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How Long Does Hair Need To Be For Extensions?

by Gabbi

Hair extensions are the perfect solution for those who want their hair to be longer without waiting the 6-12 months it would take hair to grow out.

They can also add a tremendous amount of volume and thickness that some of us just weren’t born with.

If you’re thinking of getting hair extensions, you might be wondering if your hair is long enough. You might think your hair is too short right now and would look unnatural if you were to add extensions to it.

You would be surprised at how well modern extensions can be blended into your hair, even if it’s short. 

So how long does hair need to be for extensions? While it depends on the type of extensions you’re getting, the average minimum length your hair needs to be is about 3 inches from your scalp. This is normally somewhere between your ears and your neck. 

As you can see, you don’t need to start with very long hair in order to successfully wear extensions. In this article, we’ll go into a little more detail about different extension types and how long your hair needs to be to support them.

Hair Lengths For Getting Extensions

We’ve established that if your hair is 3 inches or longer, you can safely get hair extensions. But the type of hair extensions matters. Some of them work better on hair that is a little longer than 3 inches, so keep reading to find out how long your hair needs to be for each type of hair extensions:

Tape-In Extensions

Tape-in extensions are some of the most common extensions available. They come pre-taped at the root in small bunches.

Your stylist will tape them to your own strands a few millimeters from your scalp and use a hot tool to activate the glue in the tape. These types of extensions can last for a few months before you have to get them removed.

Removal involves using a special solution that dissolves the glue. If you are interested in getting tape-in extensions, make sure your hair is at least 3 inches long. Three inches is enough length to disguise the tape so that it’s invisible and the extensions look natural. 

Keep in mind that your hair will fall over the extensions, and it will look like shorter layers draped over longer layers. 

Sewn-In Extensions

Sewn-in extensions, also referred to as weaved-in extensions, are also very popular. They’re extremely durable because they’re literally sewn into your hair. If you’re worried about your extensions falling out – you won’t have that worry with sewn-ins.

They are a little more expensive than tape-in extensions, but they also last considerably longer. 

If you’ve decided to bite the bullet and go for sewn-in extensions, make sure your hair is at least 4-5 inches long. You can make it work with 3-inch hair, but the extensions might be visible at that length. 

With 4-5 inches of natural hair, there will be enough room for the extensions to get properly attached at the right place without being visible to outsiders. 

Clip-In Extensions

Clip-in extensions (we love these amazing ones available on Amazon) are super simple and inexpensive since you don’t even need to go to a professional to get them done.

They come in small bunches of hair with a clip attached at the root area. Whenever you want longer hair, you simply clip them in at the base of your natural hair and let your top layers drape over them.

The best thing about clip-in extensions is that you can put them in and take them out whenever you feel like it. You can wear them out to an event and then remove them before you go to bed so that you don’t damage them.

These extensions require no commitment on your part, making them a popular choice for many people. If you’ve decided to get clip-in extensions, how long does your hair need to be to wear them comfortably?

Because the clips are somewhat bulky and require a lot of hair to anchor to, you will need to grow out your hair to 5-7 inches before you can wear clip-in extensions.

If you’ve never worn clip-in extensions and want to give them a try, take a look at this tutorial from Luxy Hair on YouTube.

Beaded Extensions

Beaded extensions are somewhat new to the market, but a lot of people love them. The extensions get attached to each individual strand of your hair using a small silicone bead. 

This method is a lot more gentle than tape-in extensions or sewn-in extensions because there is less pulling and no heat applied to your hair.

It’s a tedious process that can take up to 4 hours to complete, but the results are usually stunning and long-lasting. These types of extensions can last up to 4 months without needing to reposition them. 

If you’re thinking about getting beaded extensions, make sure your hair is at least 3-4 inches long, although the longer the better.

Keratin Bond Extensions

Keratin bond, also known as pre-bonded hair extensions are attached to your hair using keratin, which is a protein that is naturally abundant in your hair.

Your stylist will apply them to your hair strand by strand, which is a lengthy process, but the results are worth it. Keratin bond extensions look very natural, and you often cannot tell where your hair ends and the extension begins.

They are very durable and can last several months until you might need to reposition them. To remove these extensions, your stylist will need to use a special keratin bond dissolving solution. 

Your hair needs to be at least 4 inches long for your stylist to be able to attach the keratin bonded extensions in a natural-looking way. 

What Is The Longest Hair Can Be For Extensions?

We discussed what the minimum length of hair needed for extensions is – it’s around 3-5 inches for most extensions. But is there a maximum length?

Theoretically, you can wear hair extensions even if you already have long hair. In fact, many people do.

Wearing hair extensions can give you a lot of benefits aside from adding length, such as adding thickness, volume, color, and covering up areas of hair loss.

The longest hair extensions that are usually available are 30-32 inches, so if your hair is under 32 inches, you can absolutely get hair extensions.

If your hair is over 32 inches, you can still get hair extensions, but keep in mind that they will be noticeably shorter than the rest of your hair.

You could make it work by getting layers cut into your hair and incorporating the hair extensions among some of your layers, allowing them to add thickness without looking out of place.

What Are The Best Hair Extensions For Short Hair?

If your hair is on the shorter side, you’re probably wondering what type of hair extensions are best for short hair. 

You want the extensions to blend in as well as possible so that it’s not too obvious that you’re wearing them. You also don’t want the seam, or the area where the extensions are attached to your hair, to be visible.

Beaded extensions are probably best for short hair because they attach close enough to the scalp where they are not very noticeable. They also have very small and discreet attachment seams so that most people won’t be able to notice them. 

The other great thing about beaded extensions is that you can get them when your hair is as short as 3 inches.

If you have a little more length to spare, we’d recommend looking into keratin bonded extensions. Those are great for short hair because they are extremely discreet and natural-looking. 

Do Hair Extensions Damage Your Hair?

Hair extensions aren’t always damaging to the hair, but they can increase breakage if your hair is already weak and fragile.

If you’re struggling to keep your hair healthy and growing long, you might want to look into strengthening treatments before you jump straight to extensions.

Extensions can give you an immediate and satisfying solution, but they won’t fix the core problem, and might actually make it worse (see our article: My Hair Is So Thin After Extensions – How To Get Your Volume Back).

If your hair is fragile, it can break under the weight of extensions. This is more likely to happen with keratin bond extensions and sewn-in weaves.

The way both of these types of extensions are attached to the hair increases the pull on each individual hair strand, and if your hair is already weak, it can snap under the pressure.

If you have fragile hair but you’re still determined to wear extensions, we’d recommend going with clip-ins because they are temporary. They won’t cause constant, 24/7 pulling on your hair. You can remove them when you’re not going out and this will allow your hair to grow and remain strong.

If clip-ins aren’t your thing and you want something more permanent, beaded extensions and tape-in extensions are the next best thing. Both of these extensions are gentle enough, especially if done by a professional who can take extra care knowing that your hair is fragile.

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