Travelling usually involves a parred-down beauty routine, and I've certainly become an unintentional minimalist. But one thing I refuse to give up is hair extensions.
As much as I'd love to just embrace it, my natural hair just doesn't make me feel great. It's short, sticks out in weird places and has some dodgy layers that refuse to grow out. In short, it doesn't make me feel like the confident badass I want to be.
Why I wear hair extensions while travelling
Wearing hair extensions while travelling might sound like a bit of a pain, but it's something that makes my life easier. I know that sounds odd - but hear me out. Here are just a few of the reasons why I've decided to keep wearing hair extensions while travelling.
I'm fussier with my beauty products
When I used to go away on trips, I'd like to leave as much at home as possible. Going away was a nice break from my day-to-day life - including my over-the-top beauty routine.
Now I travel full-time, however, everything I need comes with me.
One of the biggest changes I've had to make to keep up this lifestyle is cutting out anything I don't need. And while that sounds pretty harsh, it means I always have room for the things I really do need. Instead of having lots of half-loved beauty products and half-used bottles of makeup, I now love and use everything I carry with me. It's a luxury I didn't expect and it's an approach I much prefer - so much so that I hope I would keep living this way if I were ever to settle in one place.
Hair extensions are a luxury that I love, and one that I now have room for. Best of all, they don't take up any luggage space (because they're on my head!) so it's an easy way to feel glam without lugging extra products around.
Doing it for the 'gram
I'm not going to even try and hide this one.
Having hair extensions means I have one less thing to worry about because my hair tends to look presentable enough without any work in the morning.
Time to explore
Even when I take a break from the camera, not having to worry about my hair means I can really enjoy my down time. It's so easy to throw hair extensions into a ponytail, plait or just leave them loose and wavy, meaning I can be ready and out the door in minutes - and giving me more time to explore the destination I'm in.
Why I use tape hair extensions for travel
I've tried pretty much every type of hair extensions out there. From the glue-ins that ripped my hair when I was 14 to the many hours spent having micro-beads fitted and refitted at university, I've tried my fair share of them.
When I initially set off travelling, I packed a few old clip-ins. I'd been taking a break from wearing extensions every day, but wanted them with me for photo days. They were from the same brand as I'm using now, and they lasted a really long time.
But as soon as it got to the point where I was wearing them daily (oh hey, daily vlogs!), I knew it was time to look for something more permanent. I tried nano-rings for a while but the amount of maintenance (and expertise) needed means they weren't a great long-term solution for my lifestyle. Yet I didn't want to give up the convenience (and all-round feel good factor) of extensions just yet...
Travelling with tape in hair extensions
I finally discovered tape in extensions and they've changed everything! Here's why I'm now sticking to tape in extensions for travel:The weight
Clip-in hair extensions are great if you want to occasionally add volume or length to your hair, but I soon started getting headaches when I wore them every day. Not only that but I was worried that they were putting too much pressure on my hair.
Tape in extensions are the lightest hair extensions I've ever used. While nano-rings and micro-beads feel heavy for the first few days, my tape in extensions have been weightless since day one. I didn't expect to feel a huge difference, but I kept forgetting they were there at first!
One of the worst things about clip-in and nano-ring extensions was going through airport security. Yep, they set the metal detector buzzer off! While it didn't really inconvenience me at all, it did mean I had to explain to the security person every time. And when you fly as often as I do, that can get a little tedious.
I absolutely loved wearing nano-ring extensions for the first few weeks, but it all kind of went downhill from there. I desperately needed maintenance while in Japan - something that only a specialist can help with - and had to wait nearly a whole month before I could see someone.
The thing I love most about tape in extensions is that I can handle the maintenance myself. Unlike with other types of semi-permanent hair extensions, if anything goes wrong, I know I can take them out myself and won't have to deal with the situation getting worse.
As anyone who's even considered semi-permanent hair extensions will know, they are expensive! A full head of nano-ring extensions or micro-bead extensions can set you back anywhere from £250 up to around £800 in the UK.
Tape in extensions are only a little bit cheaper for a full head, but they're the one type of semi-permanent extensions that's easy to apply at home. After the Japan incident, I decided to take the leap and try applying my own hair extensions - and I'm so glad I did! They took around two hours to apply (although I'm sure I'll get quicker with time) and you only have to pay for the hair, which reduces the cost massively. I used two sets of 16" hair from ClipHair, which comes to just £119.98 in total.
My favourite hair extensions
Once I'd decided on tape in extensions, there was no real question of where I would get them. After some bad experiences with other hair extension brands (including the nano-rings), I headed straight to the one brand I trusted: ClipHair. ClipHair was where I bought the clip-ins I'd had for ages - and wore for five months straight - so I was sure the quality of their tape in extensions would be good.
And so far they've been amazing. I'm only about a month in, but they feel so much better than my last set did after the same amount of time. I've had no matting and the few tangles I've had to deal with haven't taken long at all to fix. And I've certainly put them to the test with windy sand dunes, swimming pools and daily gym sessions.
Putting in the extensions was a little bit tricky, but I'm hoping that practice will make perfect. It's worth the extra effort to know that I'll always be able to maintain them and reapply them myself, wherever I am in the world. And because the ClipHair extensions last for up to six months, that could be anywhere!
The extensions I used
As my hair now has a LOT of different shades in it, I used two packs and mixed them. Tape in extensions are applied by sandwiching two pieces of hair together, so I used one colour on the top of "sandwich" and the other on the bottom.
I used just under two packs of 16" hair in total and also ordered a set of clip in pieces in case any fell out or I needed extra volume some days. It's been the perfect amount and feels like a nice compromise between fullness and lightness.
These hair extensions were gifted to me in exchange for this feature, but everything in this post was written by me and is 100% honest (as always!).
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