I have in all the years of doing extensions seen, trained and (*shaking head with scary eyes*) fixed the work of numerous technicians. It is a jungle out there! Extensions are Big Money and Big Money, means Big Wolves!
Every little bored, naive diva and her "besty" these days think that they can watch a YouTube video and then start doing extensions...very scary!
It is the same as everything in life:
Be passionate first,
Get the proper training or knowledge second,
then find a client and
never stop further educating yourself!
So, just in case my YouTube comment has now given you ideas, let me put the "Fear Of All That Will Be Sued" in you....
There is an illness called Tension Alopecia. It is caused by bad hair extensions that has been installed to tight and incorrectly (and it can occur in all the different systems) You can google the rest but in short: You hair will all fall out and NEVER grow back....... *dramatic pause*
Please see my other notes to follow, where I will be paying more attention to extensions and what causes damage, but for now it is important to know that in my humble opinion, 70% of all damage is caused by incompetent technicians.
And.... (now I know I'm sticking my neck into a bee's nest) just because you are a good hairdresser does not automatically make you a hair extension technician!
Hairdressers have the luxury to CUT until the poor client look like something.... technicians BUILD something that is not there! It is two hugely different approaches, so please make sure you receive proper training! (And being shown how to install 5 and remove 5 strands by a Reputable Hair Company That Should Be Selling Only Bleach's little rep is NOT training!)
So how do I, as a potential client find a good technician? Here are some guidelines:
1. Personal Connections (We just "clicked"!)
Go and meet her/him!! Get a feel for who you will entrust with your hair/self esteem and a couple of thousand rand!! It is important!! You need to feel you can trust him/her, so go with your gut feeling....if it says RUN, don't ignore it!
2. Proof in Pics
Ask for before/after pics of their work...even if it is just one! And inexperienced but properly trained technician will be slow but thorough.... versus an overconfident "Freddy Kruger" that will be quick-quick because she/he has been messing people's hair up for ever!!! Speed and experience helps, but it is NOT a given on quality! Judge the end result NOT just the statistics.
3. "Regulars" means someone came back!
Ask for the contact number of a regular client (someone that has redone the extensions with the same person more than 3 times) that you may call. We are all very protective of client information, but I have a few clients that I can phone (I always phone and warn them first) that won't mind if someone asks them a question or two...
Most technicians also won't mind if you came and observed one day while she is doing an installation. That will go a long way towards easing your mind!
There are a few reputable extension companies in South Africa that offers training! It is NOT the deciding criteria, but it is good if a technician has been endorsed by a big brand or training acadamy. Ask where they got their training.
5. Ask All That Bugs You!!
Ask questions until you are happy and comfortable! Don't be shy! This technician runs a business and you are the client NOT her BFF for whom she is doing a favour! If it is a professional person, he/she will give you all the reassurances you need!
6. One Size Fits All is how Trouble starts
There are so many Extension systems (ways to attach the hair!) and they vary greatly! There are no such thing as "The Best System"..... I do 7 systems and specialize in 6 of them and in my opinion every system is meant for a different client (life style, hair type, hair length, end result, etc etc).
If you are serious about what you want, you cannot possibly think that someone that advertises "Full Head for 5 camels and Half Head for 3 camels" can be a quality service? Surely the price for someone who wants a bob is different to someone that wants "Mermaid Hair" down to her bum?
7. I like strict and proud technicians
If she is refusing to give you a final quote over the phone, I like her a lot already!!! A technician worth their salt WILL insist on a consultation! It is a lot of money, so please go! They are almost always for free.
8. CONSULTATION, Consultation, Consultation!!!
A proper consultation should include the technician discussing systems, types of hair, lengths and style with you! As well as any fears she/he feels they need to warn you about and conversations regarding your lifestyle. Proper colour matching is essential and a quote should show a precise breakdown of what you will be paying for including length and colour. I use the same example: If your quote is "Full head for 5 camels" then RUN!!!!
In conclusion, educate yourself before you make a decision! A girls hair is a vital part of her image...don't be reckless with it!! Trust your instincts and do a few quotes untill you find someone that listens to you and knows what they are talking about!
Good luck and remeber if your not enjoying your Hairextension Addiction then your technician is NOT doing it right!!!
Theresa Louw Luyt
Make-Over Magician at Make-Over Addiction
011 869 3657
074 466 1133