Becky with the good hair, the good skin, and the good clothes. We all know her and love her. She’s sweet, she’s courteous and always had a sweet boyfriend.. or whatever he was when we were in grade school. The thing is, we can now all feel like we imagined Becky probably felt. We can get the facials, buy the makeup, or buy the weave/extensions, because why not? I don’t think I really tapped into ‘beauty’ as a whole until 2019. I’m now closer to 30 than I am to 20 and that really gives me pause. I feel that I should absolutely be taking advantage of my youth, and instilling good habits into my routine while I can.
One of my favorite beauty routines involves my hair. It didn’t always used to be important to me, because I considered brushing it to be an extreme inconvenience. Then I discovered the sheer number of women forking out thousands of dollars for long hair. This gives me pause – and I decided I should probably take better care of it, unless I too would like to be spending half of my travel money on hair?!!
The History Behind Hair Extensions
Take a moment to nerd out with me. People have been augmenting their appearance for centuries, and specifically their hair. The remains of women from ancient Egypt were discovered with hair extensions? I don’t know why this blows my mind, but I think I forget that all ancient societies were as advanced as they were or cared about more than inventing the wheel? (Link to the article, originally posted in Live Science here.) Quite literally 3,300 years ago.. we have cases of women enhancing their locks with up to 200 pieces of extra hair. Fast forward to the 18th century were wigs were so elaborate, men wore huge powdered wigs and women quite literally built ships into their hair. (Excuse me while I go ahead and schedule a chiropractors appointment.. I have sympathy neck pain for the poor gals.)
Fast forward a few centuries and we have the story of Lady Godiva riding through the streets naked with only her flowing long mane for cover, to help the pour starving souls in her 11th century town? Over time the story has become famous in it’s exaggeration, but perhaps the biggest exaggeration is the way she’s depicted in statues and paintings with a long flowing mane. She probably didn’t have a mane of hair, but she probably did do some good for the people of her town – yet this is the part of the story that’s amplified and why? (Story here if you’ve never heard of it.)
Fast forward again.. and then there’s Disney.. we’ve all watched the Disney princess movies that give us an absolutely unrealistic view of what our hair could/ should look like (even if you’re blessed). Jasmine and Sleeping Beauty really did it for me. I started drawing my own hair like that in family drawings as early as kindergarten and I don’t think I’ve looked back? Hair became important.
The Science Behind the Hair
Although now I wear my hair naturally, with no extensions etc., I have used clip-ins. I’ll be honest: I felt fierce, like Beyonce, but with absolutely no singing ability or anywhere near that actual level of awesome- just the hair. I empathize with the lure of long pretty hair. It’s actually a little scary how adding a few chunks of over-priced synthetic strands of hair, (that I bought from a discount beauty shop in Bowling Green, Kentucky), could have affected my self esteem in that way. Clearly my self esteem wasn’t built on solid blocks at 20 – but still – I know many a woman who has freaked out over a bad haircut. (Pat yourself on the back now for getting through that bad haircut you got in 6th grade. It’s over sis.)
Hair, for many of us displays a level of femininity/masculinity.. this why we spend thousands on hair care and extensions. Thinking about it purely scientifically – there are many species out there that have brightly colored feathers, manes, spotted coats – all used in the selection process for finding mates. Humans are no different in that they have specific things characterized as beautiful/healthy, with hair being one of the biological things that can attract potential mates. (There is obviously A LOT more to the selection of mates in humans- but we’re just focused on one physical aspect: and that is hair – keep your britches on folks.)
How many people have hair extensions?
It quite literally blows my mind when I realize some of my favorite bloggers, or even friends, don’t have long hair on their own. It looks so real, glamorous and effortlessly chic. (I aspire to that level of effortlessly chic, but as it stands I’m a 26 year old hot mess. 30’s will be my decade!) I asked my afore-mentioned bestie hair dresser about it and she told me ‘only 10% of the population has thick, lustrous hair. Hair extensions are more common than you think’. My brain cannot understand that statistic. 10%. 10% of all the bloggers I follow on Instagram, models I see in magazines, celebrities, and friends in real life… have real ‘good’ hair. Although I cannot tell you how much better this makes me feel about having bad hair days – it also makes me wonder what kind of investment we’re talking for good hair extensions.. because the plastic feeling ones from the discount beauty store aren’t cutting it.
The Cost of Hair Extensions
Why don’t I have some kind of extension now? I wan’t mermaid hair just as much as anyone else, but the biggest reason is because I don’t want to have to take care of it. $1000 for the price of hair and the service to make it actually match? That’s not an investment I’m willing to make in something I don’t particularly feel like I need or that I’ll take care of. (I have bad skin, so I read all the skin care blogs and buy all the expensive skin care that may or may not work.. this is where my beauty investment really goes!) If you have ‘bad hair’ though.. these are your potential investments for remedying it with extensions:
Statistics say that a partial head of lower quality extensions alone can cost you between $150 to $300, while the higher quality pieces, such as the Remy Human Hair can cost between $250-$500 for partial, and $1,000-$2,500 for full!?
Clip Ins application are $0
Sewn In application starts at $100 – $400 +
Tape In application fees start from $200 – $800 +
Fushion hair application start from $350 – $1000 +
Beaded Wefts application start at $400 – $1500 +
Another consideration in the cost of hair is the sourcing of the hair. If you don’t plan to fork out $600+ for an ethically sourced full head hair, then what you get is probably not good quality or doesn’t come to you buy way of ethical practices. The cost of hair extensions doesn’t just pose a potential strain financially, but also has a heavy social impact if sourced unethically.
Your Beauty Budget
With all of the negatives surrounding how hair extensions are acquired – I go back to my earlier statement about personally having bad skin. I have bad skin- so therefore it’s something I invest in. Sensitive, acne prone skin is temperamental and requires non-drug store products/makeup. It is what it is. There is no quick fix when I have hormonal spikes etc. I have to eat right, drink enough water, buy the right kind of coconut oil, skin care and make-up.. and then I’ll have good skin. It’s better now than it’s ever been – but all of that requires time and energy investments. For gals who feel about their hair the way I feel about my skin.. hair extensions can be worth the investment. I have seen some truly desperate situations and the impact that well placed hair extensions have had on a persons self esteem? Priceless. The new hair made them feel beautiful again. We all deserve to feel that way.
What all have you done to augment yourself and was it worth it? My hair guru is fond of the phrase ‘beauty budget’, as in what do you want to spend on self care treatments, products etc. For me the things I have found to be most worth it: skin care, hair care / regular hair cuts, waxing (especially facial waxing), + pedicures. If you do any of these things, do you think about a beauty budget? Are hair extensions going to be factored in as a must?