When I tweeted that I wanted a hair weave, one of my followers asked if my account had been hacked.

Nope, my expression of wanting hair extensions was true and honest.  Beneath the fine hair which sits on top of my head, has always been a mind dreaming of thicker fuller hair.  I’ve always known the look I wanted would never be fully achieved with the use of hair products and styling (a volumizing foam can only do so much.)

A few years ago I met a friend who used clip on extensions fairly regularly to add fullness to her hair.  While the clip ons worked well for her (she already had fairly full hair compared to me), I could only imagine myself in clip on extensions being even more of a nervous wreck than I already.  “Are my extensions falling out?” “Can you see my clips?” Already bouncing around a fair amount of bizarre thoughts in my mind at all times, I really didn’t think there was any room up there for the worry that I felt would accompany clip on hair extensions.   I hate to overuse a Sweet Brown quote but seriously, nobody got time for dat.  And after realizing everyone I see on TV has hair extensions (seriously, pretty much everyone in Hollywood wears some form of hair extensions) I decided that permanent hair extensions might be the way to go.

Over the last couple of years I have had the pleasure of getting my hair done by some of the best hair stylists in Austin and I began asking around, “do you do hair extensions?” Most of the time I got a confident “no” and other times I got a not-so-confident “yes.”  Neither one of these responses made me happy.  A few weeks ago I took to Facebook to get suggestions on who the heck I should go to in Austin for my desired “America’s Next Top Model” hair transformation.  I was flooded with responses and suggestions, but after a little research I decided to go to Benjamin Beau of Benjamin Beau Salon on South Lamar for a consultation.  When Beau told me he had previously done hair in Vegas and had also worked on making over models for agencies, I knew he would be the right choice for turning me into a girl Tyra Banks would be proud of.

There are a few different methods for getting hair extensions, but there is only one that Beau will use. Beau’s rule for anything he does in his salon is that he won’t do anything to a client that he wouldn’t do on his own mother.  Beau’s mother actually stopped by the salon while he was doing my hair, so I can vouch for their relationship and for his statement.  Integrity is very important to him.

The fear with hair extensions is of course that they will damage and break your hair.  The last thing I wanted out of this experience was to end up with a bunch of bald spots.  Unfortunately I don’t have the bone structure to pull off the Sinead O’Conner/Natalie Portman/meltdown Britney look, so I put my trust into Beau.  The method that Beau used on me was a heat bonded method from a company called Hairdreams.  The hair used by Hairdreams is real human hair and comes in two different types of hair quality- one is a thicker darker hair (coming most likely from India) that depending on the shade you get goes through a lengthy chemical process to get it bleached and dyed to to be the desired color; while the other is a lighter finer hair (coming from various places out of Europe and such) that can be dyed to match.

Here’s how the process went down:

My hair was washed and blow dried to make sure my hair was completely clean and free of any oils. They specifically put zero amount of conditioner in my hair to make it easier to get the extensions in.

This was Beau giving me a “commitment cut.”  It might seem odd to you that I got my hair cut at the same time I got hair extensions, but keep in mind, I wanted extensions for fullness, not length.

Each little extension contains a tiny fine amount of hairs and at the top is a little piece of material made out of Nylon.  This Nylon piece is what goes around your own hair and connects the extension to your head.

Using just a couple of fancy tools, Beau separated my own hair and attached each little hair extension.

Using a heated metal tool, he bonds the extension.  The Nylon piece is what is being heated.  This method supposedly does not harm your hair because the Nylon is not bonded to your hair, it is just bonded around it.

Beau then worked some magic cutting and styling my hair to make me look a little extra glam.  This whole entire process including hair extensions and hair cut was just under 2 hours!  I was actually amazed at how easy and fast it was.

The maintenance of these hair extensions is actually quite minimal.  Hairdreams provided me with a special brush to use over the extensions, which must be done a couple times a day, and every now and then I have to make sure and pull the extensions apart so they don’t get tangled.  Because they are made from real hair, you can really go about your normal styling routine and do anything to them that you would with your normal hair.  The only thing to worry about is obviously putting heat on the bonds, and you also do not want to put a ton of conditioner onto the bonds or leave the bonds wet for a lengthy period of time.

These extensions will last about 5 months with the right care, and the cost of these was about $260 (this cost varies a lot depending on the type you get and how many you get.)

I’ve been living with the extensions for about a week now and I think they are super easy to deal with and I forget that I even have them in.  My hair is now shorter and a little fuller thanks to this process, and I am loving it!  I do, however, feel obligated to get in a cat fight now.

photos taken by the lovely Heather Curiel

What do you think about hair extensions?

Is this something you would want to try out?


Benjamin Beau Salon is located at
300 S. Lamar ste. M
Austin, Texas 78704


Joanna Wilkinson
keep austin stylish