Best hair secrets uncovered

A woman's hair is her crowning glory. In the immortal words of church reformer Martin Luther: "Hair is the richest ornament of a woman."

A woman's hair is her crowning glory. In the immortal words of church reformer Martin Luther: "Hair is the richest ornament of a woman."

Carl Branes, a celebrity stylist agrees.

"Hair can do so much for a woman's appearance. It's the hairstyle that says how conscious or knowledgeable she is about the latest trends besides demonstrating a choice and knowledge of fashion. This is the reason most women go to the lengths of extending their hair."

Isaac Letele, a celebrity hairdresser and the owner of Head 2 Soul, a hair studio based in Randburg, says hair extensions have enjoyed popularity in South Africa since the introduction of SABC1's Generations on our TV screens.

"Generations has helped to set extension trends in South Africa. People come to me and say I want the extension I saw on Queen or Ntombi of Generations."

Unfortunately, Letele says, what suits Queen might not suit the next person.

"Here's one mistake that people often make with hairstyles. People see Queen (played by Sophie Ndaba) or Dineo (played by Katlego Danke) with a hairstyle that looks great and think that if she looks that good with it then it'll look just as good on her."

Letele says good-looking hairstyles don't work for everyone.

Factors like the colour of the hair, how much hair the woman has, the shape of the face and head and her build come into play.

"As hairstylists, the onus is on us to help the client choose what is suitable for them. Weave can give you more flexibility with your hair. One can make a style that makes a woman look younger, fresher, prettier and distinguished. On the other hand, the wrong style could portray the wrong image. The trick lies in selecting what suits the individual," says Letele.

What's in and out for hair weaves?

"Long curly weaves are making fashion waves more especially because it is cold. The hair must be very dark and curly. Any other colour won't work."

Letele says that the wig season is so over.

"Wigs will never replace weaves. Wigs will always look wiggy but an extension creates that believability."

But he advises women not to throw all their wigs away, though.

"Wigs always come in handy. You might need a wig during emergences like when your hairstylist is sick or out of town."

Letele says another big no-no is attaching the bonding with glue.

"The latex glue used is still glue. It has a very strong aroma and can cause dandruff and hair loss. It is not meant to be used for long. Glue can be used for special occasions like weddings or social functions. A sew-in-weave has always been an easy option for looking fabulous without damaging one's own hair."

How long must a weave stay attached in your head? According to Letele six weeks is the maximum.

"The longer you keep the weave the more turkey it becomes. It gets smelly and weird. Hair grows faster when it is sewn. It is advisable to wash and style it every second week."

And how to take care of a hair weave so that it will last for as long as possible? Norman Katzke, a hair technician says for the weaves that are put permanently into the hair it is vital that the person carry on and live as though the weave is just an extension of their actual hair.

"Stop holding it as if it's going to fall off," he admonishes.

Katzke says gentle products to clean the hair are essential so that the weave won't be stripped.

"Use a conditioner that moisturises without leaving the hair oily. Blow drying might dry out the weave, as well as the natural hair. If extensions are burnt they will stay like that and the whole weave will have to be removed."