While extensions are known primarily for adding length, they also work wonders for adding volume. Hence, they're super appealing for those with fine hair. But with fine hair, blending extensions for a seamless look can be tricky, as they can appear too bulky. Luckily, keratin extensions, also known as K-tips, are a newer application method that's super discrete, making them the perfect fit for fine-to-medium hair textures.
"K-tips are individual extensions that have keratin material at the tip of each bond," says Raphael Roque, senior stylist at Rob Peetoom Williamsburg. "These types of extensions are best for fine-textured hair looking for length and density options."
Intrigued? Keep reading to find out more about keratin extensions.
How Are Keratin Extensions Installed?
"K-tip or keratin-bond extensions involve attaching small sections of hair using a keratin-based glue," says Pekela Riley, founder of extension line True + Pure Texture. "They are applied using a heating tool that melts the bond, allowing it to adhere to your natural hair."
Unlike sew-ins or clip-ins that use long wefts (a collection of hair strands sewn together in a long strip), K-tips are attached individually. "Each individual bond is is applied to a small section of hair the same size as the bond," says hairstylist Tatiana Ramos. By doing so, Roque says they "give the client added volume throughout their head of hair."
Why K-Tips Are Great for Fine Hair
The Bonds Are Small and Discrete
"Keratin extensions are great for anyone with fine-to-medium hair looking for fullness who are nervous about the extensions showing, as the bond is small, making it easy to conceal," says Ramos.
Stylists Can Customize the Installation
Thanks to those small bonds, stylists can work their magic during the installation process, adding the bonds piece by piece right where you need them. "I install strand by strand in rows meticulously blended through the head of hair," says Roque.
K-tips are good for someone who is ready to commit to extensions for several months. With in-salon maintenance, they can last for three months or longer. When Roque installs K-tips, he'll take half of them out after a few months and reinstall them. Then, after another few months, he takes them all out and does a full new set. If you want something less permanent, opt for tape-ins, a sew-in, or clip ins.
The Downsides of Keratin Extensions
Extreme Heat Is Needed to Install
Generally, Roque considers anything hotter than 350°F to be extreme heat. For keratin extensions, your stylist will use high heat, typically around 400°F, depending on the tool, to bring them to your hair. This is because heat is needed to activate a keratin bond, and the more heat applied during application, the longer they will last. (Note: You do not need a whole-head keratin treatment for K-tips — only the keratin for the bond is needed).
Not Available in Many Textures
While some brands, like Riley's True & Pure, are doing amazing work creating extensions for curly and kinky hair, most extensions on the market are straight. "There aren't that many brands in the market that are making textured hair with K-tips," explains Riley. So if your hair has a bit more texture, an extension option like I-tips (individual strands of hair attached to natural hair with micro-links or beads) or hand-tied (wefts, aka strips, of hair tied onto small beads around the head) extensions may be a better fit.
Caring for K-Tips
Once you have K-tips in, it's important to keep them smooth and knot-free. "Brush your hair with a hair extension-safe brush," says Ramos, noting she uses the Sheila Stotts Untangle brush ($39). "Make sure your hair is always detangled to avoid tension and matting at the root." Roque adds that you should also be brushing your hair out morning and night.
Minimizing salt contact, which includes sweat, salt water, and hair-care products that have sulfates and parabens, is also necessary to prolong the life of your keratin extensions. "Salt breaks down any chemical service," says Roque.
The Bottom Line
"K-tips are one of many approaches to hair extensions," says Roque. "Consult with your stylist to see if these are best suitable to one’s hair type and desired look."
Now, let's move onto the HAIR Quality for your hair extensions. The Shampoo Lounge only use hair of the highest standard for our customers, never compromising on quality. The hair is 100% human hair with HairShop.store brand, which has been chemically treated by professionals to ensure it’s in great condition. The hair is silky, healthy, shiny and very durable. We only use the highest quality Remy hair, as they suit almost everyone.
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Article by Kara Jillian Brown for Instyle