“You like my hair? Gee thanks, just bought it.” – Ariana Grande….and every girl with hair extensions in 2019
I joined in on the lyrics from February to June of this year, when my locks were long and I felt like a new woman! I proudly sported beaded-weft hair extensions in soft black, and though I LOVED them, boy did my budget feel them too. If you’re looking for some insight regarding the cost and experience of hair extensions, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s jump right in. I’ll be including photos along the way to show you what my journey looked like!
Here’s what I looked like when I made the decision to change up my hair:
I didn’t want to fuss with multiple colors left over from my age-old balayage, so I decided to go soft-black all over.
At this point, I was ready!
The Cost of the Hair
At my salon of choice (Extensions by Lynn / San Antonio, TX), bundles of hair could be purchased from Pink Label extensions, a well-rated seller and personal favorite of my stylist. Two 22” bundles of straight hair (for my curlfriends, more on this later) ran me $330.
I considered this a fair price back then and still do today. GOOD extensions are going to cost you. What do I mean by good extensions? Well, I mean hair that is soft, flowy, easy to manage, easy to color, and long-lasting. And if you take care of the hair, it can last you up to a year!
The extensions took about three days to come in, and I had an appointment for an install a couple days after that.
The Cost of the Install
The Malaysian install (braidless, using small beads to attach the extensions to your natural hair) was $200. With tip added, my grand total was $220. I was ecstatic leaving the salon that day. I had never had such long, full hair! Lynn curled it and it felt AMAZING. The color blend was absolutely spot-on (Lynn is known for getting these just right), and I couldn’t wait to see all the ways I could style my new ‘do!
Fresh install with straight extensions:
…Unfortunately, about 3 weeks later, I was back in Lynn’s chair for a takedown and re-install, all because of a costly mistake I made. Remember I said I purchased straight hair? Not a good call. I’ve got natural curls right out of a Michael Jackson video (in his Thriller days), so daily styling was required to keep up with my new locks. I was constantly using my flat iron so that the textures could match between my hair and the extensions, and I knew it was causing significant damage. When it became too much, I ordered 2 bundles of 22” Italian wavy, worked with Lynn on the price, and she installed the new hair. MUCH better. In fact, I was even happier this time around because I could go natural without worry, and as a servicemember who sports a low bun M-F, I needed this ease of styling.
Fresh install with CURLY extensions 🙂
The Cost of Routine Tightening
Once the extensions are installed, coming back routinely to have the beads tightened (pushed back up to your root as much as possible) is standard. Every 4 weeks, I paid $55 to have this done. Thankfully, these appointments only took about 15 minutes. The only real downside here is that you leave with a bit of a headache! (It passes after the first day.)
The Cost of Coloring
This won’t be applicable to all of you, but in my case, all-over color and retouches had to be integrated into my budget as well, since my extensions were not my natural hair color.
For this service, I visited Avalon Salon in the Stone Oak area of San Antonio. ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PLACE! I can’t say enough good things about the stylists, the products used/sold in-store, the ease of setting up appointments, and the overall ambiance of the salon. (And no, I’m not being paid to say that…this post is in no way sponsored by Extensions by Lynn, Pink Label, or Avalon. Just to clear that up. Haha)
My appointments at Avalon also included a cut/layering, as Lynn doesn’t include this as part of her services (yet)!
So altogether, a cut & color retouch (performed approximately every 6 weeks) cost $180.
I’ve thrown several numbers at you, and I know how much it helps to see everything in one place, so here’s a table that does just that. I’m omitting the costs associated with replacing straight extensions with curly extensions, because I’m sure you all won’t make that same mistake! This table includes tips:
|Initial all-over color/cut||$140|
|Pink Label Extensions||$330|
|Tightening (every 4 weeks)||$55|
|Color retouch to match extensions + cut/layering |
|Color retouch (every 6 weeks)||$110|
|TOTAL FOR FIRST 6 WEEKS||$1,035|
As you can see, the upfront costs are significant. When you are in the “maintenance period” as I call it, however, charges are lighter and you can expect to budget about $150-$175 for a 6 week period (tightening + color retouch).
It was around the 4 month mark that my extensions needed to be fully taken down and reinstalled. I chose to end my journey with hair extensions here. I was heading to Europe for 18 days (click here to see my packing list for the trip!) and the TX heat was really making the long hair undesirable.
The Cost of Takedown / Post Hair Extension Styling
There was a $50 charge associated with the take-down. Had I chosen to reinstall the same hair it would have been $200.
I’ll admit, when I reached up to run my fingers through my natural hair after the take-down, I was immediately saddened. I could tell I lost some volume and I desperately needed a cut (my ends formed a v-shape).
I immediately booked an appointment at Avalon, fearing my stylist there would tell me my hair just wasn’t fit for extensions. Surprisingly, though, she told me not to worry and that a cut/full wash/styling would prove my hair was just fine. She was right! Here’s a pic from the day I got it cut:
These days, my only hair-related expenses are color retouches/trims every 8 weeks or so. My budget is thankful, but I doubt this’ll be my only stint with hair extensions!
High-quality hair extensions/maintenance may be costly, but if you’re interested in a new and exciting look and these fit into your budget, they’re well worth the splurge. I plan on going back in the spring to begin the journey again, and this time I’ll have much more precise estimates during the process. I hope you found this helpful! Treat yo’ self, Becky with the good hair. 😉