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A Complete Guide to Microlink Extensions

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Here’s your dose of good news for the day: Long, flowing locks are well within your reach! Whether you go the longer route by creating a hair care routine with the best hair growth shampoos, hair growth oils, and hair growth vitamins or choose instead to invest in one of the best wigs or hair extensions, there are plenty of ways to achieve the hair of your dreams, even if you didn’t win big in the genetic hair lottery.

Microlink hair extensions, in particular, are gaining traction, thanks to how low-tension they are and how well they can blend into your natural tresses. “They’re a popular method for adding length, color, and volume without the use of heat or glue, which can reduce damage to your natural hair,” says Deonna Taylor, a hairstylist and the owner of Linked Hair Salon in Pittsburgh, PA. What’s not to love?

Whether you’ve never heard of microlink hair extensions or have been pondering scheduling a microlinks appointment for a while, you probably still have a lot of questions. We spoke with Taylor as well as Jennifer Korab, a celebrity hairstylist and the owner of Renaissance Salon in Hillsborough, NJ, to discuss all things microlinks and break down all the things you should know before committing to them.

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How do microlink hair extensions work?

As Korab says, a microlink hair extension is “an extension which is attached to the hair using a silicone microbead.” Essentially, a stylist will attach small bonded strands of hair to the roots of small sections of your natural hair with small silicone or metal beads; each extension is applied strand by strand, leading to a more natural-looking result than crochet extensions or sew-in weft hair extensions, according to Taylor.

Taylor also explains that there are different types of microlinks: “There’s the weft microlinks, which use small, silicone-lined beads, and there’s I-Tips, in which the extensions are applied with a copper bead. There’s also K-Tips, which are bonded to your hair using keratin,” she says.

Another notable benefit of microlinks is that the hair does not need to be tightly braided beforehand, unlike crochet extensions or traditional sew-ins. In other words, although microlink hair extensions are not a protective hairstyle since your natural hair is still exposed, there is much less tension and risk of tension-related breakage.


How much do microlink extensions cost?

While it depends on a number of factors, including the quality of the hair, the number of strands involved, and who you pick as your stylist, as with any other big hair change, it’s an investment. Korab estimated that prices range from $700 to $1,500, while Taylor approximated it at $400 to $1,000 or more. But keep in mind that that number doesn’t necessarily include the cost of the hair itself and the recommended follow-up appointments with your stylist to help maintain them.

How long can you keep microlink extensions?

Our experts say that they can last up to three to five months—as long as they’re properly maintained, that is. Beyond proper care at home, salon visits are ideal if you want the extensions looking their best. “As your natural hair grows, the links move further away from the scalp, requiring them to be adjusted, or ‘moved up,’ every 6 to 8 weeks to maintain their appearance and prevent tangling,” explains Taylor.


Who are microlink extensions suitable for?

Anyone with any hair texture can try microlink extensions as long as their hair is healthy and long enough, according to their stylist. Also, Korab reports that microlinks “are a great option if you are looking for increased volume and a few extra inches in length” for fine to medium hair—but Taylor does warn that if you have extremely fine or thin hair, “the beads can be visible and potentially cause strain on weaker hair strands.” It’s always best to consult a trusted hairstylist to double check if a particular style might work for your hair.


How do you style microlink hair extensions?

Here’s the best part: “You can style microlink extensions exactly like your natural hair. They can be washed, blow-dried, straightened, and curled,” says Taylor. Just make sure to stay away from the beads and use a heat protectant if you’re planning on using heat to blow dry or style your hair. Also, both Korab and Taylor advised avoiding high heat, as exposure to hot temperatures can damage the microlinks.


How do you take care of microlink hair extensions?

As with your natural hair, choosing quality products and using as little heat as possible is the best way to maintain microlinks. And the real name of the game is to be gentle. “Brush regularly with a soft bristle brush or a special extension brush to prevent tangling, wash gently, and condition only the ends to avoid loosening the bonds,” explains Taylor. Other expert-backed tips include avoiding aggressive scalp scrubbing, sleeping with your hair loosely braided or tied back, and steering clear of slippage-causing oily hair products. Plus, don’t forget to schedule those maintenance appointments we touched on earlier.

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