I am a researcher. When it comes to decisions, I like to know I’ve seen all the options and made the best choice for myself. This applies especially if I’m going to be making a big financial investment. I want to know that in two weeks or two months, I’m not going to see something I like better or want more. So, when I started thinking about putting extensions back in my hair, I wanted to make sure I did all the right research.
When it comes to extensions, there is a lot of research to do. There are so many factors that go into getting exactly what you want out of hair extensions. I had to look into types of extensions, quality of hair, installation methods, lifespan, ease of styling, versatility, maintenance, color matching, price, and probably, most importantly, the stylist.
I think one of the most under appreciated parts of looking for hair extensions, is finding a stylist who is certified and experienced in their particular method of extensions. Far too often, clients are in a rush to get the extensions in, want to pay as little as possible, and opt for a stylist who may not be the best option. The thing is with extensions, regardless of the type, method, or stylist, is they are expensive. So, if I was going to be investing in my hair, I wanted to make sure I was getting the best my money had to buy.
When I started investigating, I quickly realized there are countless options in Fort Collins and the surrounding areas when it comes to hair extensions. There is a huge range in experience and services offered. There are independent stylists working out of their homes offering color and extensions. There are salons that have individual stylists who can install extensions, but the salon itself focuses more on natural hair. There are also salons where the expertise is specifically in extensions, while also offering color and styling appointments as well. I looked at almost all of the options. The stand out, by far, was C&Co. Extension Studio, working exclusively with Natural Beaded Rows™ Hair Extensions (NBR®).
The studio is owned and operated by Cori Schmeeckle. I spoke candidly with Cori regarding my concerns about the potential damage to my real hair, quality of extension hair and installation methods, and the importance of the blend between natural and extension hair. She answered all my questions. She also reassured me that she previously had negative experiences with other types of extensions, but not the kind she was currently working with. She said, “I have been wearing extensions for years because my hair would never grow as long or as thick as I wanted it to. Before discovering NBR®, I had worn clip-in, tape-in, keratin bonded, and I-Tip extensions. Even though all of those methods gave me more hair, I was never completely happy with the blend. I was also always aware that there was some degree of damage being done to my natural hair, but at that point I thought that was just the price you had to pay if you wanted to wear hair extensions. After discovering NBR®, I realized that hair extensions did not have to be damaging and that they could look completely natural.”
What is NBR®?
Natural Beaded Rows™ is the most exclusive hair extension installation method on the market. It was created by stylist Danielle K. White, who conducted years of research to find the least damaging way to install hair extensions. Hand-tied extensions, applied using NBR® have revolutionized the extension market and have become the leading method in the industry.
There are so many advantages to wearing NBR® Hair Extensions. Cori explains, “I love the versatility that the method offers, the degree of customization that’s possible, and most importantly I love that your hair can actually heal and grow while wearing NBR®. I’ve been wearing NBR® for the past 2 years (with zero breaks) and my hair is in the best condition it has ever been in! It’s the most comfortable, light weight, discreet method that I’ve ever experienced, and I’m super passionate about being able to give that experience to my clients!”
How does NBR® work?
With NBR®, “rows” of extension hair are installed in your hair to enhance volume and add length. According to Cori, “A row is a solid track of extension hair that is applied in a horseshoe shape around your head, opposed to individually bonded strands of hair or pieces of tape. Each row is made up of approximately four to six hand-tied wefts (a weft is one piece of hand tied hair), that are custom colored and placed to create a seamless blend.” This method reduces the points of contact between the extensions and your natural hair, creating less damage and minimal hair loss.
How to get started?
Before I could schedule an appointment, I had to fill out an application to make sure NBR® was the right option for me. The studio does not take clients without making sure the method makes sense for you. I had an initial consultation over the phone with Cori in which we discussed the vision for my hair. We talked about what NBR® https://form.jotform.com/83357466743164had to offer, the benefits of NBR®, and whether or not she could achieve the look I wanted. From the beginning, I was impressed by this. I appreciated that she took the time to make sure that NBR® was the right fit. She wanted to be certain she could deliver something that I would be happy with.
We also discussed pricing at this point. She was very upfront about the costs and what to expect there. She told me that pricing would be determined mostly based on how many “rows” of hair I would get and the length of the hair in those rows.
- 1 row of extension hair is typically for added fullness and does not provide any extra length.
- 2 rows adds both fullness and length. 2 rows works best for clients who already have some length to their hair.
- 3 rows is for maximum fullness and length. This can be used for people with shorter hair who need to blend the distinctly different lengths together.
The extension hair comes in two standard lengths, 18-inch and 22-inch, but can be cut to accommodate any length desired.
Because my hair was very short, and I wanted to add both length and fullness, I decided on three rows of 18-inch hair. Three rows would be ideal to blend my natural hair with the extension hair in the most seamless way possible. It would give Cori plenty of hair to work with and to cut in order to ensure that no one would not notice the two drastically different lengths. The 18-inch hair would also be perfect to give my short hair time to grow before we put in the 22-inch hair later. I was worried that the 22-inch hair would be too much to handle at first. I wanted to make sure that I liked the extensions and felt like they were manageable before I committed to the 22s.
The final thing we discussed during the consultation was color. At the time of my first install, my hair was the most blonde its ever been. I was going in to get blonde retouches done about every three to four weeks to maintain the color, keep my hair bright, and minimize my roots. I wanted to stay super blonde, but I was hoping to reduce the number of appointments. Cori convinced me to try a more “lived in look,” to help blend the extension hair and also help lower my time spent in the salon for maintenance.
What happens at the install?
First of all, the studio space itself is stunning. It is the type of high-end, luxury salon you would find in a big city. The design was thoughtfully constructed to create a clean, modern look. The studio is incredibly comfortable and relaxing, while still remaining visually and aesthetically appealing. It is truly the kind of place you wish you could hang out and have a cup of in coffee everyday.
When I arrived at the salon to get my extensions put in, we started immediately with color correction on my natural hair. While Cori applied the new color, her assistant color matched the extension hair exactly to what was being adjusted in my natural hair. She also used the newly colored wefts (pieces of extension hair), to create each of the three rows that would be installed in my hair. The amount of hair put into each row was customized uniquely to my needs. More hair was placed where needed to add the correct amount of fullness to every part of my head.
After the color was complete and each row was created, the install process began. Cori very carefully and methodically attached each row to my hair, one at a time. Once the hair was in, she washed, dried, and styled my hair. She took the time to explain every product she used and why it was beneficial. She also spent a ton of time teaching me how to manage my extension hair properly. She went over the right way to wash it, as well as how to brush it out and blow dry it. She taught me how to curl my hair and what techniques to use specifically with the extension hair. At the end of the appointment, she sent me home with a complimentary product bag to ensure I had the right things at home with me to take care of my hair. We also scheduled a follow up appointment the next week to go over everything again, just to make sure I had it all down. She answered any and every question I had.
How much work are extensions?
Managing my hair from day to day is not nearly as time consuming as I imagined. I wash my hair about twice a week and usually use dry shampoo to keep it fresh in between washes. After washing, I typically let my hair air dry for about 30 minutes before I blow dry it. Because three rows of extensions add so much hair to my head, letting it air dry makes it easier and less time consuming to blow dry it. When blow drying, I use my Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer to rough dry it until most of the moisture is out. With a little dampness left, I smooth out each row individually with the blow dryer and wet brush to ensure all the hair is blending together well. Now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, curling my whole head of hair only takes about twenty minutes (although it did take longer at first). I use the Bio Ionic Long Barrel Curling Iron, purchased from C&Co, to style. The extension hair holds a curl way better than my natural hair ever did or ever will, and it only requires a touch up every few days. I go into the studio approximately every six weeks (you can go as long as eight) to get the extension hair moved up and tightened. At these appointments, new color is applied to maintain the blend between extension and natural hair.
My experience was beyond anything I expected, and the service was impeccable (Cori even offers lunch with every install and tightening appointment). I have never been happier with my hair and honestly cannot believe my hair actually is my hair. I have been in for multiple move ups and have not once noticed any breakage when the extensions are out. In fact, the condition of my hair is excellent and it has grown significantly since December. The extensions are very comfortable to wear and never feel heavy or like they are pulling uncomfortably on my head. I can put my hair up in a pony tail, wear it in braids, and workout comfortably. I took a week long break during COVID, and I literally could not wait to get them put back in.
I highly recommend Cori and her team for any of your hair needs. Not only does she offer wash and styles along with her extension services, she also offers custom color to any clients, even those without extensions. Her “lived-in” color is the perfect, low maintenance look, and the extensions are exceptional quality.
Interested in learning more about NBR® extensions? Click here to fill out the C & Co. Extension Studio application, so Cori can answer any questions you have! Once complete, she will reach out to you directly.