When I was at the impressionable age of nine or ten, Charlie’s Angels was the biggest hit around, and I didn’t miss an episode. Like young girls today are enthralled with Taylor Swift, so it was with me and Farrah. I had every Teen Beat magazine that featured Farrah, and I even made my mom study Farrah’s iconic hairstyle so she could style my hair just like hers.
Unfortunately, I have never had a big beautiful mane; and upon reaching my mid-40’s, it seemed my hair was getting thinner and thinner each day. This was becoming increasingly frustrating to me since the thinner my hair got, the shorter my stylist recommended I wear it to help make it look thicker. This did not please my husband. He complained every time I got a trim because in his words, he wanted me to have “stripper hair”. I kept telling him to forget it because it was never going to happen with my thin straggly hair. It was impossible, or so I thought…
About a year ago, a friend of a friend showed me her hair extensions and told me how they had transformed her thin, fine hair. Her hair looked awesome and it had started out looking just like mine. That was it, I needed those hair extensions. After all, all the movie stars had them, so I thought, “why not me?”
This was not something I entered into lightly. With delicate hair like mine, the last thing I wanted to end up with was NO hair. And that’s what I learned could happen with an inexperienced stylist or the wrong extensions.
After a lot of research, I chose to go to Genacelli’s Salon in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Four hours and roughly $1,000 later, I walked out with hair – I’m talking a head full of gorgeous, long, luscious – make me want to slide down a pole – stripper hair! It was amazing.
Of course, everything comes with a price, and I’m not just talking about the thousand bucks! This hair, while turning me into the woman of my husband’s dreams, was a full time job. It needed to be brushed three times a day, braided at night, and washed with a special shampoo and conditioner. I also had to sleep on a satin pillow case to prevent tangling and friction on the hair. And it made me a slave to the weather. The weather, you ask? Think about it – it’s not too attractive when the wind blows and people can see the plastic beads adhering your fake hair! Putting my hair in a baseball cap was an easy solution for my children’s outdoor sporting events; however, a formal occasion was a totally different story. I had two outdoor weddings to attend shortly having the extensions put in, and I’m telling you, had the winds exceeded 10 miles per hour, I would have had no choice but to fake a British accent and flaunt one of those flamboyant headpieces they all wear to the royal weddings.
I have to say, it’s also really tough not to be self-conscious sporting fake hair. First off, it’s really difficult when the hair is new to go from having “no hair” to “movie star hair” overnight. Sure, I could have attributed it to the wonders of Rogaine, but that just isn’t my style. If anyone ever asked, I always admitted to having hair extensions. Even still, I managed to find myself in some very sticky situations thanks to what I will call “begrudging women”.
One night, I was at a cocktail party in the middle of making small talk with a couple I barely knew when a casual acquaintance came running up to me totally interrupting our conversation saying, “ I just love your hair extensions, Renita. They look so good!” Of course, the couple I was speaking to had not idea how to respond. Not knowing quite how to handle the situation, I just looked at them and said “Ya, I have fake hair, it’s wonderful the advancements they have made in hair…” With still more silence, I casually excused myself and jogged to the bar for another drink. AWKWARD!
Another time, I was at my son’s baseball game. Finding myself alone in a crowd, I was standing there watching the game when another baseball mom came over and said in a voice loud enough to heard by anyone within a ten mile radius, “Renita, your hair extensions look awesome, oh, they look so good!” If it wasn’t bad enough to have half the ball park starring at me, she proceeded to drag me by the arm over to where her husband was sitting. Pointing at me, she yelled to her husband “Look at Renita’s hair, doesn’t it look great?” I just stood there speechless and embarrassed. Her husband casually looked at me, clearly annoyed at being distracted from the game and said rather matter-of-fact like, “Ya, it looks great…why don’t you get some and some fake boobs to go with it too.” Walking away in bewilderment over what had just transpired, I couldn’t help but replay the exchange in my head. Doing so, I got the impression that they not only thought the hair was fake, but the boobs too. Being quite proud of my natural “ample” breasts, I strutted back over to clear the air “ I just want you to know, the hair might be fake, but the boobs are real!”
It is going on a year and a half and I still have hair extensions. My stylist warned me when she first put them in that it would be very difficult to go back to not having them, and believe me, I have no intensions of taking them out. My hair used to be so thin I could barely get a ponytail holder to stay in . Now I have a thick bunch of hair to grab. I am also told it makes me look younger, and who doesn’t love that?
My salon, Genacelli’s, uses the highest quality natural hair extensions by Crisace. The hair itself stays nice for upwards to a year, but the extensions themselves have to moved up every two to four months as your hair grows. And yes, they are expensive, but they’re worth it. When it comes to the face and the hair, I’ll spend the money.
My hair before the extensions:
My hair after the strand2strand extensions:
This is unstyled.
The strand2strand hair extensions use a bead-like plastic and attach to about 10 or so strands of your own hair. I love how naturally they hang. However, after wearing the strand2strands for about six months, my stylist noticed my hair was starting to thin and break off due to weight of the extra hair. While other salons may have let it go, my stylist insisted that I switch to Crisace’s cold fusion hair extensions which are weaved into a section of your hair and adhered with clear tape.
Here is a picture of the cold fusion extensions being put in my hair:
My hair styled with the cold fusion extensions:
I love how natural they look. You really can’t tell where the real hair ends and the extensions start – just watch out for the wind!
If you’re interested in learning more about Crisace hair extensions, here is a link to several You Tube video on their hair extensions. I especially love the before and after of the woman with hair just like mine!