Beware of Bad Hair Extensions

Before, Amateur Extensions Application

Beware of bad hair extensions — unfortunately, there are salons that demand a lot of money for hair extension services that are less than professional — and their poor quality work gives extensions a bad reputation. As a result, the myths abound: extensions damage your hair, they take too long to style and they are high maintenance. These myths could ring true if your extensionist is an amateur posing and pricing as a professional.

Deb Monti of MilVali Salon in San Francisco and Mill Valley, California, is arguably the best extensionist in the Bay Area, and perhaps the United States. MilVali Salon has been the A-list rated top salon for extensions in the Bay Area for five years running. Monti applies each extension at the strongest and least damaged part of the hair, the root, using the micro-link method which does not require heat or glue. “I want to give my clients the hair they wish they were born with,” says Monti. “Extensions can be affordable and helpful, done correctly they will not damage your hair.”


Recently, a client with a red and irritated scalp from an unprofessional extensions application sought help from Monti at MilVali in San Francisco (see the ‘before’ picture labeled Amateur Application). The client paid a salon owner who posed as a professional extensionist $1,000 for the application. The extensions were put in wrong — the sections inaccurate, too tight, and the amount of hair in each was not enough to hold the weight of the extension — if left in, they would have caused excessive hair damage, breakage and possibly traction alopecia (hair loss).

What else is wrong with this picture? The tips of the extensions should not stick out of the link and poke the client in the scalp, causing pain and discomfort. The color and the size of the links are not right either — they should match the root color so they are undetectable, and they should be much smaller. The weight distribution between the client’s hair and the extension should be equal. And, to make matters worse, the extensions were placed too high on the head, which makes them visible at all times! Lastly, which you cannot see in the picture, was the haircut. The ends of the extensions were cut so bluntly, the style looked unnatural and choppy.

The picture on the right was taken after Monti removed and replaced the extensions. As you can see, the sections are precise, the links smaller and less detectable because the color matches her roots. There is only one extension per link, the weight distribution is balanced, and breakage is prevented. The extensions lie flat, do no pull or cause pain, nor  are they too tight which can cause irritation to the scalp. Monti placed them lower on the head so now they are invisible. And finally, the client got a beautifully blended haircut.

The question most asked: How much do extensions cost? MilVali charges between $6.00 and $8.50 per extension, depending on the length of the hair. In this case, the service at MilVali would have cost the client $650 versus the $1000 she paid elsewhere. And, MilVali extensions are re-usable for up to one year. Monti and her team offer free consultations to anyone who currently has extensions, or anyone who is thinking about wearing them.  Call MilVali for more information at 415-409-1500, and watch the video: