You may have seen them being installed on your favourite influencer or noticed the rising number of ads for them on your feed and been as curious as we have. Perhaps your go-to salon have started offering them and you're seriously wondering whether they will work for you - but what exactly are tape-ins and why are they proving to be so popular?
Here at Ruka Hair, we've spoken with some of your most cherished stylists, taken note of your questions, comments and emails, and have put together this go-to guide for everything you need to know about tape-ins and why you should be considering them for your next install.
So what exactly are tape-ins?
Dubbed by salons worldwide as the most requested professional hair extension method at the moment, tape-ins are extensions that come with thin pre-taped wefts made of a medical-grade adhesive that, as their name suggests, get “taped-in” and sandwiched between your own hair to easily add volume and length.
Truly versatile, tape-ins allow you to add length and volume to your natural hair without appear as though you have - think swept ponytails and elaborate up-dos without ever worrying about your tracks showing. Unreal!
Tape-ins must be applied to clean hair for the adhesive to work and since the wefts on tape-ins are typically only an inch wide, careful sectioning of your own hair and even distribution of the tape-ins (particularly when applying tape-ins at the back of the head) is crucial to ensuring the most natural and seamless blend. For this reason, tape-ins are not suited for DIY installs, but instead benefit from a professional hand and eye.
Why opt for tape-ins over other types of extensions?
Tape-ins are a lightweight, incredibly versatile hair extension option, that doesn't tug or pull at your natural hair strands making them ideal for those seeking length and/or volume with minimal manipulation of their own natural hair. Additionally, tape-ins don't require further tools or chemicals to work, are virtually painless to install (your edges will thank you later!) and are also reusable.
The entire installation process can take anywhere between 45 minutes to a couple of hours according to your desired finished length and volume, and depending on the texture of your tape-ins and how they are being worn/maintained, one install can last up to 8 weeks before needing a replacement or removal service. Factors like how fast your hair grows and how you are caring for your extensions in-between salon visits will influence how your tape-ins perform, so we recommend following the aftercare advice of your stylist as they will be able to assess what best suits your individual haircare needs.
Before choosing your tape-ins, we encourage you to check with your stylist that your hair meets their minimum length recommended for getting tape-ins. The ideal natural hair length for an install is shoulder length (stretched), but if your hair is in a pixie cut for example, you may seek to use tape-ins nearer the front of your head to add in volume and your stylist will be able to advise on the best possible way to achieve this.
We would not recommend tape-ins on hair that is shorter than shoulder length and already experiencing breakage/damage as applying tape-ins may cause further breakage to occur.
Below are our top tips for getting the very best out of your tape-in extensions -
1. We always recommend getting your tape-in extensions both installed and removed by a trained professional hairstylist
This is because a specific tape-in remover solution needs to be applied to each tape-in in order to safely and easily remove them without damaging your natural hair. If you have heightened skin sensitivities, please be sure to check with your stylist whether the removal solution they use will be suitable for you.
2. You will need to keep your tape-ins dry for at least 48 hours after getting them installed
This is to prevent the adhesive bonds from weakening, and to allow the tape time to fully cure. Anything that may cause you to sweat or cause your hair to be surrounded by steam must be avoided (this includes prolonged showers, baths, saunas, or any strenuous exercise).
3. Avoid using products with oils or alcohol, especially on your scalp
The adhesive strip on tape-ins is sensitive to moisture, so avoid oiling your scalp or using products with oils or alcohols in them (unless you are nearing your removal service). Tape-ins are therefore not the healthiest option for those who already experience dehydrated scalp, as the need for a lack of moisture near the adhesive can lead to increased hair breakage. Additionally, tape-ins are not suited to those who swim often, as the chemicals in pool water will weaken the adhesive.
4. Be mindful of your wash day routine
When it comes time to wash your hair, always do so whilst in an upright position with either a specialist extension shampoo/conditioner recommended by your stylist or an alcohol-free option that you have, being sure to avoid using any conditioner on the tapes and never brushing your extensions when wet. We recommend washing your hair no more than three times a week, and always dry your hair (on a cooler setting) before going to bed as sleeping on wet hair extensions can cause unnecessary damaged to your natural hair.
5. Watch out for heat damage
If you are using hair straighteners on your tape-ins, always use a heat protector and avoid applying the straighteners directly to where your tape-ins have been applied as heat can damage the tape and cause your extensions to move or slip out completely.