Tape-in hair extensions last four to eight weeks on average, but the exact time frame depends on several factors. How long you can go between touch-ups depends on the hair extension material, how fast your hair grows, and how you take care of the extensions. If you’re considering tape-in extensions for the first time, they are quick to install and reusable for multiple installations as long as you and your stylist properly care for them.
This guide covers the pros and cons of tape-in extensions, explains how long tape-in extensions last, and discusses installation and care.
What Are Tape-In Extensions?
Extensions are lengths of human hair or synthetic hair that attach to your natural hair, giving you more volume and length. Tape-in extensions consist of one-inch strips of hair with adhesive ends that your stylist applies to your own hair near your scalp. After parting a section of hair, your stylist will apply the extensions in pairs, both on the top side and underside to sandwich your natural hair with the tape-ins.
How Long Do Tape-In Extensions Last?
Tape-in extensions last anywhere from four to eight weeks, but the exact time may vary depending on the following factors:
- The hair extension material: The quality and material of your extensions can affect how long they last. As a general rule, extensions made of real human hair last longer than those made of synthetic hair.
- How fast your hair grows: If you have faster hair growth, you should visit the salon more often for adjustments.
- How you take care of your extensions: Avoid washing your hair too much and using oil-based products, as both can weaken the adhesive in extensions. Also, make sure to brush your extensions carefully since they can tangle just like your natural hair would.
After around five weeks, you might want to ask your hairstylist to reposition your extensions as your hair grows in. If properly installed, removed, and taken care of, you can reuse the extensions for up to three installations. This can give you several months of use before replacing the hair extensions.
What Hair Types Work Best for Tape-In Extensions?
Tape-in extensions work for most kinds of hair because they are gentler than other types of hair extensions and don’t weigh your hair down. They also come in a variety of hair types, from completely straight to tightly curled. While your natural hair texture can range from coarse to fine, you should have enough hair to disguise the tape easily. Talk to your stylist about your options based on your hair type, length, and texture.
The Benefits of Tape-In Extensions
While tape-ins don’t last as long as more permanent hair extensions, they have plenty of benefits that make them a popular option for those wanting longer, more voluminous hair.
- Work on most hair types: Because they don’t require heat for installation, tape-ins offer a gentle option for people with damaged or brittle hair. They can also work for people with short or thin hair, as long as you and your stylist take proper care to blend the extensions with your natural hair.
- Reusable for multiple installations: You can use the same extensions for up to three installations if you care for them properly, which saves you money the next time you go to the salon.
- Minimal cost compared to other extension types: With a price range of $200 to $800 depending on hair quality, how many extensions you need, and where you live, tape-ins tend to cost less than other options. That’s partly because the extensions come in one-inch widths, which makes for a quicker, easier salon visit.
- Reduced time in the salon: Unlike more complicated methods like hand-tied and fusion extensions, the tape-in installation process generally only takes between 45 to 60 minutes.
Things to Consider Before Getting Tape-In Extensions
While tape-ins offer an easy way to get a full head of luxurious hair, consider the following factors before getting this type of extension.
- Tape-in extensions can slide off if you’re using the wrong products. Although tape-in extensions use medical-grade adhesive, oil-based hair products can cause the tape to weaken and slide off. To help the extensions stay in longer, make sure to use the right hair products based on your hair type and your stylist’s suggestions.
- Requires regular maintenance. As your hair grows out, you’ll need to go back to the salon to keep your hairstyle fresh and your hair healthy. Ask your stylist for a readjustment or reinstallation of your extensions every four to eight weeks to prevent hair damage. If you have a big event coming up, you’ll want to plan your salon visit accordingly.
- The type of tape-in extensions you choose may impact their lifespan. Extensions made of human hair can cost more up front, but they may last longer than synthetic. Heat styling with curling irons or even blow dryers can damage synthetic hair, as can certain shampoos and conditioners. If you choose human hair extensions, on the other hand, you can treat them just like your normal hair.
- You can’t get your hair wet within 24 to 48 hours after the installation. Because tape-in extensions bond to your hair, avoid swimming, sweating excessively, or washing your hair within 24 to 48 hours.
Tape-In Extension Installation Process
If you’ve ever used temporary clip-in hair extensions, you have some idea how the tape-in installation process works. Because tape-ins adhere to your natural hair, it is best to visit a professional stylist who will apply your extensions correctly. Your stylist will:
- Clean your hair with a clarifying shampoo to prepare your hair for the extensions.
- Color-match your hair to the extension options, determine how many wefts (strips) of hair you’ll need, and help you select the look you want.
- Section off your hair and apply the extensions by sandwiching your natural hair between adhesive tape-ins.
- Trim, shape, and style your hair to ensure the extensions blend seamlessly into your real hair.
Tape-In Extension Removal Process
Just as with the application process, it’s best to have your extensions removed by a professional. If you attempt to take them off yourself, you could damage both the extensions and your own hair. The stylist will use an alcohol-based spray to loosen the tape and gently remove the extensions from your hair.
Do Tape-In Extensions Damage Your Hair?
With the proper care, tape-in extensions are gentle and shouldn’t damage your hair. Make sure to have the tape-ins readjusted or reapplied periodically by a salon professional. This way, you’ll avoid breakage, frizz, and other damage to your hair.
Tape-In Extension Aftercare
For long-lasting extensions and healthy hair, follow your stylist’s recommendations about caring for your hair after having tape-ins applied. When in doubt, follow the guidelines below:
- Brush your hair with a bristle brush. The right brush for your tape-ins — and your natural locks too — detangles your hair gently. When selecting a hair extensions brush, opt for soft bristle brushes over bristles with nodules that might get stuck in the tape.
- Gently wash your hair. Shampoo gently instead of vigorously to avoid harming your extensions and your natural hair. Using a mild, alcohol-free and sulfate-free shampoo and lukewarm (not hot) water can also help keep your hair looking its best.
- Be careful when putting your hair in ponytails. While you can put your hair up when you have these extensions, you will need to do so carefully. Treat your hair gently and avoid putting it up tightly too often — especially in the same position — because this could impact the longevity of your extensions.
- Minimize heat applications near the tape. Frequent use of heat styling tools can damage extensions and loosen the bond with your natural hair. Blow-dry using low heat and avoid applying any heat near the tape to avoid melting the adhesive.
- Avoid oil-based hair care products. Follow the recommendations of your stylist, including avoiding oil-based hair products that may break down the adhesive bond to your hair.
- Wrap your hair before bed. Wrapping your hair or sleeping on a satin pillowcase can reduce breakage and frizz to keep your extensions looking new.
Hair extensions come in a variety of styles that vary in cost, application time, and durability. Besides lasting four to eight weeks, tape-ins are reusable and gentler on the hair than other types of extensions. If you decide that tape-in extensions are right for you, StyleSeat can help you find a qualified hair care professional near you.