Would you pay over €1,000 a year for hair extensions?
the number of Irish beauties paying to have someone else's hair glued to their own is rapidly growing. It's because the feeling of long, lustrous flowing locks is utterly addictive, say our writers -- and hair extensions devotees -- Laura Butler and Alexandra Ryan
I grew up with a mother who was a hairdresser, who instilled in me a fear of dyeing my locks. So I've little experience of professional salons or the joy of walking out with an entirely new 'do'.
I promised I would never dye my hair until I was sporting thick streaks of grey, so now my hair-heaven moments come from buying hair extensions.
I first came across extensions when a family friend arrived to our home on Christmas day with lustrous curls bouncing over her shoulders. My hair is naturally thick, but I wanted her bounce.
My first experience with these beauty delights were the clip-in kind, for €80 -- a steep but worthwhile investment in my view at the time. I can safely say I wore them to death. They were washed, styled, sprayed and cut just as my actual hair would be and they became a must-have for nights out on the town.
It wasn't until I began to hear from a number of Irish models about how the demand for the 'permanent', pre-bonded hair extensions was growing, that I began to consider getting them.
I found that the majority of the girls who've had them feel better with these additions to their manes. They love the feminine feeling of long swishy hair. Extensions are available in a fantastic range of colours and lengths and, once they are in, no one can tell you're wearing them.
Claudine Keane, Georgia Salpa, Rosanna Davison and Roz Purcell, to name a few, are just some of our beauties who are massive fans of hair extensions.
I decided that my Christmas present to myself would be to splash out €250-odd on a well-deserved afternoon watching my hair get longer and fuller at Hotlox Hair.
The rising popularity of pre-bonded extensions means Hotlox owner Anna Johnson is getting ready to move to a bigger premises. The stylist currently located in Bachelor's Walk will, next month, open her new Hotlox Hair Extension Boutique at 64 Dame Street.
My hair is now longer than it has been my entire life, and much easier to style. I expect them to last three months, but a word of warning -- you can't expect to get by without sufficient grooming.
It is recommended that you only wash your hair twice a week, so be prepared to buy a lot of dry shampoo. The hair also requires regular brushing. Allow for at least 45 minutes minimum to blow dry. My hair is now long, so I sat on the floor with a hairdryer for more than an hour the first week or so. That said, it really did change how I feel about my hair.
Consequently, it has had a knock-on effect on my credit card, as I've fooled myself into thinking that all clothes, on all rails, in all of my favourite shops, must be purchased to complement my wonderful new longer tresses!
Every three months I spend most of my money on getting a full head of pre-bonded hair extensions. It's hard to explain why I would spend my hard-earned cash on getting someone else's hair glued to my own. The likes of Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham can afford to get their hair extensions topped up whenever they like, but what's an Irish girl doing forking out cash on a celebrity trend?
Each salon has different prices, but you're looking at a minimum of €250 to €550 if you want a full head of real human hair extensions. Well, the answer is easy: I'm addicted to hair extensions. Once I experienced the weight of long, thick hair on my shoulders, and caught a glimpse of my flowing hair in the mirror, there was no turning back.
In fairness, I've been obsessed with my hair from a young age. I was born with curly blonde hair, while my two sisters sported luscious chocolate-brown locks. I loved being different. As I got older the colour faded and, after years of dodgy hair cuts, thanks to my mother, my lovely hair lost its bounce.
Over the past five years I have dyed my hair platinum blonde, bright red, dark brown and dark blonde. By 2010 I was dying it white-blonde and going to my local salon every three weeks. It was costing me financially and physically.
As well as breaking the bank, the treatments were breaking my hair. My shiny, glossy, mid-length locks became a bob of dry ends and bald patches.
I decided to get hair extensions when my boyish hairstyle started to get on my nerves. I saw Fade Street star Louise Johnston sporting a massive mane of hair for a Lili Forberg photo shoot and was immediately interested. I wanted that look. I wanted that glamour!
I was a college student so I didn't have that much cash, but any amount I had was all put aside for my new hair.
After having my pre-bonded hair extensions applied for the first time, I felt like a new woman. I felt confident, I felt sexier and, as silly as it sounds, I felt like a celebrity.
I've discovered Angelina Jolie wears extensions, as does Eva Longoria, Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyonce and even Jennifer Aniston has admitted to wearing extensions from time to time.
When Vogue Williams popped home with boyfriend Brian McFadden last month, getting her hair extensions redone was one of the first things she did.
It's been more than two years since I joined the hair extensions obsession. I don't think I could ever go back to having short, lifeless hair again. If celebrities can have longer hair, why can't I?