People have been wearing hair extensions and wigs for centuries. Amazingly, 70 extensions were uncovered still intact on the skeleton of an ancient Egyptian woman in 2014. Her stylist deserves a posthumous award, in our opinion.
Traditionally, beauty supply stores have catered to women with straighter, finer and blonder hair, providing an endless array of synthetic and human hair pieces. Thankfully, women with thicker, curlier and coarser textures have gotten access to more alternatives as the natural hair extension market started to boom within the last five years, according to Heat Free Hair Movement founder and salon owner Ngozi Opara.
"It's really a reflection of the evolution of black hair care," she told HuffPost Style. "More African American women have embraced their natural hair texture than I have ever seen before. I think having extensions to provide options for protection and versatility for our textures is a part of that movement and why creating Heat Free Hair was so important to me."
Curl Sistas co-creator Joy Adaeze could relate firsthand to customer demands. She told us, "When I first went natural, I big chopped since my relaxed hair was damaged with lots of breakage. I'd never had short hair in my life so that was a big change. I tried to find hair that would match my thick 4C texture (so I could do protective styles) and came up empty handed. This is why I am most proud of Curl Sistas. We are giving women options that are true to who they are."
If you're part of the growing numbers of people interested in trying out natural hair extensions and wigs, here are some brands that are helping turn heads.
A favorite among celebrity hairstylists and their clients for its seamless blending, Heat Free Hair is 100 percent virgin human hair (aka hair that hasn't been permed, dyed or straightened) that can be installed as a partial or full head sew-in, wigs or clip-ins.
UK blogger Natural Belle put us on to this international fave she wears in so many stylish ways, including to add fullness to her bangs. Kurly Klips can be dyed or straightened to blend in with your natural hair, and their spirals collection has three options of loose waves that are to die for.
Haute Kinky Hair
Like the name suggests, this hair extensions brand is big on texture. But what really makes it stand out is its full head hair piece that comes in a natural-looking shade of gray.
King Me Hair boasts an impressive lineup of natural hair extensions specifically created for braiding. They're great for making fabulous updos like the one pictured above on fashion and beauty blogger Jessica Pettaway.
If the thought of clip-in hair extensions is intimidating to you, we recommend easing your way in with Curl Sistas. Co-creator Joy Adaeze makes going from a teeny weeny Afro to a big body 'do in minutes look super easy.
It's hard to get bored if you're sporting a hair piece by Fingercomber. This brand has an endless amount of extensions and wigs that appeal to the naturally curly girl who loves textured curls as well as voluminous blowout.