Hair extension warning

Reporter: Laura Sparkes

It's the latest look made popular by Hollywood stars, but hair extensions are not safe for everyone.

Juliet Beasley has joined a growing list of women whose excitement at getting hair extensions drained away as quickly as her hair fell out.

"About 60 to 70 per cent of my own hair just fell out, I had bald patches," Juliet said. "I had chunks of glue coming down my hair."

"Within having them for a week I could really feel them tugging on my own hair, then they just started pulling my own hair out because of the weight of the hair extensions."

Worth $1000, Juliet had her hair extensions put in for free in lieu of payment for an International Hair Expo job three years ago. Now Juliet warns others against undergoing the hair procedure.

Pierre Haddad owns one of Sydney's top hairdressing salons and of the 30 staff he employs, only three are entrusted with hair extensions.

"We do three to six extensions a day, on average. Everyday we do get people coming from other hair salons that have had bad experiences - we probably do get at least four or five of them a week," Pierre said.

"A lot of people go and do a course for two days and they think they're an expert in hair extensions without doing any practice."

So why do bald patches happen to some people?

"There's a few reasons. Reason number one, a lot of people end up taking a really, really tiny section which does not hold enough hair, and then they put the extensions on it which is too heavy, too heavy," Pierre said.

"A second one is a lot of people end up taking the section and applying it way way too close to the scalp. It's pulling too much hair from underneath. You will get the tension on the follicles and the follicles will fall out."

Tony Pearce is a specialist trichologist - in simple terms his expertise is hair and scalp disorder.

Apart from bad attachment by hairdressers, he also blames customers for hair extension problems.

"They are often low in iron, and other nutrients iodine, vitamin D, zinc and that will cause the hair to be dry, thin and brittle and more prone to breakage."

He warns about 30 percent of the population should never have hair extensions.

"What you're actually doing is your traumatising the follicles, and if you do it time and time and time again, the follicles will actually collapse and the hair wont grow," Tony said.

For those interested in hair extensions, says Juliet: "I'd just invest in salon treatments and taking care of your natural hair."

Pierre advises customers to shop around.

"It's always important to go for a consultation, speak to the hairdresser, get him to put strands on you, go home and think about it."