How to Wear At-Home Hair Extensions, From Faux Beards to Pirate Braids

My hair has never been my main thing, unlike my knack for investing in the stock market or my great personality. I've always been more of a mascara-and-vintage-fashion kind of girl, never the woman who turns heads with her mane of Venus-worthy waves. I've never had truly long hair, and I've never worn hair extensions.

So when I snagged a fantastic hair extension piece from Hair Diamond Italia, I knew it was time to ride or die, as the kids say these days. So I let my hair down. And then I pinned it up. And then I added MORE hair. Don't worry, there are pictures.

Before we get started, here's my normal hair

Light brown, slightly wavy, just above shoulder length, and most importantly, all one layer (this proved to be an issue later, as you'll see).

So first I unpacked the extension

At first I was terrified, but then I said, "What the deuce?" and used it as a beard. The quality is incredible — soft, shiny, and totally realistic — but you can understand that I was slightly skeeved out at first. Peeps, it's real human hair.

I used FastClip™ 14" Remy Extension in Gold Brown.

Then I checked to see if it matched

Ladies and gentlemen, it is EXACTLY the same color as my hair. How is that possible? Somewhere on this great planet, I have a hair twin. (Or maybe my hair color is just really common.)

First, I pinned up a top layer of hair

The instructions say to run your fingers through your hair about one inch above each ear and gather the resulting hair on the top of your head. If you have fine hair, as I do, you might want to gather up a little more hair, to make sure it will ultimately cover the extension.

Then I opened the micro-clips


I fastened the two back clips just below the separation line

I was worried that clipping the extension in would require a lot of, I don't know, effort, but it's exactly what it sounds like — snapping in a hair clip.

Then I clipped in the two front clips

Call me Rapunzel.

Let's take a moment to appreciate this look

This is what I would look like in an '80s hair metal band. It's fierce, right? Guys? Guys?

Finally, I let my hair down

I don't mind being the first to say it — this look is really not working for me. The problem is that my hair is all one layer and the extension is also one (much longer) layer, so it's really, really obvious that I'm wearing someone else's hair. Next time I wear this extension, I'll trim it and layer it a bit so it blends in with my own hair. (You can treat Remy extensions just like regular hair — curl, trim, shampoo, condition, tear out during moments of great emotional duress, etc.)

Note: Here's what the folks at HairDiamond Italia recommend, if you run into the same problem as me: "If your hair is shorter then mid-neck length, or in a bob style, we recommend that you curl your FastClip beforehand, and then curl your hair the same way. Or, you can wear two FastClips of different lengths; this will give you the necessary amount of hair to achieve a blended style.”

Since the hair-down look wasn't gonna happen for me today, I played around with three different ways to wear the extension. It ended up looking pretty cool, if I do say so myself...

Languid pigtails

There's nothing Lolita-esque about these superlong droopy pigtails. In fact, I think they're kinda punk.

Extra-long, low ponytail

A holiday classic! A great alternative to the ballerina bun! A DIY whip! I used my naturally shorter strands to pull off that whole face-framing-with-attitude look.

And my personal favorite — pirate braids!

Am I insane to think this is kind of a cool look? Half pirate, half dreadlock-inspired, with a healthy sprinkling of Free People model — I braided the extension into thin strands and topped it off with a flowery headscarf. Ahoy?