Hair extensions are becoming more popular, but what is behind the rise? “Clients will be in the ‘treat yourself’ mentality for a while,” says Simon Tuckwell, Balmain Hair UK ambassador and creative influencer. “As salons return to some kind of normality clients are looking for services that will give them the hair they’ve always dreamed of.” Both clients and stylists are coming to realise the benefits of the service.
“I think clients are very aware of what can be done with extensions now, so it’s important to have a good understanding of how to cut and blend them,” says Robert Eaton, creative director at Russell Eaton salons and a Great Lengths stylist. “For us, hair extensions and colour go hand in hand, and so a lot of the colour trends that we’re seeing now will relate to hair colour trends with extensions too,” he adds.
Celebrities and influencers are also behind the drive with the lure of radical transformations more visible than ever before. “Celebrities, influencers and generally images people see in the media, influence clients in so many different ways,” says Robert, adding that extensions can be a great alternative to a colour transformation service. “Extensions are a perfect solution for when a client’s hair is not in good condition and they want to go lighter without causing further damage by bleaching it,” he says. “We can incorporate colour with the extensions, rather than lifting the client’s hair, and lighter colours can also be toned in lots of different ways. As we approach summer, we begin working with pastel shades again, and it’s great to work with those colours on top of extensions.”
Here are the styles and trends your clients will be requesting most over the coming months…
The must-have mulletCelebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lavato and Rihanna are all experimenting with the mullet, so it’s no wonder requests are skyrocketing in salons. Extensions can serve to intensify the look or add bold colours for experimental clients. “Clients will start using extensions to exaggerate certain parts of the haircut or colour,” says Simon. “The shag haircut and mullet cut have been resurfacing within the salon. I can see clients starting to intensify lengths or add flashes of colour to these cuts,” he says.
Big up the bob“One of the biggest hair extension trends at the moment is sophisticated bob length looks,” says Emma Holt of BCreative, Taunton. Gold Fever ambassador Taylor Ferguson agrees: “We’re seeing a strong trend for thicker and more luscious locks. After lockdown clients wanted to present a fresh new hair look and extensions allow them to make significant changes very quickly,” she says. “Shorter styles such as choppy bobs are in demand and the addition of extensions can enhance the look.”
Healthy and bouncy“We’re seeing clients who want natural-looking hair with movement that’s free-flowing and almost bouncy,” says Taylor. “Many celebrities and influencers are proving inspirational in a variety of ways – either because they are wearing extensions or because they have the most thick and luscious-looking hair that’s in tip-top condition so everyone wants to emulate it,” she adds. “Big names such as Britney Spears, Jacqueline Jossa, Adriana Lima and the Duchess of Cambridge all deliver that dream hair image that many crave.”
On the fringe"Super long and loose untouched hair is in demand", says Vicky Demetriou, a Great Lengths ambassador based at Larry King. “Singer Dana Hourani’s statement fringe with loose and untouched hair is another look clients aspire to have. Great Lengths bonds are applied to add extra length to the client’s natural hair. I add a few bonds to the fringe to create thicker, heavier panels that sit beautifully and effortlessly frame the face.”
“Clients want natural-looking hair with movement that’s free-flowing and almost bouncy.”
Beachy wavesRemi Cachet super stylist Lauren Reed of Lauren Reed Hair Extensions, Glasgow, predicts the classic beach wave to be a mainstay for extensions. “I see blunt ends on beach waves, lots of texture and enhanced face framing trending now and for the months ahead. Beach waves are the most popular finished look with clients loving the blunt straight ends,” she says. “They want to achieve enhanced texture with their hair extensions both mid length and long and with side fringes. Emily Ratajkowski has a strong influence, changing her famous chocolate locks to blonde, and sticking to her signature face framed mid length cut with loose waves,” she adds.
“It’s clear that most of us want to have hair like Hollywood celebrities. We want hair that is thick, beautiful and above all, shiny.”
Uncompromising colourSome clients will want to go bold with their hair colour, but might not want to commit to a bold shade through a colour service. “Hair extensions give people the length, fullness and colour they desire without compromising their own hair,” explains Rapture educator Jason O’Sullivan. “Our new shade 901 would take a lot of time to achieve on natural hair, however with the new 901 it can be placed in the hair without any chemical services and it provides the same result within minutes,” he says.
Blunt ends“The emerging ‘blunt ends’ will see clients with hair of all lengths opting for heavy baselines in their cuts and discreetly placed hair extensions will achieve choppy blunt ends,” predicts Nadine Johns-Alcock, Showpony global head of education. “We are seeing a surge in bobs and lobs with shows like The Queen’s Gambit being an international success, along with celebrity chops on icons such as Jennifer Lopez, Cate Blanchett, Rhianna and Kaia Gerber,” she says. “This look is quickly and easily enhanced with hair extensions used as ‘fillers’ around the front hairline.”
Uber long lengths"With celebrities such as Anna Taylor-Joy wearing mermaid-worthy lengths at the Golden Globes, there has been a return to Hollywood glamour", says Zen Hair ambassador, Bozena Sarek. She explains: “It’s clear that most of us want to have hair like Hollywood celebrities. We want hair that is thick, beautiful and above all, shiny. We can see that clients are moving away from the short styles we rocked during lockdown and are striving for longer locks. Extensions are the perfect alternative to add volume and length while clients work on growing their hair longer,” she says. However, a natural result is a top priority for clients. “The natural look is what we hear most often in hairdressing salons. To achieve this, the quality of the hair is of the utmost importance,” adds Bozena.