If you are looking to get some hair extensions but don’t have the time or money for a professional stylist, then tape-in hair extensions may be your best option. This guide will walk you through the steps of putting in your own tape-ins at home!
My name is Bianca, and I’ve been wearing tape-in extensions for about 7 years. As I’m an avid traveler and couldn’t always get back to my hairdresser in time, it became necessary for me to learn to remove, retape, and replace my tape-ins myself whenever I needed it!
I had a steep learning curve when it came to installing tape-in extensions myself, and I don’t want you to go through the epic fails I did.
This article will give you the honest and correct way to put in tape-in extensions yourself at home from someone who does it once a month, every month.
Interested? Keep reading to learn more!
Step-by-step Guide to Put in Tape-In Hair Extensions Yourself
Get these tools prepared before your DIY tape-in hair extensions installations:
- A Tangle Teezer brush
- Paddle brush
- A long-tailed comb
- Sectioning clips
- Pliers or straighteners
- Tape-In Extensions (circa 120g)
- 2 mirrors (optional)
Follow the steps below and you can have the tape-ins easily installed:
Step 1: The first thing you will need to do is wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo. This gets rid of all the build-up and residues and leaves your hair very clean.
Technically you shouldn’t put any conditioner on your head after your shampoo, but I’m a platinum blonde, so I need to! I just put conditioner from mid-lengths to ends and rinse until the water is clear and then about 30 seconds longer.
Step 2: Give your hair a good blow-dry and make sure that your roots particularly are very dry and not damp at all.
Straighten your hair properly and make sure there aren’t any kinks by the roots.
Step 3: If this is your first time attempting this, then I would position yourself in a well-lit area between two mirrors. Make sure you can reposition easily to see the back and sides of your head.
Once you’ve done it a few times, you don’t need two mirrors, just one to check every now and again. I do mine binge-watching a series on Netflix at this stage!
Step 4: What I usually do is get two or three colors of extensions and then sandwich them randomly to give a natural color. So I’ll take one color and sandwich it with another color and vary them around my head.
Most full head installations require about 30 sandwiches (which is 60 individual tapes, sandwiched together to make 30.)
So I do an equation of about 7 sandwiches on either side of the head, leaving 16 sandwiches for the back.
Pick your sandwiches for the sides of your head and put them to the side. Now let’s start with the back.
Step 5: This is the basic method of inserting extensions. Watch this 1-minute tutorial here.
Give your hair a good brush with the paddle brush to make sure it’s smooth and tangle-free. Section your hair with the top part of your hair in a high bun and secured it out the way with a hairband.
Section the sides out of the way with either hairbands or sectioning clips.
Section most of the hair at the back of your head out of the way with a sectioning clip.
Step 6: Starting at the nape of the neck, use the long tail comb to take a thin strip of hair.
Remove the backing from one strip of keratin glue and place it under the hair strip as close to the hairline as you can. Take a second tape, remove the backing and place it on top to make a sandwich.
Either tap the bond gently with your straighteners or if you prefer a cold method, secure the bond by giving a firm pinch with some pliers.
Here is a little video on where to put your hair extensions, so you can understand the placement and make sure you get that seamless blend!
Top Tip: Leave about 1/2 an inch between your hairline and the bonds all the way around, so when you decide to tie your air up the bonds are hidden, and you have versatility in your range of hairstyles.
Step 7: Methodically repeat the process and work your way up the back of your head and through to both sides.
Remember to brush out your hair with your Tangle Teezer to make sure that you are happy the bonds are laying flat, feel comfortable, aren’t sticking up anywhere and the hair itself remains silky and tangle-free.
Step 8: Once all the tapes are in, let your high bun loose and straighten the top part if you need to. Brush out all of your hair and look for any tell-tale lumps, bumps around the head.
Don’t worry about the blend of the main hair too much at this point, as your extensions are new (which means that are usually coated with a sealant) and your natural hair has no conditioner or products on.
Step 9: Put your hair in a low bun or loose braid and ignore it for 12 – 24 hours. This step is especially important if, like me, you opt for pliers instead of straighteners to seal your bonds.
The heat from your head will seal the bonds naturally, just give it a little time to do its thing. I usually sleep in them and look at them again the next day.
Step 10: Wash your locks! Now your bonds are sealed, you’re happy with the comfort and placement of the bonds and nothing is hurting or uncomfortable. NOW wash your hair.
Wash your hair in a lukewarm shower, never a bath as it will tangle. Your scalp is clean, so only put a little shampoo from mid-lengths to end to get the sealant off the extensions.
Condition your hair with a good conditioner and again, don’t put any on your roots.
Step 11: Your extensions are now ready for the blowdry! Make sure to use a good, nourishing leave-in conditioner and heat-protector on your hair (yes, mid to ends only).
Blowdry your hair in sections and work your way up to the top of your head. Run your straighteners through just to give it that glossy finish.
Now, looking in two mirrors, you should get a true idea of how well your hair is blended. If you’ve followed the placement charts above, you should have a pretty seamless blend.
Trim any hair you need to at this point, and make sure you’re happy with the look.
If you need to move a sandwich, warm it up with straighteners by tapping on it gently and then quickly peeling the two sections apart. Adjust and replace the sandwich, and this time you should definitely use the straighteners to seal the bond.
Step 11: If you’re happy with your hair straight, then add a spritz of oil or serum to finish.
If you want to go for a curly look, then curl your hair and use hair spray to hold it in place.
*Top Tip: If you curl your hair, and you want to keep the curl for a few days, make sure to sleep with your hair in a tight bun at the nape of your neck, and it will still be gloriously curly in the morning.
Check out the below sections for quick answers to the most commonly asked questions relating to putting in tape-ins by yourself.
What are some top tips for making sure your extensions last?
- Don’t use oil-based products near your roots. Your bonds will slip.
- Don’t use conditioner near your roots. Your bonds will slip.
- Don’t use your straighteners on your roots or bonds, start from just below.
- Proper maintainance is key to extend the life of your extensions, properly brush, wash and apply hair oil can help them last much longer.
- Brush your hair very gently, in sections, working from the ends up. Excessive pulling on your hair will break the bonds.
- Always sleep with your hair in a bun or braid. This stops tangles and split ends (and getting strangled by your hair in the night!)
- Don’t sleep with wet hair. Not just something your mom used to say. Your hair is weaker when wet, so you need to make sure it is dry before hitting the hay.
- If you can, let your hair air dry before adding heat. I get out of the shower, gently squeeze any excess moisture out with a towel, allow my hair to drip onto a towel while I put on my makeup, and then I start to dry it. Trust me, your hair will stay super soft for ages, and you can get about a year or more wear out of a good set of hair if you take care of it.
Can I wash my hair with extensions?
Yes, you can. Wash with shampoo at the scalp and with conditioner away from your roots.
Make sure to only wash your hair once or twice a week. Overwashing will dry out your hair and weaken the bonds. Dry shampoo is your new best friend!
Did you try it? Have any anecdotes, stories (successful or otherwise), pictures of your results?
Let us know in the comments below, we love hearing from you!