I have wanted proper hair extensions for a very long time.
And after messing around with clip-ins for the last seven years - I finally bit the bullet and got semi-permanent ones about 8 months ago.
I've always had quite fine, thin hair. And sure that only got thinner and finer once I started bleaching the shite out of it.
Who the heck said blondes have more fun?
My hair, for the last year or so, has probably been my biggest insecurity.
I'm just always so conscious of how thin it is.
Being a big believer in 'if you don't like something, change it', I started doing some research into hair extensions in the Dublin area and found my perfect match.
The hair extensions in question?
I was trawling Instagram one day (searching under #hairextensionsdublin or something) when I stumbled across Silke.
I went into their tagged pictures on Instagram and saw loads of girls raving about their extensions. I then went onto their Facebook page and saw raving review after raving review.
Organic reviews like that are always a good sign, so, after messaging their Instagram page a bit with some questions, I booked an appointment and headed out for a visit.
Based in Pure Elegance Salon in Monkstown, Emma has over five years' experience working with hair extensions of every kind and brand.
She has finally found the best method and hair she's ever tried - and I swear by it.
Upon arrival, Emma sat me down, matched my hair *perfectly* with some Silke extensions and got to work.
It took about an hour and a half I'd say to complete my half head. Emma then began to cut and style the extensions.
It was a very collaborative process, Emma constantly asking me questions and showing me in the mirror what was happening.
The hour and a half flew by we were chatting so much - talking all about the do's and dont's of hair extensions (which you can find below).
When we were all done, I turned and looked in the mirror.
I was honestly shocked - like I was not expecting the results I got at all.
They were so long, and soft, and silky, and natural looking. I couldn't even see where my hair ended and they began.
I also couldn't feel them, you'd expect with the weight and thickness of the hair that I'd notice them straight away. But I can honestly tell you that it was like they weren't even there.
The best part? Nobody even noticed.
That's how well they blended in with my own hair, and because we hadn't gone with a drastically long length - literally no one noticed, not even my parents, closest friends or coworkers who see me every day.
That, my friends, is the first sign of good extensions - they're so natural-looking that nobody even notices.
Emma sources top grade, double-drawn Russian, 100% human hair to create her Irish hair extension brand which she has now started to wholesale to other well-known stylists and salons across Ireland.
Word has quickly spread that hers is the best in the biz - everyone wants a piece of the action and she even trains other stylists and salons now too.
Emma has clients travelling from all over Ireland to get their hair done and can provide all-in-one services where you arrive on the day, have a consultation, get colour, cut and extensions done all in one go.
The hair is real - so can be dyed and heat-styled just like normal hair. The extensions come in the form of i-tips, meaning they're super well pre-bonded into tiny i-tip bonds before being attached to your hair using teeny tiny microbeads.
The best part about Silke is that they can be used up to three times, depending on how you care for them.
Prices range from €180 to €400 which is super reasonable compared to other places in Dublin that are currently charging an arm and a leg.
Removal only takes ten minutes, and then they're reapplied nice and close to the root again.
During removal (and application) there is no breakage, no residue, no heat and no glue.
The beads are like mini grips/clips. They just hold the extensions to your hair, firmly, but with zero damage.
In the first few days, the beads felt quite tight against my scalp, and they weren't lying flat just yet as the hair needs to grow a wee bit before they flatten.
Also, washing them was a bit of a weird one - but I'm more than used to them now.
Before the week was out, the extensions were as comfortable as anything.
After being back three times now I'm happy out with them and can't imagine my life without them.
I finally have the hair I've always wanted.
They don't damage the hair at all and removal is totally painless. You can re-use the hair one to two times, getting up to a full year's use out of the same hair no bother as it sheds little to none and stays soft and silky the whole time. You'll become as addicted as I have, believe me - but without the guilt.
Emma also does keratin bonds on request, although the beads are her preferred method. Unlike other hair extension brand, Silke work really well as both keratin and beaded bonds.
I got a half head of 22" (which we cut down to the length I wanted) for volume and length.
But if you wanna keep things nice 'n' short you can get what Emma calls a 'volume booster':
- Always detangle hair after washing
- Always use heat protection when using hot tools
- Always secure hair with one hand near beads when brushing
- Brush ends first, then work your way up
- Work vertically
- Wear your hair in a plait or ponytail when sleeping to avoid tangles
- Use a leave-in conditioner for silky, soft hair
- Tie hair up when swimming - try your best to protect from chlorine
- Only use sulphate and silicone free products on your hair
- Don't go to sleep with wet hair
- Don't use conditioner near your scalp area or near the beads
- Don't wash hair upside down or use circular motions
- Don't try to remove extensions yourself
- Don't leave hair unbrushed - detangle hair thoroughly after every wash to avoid matting
- Don't dry your hair upside down - causes matting
Sulfate-free products I use to take care of them:
Conditioner: Cocoa Brown Kind Conditioner (again, sulfate free and only 3 quid - makes your hair so soft), Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel treatment and Hydrate Me treatment.
After-care: Revlon Uniq One10-In-One leave-in spray treatment - the only thing I use after washing my hair. I'll use it for as long as I live.
To conclude, I really cannot recommend these extensions enough - they just make life easier and really boost my confidence.
Emma books up well in advance so be sure to get in touch as soon as you decide you want them.
You can find Silke Hair Extensions in Pure Elegance salon at 40 Abbey Road, Baker's Corner, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.