Master Extensionist and educator, teaching master classes and certifications in four different techniques, including hand-tied, fusion, tape-in, and eye-links.beaded. MODERN asked her all about the hand-tied method, from what defines it to the ideal client.
WHAT DEFINES A HAND-TIED WEFT?
There are two types of wefts: hand-tied and machine tied.
“A hand-tied weft is where the hair is hand-tied together on the weft that is going to be applied to the natural hair,” Lopez says. “These tend to be more delicate and the wefts shed more than a machine-tied weft.
“Machine-tied wefts are a little bit thicker and more durable when it comes to shedding, washing, and styling than the hand-tied wefts. They are made with a sewing machine, rather than by hand.”
Lopez says to keep in mind that shedding also depends on quality of hair that you’re ordering, not just the type of weft.
WHAT WEFTS ARE USED FOR HAND-TIED APPLICATION?
The pieces for hand-tied extensions are typically pre-cut and sewn by hand to create the smallest wefts possible.
“For all wefts, hand-tied or machine-tied, pieces should not be cut on your own,” Lopez says. “This can potentially make them unravel and become unusable. While this is more important with the hand-tied wefts (due to durability), I don’t recommend cutting machine-tied wefts either.”
WHEN SHOULD I USE A HAND-TIED METHOD?
You can add wefts for fullness or length. If someone is looking for length, specifically, Lopez says hand-tied is the best method to use because it creates a whole new weight-line at the base, which makes it easier to create a natural look vs tape-in, beaded, or fusion which you have to brick-lay to make sure there are no gaps at the bottom.
Remember, Lopez stresses, hair extensions should never be 2x longer than what you’re client’s natural hair is.
“Following this rule provides the safest application as to not damage the natural hair.”
HOW DOES THE COST DIFFER FROM OTHER METHODS?
“The first initial application (since the client is paying for both the hair and the application) depends how much hair you’re using on the client,” Lopez says. “You won’t be able to charge everyone the same, as everyone is trying to achieve a different look (length, color, etc.). You can charge by row, but I personally only charge by a set rate for the reset. Hand-tied resets are roughly $50 – $100 more than other application techniques.”
WHO IS THE IDEAL HAND-TIED EXTENSION CLIENT?
Lopez says the ideal hand-tied extension client needs to have enough hair to withstand the beads that hold the wefts in.
“You want to make sure that you’re looking at the first inch of your client’s hair from the root, because you want to make sure that they have sufficient hair where you’re going to be tying the beads,” Lopez says. “You need to make sure that the root is healthy and strong enough to add beads and hand-sew the wefts in.”
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOUR HAND-TIED CLIENTS COME IN?
Lopez has her clients come in every six weeks.
“Although some hairdressers suggest 8-12 weeks, I personally think that the hair is too grown out at that point and then tension points may have been created due to the excess growth and the pulling of the natural hair,” she says.
Reset appointments can take anywhere from 60-90 minutes.
To prolong the life of the wefts, Lopez says not to color the extension unless you are certain you’re ordering from a reputable supplier so that you don’t minimize the lifespan of the weft.