Hair extensions are a beloved, er, extension of the stylist’s toolkit. A beautiful weave has the ability to transform lank, lifeless or just plain short hair into a flowing cascade that would make even Helen of Troy jealous.

While many people love wearing them down, however, they can work equally awesome magic when twisted up into myriad designs. Just what designs are we talking about? Here are four of our favorite examples.

Tucked-Under French Braid

The classic French braid gets a twist when you tuck the tail back up underneath the hair at the nape of your neck or wind it into a low chignon. This hairdo is hard to pull off without thick enough tresses, though, which is where extensions come in.

It takes a little reverse thinking, though. Since you’re turning hair inside out, you have to counterintuitively place extensions right down the middle of the head, then pull them out, over and back into the braid.

Photo by Suhyeon Choi

Twisted Half-Pony

This ‘do boasts the best of both worlds: trailing locks with the elegantly understated addition of twisted strands in a low crown. Insert extensions at the back of the head and low behind the ears, but stay away from the temple region. Then, grab several thick locks at the temples, twist them into ropes and pull them back into a clip. Consider the addition of a jewel or flower for a special occasion.

Wedding Curls

Pretty much enough said, right? If not, here’s how it’s done: layer the extensions on thick toward the top of the crown, ensuring you keep enough of a hair buffer than they don’t show through. Pull the whole mass into a pony, curl it outrageously, then tug a few strands loose around the face. Ceremony-worth hair accomplished.

Topknot

Just as with wedding curls, this style requires you to pile the hair on at the top of the head, then pull the strands all up into a ponytail that disguises the clips. If that doesn’t give you enough hair to wind it into a knot on its own, use the trusty sock bun technique.

Photo by Gabriel Silvério

Word to the wise about extensions: They can look really, really fake if you don’t do them right. Instead of tackling the job yourself, talk to a stylist about where to get nice extensions. Ask your stylist to match them to your hair color (or whatever color you’d like them dyed) before inserting and cutting them to your desired style. That way, up or down, you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

 

Header photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash