If the S/S '11 catwalks are anything to go by, do-or-die Rapunzel hair is all the rage this season. From sleek and straight at Roberto Cavalli to bold and beachy at Thakoon, our current hairspiration is voluminous, waist-skimming tresses that’d put Blake Lively to shame. But for those of us who aren’t tower-trapped princesses or follicularly blessed with goddess-like locks, it’ll take months, maybe even years, of growing... Or will it?
I, for one, need to add a serious amount of footage to achieve that long-locked look - sadly, I seem to have half the follicles of the average human - and seeing as miracle supplements have failed to transform me into a full-haired glamazon, extensions are the way to go. Besides, growing your own hair is so last season, dahlings. But how to end up with a seamless, glossy finish without looking like I’ve got Britney Spears’ old weave stapled to my head? >gulp<
The answer is Tatiana Karelina. The mane maestro is behind Tatiana Hair Extensions, one of the most recognised names in the hair extension industry, which offers a luxury bespoke service. Hers is the first salon in the UK to break away from the messy practice of using glue, which causes serious scalp issues. Instead, Tatiana uses the revolutionary Micro-Ring technique. Intrigued? You should be.
When I arrive at Tatiana's cosy boutique salon in Kensington, London, the bubbly blonde reassures me that this is not only the most undetectable method but the delicate procedure ensures the hair isn’t damaged. She talks me through each step, showing me the copper rings that come in different colours and sizes and are clamped into the hair. Er, clamped? ‘Yes, but each ring is covered in plastic for a comfortable cushion effect,’ she explains. ‘I promise there'll be no pain!’
Taking her word for it, I’m ushered over to a brimming wardrobe that's home to every kind of hair imaginable - blonde to black, straight to curly, fine to thick - it's like a My Little Pony paradise! Carefully selecting the most suitable wefts, it's clear Tatiana's passion is sourcing the finest quality of hair. 'I use only natural virgin hair,' she reveals, 'which I carefully choose myself by making up to eight trips a year to Russia.' By doing this, she can ensure the hair is sourced ethically. In fact, you may recognise the extension expert from BBC3 documentary Whose Hair Is It Anyway? which saw her join singer Jamelia to disperse rumours of hair exploitation.
'How about we do a dip-dye?' Tatiana excitedly asks holding up a shiny blonde lock. With trendsetting types like Sarah Jessica Parker, Drew Barrymore and Rachel Bilson sporting lighter ends, dip-dying is the perfect way to look sun-kissed this summer and with an extra few inches, there's no need to bleach my real hair. Sold! And with that, the locks are whisked away to be coloured.
So to the science bit. With Tatiana and her assistant weaving their magic (guffaw!) for over two hours, fine strands of extensions are attached to small sections of natural hair at the root using the copper rings. They’re secured using pliers (uh-ha) but, she was right, the whole procedure is surprisingly wince-free. To ensure my newly lustrous locks look as natural as possible, the ends are trimmed and given the once over with a pair of GHDs. Watch the action below -
And that, children, is how Rapunzels are made. Now for the before and after shots (drum roll please...)
Do you like?? Before I leave, Tatiana fills me in on the aftercare – normal shampoo, and conditioner on the tips only – and sends me off with a special soft bristle brush to keep my new hair silky smooth.
It took a couple of days to get used to the extra weight and I’ve added 30 minutes to my morning routine (seriously, that is a LOT of hair to blowdry) but two weeks after my Goldie Locks transformation, my hair feels surprisingly comfy and is still luscious.
The extensions are due to come out in 3-4 months so until then, I’m totally, unashamedly loving swishing thick, albeit faux, hair around town. In fact, I may have whipped my hair back and forth a few times whilst writing this. Ahem.
For your chance to get luscious on-trend hair, visit www.tatianahairextensions.co.uk or call 0207 937 1989; prices start at £300.
by Jessica Vince