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If you find yourself coveting Tyra Bank's long fiery auburn locks from her America's Next Top Model photo shoot, you have three choices when it comes to getting them yourself.
One- Don't cut your hair for a while. Keep all drying styling products out of it. Either leave it natural or braid it (remember: no drying products!) to keep it out of your face. Keep those braids loose, pulling too hard tends to break hair when it doesn't pull it out by the roots. No relaxers either - while they may make your hair look a little longer now, they tend to damage hair to the point that they break long before they get to truly long lengths. Once your hair has grown to the appropriate length, then you can go to the cosmetologist, get your relaxer and after an appropriate amount of time your auburn color. Remember to cross your fingers and say your prayers that these processes don't ruin your hair. Finally, run some conditioning molding product through the hair and use a large barrel curling iron all over. Assuming you've watched your diet and worked out like crazy for the last ten to twenty years, you are now ready to face the cameras. Too bad you are now too old to audition for ANTM.
Two- Take the most common route and get extensions. Celebrities like Tyra can afford high quality extensions that are actually bonded to their natural hair. These are too long for regular glue to hold effectively, so if you don't have the dough for bonded extensions, go the braid and sew route. This type of extension is nothing new and is less damaging to your real hair than either of the other two types. For a natural look, use 100 percent human hair. You will want to take the extensions to your colorist so she can either color the extensions and your hair at the same time, or if you've managed to find super long extensions in just the right color, she can match your hair to them. Expect to spend a good amount of time at the colorist; she will need time to get test strands just right before tackling your natural hair.
Three- Do it the easy way and buy a wig. This is the easiest way to get great long locks. You can go to a quality wig shop and select a super long wig in either a synthetic or natural human hair. Before deciding human hair is best, consider that the hair in this case is not permanently or semi-permanently attached to your own so the need to blend is not as great. Human hair is more expensive but you can dye it. If you find a synthetic in the right cut and color, it will probably hold the style better and the color indefinitely . Both can be trimmed and today's synthetics are not nearly as obvious as they once were. Take your time and try on both kinds at the shop. Before you leave with your purchase, have the storekeeper advise you on the best ways to attach your wig and keep it solidly on your head. You don't want the giant fan to blow your great Tyra hair away right in the middle of your audition!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|