Va-Va-Volume

Hair extensions – formally associated with the impossibly long tresses of WAGs – are taking on a much more subtle and sophisticated form. A form so subtle, that many women are simply unaware of its availability. Fortunately, Lucinda Ellery is here to shed a light on All Things Hair, keeping you one step ahead at all times.

Extensions to combat thinning

For years, women have been using extensions to lengthen their hair, but the turn of the decade saw a growing trend in using them to add thickness and volume to natural hair, without extending its length. Why the surge in demand? Well, hair thinning is a very real problem; and it’s one that comes in all shapes and sizes. In fact, over 45% of women  over the age of 40 experience it in some form. From alopecia and hormonal imbalances, to the natural changes that occur with ageing, there are many reasons women experience hair loss or thinning. Fortunately, there are now also many reasons that this so-called inevitability is no longer inevitable.

The process of using hair extensions to add lustrous volume to thin or thinning hair was once a luxury reserved for those who walked the red carpet.  But hair extensions — or ‘fillers’ (as they are often referred to) — have taken the media by storm, and now more women than ever are demanding the full and bouncy locks they’ve always wanted, and refusing to settle for anything less.

Sandra Howard’s search for thicker hair

Ex-vogue model, Sandra Howard, has gone through life longing for thicker hair (yes, supermodels have insecurities too!) but as she approached her sixties she found her already fine hair to be falling out in clumps and becoming even thinner. Although hair thinning is a natural and expected part of ageing, Sandra decided it was not one she would bow down too. And after seeing Great British Bake Off star, Mary Berry, sporting a fabulously voluminous mane at the age of 84, she embarked on a mission to find her own Mary Berry Boost. Sandra soon discovered the Lucinda Ellery salon for its specialist expertise in the ultra-natural (and cutting edge) Medi Connections. After getting in contact with Lucinda, the model-turned-journalist came for a consultation at the salon, seeking a hair transformation that she would write up for the world to see.

After discussing her desired results with Lucinda’s team, Sandra decided to go ahead with the fitting of around 50 Medi connections to see once and for all if the media hype was justified. The results? Well, you can see them in the article along with the before and after pictures — in short, Sandra fell in love with her hair in a way she never had before. She said “the weight of it bouncing around my shoulders made me feel perky, nevermind decades younger” and “there is no describing the joy I feel waking up without hair flattened to my scalp. I don’t even need rollers to add bounce”.

Medi Connections

Louise wearing Medi Connections

Louise wearing Medi Connections

The days of hair extensions being a one-trick pony are long gone. In fact, 95% of Lucinda Ellery’s hair extension clients are looking for added volume — not length. And when it comes to adding volume to thinner hair, Medi connections hold the key. Unlike traditional hair extensions, Medi connections are very small, lightweight human hair extensions that are placed underneath the clients own hair to add volume.

The weight of the hair is matched to the weight of the client’s own hair to ensure a natural blend. And more importantly, the minute size of these bonds (no larger than a grain of rice) ensure the discretion needed for someone with naturally fine hair, or someone who has had a general reduction in volume. Typically clients need approximately 50 Medi connections to add volume (as opposed to the 100—120 typically needed when adding length) making the process quicker, more economical, and far more subtle than typical hair extensions. Once fitted, you can expect them to last for around 3 months, at which point they can either be removed, or replaced with a new set.

Choosing and matching

In terms of the hair itself, getting as close a match as possible is key in creating a natural look. Clients interested in adding volume to their hair through Medi connections are invited to Lucinda’s salon for a free consultation, where her expert team will advise you on how best to achieve your desired look. In terms of texture, our three types of hair have all bases covered.

The preferred choice is Euro Grade Hair (Indian temple hair), due to its soft, natural look and feel as well as the extensive colour range and purse-friendly price-point. It’s called Euro Grade because it is very similar to typical European hair in its fineness and texture, providing a close colour match for many women.

Those with naturally curly hair may want to consider Brazilian Virgin hair. Brazilian is one of the most exclusive and rare types of hair as it has not been chemically treated to reduce the cuticle; and although the natural colour range is limited, Lucinda Ellery’s expert colourists will ensure your perfect match is achieved.

The third and final option is Russian Virgin hair, which is the finest quality hair and is straight, smooth and fine in texture. It tends to come in shades of mid browns and darker colours, but unfortunately proves limiting for our fairer haired clients, as sourcing virgin blonde hair is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But when it comes to hair, we always say when there’s a will, there’s a way. So if you long for thicker, bouncier hair, book a free consultation with Lucinda Ellery and we’ll find a way to make it happen.

Long Hair, Don’t Care

From the Fashion Week FROW to the Met’s iconic red carpet, hairstyles are turning heads like never before. And in the battle of the locks, a handful of celebs are going to extremely great lengths to come out on top. Whether it’s slicked back behind the ear, pulled high in a sky-scraper pony, or left loosely flowing in beach-babe waves, the hot-test hair styles of SS17 are the ones that go on. And on. And on.

NYFW saw Kimmy K’s signature dark tresses flow all the way down to her famous derrière, while sister Kourtney’s sky-high pony cascaded down her back Ariana-style. But when it comes to asking the mirror on the wall who has the longest hair of all, there’s only one image that pops up. And it’s Nicki Minaj strutting her stuff around Paris. The real life Rapunzel had locks so long they were described by Vogue to be in ‘ankle grazing territory’. Yes, ANKLE grazing.

Dreaming of Lusciously Long Locks

While hair-down-to-your-feet is a bit OTT for us everyday gals, dreaming of lusciously long locks is something we can all relate to. And with the long bob taking last season by storm, most of us are further away than ever from this never-ending fairytale look. The reality is, hair takes a long time to grow. And even if we achieved this long haired look the natural way, we’d soon face a heart-wrenching dilemma when a pixie cut becomes the new must-have. No, the only way to have all the fun of a barbie doll is to enlist a helping hand. And while many of these 32-inch trend-setters have the help of hair revolutionarie Chris Appleton, you can rely on the expertise of Lucinda Ellery.

Turn Up the Volume

Of course, hair extensions do far more than lengthen your mane. For decades, stars have been using them to create the fabulously voluminous Hollywood hairstyles that grace our TVs and magazines today. And using hair extensions to thicken what God gave us is becoming more and more popular off the red carpet too. Extensions are in-creasingly used to combat the appearance of hair loss, and they’re also a great way to play around with colour and style (without the worry of damaging your natural hair).

Hair extensions — also known as hair integrations — come in every length, colour, ma-terial and price-point you can imagine. It’s easy to get tangled up in it all — so we’re going to break it down. First thing’s first; the hair itself — human or synthetic? Well, when it comes to hair, you get what you pay for: 100% human hair (available in Euro-grade, Russian and Brazilian) is the most popular (and expensive) choice. While synthetic options are less natural than human hair, they’re still popular for one-off ‘fashion’ looks such as festival-favourite colour pop pastel strands.

The Appliance of Science

When it comes to the application of hair extensions, new technologies are ever changing and different methods are favoured by different salons. The original and most basic way to achieve the long-haired look is the old-fashioned clip-in. In within minutes, out within seconds; these are the original old school extensions. The downside to clip-ins is that they don’t move with your natural hair, so they’re not great for styling (and near impossible for high-ponying). If you’re looking for a temporary solution with less bulk than the clips, there’s the option of tape-ins. Which; as their name suggests, involves a high grade tape that attaches the extension weft to your own hair, achieving a longer lasting result that you can both sleep and shower in. Like clip-ins, they don’t move with your natural hair so they can be tricky to style and conceal. Another popular option is weaving (or sewing) the extension weft in. This attachment method tends to be more popular among Afro-Caribbean ladies (and anyone else lucky enough to have a thick voluminous head of hair) because the signature can appear bulky under finer, thinner hair.

If you’re looking for a true Rapunzel reformation, your best bet is to opt for high quality human hair, applied with semi-permanent polymer bonds or micro rings. While not as favoured as polymer bonds, micro rings are a popular purse-friendly way to achieve the long-lock look. They’re easy to maintain, remove and (most importantly) re-use; and we like to think of them as the new and improved clip-in.The limitations of micro rings are that the hair extensions themselves come in a limited range of colours, (unlike polymer extensions which come in thousands of colours) so depending on your own hair colour it can be tricky to find that perfect match. Also — as with clip-ins — they leave a much bigger signature, so they are not suitable for people with finer hair.

The polymer bonding process, on the other hand, is ideal for all hair types and colours. It involves using liquid resin to bond free-flowing strands of human hair to the free-flowing strands of hair on your head. It’s important to note that this is NOT the acrylic glue found in pre-bonded extensions; this resin has been specially formulated to ensure hair extensions are safe, non-toxic and 100% non-damaging to your hair. As they are bonded strand by strand they move with your hair and look entirely natural, making them the ideal choice if you want to keep your hair extensions your little secret.

So that’s it for the lowdown on the wild and wonderful world of extensions. With so many choices there’s something for everyone, and the Lucinda Ellery advisors are here to guide you through. Whether you’re looking to lengthen, thicken or conceal; we say fake it till you make it.