Extensions cannot conceal balding or badly thinning areas. In fact, because certain types of extensions are bonded (glued to your existing hair) which places strain on follicles, use of extensions in the long term can cause damage to natural hair. But if you want to invest in real hair extensions, what should you look out for? Here is a definitive guide:Seek advice from a reputable hair consultantReal hair is currently at a premium. So, as you would expect, a full head of long, extensions is not cheap. Given the relative expense of extensions, it’s worth firstly seeking advice from a hairdresser or consultant. They will be able to assess whether or not your type of hair can withstand clip-in or bonded extensions. Clip in extensions are temporary and instant. The bonded method involves using specially formulated glue to fuse your hair to the extension hair. This process can take several hours and the results can last several months. So it’s important to know whether you’re a suitable candidate before proceeding. Real hair extensions are suitable for those with strong existing natural hair. Note: fine hair can be strong at the root so always seek advice! Real Hair Extensions should be 100% human hair and ethically sourcedUnfortunately, it’s often the case that real extensions are labelled ‘real hair’ but are in fact a blend of human and fibre hair. Look for packaging that describes the product as 100% human hair. It is also important to ensure that the quality of the hair is at its best. Ethically sourced hair is of the highest quality and a good hair extensions manufacturer will provide a ‘Traceability’ promise too. This means that the original source of the hair can be traced and that hair has been donated with the consent of the donor.Consider clip-in hair extensions for greater flexibility and to preserve hair careIf you are the sort of person who enjoys changing their personal appearance regularly – or you are concerned about the stress that bonded hair extensions can place on the hair follicle, you might want to consider clip-in extensions. Clip-in extensions are usually provided in rows of four ‘wefts’. These differ in length and are clipped in around the back of your head, starting from around the base of your neck, working upwards to the top of ears. The effect is an instant full head of hair that can be changed in a matter of minutes. However, it is not recommended that you sleep overnight in your hair extensions as this can damage natural and extension hair.Real hair extensions are no longer only supplied in block colours As you would expect, demand for extension products evolves according to lasting hair trends. At present, real hair extensions are available in highlighted form and ‘ombre’ or dip-dyed, a look favoured by many celebrities. Most manufacturers offer tens of different hues to help match your desired hair colour.Use specially-formulated haircare products and avoid prolonged exposure to heated appliancesIt is vital that you use specially-formulated shampoos and conditioners to help extend the life of your extensions. These will provide extra moisturising properties to help retain the condition of extension hair. Despite most manufacturers allowing the use of heated appliances such as straighteners and hairdryers, it is normally recommended that you do not exceed 200 degrees celcius.