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Ready to Get Tape-In Hair Extensions? Here’s What You Need to Know

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So you’re thinking of getting hair extensions, are you? Extensions can be a fun way to add oomph to thin hair, fix an ill-advised haircut, or give you instant Rapunzel vibes, but they do require a bit of research beforehand. Whether you’re considering clip-ins, sew-ins, glue-ins, or tape-ins, there’s an option for every hair type and desired end result. So what exactly are tape-in hair extensions? Less damaging, less time-consuming to install, and more natural-looking than other types of extensions, tape-ins have earned legions of fans—and they might be your quick ticket to longer hair.

But first, let’s find out if tape-in extensions are right for you and your hair. Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about them, from the installation to maintenance, with expert insight from Mayvenn Hair hairstylist Brittany Johnson.

About the Expert:

Brittany Johnson, licensed hairstylist and senior content manager for Mayvenn Hair.

What are tape-in hair extensions?

As the name suggests, this type of extension is “taped in” flush to your scalp for quick installation and a natural appearance. Typically applied by a professional, “They can provide the same length and fullness that clip-ins do, but with a more permanent solution,” explains Johnson. “They differ from other types of extensions because of their application method and the ways to best care for them.”

What are the benefits of tape-in extensions?

Simply put, tape-ins are like other varieties of extensions in that they make your hair appear longer, thicker, and more voluminous (cue the shampoo-commercial hair flip…). But the key differences come in how versatile, natural-looking, and long-lasting tape-ins are. “Tape-in extensions are great for adding length and fullness, and typically lay very flat against the head,” says Johnson. “They can easily be styled in different ponytails, high buns, and some braided hairstyles as well.”

Perhaps best of all, they don’t have to be taken out at the end of the day. “They're great for clients who love the look of clip-ins but want a longer lasting solution that doesn't have to be removed at night,” says Johnson.

Are they damaging?

There is always some risk of hair damage when using extensions, but with tape-ins, proper care can bring that risk down to (nearly) zero. “Tape-in extensions shouldn't pose any more potential for damage than other extension methods, unless they are installed incorrectly or not cared for properly,” explains Johnson.

The biggest rule of maintenance, according to Johnson? “Making sure that there is the right amount of natural hair sandwiched in between the tabs is a big deal,” the hairstylist says. “Too much hair means the tape-ins won't last or attach properly, and too little will cause tension and pull on your roots.” And while it may be tempting to try to stretch the life of your extensions, try not to leave them in for too long. “If your hair has grown out so much that the tape-ins are twisting around and there's too much space between where the tabs connect and your roots, it's time to get them removed,” Johnson advises.

What’s the installment like?

“Tape-ins are installed using a medical-grade adhesive that is attached to the tabs at the root of the extensions,” says Johnson. “They come in pairs of two, and the natural hair is ‘sandwiched’ in between the two tabs near the roots as they attach together.” The stylist will continue this method until the extensions cover the full head. “Tape-ins are usually installed in a bricklaying pattern from the nape of the head up,” says Johnson. The entire process typically lasts 30–45 minutes—much faster than sew-ins, which can take hours.

So just how many extensions will you need? Those with fine hair should prepare for a few more tracks than those with thick hair. “The number of extensions used will vary depending on the client's desired length, fullness, and the way that their own hair currently falls,” says Johnson. If it sounds daunting, we promise it’s not as scary as it seems. But it’s important to remember that tape-ins are still best applied by a licensed professional for optimal results. (Plus an added bonus of going to a pro? A super close hair-color match!)

How to care for tape-in hair extensions?

“Caring for tape-ins is a lot like caring for your natural hair, with some added steps in between,” says Johnson. “As with any human hair extensions, you want to keep them properly detangled, cleansed, and moisturized.” For detangling, we love FOXYBAE Rose Gold Detangling Brush, which—in addition to its gorgeous, Instagram-worthy rose gold color—is super gentle on strands both real and otherwise. “Be careful to detangle hair from the bottom up, and not pull or tug on where the tape-ins are attached near your root,” advises Johnson.

You’ll also want to keep a few trusty hair products handy. To keep your hair silky and hydrated, try styling with NATURELAB. TOKYO Perfect Smooth Hair Oil, a blend of natural oils that seals in moisture and boosts shine. Johnson also recommends you “Avoid applying product directly to the root and on or near the tape tabs, as this will loosen the adhesive.” And last but not least, swap out your pillowcase for something a little more luxe to defend against breakage. “Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase helps with retaining moisture, and doing a loose braid or twists with your extensions before bedtime can limit tangling and having to restyle as often,” she adds.

How long do they last?

One aspect you’ll love about tape-ins is how long they last compared to other extensions. “Tape-ins typically last anywhere from five to eight weeks before needing to be removed and moved up and/or reapplied,” says Johnson, who reinforces that hair care is key. “The longevity of the tape-ins has a lot to do with care at home and how fast the client's hair grows out.”

How do you remove tape-in hair extensions?

You may love a good at-home treatment, but this is not the time for DIY. Make an appointment with your stylist, who will have just the solution (literally). “Tape-in extensions are best removed with the designated remover. Trying to remove them with just water, conditioner, or another method can cause unnecessary shedding and damage to your hair,” explains Johnson. Here’s how it works: “The remover is sprayed on the tape tabs, and gently worked through the adhesive until the tabs easily separate and can be removed safely from your hair.” Then, you’re all set—whether that means letting your natural hair breathe for a bit, or getting a new set of extensions installed.

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Article Last Updated September 17, 2020 12:00 AM