Hand Tied Extensions 101

Hair extensions are a fantastic option for clients who are looking to thicken and lengthen their hair. Extensions give plenty of versatility alongside several options and installation methods for different hair types.    

   Weft extensions—a collection of hair strands sewn into a piece of cloth, which the stylist then works into natural hair—have been around for quite some time. Wefts are a desirable option for hair extensions, giving stylists the opportunity for diversity in application experience rather than the mere strand-by-strand installation. 

   In the world of wefts, hand-tied extensions have begun to pick up popularity in recent years. In the interest of hairstyling, you may be wondering what the hand-tied weft hype is all about and how they differ from their counterparts. 

What Are Hand-Tied Extensions?

   The options for hair extensions are endless, with various choices ranging from clip-ins to halos to tape-ins to fusions; the modern world has offered hairstylists a plethora of methods for providing our clients with the hair of their dreams. 

   The term “hand-tied” leaves many clients with an idea of how these extensions are installed in their hair. However, in all reality, the term indicates how the extensions are manufactured rather than refers to the required application method. Hand-tied extensions are just that: hair that is sewn into a horizontal strip by hand. There is such a thing as machine-tied extensions; however, hand-tied hair results in thinner wefts that blend into a client’s natural hair easier than machine wefts. Both single and double hand-tied wefts are on the market; single wefts provide a thinner, lightweight option, while double wefts are twice the density. 
   Hand-tied wefts are becoming extremely popular. Many stylists prefer this method over others as hand-tied extensions do not require the use of heat, providing a healthy technique for working into your client’s natural hair. They result in a volumized, seamless look that leaves fine hair with full density and beautiful coverage. Not to mention, they can be easily customized and result in a very natural look without causing too much tension on the scalp. 

Why Are Hand-Tied Wefts a Good Option?

    Hand-tied wefts are one of the best choices for hair extensions. They grant you—the stylist—the perfect opportunity for giving your clients comfortable hair extensions while also leaving them with undamaged hair that they can customize to their liking. 

   There are plenty of reasons as to why hand-tied may be a better option than other hair extensions, including the following:

  • Hand-tied wefts are lightweight and cause very little tension with almost no damage to natural hair. 
  • These wefts can be customized to a desired level of thickness. They can be cut, colored, and styled to offer versatility in all of the most significant aspects of hairstyling. 
  • Hand-tied wefts are reusable and can be removed and then moved up as the hair grows out; with proper care, hand-tied extensions can last six to eight months.  
  • These extensions do not require an application adhesive or heat, so a removal product is not necessary, and there is no residue left behind after removal. 
  • Hand-tied wefts can accompany other types of extensions (e.g., fusions, tape-in, etc.); if a particular area of the head would benefit from a different kind, those can be supplemental to hand-tied wefts.
  • Hand-tied extensions offer clients the perfect type of extension that is suitable to their lifestyle—they can be worn with hair up, they are not visible, and they are easy to maintain. 
  • Providing hand-tied extensions as an option will help you reach a much broader clientele and not have to turn away potential clients. 

What Hair Type is Best-Suited for Hand-Tied Extensions?

   You can apply hand-tied wefts to nearly all hair types. However, as with any kind of extension, they certainly have their strong points. While they provide a fair amount of density, hand-tied extensions are best for thin hair that lacks a blunt edge. Wispier ends are better for blending purposes. Your client’s hair should also be at least shoulder-length. 

How Are Hand-Tied Extensions Installed?

   While there are plenty of appealing aspects of hand-tied extensions, the more extensive issue comes alongside the installation process. Unlike traditional beaded wefts, hand-tied weft installation is more time consuming and calls for a particular, demanding journey to embark upon.  

   While hand-tied extensions are formed into single wefts, their finicky manufacturing causes the inability to cut them—horizontally—into lengths that you can size to your client’s head. If you attempt to cut hand-tied wefts, you can expect a shedding mess, resulting in plenty of sweeping. Ensuring that you plan for specific wefts to use on each row of hair is an important step that can be somewhat tricky.

   Like beaded wefts, hand-tied extension installation still requires the use of beads. The main difference between the two methods is that typically, rather than the bead being attached to the weft itself, the stylist first beads the client’s natural hair into rows and then sews each hand-tied weft on top.  

So, why not skip the extra step and stick to traditional beaded wefts? 

   Hand-tied wefts provide clients with a particular style that is both like and unlike that of beaded wefts. Hand-tied extensions are more lightweight and offer a much less bulky look than durable beaded extensions. Although beaded wefts may be quicker and easier to install, hand-tied wefts leave thin-haired clients with a beautifully natural-looking extension without the weight. 

   The application process for hand-tied extensions certainly takes time and patience. Nonetheless, it is worth the effort in the end. 

Methods and Procedures for Installing Hand-Tied Extensions

   There are a few slightly different variations for applying hand-tied extensions, and we’ll cover a few of them below. 

   A popular method for installing is by using an exclusive bead and string technique. Much like we’ve described above, this approach creates a sort of “track” with your client’s natural hair that allows for placement of the weft on top. Instead of pinching a bead around an entire section of hair, a small strand is folded, creating a sort of loop, where the bead is then placed and pinched—this allows the extension to grow out naturally along with the hair. Each bead is connected to the others in the row, using a string to create a track. Once beaded, the stylist stitches in the weft, tying it to the string used to initially create the row.

   A similar method to the aforementioned requires the use of beads and string; however, the stylist places the beads around slightly thicker sections of hair, and more beads are added, creating small widths between each bead in the row. The string is once again sewn in with the beads to create a track, to which the stylist then sews in the weft. 

   Stylists can also install hand-tied wefts using the client’s natural hair that acts as the “string,” which works to connect each bead and create the track. Beads are added to a strand of hair, and before pinching it closed, the stylist pulls a second small section through the same bead in the opposite direction. The bead is then pinched, with the two opposing strands forming an upside-down “v” shape. After adding each bead, the stylist goes back through and adds a bead to connect the two strands closest to each other, placing the bead in-between the previously added beads. This ultimately creates a natural track using the client’s hair, where the stylist then sews in the weft.

   Other techniques involve creating a row using either a string or natural hair, where one weft is placed on top, and one is placed below, sewing in each. This method creates more of an undetectable look, hiding the beads between wefts.