Sew-in hair extensions have been around for years; however, due to their recent plunge into the realm of social media, weft extensions have begun to increase in the industry. Because sew-in wefts are often supported and recommended by celebrities and other large influencers, more and more clients have likely been coming to you and asking for them.
The issue that comes alongside sew-in extensions is that many clients (and even some stylists) don’t realize that there are plenty of differences between hand-tied and machine wefts. Clients often walk into a salon asking for hand-tied weft extensions but come out with machine wefts, which is typically due to a significant misunderstanding between client and stylist, or even stylist and educator.
Regardless, especially as a stylist in 2021, it’s essential to understand what a sew-in extension is and the differences between the two primary kinds: both hand-tied and machine. Once fully understood, it’s much easier to give your clients the exact type of weft extensions they’re looking for when they sit down in your chair.
We’re going to cover all-things sew-in so you can be confident in the world of weft extensions.
Differences Between Hand-Tied and Machine Wefts
There are plenty of key attributes that separate hand-tied and machine weft extensions, the primary reason being their manufacturing. Nonetheless, we’ll illuminate the most notable elements of each and explain specifically how and why they differ.
Instead of referring to the method of installation, hand-tied refers to the formation of the extension itself. Hand-tied extensions are just what they describe: strands of hair tied together by hand, forming a weft. Because hand-tied wefts are sewn together so meticulously, they end up being thinner and less noticeable compared to machine wefts. The method does not require a lot of hair, making for an invisible, seamless integration that many clients prefer.
Machine wefts are quite different from hand-tied. Their primary difference is that, as their name implies, machine wefts are tied using a sewing machine. The sewing together of machine wefts requires enough hair to be caught and sewn by the machine. Because of the amount of hair needed, machine wefts are significantly thicker and can be two to three times denser than hand-tied wefts.
Are Hand-Tied or Machine Wefts Better?
Like any type of extension, hand-tied and machine wefts certainly have their advantages.
Pros of Hand-Tied Wefts
Due to the little amount of hair required for hand-tied wefts, they are well hidden after installation. Hand-tied wefts lay flat to the head and are not detectable—even when hair is worn up. They also provide a natural look, leaving clients with much more volume, especially those with fine hair.
Hand-tied wefts are also much more flexible than most other hair extensions on the market. They provide versatility and plenty of comfort. Most clients find that they can hardly feel hand-tied wefts as they fit their head’s curve without any trouble. Not to mention, clients can treat hand-tied extensions as they would their natural hair; they can be washed and styled as usual without having to work around their presence.
Pros of Machine Wefts
Machine wefts are typically more durable than hand-tied wefts. Because of their manufacturing, machine wefts can be sized and cut according to your client’s head, where hand-tied extensions cannot. Machine wefts also provide more thickness with fewer wefts due to their density.
The cost of machine wefts versus hand-tied wefts is less, as they require less-intensive labor during manufacturing.
So, Which is Best?
Despite each of their appealing qualities, hand-tied extensions are typically the best option when it comes to sew-in wefts. Because of their tedious situating, hand-tied wefts provide stylists and clients the flexibility that comes alongside natural hair.
While either option is a useful solution, hand-tied wefts are much less bulky than machine wefts and can easily be layered, which leaves clients with less density and weight pulling on their hair. Hand-tied wefts are beneficial for any client and on any part of the head; they blend seamlessly and are barely visible. If well maintained, hand-tied extensions can also last up to 12 months.
How do I Determine Which Weft to Use?
Being a stylist helps you truly understand that every client is different, especially in terms of their hair. Not only is every client different but hair extensions are also distinguished from their counterparts. The varying types of hair extensions are designed to accommodate a diversity of hair. The same is true for hand-tied and machine weft extensions; each serves a particular hair type better than the other. Hair extension consultations give you the ability to analyze your clients’ hair and determine which weft will be most fitting. While both hand-tied and machine wefts can be chemically treated, hair texture doesn’t necessarily play a large part in deciding between the two. However, thickness and integrity are the most important qualities to consider when evaluating your clients’ hair for sew-in extensions.
Hand-tied extensions are best suited for clients with fine and/or brittle hair. Like mentioned before, hand-tied wefts are almost invisible. Finer hair types allow for hand-tied extensions because of their ability to lay flat, providing plenty of seamless, natural-looking volume. Hand-tied weft’s slim lining makes for the perfect extension without any bulk that may peek through thin hair.
Machine wefts are typically best for clients with already thick or coarse hair that will easily hide the thicker lining. Additionally, machine wefts should avoid being worn on fragile hair because of their weight, making them a more dependable option for clients whose hair has the durability to handle their weight.
However, as a stylist, you are not tied down to just one type of sew-in per client. Many times, it’s necessary to use a hybrid of both hand-tied and machine wefts. A combination of hand-tied and machine wefts can be used on the back of the head, while hand-tied should be sewn in around the crown, where the hair is more delicate. Many stylists also determine which weft to use depending on the diameter of the head. If a hand-tied weft is too long, it’s advantageous to go with the machine weft, which you can cut accordingly. Regardless, as a stylist, it’s most important to match density with density and ensure that you are careful with the hair’s fragility.
Hand-Tied Vs. Machine Wefts
The difference between sew-in wefts truly comes down to their manufacturing. Hand-tied wefts are tied together by hand, while a sewing machine combines the hairs into machine wefts. Each certainly has its place in the spotlight, and as a stylist, it’s fundamental to recognize their key features to offer the most suitable weft to your clients.