I spent most of my life thinking hair extensions were only used to add length. Though I’d seen them on every reality TV show I’d ever watched, from Love Island to Geordie Shore, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and The Hills, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the real reason they’re so popular is because they add fullness, volume, and, depending on what you want, dimensions of color — in other words, everything a brunette with fine hair could ever dream of.
I’m now obsessed with the idea and want to get them fitted ASAP, but as a hair extensions novice, I had absolutely no idea where to start. I wanted to know about the different types of extensions, what to look for, how to care for them, and whether they would damage my real hair, so I talked to Tatiana Karelina, owner of Russian hair extensions company Tatiana Karelina (who’s tended to the hair extension queen herself, Ariana Grande), Great Lengths expert Hadley Yates, who works out of London’s influential Hershesons at Harvey Nichols Salon, and Dublin-based Shane O’Sullivan, founder and creative director of Easilocks. Read through to see what the pros had to say, and find everything you need to know about hair extensions before you get them.