How to: Get a weave

How to apply your own weave and how a professional does it

Hair extensions are an easy way to update your look and to go for something a little more glamorous. Weaves make longer, thicker hair possible for those of us not blessed by the hair gods. There are various methods of applying extensions and these can be done at a salon or in the comfort of your own home.

Sew up
Sam Chettie, owner and hair stylist from Afro Hair Design in Cape Town, recommends the more popular choice of having a weave sewn into the natural hair. “This is tricky to do at home (by yourself) as it requires a lot of practice for correctly braided cornrows, so it is best left to the experts,” he says. A hair stylist parts the natural hair and braids cornrows very close to the scalp. The extensions are then sewn to the braids using wool and a needle. “We offer two kinds of weaving for our clients: full head cover weaving and open weaving,” says Chettie. “The first means that the entire head is corn rowed and the sewing is done to cover the scalp fully. The open technique involves leaving some hair out and this hair is either relaxed or straightened to blend in with the weave.”

This is possible if you are very confident in your braiding skills and have a friend who can help with the back of your hair. You will need a strong cornrow base for the extensions to stay in place, so master the art of braiding before you try this yourself. You can purchase wool and a needle from many cosmetic retailers and hair extensions stockists.

Glue down
Alternatively, extensions can be attached directly to the natural hairline using glue or a bonding agent. Some hair salons use pre-bonded extensions and apply individual strands with a special adhesive.

Use a hair glue (try Frika Hair Glue from Clicks) or an adhesive bonder (try Robert’s Diamond Bond Shield adhesive bonder from Clicks). First shampoo, condition and blow-dry your hair, then divide it into small sections. Apply a small amount of the glue near the scalp and onto the edge of the extension strand. Join the extension to the scalp and wait a few minutes before moving onto a different section. Ensure that the extensions are glued in properly before styling.

Take care
For longevity, treat your weave the same way as you do your own hair. “Apply a hair oil or silicone spray every second day to revive and nourish the hair,” advises Chettie. Invest in salon-quality shampoo, conditioner and finishing spray as these will not dry out the weave. “Sleep with pin curls at night to avoid damage and visit a salon for a re-tightening every month,” he suggests.

Have you ever had a weave, Beauties? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments block below.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Big hair is back
For the love of weaves
Grow that ‘fro
Summer-proof ethnic hair
Trends in ethnic hair


10 Responses

  1. Must say that when I read the article I expected information on how to take care of your hair better while weaved up and the pros and cons of weaving. But the article wasn’t all too bad.

  2. Weave it up!!! Weaves are very convenient and give an instant glam look. But the downside is that one tends to feel less confident with their own hair as you look simple and this stops being enough. Another downside is that the hair comes off everywhere and the boyfriend will always complain. Ladies, heard how the boys say they don’t want their girlfriend with a weave but their eyes tend to slide to those uber glammed up, fake-lash wearing gorgeous sisters? *sigh* such double standards though.

  3. U-part wigs are quite great too, instead of sewing the weaves onto your cornrows directly, rather sew them onto a weaving cap or a spandex dome cap. This allows you to protect your hair and for those of us who do not enjoy wearing weaves for a very long time, you can just remove the u-part, wash your hair then redo the cornrows and sew it back on : the same great style with half the effort.

  4. I really like weaves. I prefer having them sewn in as it also helps to grow my natural hair and keeps it protected. Basing my scalp with hair food that contains coconut oil or amla oil twice a week while I have a weave is key for me to keep my scalp hydrated and make sure my natural hair remains healthy. I also prefer to wait at least two months after I have removed a weave to let me hair just be…weaves can really put your hair under strain. But I still LOVE them and have given up braids altogether. Weaves are easy to install, last longer and look beautiful. :-)

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