'I tried the world's "most natural-looking" hair extensions. Here's my honest review.'

Mamamia’s Tried and Tested series is your review of the latest to hit our desks in beauty, health and wellness. You won’t find any #sponsored content here, just honest, relatable and independent advice. This week, Senior Lifestyle Writer Charlotte Begg reviews weft hair extensions. 

I've always loved the idea of having mermaid hair. You know, effortless, beachy waves and serious length, sans swimming abilities?

But I'm really good at damaging mine, so that's never been an option. Bleaching it, straightening it, curling it, you name it, I've done it.

For almost eight years, I changed my hair constantly. I would go from brown to blonde and back again, while using hot tools throughout. 

Although I'm repairing it now (no more bleach and fewer hot tools), it's a slow process to achieve that long hair I'm after.

Side note... how to be a woman in 2023. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Last month, I was invited to trial weft hair extensions with celebrity hair extension expert Carla Lawson, and I couldn't say yes fast enough.


Here's everything you need to know about them, including my honest review.

What are the different types of hair extensions?

Let's start with the basics.

There are various different types of hair extensions and choosing the right ones for you comes down to your hair, the cost and personal preference.

The main options include tape-in extensions, pre-bonded extensions and weft extensions - the latter being what I got.

So, what exactly are weft hair extensions?

"A weft is basically a curtain of hair that integrates with the natural hair to provide additional volume or length," Carla told Mamamia.

Weft hair extensions can look more natural than other options on the market because of how the hair is evenly distributed across the weft, and how and where the weft is installed.

Carla and her team source genuine virgin hair from donors in raw, braid form. They then hand make the wefts at their Melbourne production facility and colour them in the salon if required.

Virgin hair before becoming a weft. Wild, huh? Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


How much do weft hair extensions cost?

Now, onto the nitty-gritty.

"Costs start from around $1,200 and vary greatly based on individual requirements," Carla said, noting that's because of how rare unprocessed hair is.

"Length, quantity of hair needed and colour requirements are quoted for upon consultation."

Good quality weft hair extensions last for two to three years if maintained correctly.

Are hair extensions damaging?

As someone with chronically dry hair, this was my first question.

"Extensions, if installed and maintained correctly, are not damaging to the natural hair," Carla told us.

Now you know how they work, here's my honest review on weft hair extensions.


Weft hair extensions, reviewed.

Before my appointment to get the mermaid hair of my dreams, I had an initial consultation with Carla to discuss what we'd do to my hair.

Although my hair is growing, there's breakage and colour left over from the last time I dyed it in 2022.

Damaged. Dead. Split ends up the wazoo. Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


We talked about adding length by installing two wefts (you can do more or less than that), and dying the extensions and a bit of my hair to match.

While with me in Sydney, Carla FaceTimed her colour director, Mel, who would work on colour-matching the extensions to my hair before I flew down to Melbourne to get them installed.

My weft. Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


A few weeks later, I went to Carla Lawson Studio in Port Melbourne, where Mel had my extensions (perfectly coloured, might I add) ready to install.

Weft extensions are installed using sections of the natural hair to create a "track", which the weft is then sewn on to with a curved needle and thread. 

The technique is designed to be gentle on natural hair, and didn't hurt in the slightest. Both wefts were sewn in around the crown of my head, one near the top of my head and the other around my temple. 

They just felt a little tight for a few days after.

As the weft is not folded then stitched in like other hair extensions, it doesn't look bulky and is easy to conceal.

"It's the best hair I've ever worked with," Mel told me while I was sitting in the chair.

Maintenance is generally every four to six weeks, depending on your hair. 

The stylist will remove them, move them up and sew back into fresh hair.

The "track" being woven in. Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


After applying the wefts, we added some highlights to the front of my hair and washed it. 

As hair extensions aren't attached to a head, they don't produce the vital oils our hair does. So it's really important to use sulfate- and alcohol-free products to maintain its health post-application.

Carla and her team strongly recommend Oribe, which they source from premium hair care destination Rogue Beauty, as their products provide intense hydration and heat protection. Their favourites for new clients are the Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner and Nourishing Oil.


They also suggest everyone who gets extensions keeps their heat tools below 200 degrees and moving through the hair.

After a wash and blow-dry, Mel cut the extensions, adding some layers to make them look naturally blended with my own hair, and curled it.

I. Am. A. Mermaid.

Ariel? Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


I've had the extensions in for four weeks now and have been loving it.

People had no idea it wasn't just my own hair when I first showed up with it. (Guys... pls, it's significantly longer?)

And it's less maintenance than I assumed it would be - I'm washing it less and rarely using heat tools.

Mel suggested I braid my hair every evening, and I find if I do that loosely, I'll wake up with waves without applying heat. 

If I do need to use my straightener to fix up any areas, I use a heat protectant and make sure I don't go over the same strands twice. 

I also wash my hair twice a week using these bad boys:

The Oribe products I have on rotation. Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.


The only downside is that, because the tracks sit just above my ears, I struggle to put my hair up any higher than that, so no more high pony or slick bun.

But I can flick my mermaid hair and get over that.

And if I ever want to take them out, I can see a stylist (Salon HER works with Carla's hair extensions here in Sydney) to get them removed - and sewn back in later.


Wanna hear more from Charlotte? Follow her on Instagram.

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Have you tried weft hair extensions? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.

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