So some people might know that you can get (sometimes) quality extensions from supersite AliExpress.com . This has been a huge trend for the past couple of years on hair forums that everyone wanted to keep secret lol. The secret is now out. You can get extensions from Asian vendors for a fraction of the price that you pay American vendors, but it doesn’t come without risks. You might get bad batches of hair, you might get the wrong hair, it may take forever to arrive, it may never arrive, etc… Here are some tips for ladies interested in purchasing from AliExpress so you can ensure you limit your risk of getting bad hair:
The long and short of hair extensions
Bad hair day? It’s not all in your head. It could be what’s on your head.
By AliExpress and AliExpress user Malaine A Thorpe
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. Wait, you don’t have enough hair to let down? Not a problem. That’s what hair extensions are for.
That model-look-alike you spotted at dinner last week? Hair extensions. The woman at the gym whose tresses still looked awesome after an hour of cardio? Yup, hair extensions.
Hair extensions are big business. During the first half of 2013, hair extensions accounted for a whopping 68% of all beauty product purchases from AliExpress, an international e-marketplace for consumers. Buyers in the U.S. accounted for 75% of those purchases, followed by the UK (7%), Canada (3%), France (2%) and Russia (1%). In the US, the top 3 cities for hair extension online purchases are Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Miami.
If hair extensions are in your future — here are 8 tips to help you buy them online:
1. Answer one simple question first.
There are a bazillion hair extension products and options to choose from. You can buy individual tracks, weave-in, closures, clips, wigs and more. You can glue, sew, clip, place, or even pin extensions in hair. You can create a long ponytail, add a few tracks in between your natural hair, do a full sew in, or create a wig.
How do you find what you’re looking for—and avoid being overwhelmed?
Start by answering this simple question: “How do you want your hair to look?” Knowing how you want to look will help you determine the exact product to get you there. Need inspiration? Scroll through hairstyle websites or browse a few YouTube videos to give you ideas.
2. Know the lingo.
Like any subject, the world of hair extensions has its own lexicon. Here’s a quick dictionary of terms you might come across:
- Virgin hair: Unprocessed hair that has not been dyed, bleached, permed, etc. In August 2013, of all U.S. searches in the “hair extensions and wigs” category on AliExpress, 36% were specific to virgin hair.
- Hair weft: Loose hairs that have been sewn together to create a track of hair for easy installation.
- Bundle: A hair weft of a certain length and width (similar to a pack of hair).
- Beard: Short hairs usually found on one side of a hair weft.
- Closure: A small hair piece with four sides that is often placed on the hairline to create a natural look; it’s often sold with a lace or silk base.
- Synthetic hair: Hair made of fibers to give the illusion of real hair.
- Lot: Multiple bundles of hair sold together (for example, a “3-piece lot”).
- Gram: The weight of a bundle. One bundle of hair is about 100 grams.
- Remy: Hair with flat and undamaged cuticles all facing in the same direction, which means the hair will be shiny and smooth.
- Curl patterns: The most commonly known are straight and body wave, but you can also purchase deep curly, deep wave, loose wave, Italian curl, kinky curl, and more. Search for photos and videos of different curl patterns to know what you want. In August 2013, more than half the U.S. hair searches on AliExpress were for body wave curls. Curly and kinky curly are also popular shapes, accounting for 18% and 14%, respectively.
- Hair type: There are many including Indian (very versatile and comes in many different textures), virgin Brazilian (very popular, blends flawlessly with ethnic hair), virgin Malaysian (similar to Brazilian hair, very durable and holds styles well), virgin Peruvian (very soft and light), and virgin Chinese (thick and sleek, can withstand extreme processing and styling). In August 2013, more than half the U.S. hair searches on AliExpress were specific to Brazilian, followed by Malaysian and Peruvian in a distant second and third.
3. Narrow your search results.
All those definitions you just read will help you quickly zip past pages of products that you have no interest in and narrow your results. For example, you could search for “Virgin Brazilian deep curly hair.” If you’re searching on a store page, the vendor will often have categories to make searching for the right hair extensions easier. You can also utilize pictures of hair products or deals that might be on the vendor home page.
4. Look for detailed product description.
Once you know what you’re looking for, check out vendor descriptions for details on hair length, hair type, curl pattern/style, color, weight, quality, place of origin, and more in addition to pictures of the product. Verifying this information before you purchase any hair extension will keep you from ending up with a product that’s completely different from what you had imagined.
5. Check the ratings.
As with any online purchase, make sure the vendor is reliable. The best way to do this? Look for a feedback tab on their store page. When it comes to hair products, many buyers look for vendors with a 95% rating or higher. The feedback page should also show you customer satisfaction ratings, which you can compare to find the best ratings.
Similarly look for ratings, comments, and feedback that other customers have shared about the products themselves.
6. Check YouTube videos on hair products.
If a product has no rating, it isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes customers will upload YouTube videos of the hair instead of leaving a rating on the website. It’s a great way to see exactly what the hair looks like and how it moves when installed. YouTubers will often include detailed descriptions of their experience with the hair so far. Be sure to check the user’s other YouTube videos because they will sometimes make updated videos of the hair. Scrolling through YouTube video comments is also helpful.
7. Compare prices.
Be sure to include shipping in your total. Some vendors offer free shipping while others don’t; some have frequent sales and discounts. That isn’t important. What you should pay attention to is the total price. Try adding the items from one vendor into your shopping cart and then look at the total price. This may include tax, shipping, additional fees, and discounts. Compare the prices from different vendors to get the best deal.
8. Check shipping details.
How quickly will you get your product? Vendors may say one thing but customer feedback will tell you more. Look at all your options. If you have a big event coming, you’ll pay anything to get your extensions quickly. Consider all the options and make your decision.
As with any purchase, being an informed consumer will help you find the hair extension product that’s right for you. You’ll have it for a long time so spend time doing your homework and you’ll be thrilled with your purchase—and you won’t have a hair out of place.
Bottom line: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Check out Youtube and the forums for stores that people recommend and look for their ratings. Ask questions if you have them prior to purchasing. Good luck!!