Midwest Charm with Anna

Hair Extensions for Dummies

Thank you to T3 Micro for sending such amazing tools to style my hair with! Shop my interchangeable curling trio by clicking HERE

Before the Extensions:

  • This is without a doubt, this most dramatic thing I’ve ever done to my hair! I’ve always been nervous to alter my hair too far from it’s natural state for no particular reason other than, I liked my natural hair! A few things you should know before I start in on all things Hair Extensions:
    • I had my hair cut by the same gal, Angie, most all of my life. My first haircut by someone other than Angie was after college!
    • I have never teased my hair
    • I didn’t know how to curl my own hair until after college
    • I didn’t start highlighting my hair until college and even then, I asked for “whatever looks most natural”
    • I am naturally very blonde like my momma!
  • I’m hoping that what you’ve gathered from that little list is that I am, for the most part, completely hair challenged! My hair is naturally pretty straight and therefore I just never felt the need to learn how to do much to it. That and my mom is so good with hair, she would always attempt whatever fun style I asked of her. She’s a saint!

Going into the Extensions:

  • Prior to the installation of my Laced Hair Extensions, my hair was the longest it had ever been. I liked it but there was just something “blah” about it. Not in an obvious way, but I suppose it was just feeling blah to me. I was bored of my hair but I wasn’t ready to go short. If I had to guess, I would say that sometime within the next two years, I will have much shorter hair. I did have a phase of short hair and I really liked it! So eventually, someday, I will go back to that. In the meantime, I wanted to branch out, stray away from what felt “natural” and do something completely different from what I was used to. This is where the hair Extensions came into play!

Laced Hair Extensions:

  • I called the salon up the street from me that I had been going to on and off since my move to Grand Rapids. I absolutely love it there and the staff is all so nice. I started to inquire about hair extensions and different types when it was brought to my attention that Anna, a stylist at Cheeky Strut, had just been certified in Laced Hair Extensions. I was super intrigued from what I was told regarding the process and immediately scheduled a consultation.

What to Expect at the Consultation:

  • At the consultation, I got to sit down with Anna (and her assistant Summer) to discuss any and all questions I had. They ranged from, will this damage my hair? to how do I shower with them? and anywhere and everywhere in between. As a total hair control freak (hence why I liked to just keep it looking pretty natural) I had about 1,000 questions. Once I had asked everything I could possibly think of, I decided that Laced Hair Extensions were for me and definitely something I wanted to try! From there, Anna (stylist Anna, not me!) looked at my hair, gave me an idea of how many “rows” she thought we should do and picked out a color that would best blend with my current color.
  • The consultation was quick and easy, even fun, and left me wishing we could just do the extensions right then and there because I was so excited! I’d say all in all I was in there for about 20 minutes and keep in mind, I had a LOT of questions!

Appointment Day:

  • We had so many delays in my actual appointment because we live in Michigan and we kept having HUGE snow blizzards resulting in snow days for many offices and businesses. It was wild. Needless to say, when my appointment finally rolled around, I felt like it was Christmas Eve!
  • The appointment itself was a biggie. It took about 4 hours from start to finish. Keep in mind, this for me will be a once a year type deal. All other appointments from here on out will be maintenance rather than installation. The installation is the hardest part!
  • I really shouldn’t even be the one saying “hardest part” because for me, it was easy. I sat relaxed, with coffee in hand, while Anna went to town with the help of her assistant, Summer. I didn’t lift a finger! It was relaxing and enjoyable and the installation does not hurt one tiny bit.

See for Yourself:

  • I pieced together a few clips from my appointment to show you a little peek into the installation process. Watch the video below to see for yourself!

Now That They’re In:

  • I will be very honest, the first night I had them in, about 4 hours after my appointment, I started to think, “oh no! What did I do!” Don’t be scared though, keep reading! I was only nervous because it felt like I had a super tight pony tail in that I couldn’t take out. Anna had warned me that I might be a little sore but I have a sensitive scalp so I wasn’t ready for it to bother me as much as I did. Two Advil and I slept through the night, no problem. To say they hurt wouldn’t be accurate. It was more so that I was uncomfortable. A tight pony tail that’s stuck in your hair permanently really is my best analogy. This feeling lasted for about 4 days and then slowly faded away. It took me a full week to “not notice them” anymore. I’d say that’s on the long end of things compared to most girls, but again, I have a sensitive scalp so I think that’s why it took me so long to adjust. Also keep in mind, these were my first ever extensions of this sort so I was completely new to this whole thing. (My friends in college used to say that my sisters and I had virgin hair hahah)
  • Sleeping did not hurt at all! Again, I want to be honest, I definitely noticed they were there for the first week-ish, but never once did they hurt to lay on. I learned that sleeping in a braid worked best for me. My hair is so long I kept getting tangled in it when I thrashed around at night (I’m an active sleeper hahahah) so a loose braid works best.
  • I wash my hair about 3 times a week. Anna had told me that if I was going to wash my hair less, it would be important for me to shampoo/condition more than once when I was in the shower. Another tip she gave, flip your hair upside down and wash it like that to thoroughly get the underside. That really helps since I have so much hair!
  • I style my hair after I wash it and it without fail lasts until the next wash! This is a huge benefit to having hair extensions. I style my hair so much less than I used to.
  • Keep in mind, hair can be as long or as short as you want. Anna cuts the extensions to your liking once they are “installed”

What I Wasn’t Prepared for:

  • Prior to meeting with Anna, I hadn’t even taken into consideration that I would need to update all of my hair “products”. Everything from hair ties to hairbrushes.
  • It’s important to use good products with hair extensions to keep them nice. Fortunately for me, I am super paranoid about using nice hair products so I have always used hair salon shampoo’s and conditioners. I am currently using Paul Mitchell and I’ve been using it for quite a while now. I love it!
  • Next to products that actually go in your hair, you have to consider products you will use to tame your hair!
    • Boars bristle hairbrush for the roots of your hair. This allows you to brush without ripping out your extensions.
    • Teasing comb for brushing right up close to the extension rows
    • Scrunchies to tie up your hair without kinking it
    • Bigger hair ties to be able to wrap around the now thicker hair you have!
    • Bigger hair clips
    • Shower cap (if you want to avoid dealing with your hair every time you shower)
    • Wet brush – I still use my wet brush to brush through the ends of my hair.
      • So essentially, I use two hair brushes every time I brush my hair. I use the boars bristle brush up top and the wet brush for my ends.
      • It’s important to keep your hair brushed to avoid any irreversible tangles!

Click below to shop my products

In Sum:

  • I absolutely love my Laced Hair Extensions!
  • My experience with Anna at Cheeky Strut Salon was one for the books. I look forward to working together in the future as I go in to have my rows “pushed up” aka the maintenance I talked about every 7-8 weeks! For me, I am going to go every 8 weeks.
  • Hair extensions are expensive, yes. With that said, I did the math and calculated what I would spend on eyelash extensions for a year vs what I will spend on hair extensions over the course of a year. All in all, hair came out to be less! I suppose for me, it came down to will it be worth it? Prior to getting them, I wouldn’t have been able to answer that. Now that I have them, my answer is YES!
    • I can’t give you the exact price because that will completely depend on your hair. Anna will be able to give you an idea if you’re local and schedule a hair consultation.
    • What I can tell you is that the biggest cost is in the hair itself. Once you have the hair, you won’t be paying that big “up front cost” again for about a year, depending on how well you maintain it. For me, I am planning to use the hair I have for at least a year, making sure to give it the 8 week maintenance appointments it needs to stay “nice”.
  • I can still wear my hair in a pony/bun! A lot of people ask about this and I can tell you from experience, all hairstyles I once did are still very possible.

Amazing News:

  • If you’re somewhat local to GR or simply want to travel for appointments, mention me, Anna Rittenhouse, for $100 off of your extensions! This is only valid if you schedule with Anna Gavin at Cheeky Strut Salon.
  • If you have any questions or think of something that I forgot to cover, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!
  • As a hair dummy, I loved sharing my experience with you! Easily the most fun thing I’ve done to my “look” in a long time and I am really loving the change!


  • For hair pictures and contact information, follow:
    • Anna Gavin @annagavinstylist
    • Cheeky Strut Salon @cheekystrut
    • (Me) Anna Rittenhouse @Anna_Rittenhouse

Have a great week, all!

Xoxo, Anna

2 thoughts on “Hair Extensions for Dummies”

  1. Hi Anna,
    This is great! I know you said you can still do all hairstyles, but I was wondering how it looks when you do a ponytail. Can you see the extensions when you put your hair up?

    1. Hi there!

      Thank you so much! You can’t see them at all. I actually am wearing a high pony with my extensions IN in all of my most recent bathing suit “mirror pics” over on instagram (@anna_rittenhouse)! I haven’t taken many pictures with it up both those show a throw and go casual pony and there aren’t any extensions in sight! (I also have a swim highlight that shows “video segments” of the hair. Obviously the point was to show the bathings suits but it’ll work two fold in this case hehe!) I hope that helps!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *