How to Pick the Best New Hair Color for Your Client

Color makeovers are a lot of fun, unless your client doesn’t end up with what they want. Make sure that you’re choosing the best color before you mix the formula, in order to avoid the potential mess and stress of a revision. How do you do that, exactly? We have a couple of tips…

Understand their preferences
Sure, the stylist knows best, but that won’t ever stop a client from having their own preferences and opinions. Ultimately, it’s the client’s opinion that counts when determining the success or failure of your services, so take the time to understand exactly what they want, and why they want it.

Know their allergies
While it’s not necessary (or appropriate) to request an entire medical history from each client, you should at least know if their scalp and hair are healthy enough to undergo the selected treatment, and if they have any allergies to the chemicals you may be using in your formulas or haircare products. It helps to have a product and ingredient list on hand to show them. Be ready to make some adjustments or replacements, if needed!

Match their undertones
As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, human hair and skin tends to share the same undertones. So someone with golden hair is more likely to have warm-toned skin, while someone with strawberry blonde hair is more likely to have cool-toned (pinkish) skin. Tailoring your search to the client’s skin tone can quickly reduce the overall number of options.

Complement their other features
Skin undertones aren’t the only thing relevant to your color selection. Your client’s other facial features—like eye color, face width, brow color (and, possibly, shape), etc.—should also be taken into account. You can draw attention to the golden flecks inside your client’s brown eyes by adding some golden highlights to their face-framing layers. You can make your client’s face appear narrower by darkening their hair color, or wider (and even younger) by lightening it. Be observant, and remember to ask your client which features of theirs they like best!

Use a try-on tool
If you find that you still have too many color options, consider using a try-on tool in your salon. This can be anything from a computer or online makeover program to a temporary color or Clip-In trial run. Babe Instant Hair is a great option in this sense, as it allows the client to wear the color (if even on just a section of their hair) for an extended period of time, and in different lighting conditions, providing them with the information they need to make a confident selection.

Once you and your client have settled on a color, the preparation phase is mostly over. Of course, there are a couple of other decisions to be made, and some color-related details to keep in mind…

Know best-practices
No matter what, it’s always important to know how to masterfully wield your tools, and sometimes that means knowing the manufacturer’s recommendations for usage. With Babe hair extensions, we advise stylists to select extensions of varying shades to produce a multi-dimensional, compelling look. That involves selecting a base color, a color up to two steps lighter than the base color, and a color up to two steps darker than the base color—all within the same color family, or tone. We also insist that you avoid lightening the extensions themselves, as bleaches and lightening agents can destroy the integrity of the hair.

Pre-color, if necessary
That being said, it is okay to color the extensions to a darker shade, so long as you are only using semi- or demi-permanent dyes. Extensions should be colored prior to the day of the installation appointment to give the hair enough time to fully dry. Similarly, if the client’s hair needs to be colored to achieve their ideal shade, this should be accomplished before the day of the installation. Color the client’s hair and the extensions separately—otherwise you risk uneven application and compromised bonds. Always make sure that you are not getting color on the hair extension bonds—and, if you do, be sure to clean it off quickly. We recommend that you remove the tape on Tape-In wefts prior to coloring, then apply Replacement Tape once the color has been processed.

Do you have a Babe before & after that you love? Share it with us on our Before & Afters page, and check out other stylists’ work while you’re at it! You just might find some inspiration for your next color job. 😉

 

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Redhead Color Inspiration

Have you gotten a chance yet to work with our newest red extension shades? If you’re still looking for an excuse to try them out, look no further than these beautiful redhead color inspirations. Just grab a willing client, a couple of packs of Babe’s red extensions (you can choose from Colette (#99J), Betsy (#3R), Vivian (Red Wine), Emmie (#5R), Ruby (#30/33), and GiGi (#38)), and some hair color (if necessary), then start re-creating these beauties in your salon today!

Burgundy or Plum

Extension shades
Colette (#99J)
Betsy (#3R)
Whitney (Dark Purple)

Mix the sultry, chocolate-y red shade of Colette (#99J) with Whitney (Dark Purple) for a beautiful burgundy/plum color, then temper it with Betsy (#3R) for a natural touch.

Red Velvet

Extension shades
Vivian (Red Wine)
Emmie (#5R)
Beverly (Burgundy)

Start with a base of Vivian (Red Wine) to establish the velvety color, then throw in some Emmie (#5R) for dimension. If you want extra red richness, mix in some Beverly (Burgundy) strands throughout the bottom layer of hair.

Carrot Red

Extension shades
Ruby (#30/33)
GiGi (#38)

Achieve this bright and earthy look by blending our medium-toned Ruby (#30/33) with her lighter-toned cousin, GiGi (#38).

Golden Red

Extension shades
GiGi (#38)
Cindy (#24)

Use a majority of GiGi (#38) to establish an underlying maple-y hue, then throw in some golden blonde strands of Cindy (#24) to lighten and brighten the look.

Ombre Red

Extension shades
Ruby (#30/33)
Kymberly (Ombre 4-613)
Nina (Ombre 2-27A)

Lay down a base of Ruby (#30/33), then alternate between Kymberly (Ombre 4-613) and Nina (Ombre 2-27A) as you move up the head. For bonus points, color the top section of the Ruby extensions to a #3R shade, and incorporate them into the top layers, too. (You can see how to dye hair extensions using an ombre technique in this Babe video!)

Ready to get started? Pick up our new red extension colors at your local distributor today! They’re available right now.

 

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Blending Tips for Red Hair

We’re loving our newest hair extension colors, and we’re loving the before and afters that you lovely Babes are making with them! Today, we’re compiling some of the best application tips we’ve seen for blending red hair extensions to perfection. Enjoy!

Take a cue from the skin color.
Pheomelanin, the pigment that determines the level of redness in a person’s skin and hair, is typically consistent between the skin and hair, meaning that a person with a ruddy complexion is more likely to have red-tinted hair, and vice versa. Hence the belief that the undertone of a person’s hair should complement the undertone of their skin, so as to produce the most natural-looking result. If you’re ever in doubt about which shade of red to use in a client’s hair (or which highlight and lowlight colors to apply), refer to their skin tone. Golden skin will match a copper hairdo well, whereas pink skin will look better with a more strawberry color.

Dimension is key.
Red hair spans a wide range of shades, from the lightest of strawberry blondes to the darkest of auburns. This variety makes red hair particularly suited to highly dimensional color jobs, so go all-in with the highlights and lowlights to produce a look that truly captures the light. Our rule of thumb is to select a color two steps lighter than the base color, a color two steps darker than the base color, and the base color itself—though you can absolutely incorporate more of the colors within those limits, too.

Throw in some brown or blonde.
If you look very closely, you’ll find that many natural redheads carry strands of brown or blonde within their hair alongside the more vivid red—especially around the face and near the ends of their hair. Feel free to incorporate some of these colors into your blending job, applying a couple of brown lowlights to darker reds and a smattering of blonde highlights to lighter reds. This will produce a beautifully natural-looking effect, while enabling you to modify the overall brightness or dullness of the client’s hair.

Don’t shy away from purple.
Sometimes red hair veers straight into the territory of so-called “fashion colors”, with a tuft of pink or a wave of fuschia buried within the otherwise natural-looking strands. Don’t be afraid to include some of these naturally occurring colors in your extension job! Though a lock of Dark Purple (Whitney) might seem like it would stick out like a sore thumb, when dispersed throughout the hair, it can actually blend right in, leaving only a gentle touch of color in its wake.

Have you met our newest red shades? Head over to your local distributor today to get acquainted, then send us your before and after photos via Instagram for a chance to be featured!

 

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How Many Different Hair Colors Are There?

Last week we announced our 3 new natural red shades—Colette (#99J), Vivian (Red Wine), and GiGi (#38)—available right now in all 4 professional hair extension methods. Together with our other red shades—Betsy (#3R), Emmie (#5R), and Ruby (#30/33)—that makes for 6 total natural red shades in our Babe collection! New extension colors means more exact matches for your clients, better extension blending opportunities, and safer color jobs (for when you choose to color the hair extensions to a different shade). That’s why we’re on a mission to provide you with the most extensive color range possible. But how many possible hair colors are there, you might wonder? Today, we’ll investigate that very question.

Human hair and skin color is determined by the relative amounts of two different, naturally occurring pigments—eumelanin and pheomelanin—which dictate the lightness or darkness and redness or yellow-ness of the color, respectively. Together, these pigments produce 4 easily recognizable hair color categories (not including grey or white): black hair (high eumelanin, low pheomelanin), brown hair (moderate eumelanin, low pheomelanin), blonde hair (low eumelanin, low pheomelanin), and red hair (varying eumelanin, high pheomelanin). Grey or white hair, which is typically a byproduct of the aging process, is caused by lack of melanin in some (grey) or most (white) hairs.

Within each of these color categories, though, you may find a vast and finely graduated range of possible hair colors, from light blondes to dark blondes, chestnut browns to mousey browns, warm to cool blacks, and beyond. It wouldn’t be possible—or practical—to count the number of total hair colors, especially when you consider that most hair includes various different shades, highlights, and lowlights within it. And that’s just the natural colors—when you include fashion colors in the mix, it’s basically a question of how many colors the human eye can see (about 8-10 million, in case you were wondering).

Obviously, Babe can’t offer millions of different extension color options (no matter how much we’d like to!). Instead, we offer what you might call “core colors”—distinct color steps that cover a reasonable range of the black, brown, blonde, red, and fashion color categories—paired with hair techniques like blending or coloring so you can produce the precise results you want. With our latest red hair additions, we’ve fleshed out the red color line to the point that you can easily accommodate basically any redhead client (aspiring or natural) with the right tools and some creativity. We look forward to seeing the new transformations you’ll create!

Visit your local distributor today to get your hands on our new colors, and click here to share your transformation photos!

 

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New Red Hair Extension Colors!

It’s time to launch the summer in style! Effective immediately, Babe is now offering 3 new natural red extension shades in all four of our professional methods! Say hello to Colette (#99J), Vivian (Red Wine), and GiGi (#38)—a collection of varied and vibrant ruddy hues. Together with our other red shades (Betsy (#3R), Emmie (#5R), and Ruby (#30/33)), they make for the most robust red collection Babe has ever offered! Let’s take a moment to get to know these girls better.

Colette (#99J)
Colette is a deep, rich, sultry red shade that borders on chocolate brown, but don’t think that means she’s subtle! Catch her in the light and you’ll see that she’s a true dark red.

Vivian (Red Wine)
Vivian is the color of red velvet cupcakes, with a beautiful depth and tone that lends dimension to this delectable shade. In terms of tone, Vivian sits snugly in the middle of Betsy (#3R) and Emmie (#5R), making her best for medium-dark clients.

GiGi (#38)
GiGi is a gorgeous, maple-y color that looks as fresh in fall as it does in spring. A medium-light shade, GiGi is now the lightest, brightest red shade we carry!

Visit your local distributor to see these shades in person. They’re available for purchase right now.

 

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What Do Babe’s Color Codes Mean?

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Have you ever found yourself wondering, “What exactly does color #1001 mean?” Babe definitely doesn’t offer 1001 hair extension colors, and there’s clearly a big jump from our next-highest extension code—613—and the color we like to call Yvonne. So what’s the deal?

Babe’s hair extension color codes are partially based on the International Color Chart (ICC)—an industry resource and standard defining 25 colors and 9 tones. The ICC is frequently used by dye producers, wig makers, hair extension manufacturers, and various other hair specialists to describe the color of their products in a widely understood way. This system features 2-3 numbers detailing the base color, primary tone, and sometimes secondary tone of a color (ex. 8.34 for a golden or copper-hued light blonde). At Babe, we often simplify this format considerably—for example, ICC 5.3 and 5.4 become 5B and 5R in the Babe system, the former being a more golden light brown and the latter being a more copper (or red) light brown. Other times, we keep our color code in near alignment with the ICC, as in the case of color #1001, which could be interpreted as base shade 10 (lightest blonde) with a slight coolness (.01) added to it.

But there are a number of differences between our system and the ICC. Firstly, in Babe’s color code system, we extend our base shade numbering beyond 10 values, maintaining the trend of higher numbers equaling lighter shades. To make sense of our hair extension numbers, remember that they fall into five basic categories.

Base Shade Number Range
Black & Brown – 1 to 10
Blonde – 12 to 27
Red – __R; 30/33
Gray & Platinum – 60 to 1001
Solid Colors – By Name

Secondly, we feature a number of blended colors that merge two distinct color codes together. For example, #27/613 means that blonde hair #27 has been blended with platinum hair #613 in the same strand or weft. The same principle applies to brown #6/10—the strand contains a certain percentage of colors #6 and #10.

Solid colors are another thing altogether. They are sometimes referred to as fashion colors and have no numbers assigned to them. So you’ll see names like Red Wine, Dark Purple, Green, Burgundy, Black Wine, and Pink. It’s not unusual to find that solid colors from different manufacturers vary in color, just as clothing dye lots can vary from company to company.

Given all the variation in color classification systems out there, it’s extremely important to have a physical reference in addition to a coherent code system when it comes time to select a color for your client. That’s why we always recommend that you keep your Babe Color Swatch nearby and at-the-ready—it’s the simplest, most effective way to understand and evaluate Babe’s range of extension colors, featured on actual swatches of 100% Human Remy hair. You can’t get that from color codes or pictures on the Internet.

Until the end of this month, we’re offering a special Babe Tag Color Swatch promotion—purchase 1 Color Swatch, get 3 special discount codes alongside it. Each discount code is printed on a tag that’s attached to the ring. Head over to your local distributor today to take advantage of the deal!

 

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Color Hacks for Babe Hair

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Coloring jobs can be intimidating, especially when they’re being performed on human hair extensions. Fortunately, Babe has many resources, tips, and tricks to conquer any coloring exploit with Babe hair. Here, we’ve featured some of our best color hacks for your next color transformation.

Blending existing color shades
One way to update a client’s hair color involves the use of hair extensions alone—no color and no developer, nothing other than pure and simple Babe hair. Select shades from our available collection, then use the hair extensions to simulate the desired look. For example, though Babe may not offer the exact shade of red your client is looking for, you can mix strands of 30/33 (Ruby) and 27/613 (Bridget) to produce the same effect as a single, multi-dimensional red color. This is our traditional extension color method, and it’s a favorite among clients seeking highlights, lowlights, balayages, and even ombres without any color processing.

Coloring extensions to desired level
Custom color can be used to explore the terrain outside of Babe’s existing color collection, making any and every color available to clients. Whether you’re mixing for pastel hair, mermaid-esque locks, an icy silver ‘do, or even the perfect match to your client’s natural hair color, the possibilities of color are basically limitless. The only rules to keep in mind are:
– Use professional, semi or demi-permanent colors, only
– Do not lighten or bleach the hair—only darken
– Perform a strand test first
– Pre-wash extensions with sulfate-free shampoo before coloring them
– Color extensions before installing them
– Stay within two shades of the extension base color (unless you’re working with #60 (Patsy) hair)
– Always flip extensions to color both sides
– Go with the direction of the hair’s cuticle when coloring extensions
– Remove all tape from Tape-In extensions before coloring them
– Use only color-safe, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner on color-treated hair

Warm-to-warm, cool-to-cool
One tip that we’ve found particularly helpful in the coloring process (though it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, per se) is to stick with the same tone of hair. That means that, if your desired end color is a warm blond, select a warm-colored extension in a lighter shade. Similarly, if your desired end color is a cool medium brown, select a cool light brown to color, so as to preserve the tone of the hair extension. This will produce particularly vivid results.

#60 (Patsy) as an ideal base
When performing more drastic (or imaginative) color transformations, it might be necessary to start with a blank canvas. For Babe, that means choosing our #60 (Patsy) extensions. This shade is one of our lightest and most neutral, making it versatile enough to use in just about any color transformation. It will not have the same staying power as color jobs performed on shades within 2 steps of the end color, but it will have magnificently saturated results! This quality lends itself especially well to pastel, emerald, and fantasy-color jobs.

When in doubt, Color Swatch
If ever you feel uncertain about a color selection, or about the interaction between a color formula and an extension hue, refer to the Babe Color Swatch. It’s a great reference for extension colors, and can be used in a multitude of different ways to facilitate your color job. This March-April, we’re featuring a special Babe Tag promotion with our Color Swatch: get 3 colorful discounts and a free Quick Pick Hair Parter with your purchase of the Color Swatch. Discounts include: a free marketing kit, a free intro DvD, and 10% off your next order. Visit your local distributor to take advantage of the deal!

Did you try any of these tips in your salon? How did it go? Share pictures of your color transformations with us on Babe’s Instagram!

 

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Time for All the Spring Things!

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It’s officially spring! That means it’s time to transition your salon from the variously cozy and crisp styles of winter to the romantic, breezy looks of spring. If that prospect sounds overwhelming to you, or you’re just not sure where to start, don’t worry—Babe is here with some tips to help you through the project!

Lighter, warmer hair colors
Many clients will be coming in for a seasonal update in the next few months, usually to lift their hair to a warmer or lighter hair color. Prepare by stocking up on golden and fawn-like hues and inundating yourself with plenty of inspiration. Our Pinterest boards are a great place to browse popular colors and styles.

Pastel looks
Pastel hair colors are particularly popular at the moment, and besides being refreshing and eye-catching, they’re also seasonally appropriate. Fill your cabinets with #60 (Patsy) Babe hair to custom color Easter-y soft pinks, blues, greens, and purples.

Bridal ‘dos
Spring is basically marriage season, so brush up on some of your favorite bridal looks to ready yourself for any wedding-related appointments. Once you’ve mastered your Kate Middleton-esque ‘dos, you can whip them out for everything from weddings to school dances—they’re actually incredibly versatile!

Salon spring cleaning
Spring cleaning isn’t only for your home—it’s also vital for your salon. Revisit all of your supplies, donating unused items, replacing damaged ones, and upgrading to new equipment when necessary. Deep-clean your tools, chairs, and surfaces for a brand-new feel in your salon. Finally, get acquainted with good upkeep practices to get you through the year until your next spring cleaning.

Inventory update
While you’re cleaning out your salon, take some time to update your Babe hair extension inventory. We regularly add new extension colors, textures, methods, and tools to our collection, so you’re almost guaranteed to have new Babe items on your shopping list each year. You can also attempt to reorganize your extension closet to accommodate the new items.

New sales and promos
Have new Babe items to buy but feeling short on cash? Take advantage of our various Babe promotions! These sales and discounts update every two months, and feature everything from hair extensions to tools to lash extensions, and even education! You can check out our current promotion—the Babe Color Swatch tag discount set plus free Quick Pick Hair Parter—on our Promotions page.

 

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How to Make the Most of Your Babe Color Swatch

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No extension consultation is complete without the Babe Color Swatch—a handy little tool featuring 100% Human Remy swatches of all our extension colors (37 and counting!). But did you know you can use the Babe Swatch for more than just choosing shades? Today, we’ll outline some of the lesser-known uses for your Babe Swatch, so you can make the most of it in your salon.

1. Use it to identify your client’s current hair shade. Regardless of whether or not your client is looking for hair extensions, the Color Swatch can be used to identify their current hair color. Incorporate it into your color consultations to help your client describe their own hair color, and gain an understanding of where their hair color sits within a range of shades.

2. Use it to plot your client’s ideal highlight or lowlight shades. The rules of hair extension blending apply to color dimension, too: once you’ve determined your client’s existing hair shade, select a similarly-toned color 2 steps lighter and 2 steps darker as a reference for your highlights and lowlights.

3. Use it to imagine a new hair color for your client. Shades on the Color Swatch can be used for more extensive color transformations, too. Use it as a reference for a new all-over color, first by comparing shades to your client’s skin tone to achieve a perfect complement, then by comparing your color formulation’s test strand to the swatch color for accuracy. Feel free to use multiple swatches for inspiration, too.

4. Purchase extra swatches to create a swatch book for color jobs, or for test strands. Test out how certain color formulations will react with Babe hair extensions by pre-coloring swatches. You can compile these tests into a book for easy perusal, or utilize the swatches directly as test strands for specific color jobs.

5. Use it to help new extension clients feel the quality of 100% Human Remy hair. Since the swatches on the Babe Color Swatch are 100% Human Remy, they look and feel exactly the same as our hair extensions themselves. Take advantage of the similarity and let your clients handle the hair. We’re sure they’ll notice the quality!

6. Use a color swatch or practice hair strand to demonstrate care practices to your client. Again, since the quality of the swatches on Babe’s Color Swatch correlate exactly with Babe’s actual hair extensions, swatches can be used to demonstrate proper hair care practices to your client. Let your clients brush, braid, or even wash the swatches, pretending that the metal clasp is the hair extension bond.

From March-April 2017, Babe is offering our special Babe Tag promotion: enjoy 3 friendly little tags with colorful discounts when you purchase Babe’s Color Swatch. Discounts include: a free marketing kit, a free intro DvD, and 10% off your next order. You’ll also get a free Quick Pick Hair Parter! Head over to your local distributor to take advantage of the offer now.

 

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Decoding Hair Extension Rules

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Babe’s hair extension rules exist for a reason. They help to ensure best practices, keep hair extensions in tip-top shape, and preserve the client’s hair health throughout the process. They make your job as a stylist easier by giving you clear performance guidelines and eliminating guesswork! But, as with many rules, there are exceptions worth noting. Here are 3 of Babe’s most fundamental rules and their exceptions–decoded.

Don’t install on hair shorter than the occipital. This is the golden consultation rule. If your client’s hair is shorter than the occipital bone (jaw-length or shorter), you’re not supposed to install extensions on them with the intention of adding length. This rule is designed to prevent bad hair extension jobs, as it’s notoriously difficult to blend hair extensions into super-short hair. That being said, there are some things to keep in mind:

– You’re still clear to install hair extensions for the purpose of adding volume. Such extensions will not need to be disguised into the hair, as they will not protrude beyond the client’s base hair length. In these cases, the client’s hair need only be long enough to hide the attachments of the hair extensions.

– You can still install hair extensions for length, but the target length should be no more than twice the length of the client’s own hair. The whole “don’t install hair extensions on hair shorter than the occipital” rule applies mainly to clients looking to go from short hair to long hair–a transition that can’t really be disguised, and so shouldn’t be undertaken at all. If the client is only looking to add a few inches of length, though, blending that work would be totally feasible. So, to rephrase the original rule, stay within twice the length of the client’s own hair. If your client has a short bob just barely grazing her jawline, don’t install extensions that extend below her shoulders.

Stay within two shades of the original color. We consistently recommend that you try to match your client’s hair color to one of our pre-colored hair extension shades, but we acknowledge that that’s not always possible. Hair comes in a wide range of colors, and some clients’ hair will inevitably fall in-between our existing shades. So we implemented a few coloring rules for stylists: use demi- or semi- permanent dye, stay within two shades of the original color, and never lift (or lighten). These rules serve to preserve hair extension quality in the face of chemical coloring treatments, as Babe extensions have already been color-treated. While we maintain that demi- and semi- permanent dye is preferable, and that hair should absolutely not be lightened, we have to address the two-shade rule, as there is one commonly-used practice that goes against it:

– Platinum-colored extensions–our lightest available hair extension shades–may reasonably be colored to any level and tone that the stylist and client desire. These extensions don’t require a lot of dye to achieve the end result, as they’re more porous than our other extension colors and contain the least amount of pigment. We actually advise stylists undertaking more experimental hair coloring jobs–say pastel colors, ombre, emerald tones, etc.–to work with our #60, #600, or #1001 shades, as they produce the most accurate and saturated colors.

Don’t reuse hair more than 3 times. Babe hair extensions experience some wear-and-tear over time, especially at the tips (bond area) and ends. Therefore, we advise that stylists reuse the hair no more than 3 times, pegging the total lifespan of our professional hair at roughly 4-6 months. This rule serves to prevent negative hair extension experiences, as old extension tips are more likely to slip from the client’s hair, and old extension ends are more likely to mat and break. But, as you might expect, this rule could do with some additional decoding:

– The specificity of “3 times” is actually just an estimate based off of our experience working with hair extensions. What’s more important is the quality of the hair. Though rare, it is possible that extensions are in good enough shape to be reused beyond 3 times, particularly when the client is very vigilant about hair extension care. The stylist should ultimately use their professional discretion in these cases.

– When we say “reuse” here, what we really mean is “re-install.” Hair extensions should, in general, not be installed a 4th time, but they can absolutely be reused in other ways. If your client would like to keep the old extensions (seeing as they purchased them), old hair extensions can be remade into hair accessories like braid headbands, bun fillers, and the like. If they choose to dispose of the old extensions, keep them on hand in your salon as test strands for coloring projects, or as a visual aid for educational purposes. The options go on and on.

Have you ever exploited the exception to a hair extension rule? What did you notice? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below!

 

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