Pro #1: Long, thick hair in less than a day:
Now the first pro is pretty obvious, and boils down to the fact that hair extensions can give you instantly what would otherwise take years to achieve. Growing long hair takes patience and commitment - believe me, I know! And for some of us, waiting four or more years for a glorious waist-length mane just isn't an option. With hair extensions, you can go from having a pixie cut to super-long tresses in just a few hours' time, while your natural-haired counterparts have little choice but to wait it out.
Con #1: The price:
Again, the most obvious: it's expensive. It depends on how long, how natural-looking and how thick you want your extensions to be, but you can generally expect to pay at least $500 - and that's just the beginning. Superstar Miley Cyrus reportedly paid $24,000 for her latest set of extensions, and New Yorker Brandi Irwin pays more than $46,000 for hers. Irwin says she "can't put a price" on how the extensions make her feel, but when you consider that they need to be replaced every few months, then there's no denying that the costs can become extravagant.
Pro #2: Extensions can provide what won't happen naturally:
Everyone's hair has a "terminal length" at which point it won't grow any further. It's genetically determined and as such, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. So for those women who can't grow their own hair past their shoulder blades, hair extensions can provide for them what nature could not.
Con #2: Extensions frequently look unnatural:
Given that they are, in fact, unnatural, it only makes sense that a lot of the time extensions look less than the real deal. Synthetic hair extensions are particularly prone to looking unnatural, but even the more expensive human hair extensions can look fake as well, especially if they're not applied correctly. Seeing weaves at the scalp, evidence of bonding glue, or clip-ins will further compound the potentially unnatural look of hair extensions.
Pro #3: Hair extensions are becoming a status symbol:
Because good extensions typically come with a hefty price tag, they're used far more often by actresses, models, singers and socialites than they are by your average girl next door. As such they tend to have an image of prestige, but beware: this image is dependent solely on the quality of the extensions themselves. Cheap and nasty extensions will make you look cheap and nasty too, so if you're going to try hair extensions then you're better off going the whole nine yards. Human hair applied in a reputable salon will definitely be more expensive, but most of us would agree that it's a far better option than looking like you couldn't afford any better.
Con #3: They can cause problems for your hair in the future:
Too-tight braiding, scalp-damaging glues, and strand-weakening hair bonds have all been associated with the use of less-than-ideal hair extensions. This can result in physical pain, chemical burns to the scalp, natural hair damage, hair loss, and even some forms of alopecia. This is why it is absolutely imperative for you to choose a reputable salon with experienced and qualified hairdressers to apply your hair extensions. There's just no point in having fabulous hair for a few months if the price is ruined hair for the rest of your days.
It's also worth considering how ethical the providers of your hair extensions are, as a black market trade does exist of animal hair and synthetic hair that is being passed off as "real". Some companies, such as Australia's Great Lengths, make a point of being socially conscious as well: the extensions from Great Lengths are sourced entirely from temples in India, and the company re-invests the proceeds from each transaction into the local community's schools, hospitals and orphanages.
As with anything hair-related, your choices are entirely your own, but the more you can learn about hair extensions in advance, the better off you'll be when it comes time to make a decision. Extensions are not for everyone!!!