Rethinking the length of your locks? It might be time to speed up the process and fake it ‘til you grow it with the help of Great Length hair extensions
Red carpet season never ceases to amaze as celebrities walk down one with a sharp bob cut and the next with a glossy mane of waist-length hair. Hollywood starlets from Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow to Celine Dion all share the same secret: hair extensions. With the new year on the way there’s never been a better time to try out a new style. Whether you opted for the chop in 2021 or, like many, struggle to grow out your hair due to age, genetics, health, hormones and even stress, your answer to lengthy locks is just a salon trip away.
It’s no surprise that hair is big business. Arizton, a market research group based in the USA, estimates that the global hair extensions and wigs market will be worth over Dhs36 billion by 2023. This industry falls into two categories – synthetic and natural. Both come with pros and cons, however for those looking for quality that doesn’t pollute the environment, natural is the clear winner. Although cheaper and more versatile, synthetic hair is created from petrochemical-derived materials like acrylic, polyester and PVC. Unlike human hair extensions, they are not biodegradable, meaning they will inevitably end up in landfill. With natural hair, the apparent front runner, what turns many people off are the issues surrounding natural hair harvesting. “Great Lengths is based on ethicality,” begins hair extension specialist Julie Powell, founder of Great Lengths Middle East and a pioneer in quality hair extensions in the region for the past 25 years. “We are the only company on the ground in India who collect the hair immediately at source,” she says of the religious ritual known as tonsuring, which sees hair voluntarily sacrificed and donated at temples across the country.
Great Lengths contributes to the temple when purchasing the hair, ensuring that the proceeds support local charitable causes. In addition, they only source 100% virgin (chemically untreated) Remy hair. Remy means that the integrity of the cuticle is protected, ensuring the hair roots are aligned. As a result there’s no tangling or matting and the hair remains smooth, shiny and healthy – essential for maintaining a natural look in the long term. “At every step of the production process, the integrity of the natural hair is respected,” says Powell. The hair is then processed in Italy, which can take up to six months. Except for a few pieces of specialist machinery, almost every step is done by hand to ensure quality. When it comes to colour, the method is gentle, respecting the virgin nature of the hair. “Technicians blend colours to create the perfect colour match, in the same way an artist works with a palette,” notes Powell.
Great Lengths Middle East’s team of specialists are celebrating the salon’s 25th anniversary. Many have been with the brand for anywhere between 12 and 21 years, a testament to the quality of extensions they work with. Transforming the hair of thousands of clients in the region, the 465 square metre space located on Al Wasl Road in Dubai’s Jumeirah district features state of the art facilities, including VIP suites. The experience begins with a one-on-one consultation. Next, the hair is custom blended and attached. Whereas cheap hair extensions are applied with glue which can be damaging to natural hair, this style of extensions uses a pre-bonded keratin tip. “Great Lengths’ unique application systems include an ultra-sonic cold attachment, heat frequency hot application and tape-in hair,” says Powell.
With technology being updated constantly, the bonds are becoming smaller and smaller for a more natural look. Application can take a few hours, with the results lasting for three to six months, depending on the natural hair growth rate. For those looking for quick results, tape extensions are a good option. Taking around 25 minutes to apply, they last anywhere from four to eight weeks. Once applied, both types of extensions can be washed, brushed, and styled as you would your own hair. “Almost anyone with hair can extend or volumise it,” concludes Powell, bringing hope to millions of women around the world.
Great Lengths, Al Wasl Road, Dubai. Book Now
- Words by Alexandra Venison