We get daily inquiries on the differences between tape-in and hand-tied hair extensions and which one is “better”. We firmly believe that both methods are today’s leading semi permanent methods, and neither method is necessarily better than the other. With this being said, there are different lifestyles, hair types, budgets and preferences which may be better suited for one person over the other. As one of our most frequently asked questions, we thought we’d share the features of each so that you can make the most informative decision with your purchase.
What is a hand-tied extension?
Hand-tied wefts are a weft of 100% real human hair that is hand-tied into your natural hair by a row of beads
What is a tape-in extension?
Tape-in hair extensions are a pre-taped hair weft of 100% real human hair that get “taped-in” in between your own hair in “sandwich” like bonds.
What is installation time like for both methods?
Installation and reinstallation for hand-tied wefts generally takes longer than tape-in hair extensions. Expect your appointment times for hand-tied extensions to be around 2- 2 ½ hours (not including a colour service if you are adding this on).
Installation and reinstallation for tape-in extensions generally take around 1-1 ½ hours (not including a colour service if you are adding this on). Generally speaking hand-tied extensions take double the time to install than tape-in hair extensions.
Please note the installation time will change depending on how many tape-in packages you are having installed or the amount of rows/wefts you are having installed. The more hair you are having installed the longer your appointment time will be.
How often will I need touch ups?
For tape-in extensions, clients with fine or thin hair will need maintenance every six to eight weeks. Clients with thick or dense hair will need maintenance every eight to ten weeks.
For hand-tied extensions, clients with fine or thin hair will need maintenance every eight to ten weeks. Clients with thick or dense hair will need maintenance every ten to twelve weeks.
Typically, clients can go longer between reapplication appointments with hand-tied wefts. The reason being is because they wont start to “twist” like tape in extensions can when they become grown out. Also, they are easier to conceal so they wont be as visible even when they become grown out.
Which option is best suited for fine hair?
Both tape-in and hand-tied extensions are great options for ladies with fine hair and when applied by a Philocaly Verified Stylist are damage free. However, hand-tied wefts tend to be easier to conceal as they lie flat to your head which is why lots of our customers with fine hair really love them.
With fine hair, once tape-in extensions grow out they tend to become more noticeable. Hand-tied wefts, even when grown out have the ability to conceal much easier.
Which option is best suited for thick hair?
Both tape-in and hand-tied extensions will work for ladies with thick hair. Ladies with thick hair have the ability to conceal extensions far easier than ladies with finer hair. The decision factor for ladies with thick hair will come down to cost, appointment time, and preference. Philocaly machine wefts are also a fabulous option for ladies with thick hair and this product will be launching Fall 2019.
What is the upkeep like?
Both tape-in hair extensions and hand-tied hair extensions require some upkeep to ensure they are in tip top condition.
With tape-in hair extensions it is very important to always use sulfate & paraben free products. These ingredients will cause the tabs to slip out of your hair. Tape-in hair extensions should also be brushed very gently when wet as your hair is the most fragile when wet. If you are brushing aggressively while your hair is wet, you can risk pulling out an extension from your hair (Ouch!).
Hand-tied wefts should never be left to air dry. This can cause the weft to sag (if this is a concern for you, discuss nylon vs cotton thread with your stylist as nylon does not break down as easily from moisture). Hand-tied wefts should be brushed daily at the root where there is some “return hair”. Return hair are the short pieces near the top of the weft. This area can become course if not brushed. If you are brushing regularly you will not experience any issues.
Both tape-in extensions and hand-tied extensions can seem tight the first few days after application. This is because both methods are placed closely to the scalp and can cause sensitivity to begin with. Hand-tied wefts can also feel slightly itchy the first few days to a week and this also subsides.
If you have never worn hair extensions before both methods may feel “heavy” to begin with. Why? Because you just added a TON of hair to your head and became a mermaid. Most clients adjust to hair extensions very quickly and typically it only takes a few days to a week to get used to your new luxurious locks.
Which method is safer?
Both tape-in hair extensions and hand-tied hair extensions are considered damage free when applied by a Verified Philocaly Stylist. However, there are considerations to make when choosing which method is right for you and your hair type.
1) Breakage. If you are experiencing breakage in your hair it is absolutely essential to visit a salon to determine if hair extensions are a good fit for you. Very likely your stylist will recommend hand-tied extensions if you have minor breakage. Hand tied wefts are very thin wefts sewn by hand and allow for a light weight option for your hair.
2) Sensitive scalp. There is no heat, no glue, no melting, and no tape involved. Although our tape-in hair extensions are hypo allergenic, those with very sensitive scalps can still experience sensitivity from the adhesive. Hand-tied extensions have no glue and therefore may be a better option for you if you have a very sensitive scalp.
Truly, the best way to determine which method is right for you is visiting a Verified Salon so that can assess your hair, budget and lifestyle. Many stylists offer free hair extension consultations. Please see our list of Verified Salons
Which method allows for more hairstyles?
Hand tied wefts undoubtably allow for easier concealment when you are wearing your hair in high ponytails and top knots. Most clients will be unable to do these hair styles with tape in extensions unless their hair is already at a relatively long length (below the shoulders).
Tape-in extensions can be placed to allow for certain styles if your natural hair is at a good length to begin with and this should be discussed with your stylist at your consultation. However, hand-tied extensions are the clear winner in this category.
Which method will give me a fuller look?
Hand-tied extensions can allow for a fuller, Pinterest worthy look. The reason? Because you can stack quite a lot of wefts on top of one another due to their thinness. You are not limited to the amount of hair you can put in your head like you are with tape-in hair extensions. Tape-ins do not allow you to stack on top of one another like wefts do, therefore you can be limited to how many tape-in's you can fit in your head.
Tape-in extensions still give a full look. However, if you are looking for more than 120 grams of hair (two packages of tapes is 120 grams of hair), you may want to consider hand tied wefts as a more comfortable option for this amount of hair.
What lengths does Philocaly offer?
Philocaly tape-in extensions come in 16-18” & 18-20”. Custom orders can be made for longer lengths up to 28”.
Philocaly hand-tied extensions come in 18-20”. We do not take custom orders with hand tied extensions at this time.
How long can I expect them to last?
Like all extensions, it comes down to how well you take care of your hair, but they can last anywhere from eight months to one year or longer depending on care. To extend the life of your extensions, frequent trimming and deep conditioning (from mid shaft to ends) is recommended for both tape-in and hand-tied hair extensions.
Hand-tied extensions do have the ability to last longer than tape in hair extensions as hand-tied wefts do not have a bond that can break down over time like tape-in extensions do. Typically around the 8-12 month mark, the tape bond will break down even if the hair is still in good condition. A weft will typically last for the same duration as the hair itself.
How much can I expect to pay?
This may be the biggest deciding factor out of all of the above. Price . As mentioned, hand tied wefts take longer to install (about double the time) and also includes more overhead cost for the stylist (pricier education, beads, thread, etc). For this reason, hand-tied wefts are a more expensive & premium service than tape-in hair extensions.
Tape-in install typically costs around $100-$250+ (prices vary by salon and does not include the cost of the hair)
You will need:
- 1 pack for volume
- 2 packs for volume & length for fine to medium density hair
- 3-4 packs for volume & length for medium-thick hair
Hand-tied installation and reinstallation typically costs around $250-$500+ (prices vary by salon and does not include the cost of the hair).
You will need:
- 4-8 wefts for volume
- 8-10 wefts for volume & length for fine hair
- 10-12 wefts for volume & length for medium- thick hair
- 12-14+ wefts for volume & length for thick hair
Please note that the amount of wefts listed above is a general estimate. In order to determine exactly how many wefts you require and the shade(s) that is best for you it is highly recommended to visit a Philocaly verified salon. Find a Philocaly verified stylist in your area now
So, which method is right for me?
In conclusion, it is very important to ask yourselves the following questions when deciding between hand-tied and tape-in hair extensions?
What is my budget? Tape-in extensions are more affordable than hand-tied extensions. Expect your costs for application and reapplications to be about 50% more for hand-tied.
How long am I willing to spend at the salon? Generally speaking, tape-in extensions take less time to install than hand-tied extensions do.
How important are high ponytails and and top knots to me? Hand-tied extensions undoubtable allow for easier concealment and allow for more styles without anything showing.
How full of a look do I want? Hand-tied extensions can allow for a fuller look. If you desire more than 120 grams of hair, it is a good idea to look into hand-tied extensions.
Which extension is best for my hair type? We recommend booking in for a consult to be 100% sure which method is the best fit for your hair type. Generally speaking, hand-tied extensions are a great option for ladies with very fine to fine hair as they conceal easier than tape-in extensions. If your hair is medium density to thick, both options would be great for you and it comes down to budget and preference.
How do I find a Philocaly stylist near me?
We have stylists throughout North America who are trained in both Philocaly tape-in and hand-tied application. Please visit our list of Verified Salons today.