Here’s What It’s Like to Get Hair Extensions for Curls
Like shag cuts and hot rollers, hair extensions have always seemed like things best left to the straight-hair club. And I’ve been totally cool with that, mostly. My long layers and diffuser and I are perfectly happy together. But sometimes when I scrunch my curls, I want a little more bulk to fluff. Volumizing powder only gets me so far. My journey brought me to Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City, where I began the process to get extensions, for curly hair, that matched my red shade, and clipped in.
The first step was meeting with Meri Kate O’Connor, the salon’s extension pro, for a consultation. She explained to me that I needed virgin European extensions rather than Remy for a couple of reasons. One, I have wispy hair. Remy extensions tend to be thicker and coarser, whereas European versions tend to be finer. I also needed my clip-ins permed to match the diameter of my natural curl pattern. “Remy hair is longer but has usually been bleached and dyed, so with perming, you run the risk of damaging them,” says O’Connor. We settled on a light brown 100 percent virgin set from House of European Hair.
The chemical process had to set for two days before the extensions were ready for the next phase: color, where owner Eva Scrivo took over. (Perms can warp the shade, so that step should always come first.) She touched up my roots and then dyed the curly clip-ins to match. But it’s not always a simple case of duplicating the formula. “Extensions aren’t as porous, so they don’t color the same as natural hair and need extra help,” says Scrivo, who recommends using a permanent formula and then adjusting the tone with a glaze. The hair pieces had to air-dry fully, since using high heat right after two chemical processes could have damaged them, so I booked an appointment to come back for round three.
I was so close to a full head of bouncy curls, I could almost feel the weight of them gently hanging from my roots. But not quite yet. Scrivo clipped them in—if you’re doing this part at home, try to stay below the parietal ridge, which is about a half-inch above the eyebrows. It leaves enough real hair at the crown to hide the clips and seams. Then she sliced into the extensions and blended them into my natural curls. By this point, neither of us could tell which coils were mine and which were added, but we refreshed them all with a few twists around a curling rod and fuzzed everything up with a good shake.
It took three visits and hours of work, but O’Connor and Scrivo gave me the kind of thick, awesome hair that makes people strut down the sidewalk like they’re owning their shit. And I was. Billy on the Street even stopped me during my walk home, so basically, I’m famous.