Getting hair extensions put in is a standard beauty practice that is only growing in popularity.
There are so many different styles and methods of application, and the best one for you can vary on your hair type and texture, which is why it’s important to do a thorough amount of research before booking an appointment for extension installation.
Two of the most popular styles of extensions include hand-tied and machine weft. Though the end result of getting these types of extensions in may look similar, how the hair looks prior to application are actually extremely different.
Hand-tied and machine-weft extensions both allow you to have a fuller, more voluminous head of hair. However, they do vary in multiple different areas- from how they’re produced to what types of hair types they’ll look most natural in once installed.
If you’re looking to get either one of these styles to add to your ‘do, it’s important to know which one your locks are better suited for! Here, we’ll break down all of these different qualities and give you a final breakdown as to which style would work best for you!
Qualities Of Good Extensions
There are a ton of different factors to go over before you make a final decision with your extensions. Here are some of the most qualities that will play a part in your choice:
- How They’re Produced
- Compatible Hair Types
We’ll break each of these elements down more deeply.
How They’re Produced
The production of each style of extension is the foundation for why these styles are so different from one another.
The hand-tied extension is named for the technique of application, but the way they’re manufactured is also more intimate than other production techniques.
This style of extensions are a bunch of collections of hair that have been previously cut and sewn together- however, the cutting and attachment of the extensions to the weft is done entirely by hand and not in a factory setting.
When produced by hand, it allows the manufacturer to maintain the thinnest style of weft possible, which is something that can’t be replicated within a factory setting.
Though they may look similar to sewn-in hair extensions, hand-tied extensions are different in the sense that they are manually tied into the hair by hand rather than with a sewing needle. Also, due to the thinness of the weft, they cannot be cut or trimmed to the width needed for installation.
Machine-weft extensions, unlike hand-tied extensions, are named for how they’re made rather than how they’re installed.
These bundles of hair are almost always factory produced in a factory setting, and are sewn together using an industrial sewing machine. Each collection of hair is sewn onto a weft- and it’s this quality that makes the most striking difference between a machine-weft extension and a hand-tied.
To account for the space needed for the machine, the weft (or band) of this extension is much thicker than the former style, and because of that, they can be cut to the length needed for installation.
This is likely the most defining area of difference for people interested in getting extensions done. It’s one of the pricier treatments that you can get done, and the cost can vary greatly depending on the method of installation and style of extension.
Due to the amount of intimate care in the production of hand-tied extensions, the cost per bundle is quite a bit more expensive than other styles. This type of treatment is definitely nothing short of an investment.
When you get hand-tied extensions done in a salon, it will usually cost you an average of $1500-$2000. This cost embodies the price of the extensions themselves, installation, and styling and cutting once the desired thickness and volume of the hair is established.
Depending on the salon you go to, and how many wefts of hair are installed, this price can be more or less.
Because machine-weft extensions are less laborious in terms of production, they’ll cost significantly less than the former style we talked about.
Since machine-wefts can be installed from home, you may not need to go to a salon to get them in (though we definitely recommend it). That being said, the cost can vary greatly- from $200 for just the extensions to upwards of $600+ for the hair and installation.
This extension style is much more affordable, and is considered to be the standard choice in the beauty community.
Compatible Hair Types
Affordability aside, it’s likely that the compatibility of the extension with your certain hair type is paramount to your final decision.
At the end of the day, you have full control over what style of extension you get installed, though it’s true that when it comes to these two styles- certain hair types may favor one over the other.
Since the weft of this extension is much slimmer, it will work more harmoniously with a slimmer, or thinner hair type.
Fine hair, or strands with a little less density, need an extension that’s as lightweight and invisible as possible as it will leave you with the most natural-looking set of extensions.
The thin weft will blend seamlessly with fine hair, and the weight of the extensions won’t pull on your roots (which are more susceptible to damage).
As for the texture of hair, hand-tied extensions are better suited for straight hair
With a thicker band, this style of extension is the perfect fit for thicker hair types.
If you have a lot of hair, or your hair is on the denser side, picking a lighter or finer extension would leave you in the chair for much longer than necessary.
Machine-weft extensions are known for their sturdiness and bulkiness, so they’ll blend perfectly with hair that’s on the heavier side.
Since you have more hair to cover up the thicker weft, they’ll look just as seamless as hand-tied extensions do on finer hair. This extension style is also perfect for more textured hair types and curly hair.
The flexibility of your hair extensions also determines how natural they’ll look when blended with your strands.
When it comes to flexibility, hand-tied extensions definitely take home the prize! Because they’re not inhibited by the thickness of the weft, they’re likely to move with your natural hair.
That being said, if your hair is on the lighter or finer side, you don’t have to worry with your extensions laying stationary while your natural locks move with the environment. They can also be put up into more complex updos and hairstyles without looking conspicuous.
The thicker band on machine-weft extensions does tend to inhibit the movement of the extensions since they’re more securely sewn in. The weft won’t budge, so the hair extensions will only move as much as the weft allows them to.
With that in mind, heavier hair types will appreciate the extra security of a machine-weft extension. The only downside to keep in mind is that if you do updos or more elaborate styles, the thickness of the band will be more visible.
Weight could also be a deciding quality for extensions. For those who want a “barely there feel,” the heaviness of a set needs to be kept in mind.
The density of a hand-tied weft is one of its defining features.
Multiple bundles of hair make up a single row of hair, so each bundle is incredibly lightweight. Altogether, a single weft or row of hair will only weigh up to ½ oz.
Because they’re so light, you can switch up the density of your hair with ease, and without worry that the extensions are causing too much pressure on your natural hair.
Because they’re industrially made, a single row of machine-weft extensions is continuous, long, and much heavier than a hand-tied extension.
Each weft will be around 3-4 oz, and depending on the desired volume, you may need a couple of sets to complete your look, which can leave your head feeling much heavier at the end of the installation.
Let’s breakdown each of these qualities into a concise table:
|How They’re Made
|Sewn and collected by hand, installed by hand
|Industrially produced and machine-sewn, installed by hand
|Compatible Hair Types
|Finer, thinner, straight hair
|Denser, thicker, textured hair
|More flexibility and movement
|Less flexibility and movement
|½ oz per weft
|3-4 oz per weft
Again, though you have full control over what style of extension you get installed, you may find that your hair type favors one style over the other:
Hand-tied extensions are best for those with thinner hair and those who are looking for more flexibility. They’re also favorable for those who want a more natural feel, and who don’t mind spending more money on installation.
Machine-weft extensions, on the other hand, are better for those with thicker hair that sits more densely. They’re notably more affordable, but they do sit a bit heavier on the strands.