Fusion is an extension method that applies a strand-by-strand process to the hair using either a hot or cold technique. There are generally two types of fusion extensions: I-tipped extensions and U-tipped extensions.
Cold Fusion (I-Tipped Fusion)
I-tipped extensions (also known as cold bonding) are attached to hair using a hooked or looped pulling tool (usually made from copper or aluminum) that pulls the client’s hair through a micro ring. Strands of about 20 to 30 individual hairs can be attached with a micro link. The extension is then inserted into the micro ring which is then compressed with pliers.
- No heat used for this application therefore it is advantageous for those with short hair, thin or weak hair, or conditions such as alopecia.
- As the extensions are individual strands, the hair moves a little more naturally.
- With careful and proper maintenance, these reusable extensions may last up to 6 months.
- High expense for installation, maintenance, and removal: Best results come from an experienced stylist who will take into account the weight of the extensions and the strength of the client’s hair.
- Frequent tightening of extensions may cause hair damage.
- Process is not easy or beneficial for women with naturally curly hair.
Hot Fusion (U-Tipped Fusion)
U-tipped extensions (flat- or u-tip pre-treated with keratin) are lined with keratin and silicone and are attached to the hair using an heated extension iron. Hair is placed between the U-tip and fused with heat. The tip acts as a barrier to protect the hair and are attached close to the root allowing for hair growth. The heat from the hair extension iron does not damage the hair and is no hotter than a standard curling or flat iron.
U-tipped extensions should be applied to freshly-washed hair (use a clarifying shampoo and no conditioner).
The stylist first completely melts the keratin with the hair extension iron to soften it so it penetrates the hair making a long-lasting bond. The stylist takes a small section of hair equal to the hair extension strand and places the bond over the section. Small plates at the end of the Hair Extension Tool soften the bonds. The stylist uses his or her fingers to mold and shape the melted keratin around the hair. When it cools, the keratin hardens again, creating a sealed, durable bond.
A full-head installation requires a strand-by-strand attachment, row by row beginning at the base of the head and working its way up the back of the head and around the sides.Once finished, the bonds lie completely flat against the head and are covered by the upper layers of hair. After all the wefts have been installed, the stylist then blends and styles the hair so the extensions look completely natural, and allow the hair to move freely.
- Best for coarse and/ thick hair.
- Heat is used though no hotter than a standard curling or flat iron.
- With proper care, fusion hair extensions can last from 4-6 months. It will require periodic touch-ups depending on hair growth that causes the bond and hair extension to move further and further away from the scalp.
- High expense for installation, maintenance, and removal: Best results come from an highly-experienced stylist who will take into account the weight of the extensions and the strength of the client’s hair.
- Not reusable.
- Use of oil-based products on hair or scalp weakens the keratin bond.
- Client’s hair must be at least 3” in length for fusion extensions.