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What Are the Different Types of Hair Extensions?

Hair extensions have come a long way over the years. As the beauty industry has grown, the demand for new methods, styles, lengths, and colors has too. It’s no surprise that both cosmetologists and beauty mavens alike want to know what types of hair extensions are out there, and which method will be best for them.

There’s no short or simple answer, but Donna Bella carries some of the most popular types of hair extensions, which include:

  • Microbead (aka I-Tip, I-Link)
  • Tape-In
  • Fusion (aka Glue-In, Kera-Link)
  • Flat-Tip (aka Hybrid)
  • Clip-In (aka Ready-To-Wear, DIY)


Why so many choices, and which hair extensions are the best?

The truth is that the “best” hair extension type or method is relative. Each type of extension offers unique value and benefits, and each has its unique drawbacks as well. For example, the tape-in method is overall one of the most popular because of its versatility and reusability.

However, non-committal beauty mavens might opt for the easy, DIY opportunity that a clip-in extension provides. Below, we’ve outlined a bit about each of these methods, and how to decide which is best for you or your clients.

strands of different colored curly hair extensions

Microbead Hair Extensions

Otherwise known as I-Tip or I-Link, microbead extensions use tiny beads to attach extensions to the natural hair. The beads are then crimped down to hold the hair in place after the bead is threaded on to the hair near the scalp area. Microbead extensions require consistent touch ups, but can last anywhere from three to six months depending on the extension quality and care routine.

They have some of the same durability benefits that fusion extensions offer, without needing glue or heat to attach them. You can click here to learn more about I-Link extensions, or here to see Donna Bella’s variety of microbead extensions.


Tape-In Hair Extensions

Tape-in extensions are wefts, rather than individual strands, that use an adhesive tape to attach the extensions to the head. They’re typically preferred for their shorter installation time and flat, seamless appearance (when installed properly).

Tape-ins are particularly advantageous for thinner hair, especially when you use single-sided tape. They also tend to carry less risk of damage than fusion or glue-in extensions if your hair is consistently exposed to heat-based treatments. With these, be sure to stock up on replacement tape. You can click here to learn more about tape-in extensions, or here to see Donna Bella’s variety of tape-in extensions.


Fusion Hair Extensions

While this method has certainly evolved over time, fusion (otherwise known as glue-in, or Kera-Link at Donna Bella) extensions use small keratin bonds that are melted, shaped, and reformed around the hair to create a sturdy, long-lasting connection.

A distinct benefit is that, while they are harder to remove, they require less overall maintenance than other methods. Further, not all fusion extensions actually use glue, despite the commonly synonymous term “glue-in”. Donna Bella, for example, relies solely on the keratin protein bond and fusion connector for installation.

As with the other methods, maintenance is required every six to eight weeks as your hair grows. You can click here to learn more about fusion extensions, or here to see Donna Bella’s variety of Kera-Link extensions.


Flat-Tip Hair Extensions

Our hybrid method, Flat-Tip extensions, combine the best of both worlds between the tape-in and microbead methods. Flat-Tip extensions install in much the same way that an I-Link does, meaning you’ll get 360 degree movement.

However, below the bead attachment of a Flat-Tip extension there is a small weft, much like tape-ins. That means they’ll generally lay flatter against the head and cover more overall surface area. You can click here to learn more about Flat-Tip extensions, or here to see Donna Bella’s variety of Flat-Tip extensions.


Clip-In Hair Extensions

Clip-in hair extensions are the DIY solution for easy length, volume, or color change-ups. Since you have to put them in every time you want to wear them, clip-ins require the most work.They’re the perfect solution for stylists and fashionistas that want a no-commitment, no-hassle extension method.

Generally speaking, they can be installed in a matter of minutes at home or by a stylist, and are going to be the best method for people who want different looks regularly, or want to give something a try before committing to a longer lasting extension method.

Depending on how often you wear them, and how well you care for them, a good clip-in extension should remain usable for up to a year or longer. You can click here to learn more about Clip-In extensions, or here to see Donna Bella’s variety of Clip-In extensions.

Which of these methods is your favorite? Let us know here or on social!