Microbead Hair Extensions: 101

Microbead hair extensions, otherwise known as beaded, i-tip, or at Donna Bella, I-Link, are a popular alternative for extension lovers that want (or need) to avoid adhesive tapes, fusion methods, or hot glues.

Further, they’re a great way to add length and fullness to hair with a low risk of damage (if installed correctly by a great stylist). We break down all there is to know about this increasingly popular method right here in our blog!

Want to see our collection of Donna Bella I-Link Extensions? Click here!

What Are Microbead Hair Extensions?

What makes these extensions unique are the beads. The beads used for microbead extensions are very small, but perfectly sized to hold both the natural hair and the tip of the hair extension.

There are a few different kinds of beads, but they are all tiny and soft enough to be crimped down to hold the hair and the hair extension in place during installation.

silicone Beads for i-link hair extensions

Small bundles of hair, called strands, are attached to hair near the roots with a small bead, rather than wefts that are more typical of the tape-in method.

Why Beads?

While a professional stylist should still be recruited to install, move-up, and remove these extensions (more on that shortly), the advantage of beads is that you don’t need chemical removers or excessive heat to work on them, so those with particularly sensitive hair and skin can benefit from a beaded method, rather than tape or fusion hair extensions.

How Long Do Microbead Extensions Last?

Microbead hair extensions can last for a long time, but as with any other method, it depends on the quality of hair and care routine. Donna Bella’s I-Link Extensions last for three to six months, which is a good benchmark for most good quality beaded extensions.

As you wear the extensions for a few weeks, your hair will grow as it normally does, and that growth causes the bead and hair extension to move further and further away from the scalp. That’s why it’s important to go in and have them moved up every few weeks.

How to Install Beaded Hair Extensions

The bead is threaded onto a small section of hair near the scalp. The tip of the hair extension strand is placed into the bead, and a special hair extension tool is used to crimp and flatten the bead so it stays in place.

After installation, the stylist blends and trims the hair so the hair and the extensions blend together and look natural. The attachment points are hidden by the top layers of hair, so no one can tell the beads are there.

When it’s time to take out all the extensions, the stylist use the hair extension tool to uncrimp the beads and slide the strands out of the beads.

How Many Beaded Extensions For a Full Head?

As with how long they last, how much hair you need depends on quality and simple packaging differences from company to company. Donna Bella’s I-Link extensions, however, are a good benchmark once again.

brunette model with long hair and strands of different colored microbead extensions

Each pack of Donna Bella I-Link hair contains 20 strands. The end of each strand resembles the end of a shoestring which holds all the individual hairs together. A strand is made of 1 gram of hair, and a full head of I-Link hair is about five to nine packs. This means you could have 100-180 strands of I-Link hair or more for a full head installation.

Caring for I-Tip Beaded Extensions

You should always consult a stylist for hair care specific to your hair and extensions, but basic care routines should always incorporate the following basic tips:

  • Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners will help your hair last longer.
  • If you rock ponytails, messy buns, or up-dos, wear them loosely.
  • Use heat protectant if you can’t go without straightening or curling your hair.
  • Use a basic bottom-up brushing technique with the proper extension brush.

Check Out Donna Bella’s I-Link Extensions!

To see the colors, lengths, and styles of our microbead extensions, and experience the Donna Bella difference, head over to our product page! For a tape, heat, and glue-free extension experience, talk to your stylist about i-tip extensions at your next appointment!