The Editorialist March 23, 2023



How to Get Longer, Fuller-Looking Hair in Less Than 5 Minutes (Yes, Way)


You like our hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it.

If your hair lacks length and volume, you don't have to go through life corralling thin, limp locks into a sad-looking pony. The solution: Clip-in hair extensions. They sound easy enough—clipping in extra hair to give your existing strands some much-needed oomph, but are they too good to be true? Do they look natural? And more importantly, will they fall out after a few hours of wear? Don’t worry—we’re here to let you know that clip-ins are the key to instant glam, and yes, they really are that easy to use. As celebrity hairstylist, Bradley Leake tells us, “I love clip-in extensions because they allow me to quickly and easily change up my clients’ length, add volume, and change their hairstyle with minimal commitment.”

Even better: Unlike traditional extensions, you don’t need to go to a salon to reap the benefits. There are plenty of easy-to-use options available to try from the comfort of your home. With styles ranging from natural hair to synthetic or a mix of both, choosing the best clip-in extensions all comes down to your hair type and desired look. Not sure where to start? Ahead, with the help of celebrity hairstylists, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about clip-in hair extensions, how to use them, and the best options to help you achieve the Ariana Grande–level hair of your dreams.

What Are Clip-In Hair Extensions?

For those new to the extension game, clip-in extensions are essentially super-thin cloth strips featuring individual wefts (aka a collection of hair strands) that are attached to clips, which can be snapped onto your hair near your scalp. If you’re worried that the clips will show and expose your length-defying secret, fear not. The base of each weft is thin, allowing it to lay flat and undetected against your head, and is made with silicone grips to help keep it in place. In other words, feel free to do cartwheels, bop your head to your favorite song, or twirl your hair like Beyoncé—if applied correctly, your extensions should stay put. Clip-ins also come in varying lengths (typically 12-, 16-, or 20-inches), so you can customize them depending on your mood.

Do Clip-In Hair Extensions Damage Hair?

Yes and no. Unlike professional extensions, clip-in extensions are damage-free. Because you simply clip them into your hair, they are easy to pop in and out and do not stick to any of your natural strands. However, as easy and low-maintenance as they are, you still have to use them in moderation. For example, you should never sleep with the extensions in or wear them for long periods of time because they will begin to pull on your hair, thereby adding stress to the roots and contributing to breakage. Remember, they are for temporary styles only.

How to Use Clip-In Extensions


Ensure they blend with your natural hair.

The first rule of thumb: Choose a clip-in that blends with your current hair color. “Make sure to match the extension color to the mid-ends of your hair,” advises Leake. “This will lead to a perfect color match since the extensions will be underneath your own hair and meet at the ends.”

Shelly Aguirre, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, explains that it's also important to consider the quality of your extensions as, "the cheaper versions will have a harder time matching the actual texture of human hair." In that case, experts agree that choosing clip-in extensions made out of natural human hair (as opposed to synthetic hair) is the way to go. Natural hair looks more seamless, and the texture better matches your existing strands. Also, it won’t melt when exposed to styling tools like curling irons or hair dryers. That said, not all-natural hair extensions are created equal. You want to choose an option made out of Remy hair, which is considered the finest quality of human hair because the cuticles are kept intact and aligned in one direction. This alignment helps the hair to look smooth, shiny, and remain tangle-free.

Add some grip.

Clip-ins are not hard to apply, but they do take a bit of practice. Aguirre recommends lightly backcombing your hair and adding a small amount of hairspray to the roots. “This will help create a nice cushion to attach the clip,” she says. From there, section off hair in two-inch layers and (starting from the back of your head) apply the clips at the roots—you’ll want to repeat this with every other layer. For more guidance, check out this handy tutorial video from Luxy Hair, below.

Style with confidence.

The great thing about clip-in hair extensions is that you can style them any way you want—in a bun, ponytail, braid, or even curled—the options are endless. And because they do not accumulate natural oils from the scalp like our own hair, they don't need to be washed as often—only if there is too much product build-up or they start to become unmanageable. The next time you see your stylist at the salon, take your clip-ins with you to get them framed or trimmed to suit your existing cut for a more seamless blend with your natural hair.

Now you’re ready to change up your look. Scroll ahead for our list of the best clip-in hair extensions.

Shop the Best Clip-In Hair Extensions

Best for Volume: Barely Xtensions 3-in-1 Hair Wrap

Instantly add fullness and body to fine or thinning hair with Barely Xtensions' 3-in-1 Hair Wrap. This one-piece extension features a  transparent and adjustable band that fits securely to your scalp. The best part? You can change your hair color each day by detaching a layer from the band.

Best for Easy Installation: Donna Bella 14" Clip-In Straight Human Hair Extensions

Achieve luscious length in a matter of minutes. The Donna Bella Hair Extension is for all—especially beginners—with its clip-in process that makes for stress-free installation. They're made with high-quality human hair for long-lasting wear and mimic your hair's natural fall.

Best Braided Extensions: Supreme Hair Box Braids 24 Inch Crochet Hair

The Supreme Hair Box Braids help you sport this super-cool, trending hairstyle. They're made of innovative fibers that can withstand high temperatures and water, and come in many colors to suit a variety of personal styles.

Best Seamless: Hidden Crown Extensions

Hidden Crown’s Seamless Crown Clip-Ins are the go-to extensions for celebrities looking to achieve long, luscious strands (the Kardashians are reportedly huge fans). Available in 12, 16, and 20-inch lengths, these seamless clip-ins are ultra-discreet, lightweight, lay flatter than traditional ones, and are designed to cover your entire head of hair. They also come in 27 color options and have thick (as opposed to tapered) ends, giving them a more natural look.

Best Crochet Style: Supreme Hair Blowout Twist 18 Inch Crochet Hair

These are a hybrid between a twist and a wave, giving your mane a voluminous wave-like appearance that’s appealing and edgy. This crochet braiding pattern is made of synthetic fiber that comes in solid and two-tone color mixes.

Best for Ponytails: Luxy Hair Ponytail Clip-In

Sway your ponytail from side to side like Ariana Grande with this clip-in from Luxy Hair. Made with 100 percent Remy hair, this clip-in comes with a velcro base, which adheres together to secure the ponytail to your hair. It also comes with a longer strand of extensions that you can use to wrap around the ponytail’s base to ensure a seamless finish. Most importantly, it is a really quick way to instantly add length and volume to your strands (as well as your updos).

Best for a Straight Hair Ponytail: Barely Xtensions Ponytail

With Barely Xtensions' Ponytail, all it takes is one piece to achieve a Hollywood-inspired look. Start by making a ponytail with your hair using a hair tie. Then insert the ponytail comb into your hair above your hair tie and wrap the piece around tightly. Finally, use the attached hair piece to wrap around for an undetectable finish.

Best for Long Hair: RPZL Clip-In Hair Extensions

If you’re looking for Kate Middleton blowout-worthy hair (aren’t we all?), these clip-ins are for you. Available in up to 30 inches, these extensions are made with 100 percent virgin Remy hair and blend seamlessly, giving you an ultra-long, voluminous style. Users love them thanks to their natural feel and high-quality range of colors.

Best for a Curly Hair Ponytail: True+Pure Texture Jasmine Coil Ponytail

True+Pure Texture's Jasmine Coil Ponytail allows you to add a ponytail without commitment or spending time in the salon. Its undetectable clip-in features an easy drawstring function with delicate combs for secure attachment. Reviewers mentioned they love how it can be easily colored or dyed. 

Best for Natural and Textured Hair: Kinkistry Kurlgenics Clip-Ins

Your kinks and curls will blend in seamlessly with these Kinkistry clip-ins. Available in seven different textures, including corkscrew curls, four a/b coils, and four b/c coils, these clip-ins will give you that “your hair but better” look. Want to change it up? These DIY extensions can also be dyed, straightened, braided, twisted, and Bantu knotted—talk about versatility.

Best for Bangs: Bellami Hair Cleopatra Clip-In Bangs

Want Dakota Johnson-like curtain bangs without actually making the cut? Say hello to these clip-ins from Bellami Hair. They arrive out of the box in one length, which you can then cut to suit your face and existing style. Simply take them to your stylist (or DIY if you dare) for a trim, and you’ll have made-for-you bangs that you can easily pop on and off whenever you want.

Best for Thick Hair: The Hair Shop Pro 7 Clip-In® Set

If you have naturally thick hair, you’ll need thick extensions in order to add length that matches your enviable volume. These clip-ins from The Hair Shop are ideal because they are made with 100 percent Remy hair and come with six or seven pieces per set. They're also available in straight and wavy textures and are an excellent choice for everyday use or special occasions.

Best for Thin Hair: Cashmere Hair Clip-In Hair Extensions

Transform your thin hair into ample locks with these clip-ins from Cashmere Hair. These extensions pair small clips with a unique silicone strip to keep them in place (even on the thinnest of strands)—no teasing required. The hair extensions are also double drawn, meaning they’re the same thickness from root to tip, ensuring a full, natural look.

Best for Buns: Luxy Hair Clip-In Bun

The secret to a messy bun that looks stylish, not sloppy, lies with these easy clip-ins made with 100 percent Remy hair. Clip them into your existing bun and tighten with the attached drawstring until it’s nice and snug. Secure the bun with bobby pins (included) by sliding them into your existing hair, and just like that, your too-cool-to-care look is complete.

Best for Beginners: Hidden Crown Halo Extensions

Although not technically a clip-in, we'd be remiss not to include these incredibly easy extensions (which are a celeb favorite). Using an undetectable wire that sits on top of the head, these extensions use the natural weight of your hair to hold the wire securely in place. Think of it like a crown (full of luxurious hair) that gets blended in with your existing mane. The result? Fuller, thicker-looking strands fit for a queen, sans clips.

Best for Curly Hair: Better Length Curly Clip-In Set

Run your Denman brush through these curly clip-ins that blend effortlessly into your hair for a bouncy look. With so many hair texture options (in eight distinctive curl types) available, it is impossible not to find your perfect match. If you don’t know how to choose, you can purchase a sample pack of stands for just five dollars to ensure that you get the right shade.