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Sew-in hair extensions have been a go-to choice for many women who want to add length, volume, and thickness to their natural tresses without undergoing nerve-racking hair implant procedures.
Whether you’re a hair extension newbie or pro who’s curious about trying sew-ins, this guide has got you covered!
From what sew-in hair extensions are to how they’re installed to how they’re styled and maintained, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether sew-in hair extensions are right for you.
Ready to have a deep dive into our comprehensive guide on sew-in hair extensions?
Scroll down to learn more!
What Are Sew-In Hair Extensions?
Sew-in hair extensions are a popular type of semi-permanent hair extensions. Installing them involves attaching wefts of hair — which are also called weaves — to your natural hair using a specialized needle and a thread.
The process begins by braiding your natural hair into cornrows that lay flat against your scalp. Then the wefts are sewn onto the cornrows using a needle and a thread.
The thread is usually a similar color to your natural hair, which is why it blends seamlessly with the rest of your hair.
Many people love this hair extension method because they are generally more secure than others. Plus, they can last up to six to 12 weeks when properly cared for.
Also, sew-in hair extensions are suitable for both thin and thick hair, as they can add volume and length to both types.
However, the installation process may differ slightly depending on the thickness of the natural hair, as more wefts may need to be used for thicker hair.
What’s The Best Hair Type For Sew-Ins?
There are different hair types for sew-in extensions, namely synthetic and human hair.
Synthetic hair extensions are man-made fibers that are designed to mimic the look and texture of human hair, while human hair extensions are made out of real human hair and sourced from various donors.
Between the two, human hair extensions are a more popular choice for sew-ins because they provide a more natural look and feel. You can easily find one that matches the texture of your real hair.
Additionally, they’re more durable, versatile, and comfortable to wear.
While synthetic hair extensions may be more affordable, the benefits of sew-in human hair extensions often outweigh their expensive price.
Types Of Sewn-In Extensions
One of the best things about sew-in hair extensions is that it has two specific types that cater to different needs.
Let’s dive into what makes each of these types unique and which one might be the right fit for you!
As the name suggests, full sew-in hair extensions involve sewing extensions into your entire head of hair. This means that none of your natural hair is left out; all of it is braided into cornrows and hidden under the extensions.
This creates a seamless, natural look that can last for several weeks.
Also, full sew-in hair extensions are perfect for those who want a dramatic transformation. Those who want to add length to shorter hair may also find this option more ideal for their needs.
With the partial sew hair extension method, only a portion of your hair is braided and sewn in, leaving the rest of your natural hair out.
This type is great for those who want to add volume or length to specific areas of their hair, without committing to a full sew-in.
This also gives you the option to add highlights or lowlights to your hair without dyeing your natural tresses.
Pros of Sew-In Hair Extensions
Sew-in hair extensions have become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer a quick and convenient way to improve the appearance of your hair.
However, like any other beauty treatment, sew-ins come with their own set of pros and cons that are worth considering before taking the plunge.
Let’s start by discussing some of the advantages of sew-in hair extensions.
Added Thickness and Volume
If you’re looking for added volume, sew-in hair extensions are a great option. They can add fullness to thin or thinning hair or give you that voluminous hairstyle that you’ve always wanted.
Plus, they can be customized to match your hair color and texture, making them look like a part of your own hair.
Sew-in hair extensions are secured using a needle and a thread, which creates a strong hold that lasts for several weeks.
This means that you can enjoy your new look for an extended period without worrying about the extensions falling out.
When sew-in extensions are done correctly, they can blend seamlessly with your natural hair, so you can flaunt fuller and longer locks that look totally natural.
They also provide the option to experiment with different hair textures, colors, and lengths without letting your natural tresses suffer from exposure to chemical styling.
Sew-in weave extensions come in a wide variety of colors, lengths, and textures.
This makes them ideal for achieving any hairstyle you desire, be it long, straight hair or bouncy, curly locks!
Once sew-in extensions are installed, they require very little maintenance. The braided base that the extensions are sewn onto provides a stable foundation for the wefts of hair.
The braids keep the extensions securely in place and prevent them from shifting or slipping, which means you don’t have to worry about readjusting them regularly.
You can wash and style them just like you would your natural hair, and they will still look amazing.
One of the best things about having extensions weaved into hair is that they can protect your natural tresses.
The braided base that the extensions are sewn into provides a protective barrier that shields your hair from heat damage and environmental factors.
This means that you can give your natural hair a break from styling and still maintain a flawless look.
Cons Of Getting Sew-Ins
Now let’s dive into the potential downsides of sew-in hair extensions.
If you’re planning on getting sew-in extensions, you need to be ready to spend several hours in the salon.
Installing them typically requires that a skilled stylist braid your hair into a base of cornrows before stitching the hair extensions in, which can take several hours.
Similarly, removing the extensions requires the stylist to carefully cut the thread used to sew them in, which can also take a considerable amount of time.
Potential Damage To Natural Hair
Sew-in hair extensions have the potential to cause damage to your real hair if they are not installed or maintained properly.
The braided base used to secure the extensions can be too tight, creating excess tension by pulling on the scalp and hair follicles.
This tension can cause damage your real hair and even cause breakage, leading to hair loss or thinning.
Another potential disadvantage of sew-in hair extensions is the cost. Sew-ins can be more expensive than other types of extensions due to the high level of skill required in installing them.
Potential Discomfort or Pain
Sew-in hair extensions may also cause pain because the braids used to secure the extensions in place can sometimes feel tight or pull on your scalp, which may lead to discomfort or even headaches.
If you have a sensitive scalp or a tendency to get headaches, it’s important to communicate with your stylist about any discomfort you may be feeling during the installation procedure.
Steps In Installing and Sewing In Extensions
Curious about how installing sew-in hair extensions is done?
You’re in luck because we’re giving you the detailed steps below!
Step 1: Gather the Needed Tools
In installing sew-in hair extensions, you need to prepare the following tools:
- Wefts of human hair extensions
- Tail comb
- Scissors for haircutting
- Curved needle like the Dreamlover Hair Weave Needle
- Nylon thread
- Flat iron or curling iron
- Heat protectant like the Eva NYC Mane Magic Heat Protectant
Step 2: Prepare Your Hair
- Start with clean, dry hair. Wash, condition, and rinse your hair thoroughly, making sure that there is no product residue or oil left behind.
- Use your tail comb to part your hair in a U shape around the crown of your head. Clip the top section of your hair up.
Step 3: Create the Base Braid
- Divide the bottom section of your hair into small sections horizontally using your tail comb.
- Starting at the nape of your neck, braid each section of hair horizontally along your scalp. The braids should be tight and flat against your head.
- Once you have finished braiding the bottom section of your hair, unclip the top section of your hair and braid it in a similar way. This time, make sure that the braids are running perpendicular to the braids in the bottom section of your hair. This will create a secure base for your extensions.
Step 4: Measure and Prepare the Extensions
- Measure the weft of your hair extensions against your head, starting at one side of your head and ending at the other. Use scissors to cut the weft to the correct size.
- Use a tail comb to create a horizontal part at the nape of your neck.
- Place the weft of the hair extensions against the part you created and ensure your curved needle and nylon thread are ready, so you can easily sew in your extensions.
Step 5: Sew in the Extensions
- Take the weft of hair extensions and lay it flat against the base braid.
- Thread a weaving needle with thread that matches the color of your hair.
- Tie a knot at the end of the thread and — starting at one end of the weft — begin sewing the weft onto one section of the base braids.
- Make small stitches, making sure to sew through both the weft and each braid.
- Continue sewing the weft onto the braid until you reach the other end of the weft.
- Move up to the next section of hair and repeat the process, sewing in additional wefts until you have covered the entire head.
- Once you have finished sewing or stitching in your hair extensions, use scissors to cut off any excess thread.
Step 6: Style Your Hair and Extensions
- Apply a heat protectant spray to protect your hair from the damage caused by heat-styling tools.
- To style your hair, use a flat or curling iron. Doing this will help the extensions blend in with your natural hair.
- After styling, make sure that the extensions are hidden and there are no visible gaps or bumps in the hairstyle.
How To Maintain Sewn-In Hair Weaves
Many users have found themselves amazed at their sew-in hair extensions before-and-after look. However, many of them have also neglected to care for their sew-ins properly, causing their extensions to look unkempt after a while.
We don’t want you to suffer the same fate. That’s why you need to follow these tips in order to keep your sew-ins fabulous for longer!
Keep Your Scalp Clean And Moisturized
It’s very important to keep your scalp clean and moisturized when you have a sewn-in hair weave.
Remember to use the right hair care products like a sulfate-free or hair extension-friendly shampoo and conditioner to cleanse and condition your hair.
While it’s important to keep your hair and scalp clean, you don’t want to overwash your hair. Overwashing can cause your hair to become dry and brittle, which can lead to breakage.
Aim to wash your hair no more than once a week. But if you lead an active lifestyle, you may wash your hair at least twice a week to get rid of sweat, dirt, and oil.
Be Gentle When Brushing and Styling
When you have sewn-in hair extensions, you need to be gentle when brushing and styling your hair.
To do this, use a wide-tooth comb or soft-bristled brush for detangling. Also, avoid pulling or tugging on your weave.
Also, it’s best to brush your hair at the tips first and work your way up gently. Remember to avoid touching the braided base of your extensions when brushing or styling!
Take Steps to Protect Your Extensions Against Heat
Using heat-protectant products before using heat-styling tools can help prevent breakage and split ends.
Additionally, remember that applying high heat to your hair can make it brittle. So it’s best to use a low to medium heat setting when styling your hair, preferably between 250°F and 350°F.
Taking these steps can help preserve the health and integrity of your extensions and ensure they look fantastic for as long as possible.
Avoid Sleeping On Wet Hair
Sleeping on wet hair can cause your hair to become tangled and matted, which can lead to breakage.
Before going to bed, make sure to dry your hair completely, and consider wrapping your hair with a satin cap to protect your natural hair and extensions while you sleep.
Get Regular Touch-Ups
As your hair grows, your sewn-in hair weave may start to loosen or become tangled.
It’s important to ensure that your weave stays in place and looks great by getting regular visits to the salon every four to eight weeks.
Telling Signs It’s Time To Let The Sew-Ins Go
While sew-ins can last long, there are some signs that tell you it’s time to remove them and give your natural hair a break.
Here are some telling signs that it’s time to let your sew-ins go.
Tension and Discomfort
If you’re experiencing any discomfort while wearing your sew-ins, it may be a sign that they’re too tight.
Excessive tension from the weight of the extensions or pulling on your hairline can lead to hair breakage and even permanent hair loss. It’s vital to listen to your body and remove the sew-ins if you’re feeling uncomfortable.
Scalp Odor or Buildup
One of the telling signs that your sew-ins are overdue for removal is when you start to notice an unpleasant odor or buildup on your hair and scalp.
Dirt, sweat, and product buildup can accumulate on your scalp and cause irritation and infection if not immediately addressed. So it’s vital to get your sew-ins removed and replaced once you notice any sign of buildup.
Hair Loss and/or Breakage
Sew-ins can be damaging to your natural hair if they are not properly installed and maintained.
If you notice your hair thinning out or experiencing breakage, it could be a sign that your sew-in is too tight or it’s time to give your natural hair the break it needs.
As your sew-ins grow out, they can start to look messy or unkempt. If the sew-ins no longer look neat and tidy, it’s probably time to remove them and either get a new set of sew-ins or opt for a different hairstyle.
Mats and Tangles
If your sew-ins are starting to tangle or mat, it may be a sign that they’ve been in for too long. It’s crucial to get them removed right away before the matting gets worse.
Sew-ins are meant to be temporary, so it’s important to remove them after a certain amount of time. Leaving your sew-in for too long can lead to hair damage and breakage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Dye My Sew-In Hair Extensions?
Yes, it is possible to dye sew-in hair extensions, but it’s crucial to do so carefully and get the right products to avoid damaging them.
If you are considering dyeing your sew-in extensions, it’s best to consult your trusted stylist and ask them to assess the condition of the extensions and recommend the appropriate dye and technique.
When dyeing your sew-in extensions, it’s important to use a high-quality hair dye that is specifically formulated for use on extensions, especially if they’re synthetic.
You should also avoid using bleach or high-lift colors, which can cause damage and breakage to both your extensions and natural hair.
Before dyeing your extensions, we recommend testing a small section of the hair to ensure that the color applies evenly and does not cause damage.
Be sure as well to read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your chosen hair dye carefully to avoid any mishaps.
Can I Reuse My Sew-In Extensions?
Yes, it is possible to reuse sew-in hair extensions, but it depends on several factors.
The life span of sew-in hair extensions depends on how high-quality they are, how they were installed, and how well they’ve been cared for.
With proper care, high-quality human hair extensions can last up to a year or more, and they can be used for multiple installations.
To reuse sew-in extensions, they must be carefully removed from the previous installation, and any remaining thread must be removed without damaging the wefts.
The extensions should then be thoroughly washed, conditioned, and air-dried before being stored in a clean, dry place.
If you’re considering reusing your sew-in extensions, it’s important to assess the condition of the hair to determine whether it is still in good condition to be reused.
If the extensions have become damaged or brittle or lost their shape or texture, then it may be time to invest in new ones.
Take Your Hair Style To The Next Level With Sew-In Hair Extensions!
Sew-in hair extensions are a fantastic and versatile option for anyone looking to make their hair look thicker, longer, and more beautiful.
With proper installation and care, sew-ins can provide a long-lasting and natural-looking enhancement to your hair.
So why not give them a try and take your hair game to the next level? Follow our tips and guidelines above to help you install your extensions properly and make the most of them!
Want To Know Other Hair Extension Procedures?
Check them out here:
- Permanent Hair Extensions: Everything You Need to Know
- What Are I-Tip Hair Extensions? + Pros and Cons
- What Are Halo Hair Extensions? A Comprehensive Guide
Sew-in. Sew-ins are for longer term wear and are typically sewn into natural hair after it has been braided into cornrows. While these are the longest lasting (up to a few months) and most seamless form of hair extension.What extensions are best for beginners? ›
Clip-in hair extensions is the fastest, easiest, and least damaging type of hair extensions which you can apply all by yourself without having to go to a professional. Clip-in hair extensions are a temporary method of hair extensions, which means you can clip them in and out whenever you want.What is the difference between a weave and a sew in? ›
A sew-in is sewn into the hair while quick weaves are bonded to a wig cap. Sew-ins last longer than quick weaves but take longer to install and cost more. Compared to quick weaves, sew-ins also add more tension to your head since you need to tightly cornrow your hair, however, sew-ins are more secure.How long can a sew in stay in your hair? ›
How long does a sew-in weave last? Usually anywhere between six to twelve weeks. But sometimes, it's sooner. There are some telltale signs that you should look for that tell you when your extensions need to go.What are the risks of sew in hair extensions? ›
Because a weave or extensions often require women to wear their natural hair tightly pulled, this can be tough on hair. The constant pulling can cause strands of hair to break or fall out, and it could damage your hair follicles.Can you pull your hair up with sew in extensions? ›
Yes! You can wear your hair up or down, exercise, and do most other things you would normally do without damaging the hair extensions. When applied correctly you can also style your weft, tape and micro bead hair extensions into a pony without any of the extension application showing!What are the easiest extensions to do yourself? ›
There are different types of extensions ( i.e. Clip-in, Halo, Ponytails, Tape-ins, Sew-ins, etc ). As a beginner, it is recommended to try clip-in, halo, and ponytail these three extensions are the easiest to try.How long do sew-in extensions take to put in? ›
How long does a sew-in take to install? This totally depends on your hair length, texture, and the type of sew-in you want, but it'll usually take between three to six hours to install (translation: you'll def want to bring snacks to your appointment).What are the easiest hair extensions to manage? ›
Clip-in extensions are wefts that are clipped into your natural hair. This type of extension is considered the easiest, quickest and safest of the bunch. If you're looking for a temporary style change, clip-ins are the best choice, as they're low-maintenance and commitment-free.Should I get extensions or a sew in? ›
Clip-ins are the greatest option if you want a non-committal style, while sew-ins are ideal for a low-maintenance protective style. Both extensions are fantastic and long-lasting, but they must be maintained with a proper hair care routine.
A quick weave is a great alternative to the traditional sew-in because it is cheaper and faster. This weaving technique can be completed in about 1.5 hours, much faster than sewing-in. Besides, quick weave method also causes less tension on your natural hair as well as your scalp.Can your hair grow under a sew in? ›
Your hair will likely grow about ½ to 1-inch beneath the weave, and as the time to uninstall your beloved style nears, you will feel the difference in the tightness of your braids underneath.How do you sleep with sew in extensions? ›
The best way to sleep with hair extensions is to put your hair together in a loose ponytail or braid and secure it with a silk scrunchie. Ideally, you should rest your head on a silk pillowcase as well. Read more about all the benefits of natural silk here. Silk caps are a great alternative to pillowcases.What not to do with sewn in extensions? ›
- Avoid any shampoo and conditioner that has silicone in it. ...
- Do not wash your hair within the first 48 hours of having your extensions installed.
- Braid / Plait your hair at bedtime to avoid tangling and matting.
- Get a hair extension brush. ...
- Do not over wash your hair.
Sewn-in hair extensions for thin hair
If you have thin hair and are looking for a type of extension that will give you more volume and thickness, then sewn-in hair extensions are the best option. Unlike clip-in or glue-on products, sewn-in extensions use real human hair that is hand stitched to your own strands.
Some extension methods, like clip-in extensions or traditional, sew-in weaves, work for normal to thick hair but often do serious damage to thin hair. There are so many extension types to choose from, which makes it difficult to know which one is right for you.Do sew-in extensions stay uncomfortable? ›
If properly applied, sew-in hair extensions do not cause discomfort. However, if the braids are tied too tight, the extensions might cause scalp ache as well as headaches.Should I take a break from sew-in extensions? ›
As tempting as it might be to retouch your new growth or put in another set of extensions right away, don't. Your scalp and hair need time (anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month) to rest. "You should let your scalp rest for at least two weeks before another installation," says Stephen.What is the healthiest hair extension method? ›
Clip-in hair extensions are officially the least damaging hair extensions! This is a temporary hair extension method, in which the extended strands are attached to the hair using small clips (hence, the name). You can wear clip-ins to an important event or anytime you feel like you want to change your look.
While clip ins are by far the least damaging type of hair extensions because they aren't installed permanently and they also offer your hair some rest from too much styling, tape in extensions offer a more natural look and a more seamless blend, as do micro ring extensions.
Clip-in hair extensions are the most natural-looking variety of hair extensions because they're less obvious than other styles. They can be applied and taken out quickly, which makes them ideal for when you want to change your look on a whim.How often do sewn in extensions need to be moved up? ›
For the best results, it's recommended to get your extensions moved up approximately every 8 weeks, which totally depends on your natural growth and how rough or gentle you are with the extensions. When you get them moved up, you just get the rows moved up—you don't purchase new hair each time.Can you shower with sew in extensions? ›
Sew in weft extensions are a great option if you're looking to add length and volume to your natural hair. The best thing about them is that they last for months, so you won't have to worry about constantly re-getting them done. Plus, they can be washed, dried, and styled just like natural hair (minus the heat).How many rows of sew in extensions do you need? ›
Sew-In Weft extensions take approximately two hours to install, and you'll need 3-4 rows of wefts for a full head.What type of hair extensions are best for low maintenance? ›
A low maintenance option that does not require any heat or glue for installation or maintenance. I-Tips are tiny, long-lasting extensions held onto the hair strand with a bead and easily customizable.
Low maintenance: Unlike full wigs or other types of hair extensions, hair toppers are typically low maintenance and can be styled like natural hair.What is the downside to extensions? ›
The heat used to apply the extension can damage hair. The hair extensions are not reusable, which makes them expensive compared to other methods. There may be discomfort in the days following application, such as itchiness, or a tight pulling sensation.What is the difference between weave and sew in extensions? ›
Weaves are sewn into the hair, unlike hair extensions that are clipped, taped, or bonded to your hair. Weaves come in the form of a hairpiece or single unit designed to cover your entire hair. It's a good idea to visit your hairdresser to install your weave.What is a flip over sew in? ›
Also known as a No Part Sew In, a Flip Over Sew In Weave encloses the hair without a part. Most of the hair is braided down, leaving out 1-2 inches of the front hairline. This bit of natural hair left covers the tracks and allows you to wear your hair in a top knot or flip it from side to side without a part.What is the difference between a full sew in and a partial sew in? ›
Similarly to a full weave, a partial sew-in is when wefts are sewn directly onto flat braids, but some of a small piece of hair is left out in the front, side or back of the wearer's head, which allows someone the ability to wear their hair in updos and ponytails.
A traditional sew-in weave is a hair weaving technique where extensions are attached onto a braided base. A sew-in typically takes 2-3 hours and lasts about 2 months with proper maintenance.What is the best hair for a sew-in? ›
Virgin hair is the best for a sew-in weave since it's durable, doesn't tangle as much as synthetic hair, and gives you lots of styling options. By definition, virgin hair is human hair that hasn't been chemically treated. Virgin hair comes from many different sources and in a variety of textures.Why is my hair thin after a sew-in? ›
The weight and tension from sew-in hair can damage hair follicles as it places undue strain on them. This often leads to hair loss around the areas where the weave is fixed to the scalp, and around the hairline.Why does my sew-in itch so bad? ›
Your scalp is going through an adjustment period before getting used to the hair extensions, which are typically heavier than your natural hair. The added weight can cause a strain on your scalp, which is the reason itchiness occurs after you have installed the new extensions.What is the best age to get a sew in? ›
The appropriate age to truly consider weaves or extensions depends on the child's maturity level and hair health. However, we suggest you wait until your child turns ten or twelve years old before introducing her to protective hairstyles.What to do before getting a sew in? ›
- Shampoo your hair. It is important that your natural hair is clean before you start the sew-installation. ...
- Deep condition your hair. A healthy and in good condition natural hair is crucial before the installation. ...
- Trim the ends.
Your weave is literally on an incline because you've had it in for too long. It appears bulky, won't lay flat and now you have to wear hats or large curls to make it look presentable.How long can you keep sew in hair extensions? ›
As for how often you will need to get your hair extensions re-applied, she advises, “Glue and tape extensions last around four to eight weeks, sew-in extensions should be replaced every six to eight weeks and micro-link extensions last up to four months, but will need repositioning every two or three months as your ...How do you take care of sewn in extensions? ›
- Wash Your Extensions Correctly.
- Never Sleep With Wet Extensions.
- Always Brush Extensions With Care.
- Schedule A Weekly Conditioning Treatment.
- Minimise Heat Damage.
- Avoid Tangling While You Sleep.
- Separate The Bonds Daily.
As with anything new, the extensions are firmly fitted to your hair and the first 3 days they may feel a little tender on your scalp and tender while sleeping, this is normal and will settle after 3-5 days, during this time it is best to sleep on your side.
Don't panic, but also do give the weft at least a few weeks to ensure you are fully adjusted to them.Do sew in extensions stay uncomfortable? ›
If properly applied, sew-in hair extensions do not cause discomfort. However, if the braids are tied too tight, the extensions might cause scalp ache as well as headaches.Are sewn in extensions worth it? ›
Sew in weft extensions are a great option if you're looking to add length and volume to your natural hair. The best thing about them is that they last for months, so you won't have to worry about constantly re-getting them done. Plus, they can be washed, dried, and styled just like natural hair (minus the heat).How do you sleep with sew-in extensions? ›
The best way to sleep with hair extensions is to put your hair together in a loose ponytail or braid and secure it with a silk scrunchie. Ideally, you should rest your head on a silk pillowcase as well. Read more about all the benefits of natural silk here. Silk caps are a great alternative to pillowcases.Why is my hair so thin after sew in extensions? ›
The tension from wearing hair extensions can lead to traction alopecia which is a type of alopecia caused from when pressure has constantly been put on the roots which has damaged your hair follicles.What is the biggest problem with hair extensions? ›
- They tangle after a few washes. No one wants to wear hair extensions that you can barely run a brush through. ...
- The curl/wave has fallen out. ...
- They only last a few months. ...
- They don't look natural. ...
- They don't match the texture of your hair.
The general rule is that you only really need to wash your hair extensions once there's a product build up – this only applies to clip-in extensions though. Any other types of extensions can be washed at the same time as your real hair. Ideally, this shouldn't be more than 2 – 3 times a week.How many packs of sew in extensions do I need? ›
All in all, you should choose 2 to 3 bundles for a naturally fuller look. Those who want more volume or fullness can pick 3 to 4 bundles. The number can increase depending on the texture, preferred length, whether you are using a closure of frontal hairpiece.