• Stream Queen

Clip vs. Tape and the Best Hair Extension Brand

I started experimenting with hair extensions in 2010. Like most girls, my introduction to extensions was with a set of clip-ins from Sally Beauty Supply. In the nine years that I have pretty much constantly worn extensions, I've been able to find a type that works the best for me. After years of searching and spending thousands of dollars on various brands, I've also found the best quality extensions that I've been using for three years now. There are a lot of different styles and brands of extensions, I'm going to share my experience with what I've tried.


Clip-ins- Pros and Cons



Cons

To be honest, clip-in extensions are not my favorite type of extensions. I hate that clipping them in takes so long, and needs to be done every day you want your extensions in. Of course, you have to take them out every night as well, you can't wash your hair or sleep with them in. The clips also tend to pull on my hair and give me a headache within an hour of wearing them. Because the 'lace' weft where the clips are sewn to is fairly thick, it makes it hard to blend with your natural hair if your hair is thin. When your hair on the top of your head moves, the weft will most likely be showing. Clip in hair is also what I consider 'stiff', because the hair is sewn together in long wefts, it just doesn't move like natural hair does. You aren't able to do a lot of hairstyles like pony tails or updos because the clips and wefts aren't exactly flexible. You are limited to where you can clip the extensions in, which means you can't put clips too close to the top of your head or too close to your hairline along your face- both of which are very important areas for making sure the extensions blend and look natural!


Pros

Clip-ins offer a temporary solution for wanting longer/thicker hair, like for a special occasion or event. They don't cause much damage to your natural hair as long as you don’t sleep with them in.


I’ve been using clip ins from https://www.humanhairextensiononline.com.au for the past few months, so I can give my hair a break from having tapes installed for so long. It has been nice enjoying my natural and low maintenance hair while still enjoying the length and thickness the extensions provide when I put them in. The first time I’ve ever worn clip ins to a festival was at Escape a few months ago and they worked perfectly. The clips stayed in all night, my hair looked long and thick, and I didn’t get a headache because I took ibuprofen with me.


Most girls who wear extensions like clips because they are temporary and easy to use, so if you are looking to try out extensions but don’t want a long term commitment, they are perfect for you!



Tape-ins- Pros and Cons


I have been using tape-ins for years now, and I LOVE them!


Pros

Tape-in extensions are much longer-lasting solution than clip-ins. Once your tapes are installed, they can stay in for 6-8 weeks! I've even kept mine in for as long as 12 weeks before, although I would not recommend keeping them in that long.


Tape extensions are pretty much undetectable. The 'weft' part is much thinner than the weft of clip ins, and the hair is attached by a clear bonding material that the tape lays over. Once these are installed, you could run your hand down the back of your head and feel nothing. If you do that with clip in extensions, your would be able to feel each bump created by the weft. These do not pull on my hair, cause headaches, or feel heavy on my head. Because the pieces are about 2 inches wide, the hair isn't as stiff at the top like with clips, so it moves more like natural hair. You can do pretty much any hairstyle with tapes installed, including updos, ponytails, braids, and buns, because the wefts are are invisible as you are going to get. Since they are designed for long-term wear, you can wash, style, and sleep with them just like you do your normal hair. Once I have my tapes installed, I truly don't even notice they are there, unlike clip-ins.


The biggest benefit to using tapes is being able to customize your extension placement based on your hair. I've found that my extensions look the best and most natural when I place the most tapes at the base of my head, the sides toward my face, the top of my head, and less on the back middle part of my head. This is the area that is always the most obvious giveaway that someone has extensions in if the extensions don't fully cover those areas. Since I always get really long extensions and my natural hair is to my shoulders, I focus on installing tapes really close to my hair line toward my face, behind my ears, and very close to my part on top of my head. These areas are pretty much impossible to put clip in extensions since they would show. Having tapes installed gives a much more natural and realistic look for extensions- most people don't even know I wear extensions because of how I install them. The ability to do this with tapes is a HUGE benefit over using clip-ins, which just can't look as natural because of the way they are made and where they need to be placed in order to hide the wefts.


Tape extensions can be removed, re-applied with tape, and re-installed several times, if you take care of the hair. I braid my hair every night and sleep on a silk pillowcase to help prevent tangles. I use a lot of deep conditioning treatments, and I use Olaplex no. 3 every week. Moisturizing, hydrating, and oil products are also great since extensions don't produce healthy oils to protect the hair like natural hair.


Cons

Unfortunately, the only downside to using tapes is a pretty significant one, and that is the damage the tape can cause. When it's time to remove your extensions, you will need to get a solvent to help dissolve the tape. Regardless of how much solvent I use, or how long I let it saturate the tape for, removing my extensions always causes some damage to my natural hair, usually when the weft comes out but the tape residue gets stuck in my hair. This can help be prevented by removing your extensions every 4-6 weeks, rather than 6-8, using the solvent that is recommended by the brand, and going slowly and gently during the removal process. But you should be prepared to see some of your natural hair stuck to the tapes when you remove them. Although this sounds scary, just remember that we lose between 50-100 strands of hair per day. If you install a lot of tapes like I do, the majority of your hair will be sandwiched between the two tape strands. When those strands naturally shed, they stay stuck between the tape wefts, rather than falling onto the floor. So, when you remove your extensions, it's common to see what seems like a lot of 'hair loss'. Just remember that you are basically seeing all of the strands you naturally lost over the past few weeks all at once, and that if you were careful with the removal process, that the extensions didn't cause the strands to come out.


That being said, there have been a few times where I left my extensions in for around 12 weeks, and that is always a bad choice. The tape isn't designed to last that long and starts getting a weird, gummy texture as it's breaking down. This makes it extremely difficult to fully remove the tape, and I have had tape get stuck to my natural hair instead of coming out with the weft. This causes a pretty small, but bad, tangle at my roots that is really hard to get rid of. Tape extensions are more of a commitment than clip ins. You either have to pay someone to install and remove them, or spend quite bit of time doing it yourself, and you want to make sure you are 'baby-ing' the hair so it lasts a long time.


Zala vs. HHEO brands


For as long as I have been using extensions, I actually have not tried many brands. A lot of the popular extensions are ridiculously expensive, so I have always been on the hunt for a more affordable brand that lasts a long time. I used Zala tapes for about a year, and I also had a set of their clip-ins that I would occasionally use when I'm in between tape installations.


Their clip-ins are decent. For how often I use them (a few times out of the year), they work well, but I would suggest investing in a higher quality brand if you want to use them more frequently. Clip in hair tends to maintain it's quality for longer than tapes since they aren't worn as long or as often as tapes.



However... Zala tape-in extensions are absolutely HORRIBLE! I honestly cannot believe I used them for an entire year, the entire time thinking that what I was experiencing was normal for tape extensions (it wasn't). From first impressions, Zala is great. Their website is cute, their packaging is pretty, and the hair is soft and smooth and thick down to the ends. Once they were installed, it's like the hair completely transformed in the worst way possible. It was constantly ratty, tangled, and frizzy. I tried every product to help them go back to their original state, but nothing worked. Deep conditioners, leave in conditioners, anti-frizz products, oil serums, coconut oil, hair masks, even Zala brand products that promised to 'revive' the hair. I think they must coat the hair with something before shipping them out, and as soon as it washes out, the extensions go to shit. I would have to carry a brush around with me and brush the extensions every half an hour, or the hair looked like I had used my hand to back comb it from the lengths upwards (you can see what I'm talking about in the photo). Going to festivals with Zala extensions was awful, and I was constantly trying to brush out the extensions and tangles using my hand and smooth it out. I was never able to re-install my Zala's. By the time I removed them at 4 weeks, the hair was so awful that I couldn't smooth it out well enough to use again, so I was blowing a ton of money every few weeks to replace the hair.




After a year of being miserable with Zala, I started looking for other brands that were affordable but better quality. I found the HHEO website https://www.humanhairextensiononline.com.au and after reading tons of reviews, decided to try their tape ins. I bleached and toned the extensions to match my hair, which usually destroys hair extensions that are poor quality. But HALLELUJAH the hair still looked and felt great. I was even happier with this brand after installing them and wearing the hair for a few weeks. Literally every issue I had with Zala was no longer an issue. My hair was smooth all the time, no fancy masks or treatments required. I no longer had to keep a brush with me to comb out the tangles that appeared every ten minutes. The hair stayed soft, smooth, and

curled even after spending 12 hours in humid Miami for Ultra. The extensions blended with my hair so wonderfully, and I have never had them get frizzy or look dry and damaged. I am able to remove the extensions, re-tape them, and re-install them, I’ve worn the same tapes for a year which is pretty crazy for tape ins. I also have a set of their clip ins that I use in between tape installations, and the clips are just as fantastic and high quality as the tapes. I will never try a different brand of extensions because I have been so impressed with HHEO, and I truly don’t think any other brand would even compare. I recommend HHEO to everyone that asks about extensions because they are really just the best and my favorite brand.


See? My hair looks so much better with HHEO compared to Zala