Okay, so I didn't actually get a head transplant. But I might as well have.
I'm not really a 'hair person'. Some girls view their hair as their glory and I did as a teenager. My hair stopped almost at bum level. Then, one day when I was sixteen, I had my hair lopped off. As in, all of it. I had a pixie cut. The shortest of the short. My hair was no longer than four centimetres for seven years. I changed it up only twice,when I went full Sinead O' Connor and shaved my head to a one-blade. It was incredibly liberating.
Then, a couple of years ago, I looked in the mirror and short hair didn't feel like 'me' any more. Women 'get' this concept. It didn't feel right, so I let it grow.
And this was the status of my hair when I walked into Cowboys and Angels salon in Dublin last week. I presented Valerie Patterson - the first woman in Ireland to have used hair extensions over two decades ago - with a head of shoulder length hair. And I walked out four hours later with hair down to my derriere!
Great Lengths hair extensions are made of real, ethically sourced human hair - the hair comes in over fifty five colours - seventeen of which are different blond shades, for the likes of me! There are also neon, brightly coloured and ombre shades available. They also only allow certified hair stylists trained by Great Lengths to insert them, ensuring no botched jobs.
The hair comes in lengths ranging from 20cm for adding fringes or bulking out short hair all the way to a colossal 60cm. The hair used on me was 50cm - that's incredibly long, but it does show you what Great Lengths can do!
The hair comes with an attached keratin bond, which is then bonded to your own hair using a heated tool. I'm assured that Great Lengths bonds are the best around. When you go to have your extensions removed, a solution is applied which breaks down the bond so that it can be slipped out of your hair without causing damage.
Anyone I know who has had hair extensions has complained that they lose the odd one along the way and can be prone to matting their natural hair. Great Lengths say that this does not happen with their extensions, provided they are properly cared for. I'll do a follow-up post in a couple of months to report my progress.
When I went into the salon, my hair was washed and blow dried. Then the extensions were inserted and the hair was cut and styled. Great Lengths can be used for a complete transformation like mine, or simply for problem solving. A small number of hair pieces can be attached to thicken fine hair, or to even up the length. When I think 'hair extensions', I generally think of long hair. I was impressed to see that these extensions are also used to help people regain their confidence, often after an illness.
At first, Valerie intended to cut my hair to a considerably shorter length. However, when it was finished, we thought that the dramatic transformation was a lot of fun. I'm not saying that I'll hang onto the length - it's a lot of work and I do feel slightly strange with all this hair, but it's certainly a new experience.
With proper care, the extensions should last between five and six months. Since the hair is real, I can style it just as I would my own hair, there's no fussing about.
It's not cheap, a transformation like this can cost up to and over €1000. However, a small number of extensions can make a real difference, and would cost far less than that. Whether you think it's worth its weight in
gold hair, is up to you!
What do you think of this extreme transformation? Have you used hair extensions, or would you consider using them? Let us know in the comments.
*Laura was a guest of Great Lengths at Cowboys and Angels, 4, South William Street, Dublin 2.