If you are looking for a fresh way to switch up your strands, micro-link hair extensions might be what you've been looking for.
Whether you want to add additional length, more volume or even try a new hair color, this is a unique method that's quickly growing in popularity. Many top stylists have even started adding the technique to their list of luxury services.
Micro-links have been around for over a decade, but experts agree that the procedure is becoming a preferred option for women today who are looking to have more versatility within their hairstyles.
Much like anything else in life, it's important to understand the do's, the don'ts and "good to know" factors associated with micro-links before scheduling an appointment to try them out.
Ahed, celebrity extensionist and founder of Glam Seamless Hair Extensions Priscilla Valles and co-owner and stylist at The Mane Loft Nidiyah Salahuddin explain the do's, don'ts and everything in-between for micro-link hair extensions.
What are micro-links?
Unlike other extension techniques, micro-links don't require any braiding, thread, tape or glue. Tiny sections of hair are seamlessly grouped together and secured with a micro-ring or micro-bead using a hair plier. From there, all hair is blended and styled.
"It is a bit more freeing on the scalp and a more natural fit that moves and flows like real hair as opposed to clipped or tapped extensions that don't move as freely," Valles told "Good Morning America."
Pros, cons and biggest benefits
Salahuddin pointed out that micro-link extensions are ideal as they allow full access to continually shampoo and treat your scalp, unlike other methods, such as sewn-in weaves or glued full wigs. "They are also great because they allow for a ton of styling flexibility and free movement of the hair," she said. "It's a super lightweight install that does not weigh down your hair or break it."
Another added bonus is that micro-beads are lined with silicone so that they hold onto the hair without causing any unnecessary friction. Skipping out on any braiding, gluing or tugging also removes the risks of hair breakage, loss or traction alopecia.
"With proper care, these extensions are as healthy as wearing your natural hair," said Salahuddin.
She also warns that micro-link hair extensions shouldn't be seen as a "protective style" of your natural hair. All of your hair is exposed and should continue to be groomed and properly cared for.
Valles also advises keeping any micro-link extensions away from your hairline as this is a gentle area of the scalp that can get easily irritated when wearing styles like high ponytails.
What to expect during your first install appointment
It's best to schedule a consultation appointment before having your micro-link extensions installed. Stylists use this time to understand what look you are aiming to achieve, color match your hair and texture to the appropriate hair extensions and answer any questions you have.
During a consultation, a hairstylist should also advise if your hair is in a strong enough state where it can handle added micro-link extensions.
If your hair is very fine, thinning or in a weak condition, micro-link hair extensions should be avoided as experts say they may be too heavy against your follicles and can therefore lead to unwanted hair loss or breakage.
However, if your hair is in a healthy, strong state, the extensions -- pin straight to very curly -- can surely be applied.
How is it done?
The service generally takes up to four hours. "Once hair has been prepared as described above, wefts are added row by row working from the nape up to the top and sides of the head," explained Salahuddin. Next, the hair is blended and styled as desired.
Experts agree that using 100% human hair leads to a more natural, seamless look.
Following your initial micro-link installation, you should try to come in every 2-3 weeks for maintenance and tightening, as you will experience hair growth in between appointments.
How to safely remove
"Micro-links should always be removed by a professional," said Salahuddin. "Similar to the initial install, micro-links are removed using a special plier. The pliers will safely open the bead so that it can easily, and without damage slide off of the hair."
Once all beads or rings are removed, the hair should be thoroughly detangled, shampooed, conditioned and styled.
Factoring in preferred extension type and desired style micro-link extensions can range in cost from $300 - $2500. Most human hair extensions can be reused several times after your initial extension install.