My hair and I have a love-hate relationship. Mostly hate.

I was born with a jumble of curls, frizz and fuzz and a receding hairline. In an effort to navigate that bounty of blessings I wanted nothing more but to grow my hair long. I needed nothing extravagant, just something long enough for a ponytail. But it was not to be.

As my mom once said, “you’re hair only grows out.”

As I’ve gotten older and hair tools and products have evolved, so has my hair. I’ve been able to grow it a little, but never much longer than my collarbone. It’s fine and getting thin. There isn’t a lot of volume to it, not a lot of bounce.

Hair Extensions

When Akari’s owner, Jeffrey Blais, mentioned taped in extensions for this month’s blog I thought, “Va Voom! And just in time for summer!”

At Akari (if you’ve never been, think upscale big city salon meets a dear old friend) I saw Ashley Alston. The highly-trained and talented Ashley is the go-to guru, the hair extension hotshot, the “let’s add some strands” specialist.

The first appointment with Ashley was a basic consultation. She meticulously matched my color and talked to me about how much length and volume I wanted so she’d know how much hair to order.

The next visit was “go time”! Like a surgeon, Ashley had my hair, good quality human hair from Great Lengths in two different shades, draped across a tray. When adding length, Ashley noted that she creates a perimeter so a good amount of hair is needed. In my case, there were 25 extensions, each 18 inches long. That gave Ashley enough hair to cut and blend with my natural hair.

Before we began Ashley washed my hair three times to get all oils and product out of my hair. This allows the adhesive to stick better. She then blew my hair dry and flat ironed it so the extensions would go on smoothly.

The extensions have an inch long adhesive strip, like double-sided tape, that’s sandwiched between your own hair. The bonds lay completely flat against your head so they’re undetectable. They’re also gentle on your hair and non-damaging.

Shannon Moss after visit to Akari with new hair extensions

It was impressive to watch Ashley work. It’s evident she’s an artist and a technician. She radiates confidence and kindness. And the process was fast. My entire appointment lasted less than two hours and the results were transformative. My hair was long, thick and voluminous. Ashley said she’s had many clients who’ve had fine hair their whole lives, so to give them the thick, full hair they’ve always wanted is exciting for her. It’s her favorite part of what she does.

I love my new hair and it all blends together perfectly. But I’m not going lie, I was very nervous about the upkeep. The first time I washed it I was paranoid I was going to rip them all out. After all, they’re taped in! Upkeep, however, was easier than I thought. Even blowing out and flat ironing my naturally curly hair was no problem. I just needed to be a little gentle with the bonds.

I recommend, though, that if you or your significant other enjoys running their fingers through your hair you have a frank discussion about what’s going on behind the hair. (A minor hiccup)

Taped in extensions are becoming increasingly popular because they’re quicker to apply and less expensive than keratin bonded extensions (but Ashley does those too!) and they last up to 8 weeks. They’re perfect for a special occasion and, hello, they can be reused up to three times.

If you’re interested in getting extensions or want to talk about the possibilities call Akari at 207.772.9060 and ask for the Extensions Whisperer. Summer is the perfect time to sport that primo ponytail.

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