Friday, November 4, 2011

DIY Ethical Hair "Extensions"

 Do ever you start to feel like maybe you look too "normal"? I suppose it's difficult to blend in much when you have a facial piercing, large visible tattoo, and occasionally wacky outfits...but I started to feel it recently anyhow. 

I'd been considering putting a few bleach-blonde extensions to frame my face, as bleaching my own hair only  ends up it breaking off. BUT extensions are expensive, and human hair travels down a peculiar road that I am not especially comfortable with. Feather extensions, while pretty, are an even more sordid practice on a level similar to fur coats. I'll avoid making this political, but I'll include a few resources at the bottom if you choose to pursue the information. 

These colorful "extensions" were my ethical solution. Quick, cheap, and a craft statement. They took about 5 minutes to put in, and will last as long as I choose to leave them in.

1. Cut a length of embroidery floss (yarn would work too) about twice the length of your hair, 
2. Carefully select a lock of hair about 1/4" square in size, sure to isolate only the hairs you want to braid (flyaways will snag and pull)
3. tie the floss at the top of your chosen lock--as close to your scalp as possible--with the two tails of floss falling at equal lengths
4. Do a simple 3-strand braid! My three strands were the two embroidery floss lengths with my lock of hair serving as one strand.
5. Tie a good knot with your floss at the bottom of your braid. Trim the excess thread at whatever length you choose. I chose to cut my thread tails off completely, but it's equally cute to leave them long.
6. Bonus: add an embellishment, like charms or ethically-obtained feathers, at the bottom. 

Excuse the messy hair, it's my windblown bed-head. Today has been warm and sunny, so walked down to a delicious lunch at Glenn's Diner down the street. Our lovely server stopped me in the middle of ordering to ask about my extensions, then exclaimed, "I'm totally stealing that, and you're going to hate me for it!" Not true! Please, steal my idea! 

If you try out it, send me a photo? 

I'm having a difficult time finding a reliable source for human hair extension information, so rather than link you to something I don't totally trust, I'll recommend you watch
Good Hair, Chris Rock's interesting documentary about hair in the African American community, with a great focus on the sourcing of human hair extensions.

A story from the Seattle Times that explains some of the issues regarding feather extensions.


  1. Nice! DOING IT. Will provide photographic evidence!

  2. Super cute & affordable! Do you remember pony bead strands craze? I have a picture somewhere of me with only one framing my face. Classic. (