Stylish Shiona Turini loves a full go-big-or-go-home look. From ponytail to pinky toe, every detail is considered in the construction of her outfits. Before she began the transition to her natural texture, Shiona relied on weaves and flat-ironed hair to add exclamation points to the overall picture. Without them, she worried that her still-in-metamorphosis curls weren’t yet cut out for big drama. Shiona consulted celebrity hair stylist Lacy Redway for help. (She’s done the hair of Amandla Stenberg, Ruth Negga, Jourdan Dunn, among so many others.) Redway’s solve? Curly clip-in extensions. The two sat down at Paul Fox Salon to show us how it’s done.
“A lot of women experience Shiona’s same concern when transitioning to their natural texture, including myself,” says Redway. “When I started working with curly clip-in extensions (we typically see clip-ins with straight hair) I realized just how easily you can add volume, and of course, it’s not permanent.”
You don’t need a celebrity hair stylist to get this look — totally doable at home with the right tools. Her tips, however, will come in handy if you’ve never navigated these waters before. Guard them with your life below.
1. Wash your hair for a fresh start
If you can, wash your hair first. “It’s a good foundation to start with,” says Redway. As for the clip-ins themselves: “You don’t have to wash extensions daily, but you should wash them when you can feel too much product on them. Otherwise, you can go a few wears or just rinse with hot water to remove the product.”
Redway washed Shiona’s hair with Jane Carter Solution Drench Cleansing Co-wash. (“Co-washing is conditioning-washing. It allows you to skip shampoo. Since shampoos can strip hair of its natural oils, it’s nice to alternate between shampooing and co-washing.”)
After product was rinsed out, Redway added a dime-sized amount of Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-in Conditioner throughout the hair for added moisture.
2. Add Flexi-Rods to enhance natural curls
The rod size depends on the size of the curl you are trying to achieve, similar to a curling iron. Once you’ve chosen your size, apply product to hair, wrap around the rod, hold to secure and release your grip.
Redway added rods to the top section of Shiona’s hair and used the smallest amount of Devacurl Conditioning Gel possible to secure the ends of her hair to the rods. Following that, she diffused her hair with Dyson Super Sonic blow dryer (although any blow dryer with a diffuser will work “just fine”). However, if you have enough time, Redway recommends letting the twists air dry.
Drying tip: To maximize volume in your hair and roots while using a blow dryer, diffuse with your head upside down with your head leaning forward.
3. Add in the extensions
Once Shiona’s hair was completely dry, Redway removed the rods and added in hair extensions. “We used 100% virgin and unprocessed hair extensions provided by Boho Exotic Studio,” she said. To put them in, section off hair where you plan to add clip-ins and backcomb to add texture for the clips to grab. You’ll likely need a mirror to see what you’re doing. Add hairspray at your own discretion.
4. The amount of clips needed
The amount of clips will vary depending on the length of your own hair to begin with, and the length you’re trying to achieve. The goal is for everything to blend together, Redway explains. You especially never want the actual clips exposed. This video is a great resource to watch and learn how to blend curly clip-ins with natural hair.
You can buy individual clips (a few inches wide each) or buy long pieces that wrap from one ear to the other. Redway did four sections of clips on Shiona.
5. Synthetic versus human hair
Redway recommends human hair over synthetic hair so that you can color and style as you would your real hair.
6. How to care for your hair once the clips are in
The actual clip-in hair can last a long time depending on how well you take care of the extensions. The great thing about clip-ins is that you can take them out every day and put them in as you needed. “If you like to change your style frequently, clip-ins are ideal,” says Redway. “If you’re growing your hair out or want highlights or lowlights, clip-ins are also ideal. Just take them out if you’re going to shampoo.”
7. Don’t cut or color the clip-ins yourself
Though you can treat clip-ins made of human hair as you would your natural hair, Redway advises that you bring your clip-ins to a salon to be colored and cut.
8. Expect to pay between $200-250
The standard range for 14 to 16 inches of hair is $200-250, which usually includes around seven pieces in a set. In general, one set is good enough, but if you want fuller hair, you’ll need more.
9. If you want ONE more bit of drama on top of the extensions…
Redway suggests you try twisting gold ribbon or thread into a braid. Use it to pull hair off your face or to simply add interest. Secure with a bobby pin and let the selfies commence.
Watch the full process here!