Mark Glenn Fibre vs. Human Hair Extensions
Why are Mark Glenn fibre extensions better than human hair extensions?
In our opinion, our hand-made fibre has a multitude of benefits over using human hair for extensions, including:
Hair looks thicker, glossier and smoother and, more importantly, stays that way. Because human hair has a cuticle - which is often aggravated during processing prior to being sold - it's more likely to matt and tangle and take on a "frazzled" appearance in the weeks after you've left the salon. Our hair doesn't fade in sunlight and isn't, for instance, affected by chlorine in swimming pools.
Rather than obtaining the "closest colour match" from a human hair supplier, we actually custom-blend the colour of the extension hair whilst you're sat in front of us. And if you change your mind, we can adjust the colour in minutes. For convincing extensions, perfect colour matching is crucial and it's something we excel at.
There's no sliding scale of charges depending upon length of hair. All our hair goes in at one length before being cut to the size you'd prefer. So if you suddenly decide to go longer or shorter than planned on the day, no problem and no extra charges.
It's much easier to style our fibre hair because it acts like your own hair should. In other words, it's dream hair. It holds curls, goes perfectly straight if you want it to and, because it reacts to heat, you can achieve some spectacular results with styling appliances. With human hair extensions, because the hair's not from your own head, you don't know how it's going to behave. All human hair has an individual "personality" - e.g. some goes curly when wet, or has a wave in it. So often, what looks lovely in the salon can turn into a styling nightmare when you start to "live" with it and you can end up with "dual-personality hair".
The hair is non-porous so any shampoo or conditioner you buy is for the benefit of your own hair, rather than the fibre. Unlike human hair extensions, you don't need to buy expensive conditioners and aftercare products to keep the hair from losing its lustre.
Our hair is attached and taken out without the use of any glues, bonding solutions or harsh chemicals - that's because we use a specialist braiding technique that needs two people working at once to achieve, rather than one. It's more complicated, but we think it's worth it. Nothing is "stuck" to your hair. No matter how it's described, human hair is typically either attached with glue or some form of clip. And dissolving the glue during removal is typically done using an acetone-like product - i.e. nail varnish remover - and a pair of pliers to tease the stuck-on hair away from your own, a bit like removing chewing-gum, with a clear potential for damage. Applied incorrectly, any hair extension method can damage your hair, but the horror stories you hear about breakage and traction alopecia caused by extensions is typically from the human hair variety.
LEAVES YOUR OWN HAIR IN BETTER CONDITION
Because your hair can be left in such a poor state when human hair extensions are removed, many people find they get "trapped" into continually using them to disguise the damage done. With our system, your hair will look just as good the day you take them out, as the day they were put in. And if you "lose" any single extensions between visits, they just slide off your hair - they don't pull your own hair out with them.
At around half the weight, our fibre is lighter than human hair, so it doesn't feel "heavy". Human hair extensions can feel quite "weighty" on your head and they also have a tendency to pull on your own hair and scalp, particularly when too much hair is glued or clipped to too little.
IT'S NEW, NOT SECOND-HAND
For the same reason you probably wouldn't want to wear someone else's teeth, our clients don't want to wear someone else's hair - particularly when they don't know exactly where it's come from and under what circumstances it was taken from the donor's head in the first place.
Human hair is a valuable and scarce commodity and, as is increasingly becoming known through various campaigns and investigations, has spawned an unregulated industry that typically takes hair from the poor in developing countries. Indian temple hair - one of the most prized varieties - has attracted much media attention recently for the questionable way in which it's sourced. You can learn more about this here ⇒
For some, human hair extensions are the only way to go and we'd never judge them for it. It's all down to personal choice. We'd advise anyone considering extensions to look at all the options before coming to a decision - there are pro's and con's on all sides.
And, in our case at least, we're just glad our clients share the same values and appreciation for the fibre alternative as we do.
If so, why do so many hairdressers offer human hair extensions?
In a word, profit.
Human hair extensions are a quick, "single operator" solution - and therefore less costly for the salon in terms of staff and time - whereas our system requires two very skilled operators working on your hair simultaneously. And because of the relative simplicity in human hair extension application, stylists typically undertake only a single day's course before offering the service to their clients - after all, glue-ing or clipping hair to hair is a straightforward thing to do.
Most salons don't carry the hair in stock, which again saves money. Instead, they often take a swatch of your hair at consultation and send it away to their human hair suppliers. They then send back the closest colour from their stock.
Getting the colour match right is absolutely crucial for convincing hair extensions. That's why we not only carry all our hair in stock, but we actually custom-blend the colour whilst you're sat in front of us. This ensures we not only get a perfect colour match but we also take into account all the different and subtle shifts in shade all over your head, rather than just a small section.
It's the difference that makes the difference.
Are you saying that I should avoid human hair extensions?
But as leading hair extension specialists with many years experience in the industry, we feel it's important to allow you to make an informed decision. And, through our allied work with hair loss, we're regularly called upon to fix the damage caused by poorly applied human hair extensions, so we do have a particular viewpoint.
Despite all the advantages outlined in these FAQ's, some people just prefer the human hair solution. This is often because they presume that fibre extensions will look "fake".
If that's the case, we'd encourage you to check us out and compare with others. Consultations are free so come in and see what we do and how good it looks. Feel the hair. Talk to clients. Check out some of our hair extension case studies.
With a team that's collectively got decades of experience, we've been exposed to many different methods and materials - and we've found that our system is the best in terms of quality, safety, comfort, ethics and look. It demands more skill, is costlier and takes longer, but we - and our clients - think it's worth it. We think you will too.
And if you do decide we're not for you, we'd recommend you try and find a salon that specialises in extensions, rather than hairdressers that "do a couple of heads a week".
What about weave-on's or hair weaves?
Particularly popular for Afro-Caribbean hair, this method uses hair already attached to a long strip of material - almost like a "grass skirt". This is then cut into further strips and is sewn - in some cases, glued - onto your hair using thread and a curved needle.
Whilst it's a cheap and relatively quick solution, the weight of the material and hair can cause traction alopecia, both in Afro-Caribbean and Western hair. It can also cause matting, leading to unintentional dreadlocks. We regularly work with and treat clients who've encountered these problems and, because of this, we wouldn't recommend it.
Does Mark Glenn's fibre hair look and feel like human hair?
Absolutely - we'd defy you to tell the difference. Our gorgeous hand-made hair looks and feels just like human hair, when both dry and wet. It's dream hair, with the added advantage that it's lighter than the real thing. So it's also safer, particularly if your hair isn't very thick.
And we can achieve a perfect colour match - even taking into account the multitude of different shades that may be in your hair - ensuring that the extensions will be undetectable from the real thing.
Ultimately, if it didn't look and feel like the genuine article, we simply wouldn't have a business built almost entirely on personal recommendation and one that has so many clients who come back time and time again.
What is Mark Glenn hair extension fibre made of?
Our fibre hair is made from a premium modacrylic formulation.
From a scientific point of view, the composition in our hair is one of the finest - and most expensive - types, with a high temperature resistance that doesn't fade and is impervious to sunlight.
There are numerous advantages. It's not affected by chlorine - unlike human hair - so you can swim without wearing a cap if you wish. It's also quick-drying and resistant to acids and alkalies.
Unlike human hair extensions, you can also, for instance, colour your own roots without it affecting the colour of our fibre hair.
It's flame retardant and doesn't combust - it's difficult to ignite and will self-extinguish if lit. It has great dimensional stability and high elastic recovery, so it holds its shape.
Will Mark Glenn hair extensions damage my own hair?
No. Damage can only occur if they're applied incorrectly, applied on hair unsuitable for extensions or left in too long before either being taken out or replaced.
It's our job to make sure you get the care and expertise you're paying for. And it's your job to make sure you don't leave them in for more than about 3 months before having them either removed or replaced, just like any other extension method.
What about going out in the sun or on sunbeds?
No problem. You can't damage your extensions by going out in the sun or on sunbeds. And what's more, the hair won't fade like the hair used in human hair extensions typically would.
What about swimming, going out in the rain etc.?
You can swim, go out in the rain, face a windy day etc. without worry. And again, unlike human hair extensions, our fibre hair isn't affected or damaged by swimming pool chemicals like chlorine. What's more, when wet, the extensions look and behave just like your real hair with one additional advantage - they don't take as long to dry.
What's your level of expertise?
It's all we do, day in, day out. We live and breathe hair extensions. We don't do it as a "sideline" to hairdressing.
As well as from all over the UK, clients visit us from all four corners of the globe including the USA, Japan and The Middle East. And, with allied expertise in dealing with medically-related hair loss, you can rest assured we pay just as much attention to the safe application of your extensions, as we do to the finished look.
How long does my existing hair need to be for Mark Glenn hair extensions?
For the best results, your existing hair should be at least 4 inches (about 10 cm) long all over.
If you're unsure, a good test is to hold up a few strands of hair from the centre of the crown of your head and pull them down across the side of your head - if they reach the top of your ear, you're in the right ballpark.
Will you be able to match the colour of my own hair?
Yes, perfectly - colour matching is where we truly shine.
Unlike some hair extension providers, we won't just pull a colour "off the shelf". Choosing from a multitude of colours, we expertly "blend" several together while you wait - just like mixing paints - to get an exact colour match that'll incorporate all the different subtle shifts in shade that may exist in your own hair.
Technical expertise counts for nothing if the colour isn't right - one of the first things you notice about "poor" extensions is the colour. That's why we invest a lot of time in ensuring we get this aspect of your extensions absolutely spot-on.
What sort of length can be achieved with Mark Glenn hair extensions?
In theory, right down to your ankles. However, the condition and quality of your existing hair is an important barometer in deciding the maximum length we'd recommend.
Remember that, just like having super-long real hair, it looks lovely but the longer it is the harder it is to maintain!
Can I just add volume instead of length?
Yes. Our extensions are perfect for instantly boosting volume, body and bounce and we can dramatically - or gently - enhance fine, limp, flyaway or "lifeless" hair. Check out some of our hair extension case studies to see examples of both subtle and super-dooper boosts in volume.
Can I just add highlights with Mark Glenn hair extensions?
Yes. This is a very popular application, because no harmful chemicals are used and you can choose colours that your hairdresser might not otherwise recommend - from subtle shifts in shade to striking neon colours. You can also use this risk-free method to judge whether you'd like to take the plunge and go for a permanent colour.
Can you work with Afro-Caribbean hair?
Yes, although you'd generally need to relax your hair prior to the application of our extensions. Alternatively, you can straighten your hair.
Our fibre hair likes to be straight / slightly wavy so if you didn't want to straighten your own hair, you'd need to curl the extension hair (e.g. with heated rollers) otherwise the difference in textures between your own and the extension hair would be apparent.
Can you put hair extensions in men's hair?
Yes, but your hair's existing length must be longer than the typical short style favoured by most men. If your hair is at least of a similar length to that shown in the pictures below you'd be an ideal candidate.
I've read you work with a lot of celebrities. I'm not a celebrity - will you treat me differently?
Yes. But not in the way you might think. That's because we firmly believe we should treat all celebrities like ordinary people and all ordinary people like celebrities ;-)
I'm transgender / transsexual - will you work on my hair?
Of course! We have many clients from the transgender/transsexual community. You just need to make sure your existing hair is of the appropriate length, i.e. at least 4 inches (or about 10cm) all over.
What happens at a consultation?
After confirming your suitability for our extensions, we'll listen to exactly what you're trying to achieve, provide advice and answer any questions you may have as well as giving you an accurate quote for the work.
We also normally put a couple of extensions in your hair which are colour-matched and cut to your hair's existing length, so no-one will know they're there. This means that you can go home with them, see how they look and feel, fiddle with them in your hair etc. before making a decision. They're easy to take out and it gives you a chance to "try before you buy".
Consultations are free of charge and normally take around 30 minutes.
Application and Removal
How are Mark Glenn hair extensions attached?
The extensions are attached using a very fine braid (for those who are interested, we use a four-stem braid). To get this right, we need two technicians working simultaneously and sharing the creation of the braid between them. You can see this in action in some of our hair extension videos →
We take a small section of your existing hair and split this into two. The fibre is also split into two to make the braid and is finally wrapped around the base of your hair, protecting it.
The fibre is then "sealed on itself" using a heat tool (which is no hotter than a typical pair of curling tongs or crimpers). This creates a tiny plastic seal.
It's important to point out that during this process, your own hair is safely "cocooned" inside the fibre so it doesn't come into direct contact with any heat or, indeed, the plastic seal itself - therefore, your own hair stays in perfect condition.
In effect, apart from the fibre itself, the only thing your hair comes into contact with is our fingers!
How are Mark Glenn hair extensions removed?
To remove the extensions, it's a simple matter to gently twist and break the plastic seal. The fibre extension will then just slide easily off your hair, leaving no mess, residue or damage. We can show you how to do this yourself, or we'd be happy to do it for you.
There's no pliers, no solvents, no chemicals, no un-sticking of glue and no breakage of your existing hair.
Do you cut and style the hair?
Yes. The hair all goes in at one length so we have a blank canvas from which one of our expert stylists can create the look of your dreams. And, if you don't want us to, we can do this without cutting any of your own hair.
Can you add extensions to my hair if it's curly?
Yes, although you have to be willing to undertake a fair bit of aftercare to keep things looking good.
This is because our fibre ultimately likes to be straight/slightly wavy so you'd have to ensure you used, for example, heated rollers on the hair to match your own curls on a regular basis. This is too much like hard work for most but some of our clients are prepared to put the effort in to get the look they want.
Alternatively, if you want to forsake the curls, you can straighten your hair.
How long do Mark Glenn hair extensions last?
Our extensions are designed to last around 3 months, just like most other types of hair extensions. This is because they will grow with your own hair, moving further away from the scalp over time.
It's important that at this stage the extensions are either removed or replaced, otherwise you run the risk of damaging your own hair.
How long does it take to have Mark Glenn hair extensions fitted?
This depends very much on the individual job but we can give you an accurate indication at your initial consultation. As a guide, a few extensions to add highlights could take around 30 minutes; whilst a very large head of hair could take up to 4 or even 5 hours.
This is because, for a better look and finish, we tend to put hundreds of tiny extensions in your hair rather than a few big ones. It takes longer, but it's worth it.
Do I have to give my hair a "rest" between hair extensions?
No. You can have them both removed and replaced on the same day, ensuring an uninterrupted continuation of your look and style.
What if I don't like them?
It's very rare, but it happens. It's no problem since they're easily removed - by you or us - leaving your hair just as it was when you came into the studio, with no mess, residue or damage.
Can I continue to colour my own hair with Mark Glenn hair extensions?
Yes. You can either organise this yourself or we can do it here at the studio. Since the fibre hair we use is non-porous, if you accidentally get the colour solution on the fibre itself, it'll have absolutely no effect - in fact, it just wipes off.
Therefore, if, for example, you already colour your hair blonde and go for blonde extensions to match, you can continue to dye your roots etc. whilst wearing the extensions. With human hair extensions, this procedure often results in a "striped" effect as the already processed alien hair is further affected by the colour. It's another huge advantage to our fibre hair.
What happens when it comes to take them out?
You can either remove them or have them removed and replaced on the same day. If you simply remove them, rest assured that your hair will be in perfect condition with no mess, residue or damage. However, you may feel that your hair is thinner because you'll have got used to having so much hair!
A few strands of my own hair came out when I removed them. Have I damaged it?
No. Without noticing, every day we lose between 50 to 100 strands of our own hair as part of the process of renewal and growth. However, where the extension is attached, hair that would otherwise fall out is trapped and held in place by the extension. So, when you remove the extension at the end of your 3 month period of wear, you may notice one or two of these hairs coming out. This is simply hair that would have fallen out during the renewal process over the previous few months.
Look and Feel
Will you notice the difference between my own hair and the extensions?
No. The extension fibre is expertly colour matched, applied and styled so that you won't see any ridges, kinks or differences between your own hair and the fibre. And because your own hair intermingles with the extensions, the illusion is perfect.
Do Mark Glenn hair extensions feel heavy?
No. This is because our fibre hair is around half the weight of real hair. For the first few hours after application, it may certainly feel strange having so much more hair! But within a couple of days your head of hair will feel just like your own.
Will my partner be able to feel them?
The extensions are attached where your hair meets your scalp and at this point you may feel a tiny bump where the connection is made. However, apart from that both you and your partner will be able to run fingers through your hair etc. without hindrance and both the extensions and your existing hair will look and feel identical.
Will I feel "hotter" in the summer sun?
No hotter than you'd feel if you had the same amount of real hair. And remember, you'd treat the extensions just as you would your own hair, so you can tie your hair back etc. if you wish.
Can I wear my hair "up"?
In most cases, yes. We take this into account when we create your extensions - both in the way we apply them and the shade-shifts in colour - so not only will it look natural, but no-one will see the "connections" when you wear your hair up.
How much do Mark Glenn hair extensions cost?
We have clear and fixed pricing levels as well as a unique money-back guarantee. Learn more on our hair extension prices page →
Does it cost the same when I need to have them replaced?
Yes. And every time we use brand new hair.
Do I need to use any special shampoos or conditioners?
No. Your favourite shampoo and conditioner is fine. Our fibre hair is non-porous so any cleansing or conditioning product you use is for the benefit of your own hair.
Can I wash my hair every day?
Yes, although there is generally no need to do this. That's because the fibre used in the extensions is non-porous and therefore doesn't absorb the everyday dirt, grime and smells that human hair does.
A lot of our clients find a dry shampoo between washes is perfect for keeping their hair looking and feeling fresh.
Can I still go the gym / swim every day?
Yes, no problem. Sweating and swimming won't damage or affect your hair - another huge advantage with our extensions.
Can I use a hairdryer, rollers, straighteners etc. with Mark Glenn hair extensions?
Yes, and we'll give you full instructions for this during your appointment.
For styling, our fibre hair is a wonderful medium to work with - unlike real hair, it does what you tell it to! That's because it reacts well to heat and will stay in position once set. This means you can easily achieve some truly creative styles and, if you wish, change your style at whim.
For instance, wrap the fibre round your hand, give it a blast with the hair-dryer and you'll achieve a beautifully natural wave. Then, if you want it silky straight, run your brush and hair-dryer along the length of the hair and you'll achieve a smooth and sleek look.
Heated rollers quickly achieve gorgeous curls that hold, whether you want them big and bouncy or tight and tempting.
Straighteners make the fibre hair go perfectly straight - just make sure you use the better quality ones with a variable temperature (they need to be set at about 120 degrees centigrade) so they don't get too hot. We've tested lots of straighteners and found with some brands there's often a discrepancy in what's on the dial and what the actual temperature is, sometimes swinging between 40 and 50 degrees either way. So if you're at all unsure about your particular brand, just give us a call or drop in.
And, of course, you can also purchase the styling equipment we use everyday at the salon.
Can I leave my hair to dry naturally?
Yes. Once again, you can treat your extensions just like your own hair.
And remember that, exactly like real hair, you'd need to brush it once it was dry to stop it tangling.