Thinking About Getting Hair Extensions? Read This First!



2-sized=tonyodisho.gracewillis-4Extensions have come a long way from the faux-Barbie hair of yesteryear. From bonds to beads, there are now plenty of quality options to consider, but we recently discovered a favorite that was developed by a Chicago local — which makes us love it even more!

Tony Odisho, stylist and owner of Exsalonce Salon and Day Spa in Roscoe Village, created a line of express "tape" hair extensions after his own namesake after seeing a void in the marketplace — but this is no overnight success story. After years of research and development, Odisho was finally able to produce a product that is so good, even other salons across the states are using it on their clients (only after being fully trained by Odisho and his team, of course).

So, before slapping down some serious cash (and time!), read our Q&A with the faux-hair-king himself. We have a feeling you'll be sporting magically longer locks in no time.

When did you first start thinking about developing your own line of hair extensions?
"In 2001, I became U.S. distributor for a very well-known Italian extensions manufacturer. After years of building connections with stylists, I was able to gain feedback on what the market was lacking, so I developed Tony Odisho Extensions as a company developed for stylists, by a stylist."

What was the development process like?
"We spent two years developing and re-developing our Express extensions — it's an ongoing process. We decided we would only use ethically sourced Indian temple hair, which is of the highest quality and donated voluntarily. Our keratin tape was developed using a polyflex technology that moves with the hair to prevent damage and tangling."

What are the advantages to having tape extensions versus bonds or other methods?
"Tape extensions are much quicker to apply and are reusable. Keratin tape is a great alternative for women who simply do not like fusion for various reasons, or it can be used in conjunction with traditional strand-by-strand application. Tape gives the hair a more solid appearance, whereas some women find that fusion alone has a more piecey look."

What makes your tape extensions superior to others on the market?
"Our hair is 100% remy, meaning the cuticle faces in the same direction and is tangle-free. We only use ethically sourced hair from Indian temples that has never been colored, permed, or chemically treated in any way. We have a patented double-pigmentation process for long lasting, vibrant color. We use a high-quality polyflex keratin tape that is long lasting and non-damaging. Many of my colleagues using other brands complained of thick visible wefts, difficulty of removal, and dissatisfaction with the use of surgical glue adhesives. We took this information and used it to create a superior product for stylists and their clients."

What's the application process like, and how long does it take?
"Depending on the look you want to achieve, the application time only takes 15 to 45 minutes. This is perfect for busy women who can't afford to be at the salon all day. The natural hair is 'sandwiched' between the tape extensions, which adhere to each other, rather than to your own hair. The process requires no heat, lasts for two months, and can be reapplied two more times!"

How should one care for their extensions?
"The Tony Odisho Extensions Ostia Collection is a full line of hair care products that I developed specifically to maintain and extend the life of hair extensions. The products are alcohol-, sulfate-, sodium chloride-, and paraben-free, so they are extremely gentle on both the extensions and on your natural hair. It is also important to use a mixed-bristle brush made for extensions (ours is on Amazon.com for $42), and to brush twice a day."

What's it going to cost us for such lovely locks?
"Express tape extensions are very affordable, as our goal is to give every woman the opportunity to feel beautiful. Partial application generally starts at about $110. You can call a salon near you (find one by visiting our website, to schedule a consultation. Your stylist will be able to determine your exact cost based upon your needs."

For more information, visit the Tony Odisho website.

Photo: Courtesy of Grace Willis