Today I got NBR ( Natural Beaded Row) hair extensions by Mariah at Pampered and Pretty Salon, and I couldn't be more thrilled! Thyroid and autoimmune disease + 2 babies/postpartum hair loss put a real hurting on my natural hair. What used to be a natural long, thick mane had slowly turned into thin, brittle and broken straw. So much to the point,I just knew I would never have long, thick, beautiful hair again, so I went almost full Britney Spears a couple of years ago with a pixie cut....so cute on other people, but NEVER AGAIN. I had tried tape in extensions once but they just weren't for me, so I had come to terms of a life of scraggly, thin hair.
But when Mariah, a JZ Styles hair educated & certified NBR extension stylist, with Pampered and Pretty Salon, here in Charleston, SC approached me about a new-ish hair extension style called NBR (natural beaded row) that was creeping its way over the West coast, I couldn't wait to know, and the more I learned I was like... GIRL, YAS.
What is NBR and Why choose NBR over traditional extensions ?
Mariah: Natural Beaded Row extensions are a sew in method where multiple beaded connections are sewn close to the scalp.There is no sticky residue from tape/glue involved in this method and the biggest difference is you are able to add more hair with less tension, so its not as stressing or damaging to the hair follicle. Also, on average a traditional install can last 5 + hours, whereas NBR initial install averages around 3.
Who is an NBR hair extension candidate?
Mariah : Anyone who wants to add density, length or color to their hair! These are a great way to add color without damaging hair ie. adding blonde to darker hair and having it blended and act as highlights.
What does the overall process of getting NBR extensions look like?
1. Consultation & Color matching : Mariah requires a consultation with every client to thoroughly go over desired look/length/ thickness. NBR extensions can be completely color customizable to suit your wants and needs.
For my color consult, I knew I didn't want color that was going to be high maintenance to keep up. So before install, I had a color service with Mariah where we decided on a bright blinged out blonde with dimension that we achieved with some highlights and toner. Then Mariah color matched and toned my extensions accordingly.
2. Ordering Extensions : After the initial consult, Mariah orders the hair sourced from Utah and it typically takes about 2 business days to arrive.
3. INSTALL : The initial extension install takes on average 3 hours. This will include a cut and style with Mariah, so that your get the desired look and style. Also, during this time Mariah will give you ALL the tips and tricks to help you style and adjust to your new lush locks! For my personal install, because I had a previous short, blunt cut Mariah started at the base of my neck with 2 mini rows, to achieve a good blend between my natural hair and the extension. The install is not painful at all. Mariah said there may be some initial scalp tenderness but that would fade as the extensions loosen.
Is NBR damaging to your hair?
Mariah : I always tell my clients you can't really do anything to your hair that isn't damaging, but you can control the amount of damage you expose your hair to. NBR hair extensions are least damaging, second to clip ins. However, clip ins aren't as long term. The big thing with NBR is there is no glue adn the weight is spread out over multiple beads on a track rather than one single point.
NBR extension Upkeep/ Styling ?
The hair Mariah uses last 6- 9 months, even longer if taken care of well! So there isn't a constant repurchasing of hair. Every 6-8 weeks depending on your personal preference and growth, you'll have an in salon visit to have the extensions moved up. This entails taking the hair full out, given a good brush and moving it up ever so slightly, so that it causes the least amount of damage and is not put on the hair of its previous placement. It is safe to wear to the pool and beach, just make sure to coat with a good leave in conditioner or oil beforehand.
As far as styling, Mariah told me to treat it just like it was my natural hair. A personal huge selling point for me is that it can be worn up and the extensions are super discreet. It can also be blow dried as normal, curled, straightened, air dried- but it's important to remember to use a heat protectant. The hair will not fall out,so it can be brushed as normal. Mariah recommends using a brush like the brand wet brush. Also, for styling she recommends a 1 1/4 curling iron barrel for a long lush boho curl.
Washing NBR extensions and what products can you use?
Mariah lends washing your extensions to a personal wash cycle preference. She noted that the less you wash your hair, the healthier but everyone is different! Using a sulfate and paraben free shampoo and conditioner are recommended. The important thing to remember with NBR extensions is that the hair isn't attached like your natural hair , so there is no natural oil produced to a follicle. Therefore, after wash product care of your extensions is super important to keep them from looking whack- for a lack of a better term. Mariah recommends a good hair oil like 12 benefits Hair oil and using it from mid shaft to the ends.
Pampered and Pretty salon offers a buy 4 get 5th free blowout special, so a lot of Mariah's extension clients take advantage of that and have their hair washed and styled for them without having to do it at home!
How much do NBR extensions cost?
Extension hair price : The cost of the hair extensions range from $300-$800. Mariah does not upcharge the cost of the hair,this is a one time purchase and is totally dependant upon the desired look and density of hair that you want. I had a short blunt cut, so I had to have more hair to be able to blend with my natural hair. For reference, the amount of hair I am wearing is around $600- and it is A LOT of hair haha, think Beyonce style on this amount if you will. However, as time goes on and my natural hair grows out I can reduce the amount I am wearing!
Initial install : Mariah charges $80 per row of hair. The total cost is dependant upon how much hair is being installed per desired look.
Upkeep : $80 per row of hair moved up and reinstalled every 6-8 weeks
Remember, this is an investment and these extensions will last 6-9 months or longer depending on how well you take care of them!!
As I navigate my new life with Beyonce hair, AYYYYYYYYYYYE -I will keep y'all updated!!