She's a Master Hairstylist, owner of Manhattan's Amoy Couture Hair and has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and entertainment. She's Amoy Pitters, hair weave and extensions expert extraordinaire. In this exclusive interview, she gives her unique insight into hair additions, including her take on which hair is best, tips for the average woman and how weaves can quickly and easily give you a hot style switch.
Black Hair (BH): Thank you, Ms. Pitters, for sharing this information with the readers out there. Can you explain the basic differences between sew-in extensions, fusion and micro-link weaves?
Amoy Pitters (AP): Basically, a sew-in extension takes place after I corn-row the client's hair. I then sew the extensions on to the braid with needle and thread. I prefer this method because it protects your natural hair from the elements, allows the extensions to be re-used up to 3 different times, and looks authentic.
Fusion extensions are attached to the client's natural hair through cold or hot fusion. Hot fusion (bonding) uses hot glue to attach the extension pieces to the natural hair. Cold fusion, a more gentle procedure, uses a keratin polymer to attach the extensions to the root. Fusion tends to be pricier than other types of extension services, and while they can last up to 4 months, may damage the hair.
Micro-link extensions use neither braiding nor glue. The extensions are applied to the natural hair with round colored coils that match the natural color of your hair. It is applied strand by strand, and while they last up to 5 months, you need to make sure an experienced stylist is applying your extensions.
BH: Why do you prefer human hair extensions over synthetic? What are the advantages of human hair weaves over synthetic weaves?
AP: Human hair is better than synthetic for several reasons. One, human hair can withstand the heat necessary to give a sleek finish with a flat iron or bouncy curls with a curling iron. Most synthetic hair will melt when heat is applied. Secondly, synthetic hair cannot be color-treated, which limits your look. Human hair can be highlighted and colored just like your own hair. Lastly, while human hair has a natural cuticle, synthetic hair is coated with silicone, which wears away over time, leaving it looking ratty and tangled. To me, when you are investing time and money into your hair, always go for the best.
BH: Excellent advice. Can you give readers some maintenance tips when wearing extensions?
AP: I always tell my extension clients to invest in a good dry shampoo (I am partial to Rene Furterer Dry Shampoo). Dry shampoos allow any excess oil to be soaked up, and it leaves a fresh-smelling fragrance on the hair. If your extensions are applied properly, you should be able to wear any style you like, but remember to always brush your extensions with a natural, boar-bristle brush. This keeps oils properly distributed throughout the hair and leaves extensions looking healthy. Also, make sure you shampoo and condition your hair regularly.
BH: Which products do you recommend using so that a woman wearing a weave can keep her own hair healthy during this time?
AP: As previously mentioned, you should invest in a good dry shampoo and boar-bristle brush. Also, wrapping your hair with a silk scarf can help to prevent split ends and maintain a glossy look.
BH: All right, lacefront wigs are a hot topic, but they're not for everyone. Please explain why lacefront wigs aren't the best option for everyday wear.
AP: I believe that lacefront wigs should be mainly used for performers on stage. Lacefront wigs should not be used for everyday use because the lace is so fragile and can easily break, leaving your natural hair unprotected. Moreover, the glue used to attach the wig can damage your hairline, leaving bald spots. Lacefronts should be a temporary fix, and not used as a longterm solution.
BH: Are there any reasons why someone should not wear a weave?
AP: If you don't want to take care of your hair, you shouldn't get a weave. A good weave is an investment and you should treat it as such. Also, I try to tell my clients who have been weaving for years to let their natural hair breathe for a few months. But, honestly, I don't think there are reasons why a woman shouldn't wear a weave.
BH: What's the biggest mistake you see women wearing extensions make?
AP: The biggest mistake is trying to be cheap with your weave. Whether it's in terms of synthetic hair or an inexperienced technician, trying to get a bargain may leave you with serious hair problems. You should buy the best hair you can and find the best technician you can. I have seen so many women with major hair breakage from improperly placed extensions. Invest in the best! Another major mistake is not washing and conditioning your hair, leaving it looking ragged and broken. Take great care of your hair.
BH: Some people still feel a stigma about wearing extensions. Can you tell readers why weaves shouldn't be viewed in such a negative light anymore?
AP: Many people think wearing a weave means you are trying to be "white". I strongly disagree. A weave simply expands your options. Women change their lipstick, nail color, and clothing; why not their hair? Also, having a weave doesn't always mean your hair is long and bouncy. Several of my clients have short bobs that are actually weaves; I corn-row their natural hair to protect it and help it grow faster, and sew the weave on. Frankly, white women are constantly getting extensions as well, so weaves are a universal service. Do what makes you feel good.
BH: You offer several different extension services, including sew-in, integrated and Great Lengths. How does the Great Lengths extension process work?
AP: Great Lengths are a form of cold fusion extensions. Using a high-tech machine, the technician attaches individual strands of hair to your natural hair at the root, using a keratin (protein) bond. Great Lengths requires that all techs using their services be certified, which means that you are in skilled hands when using Great Lengths. The extensions last for about 3 months, and while the cost can be quite high, the hair is human and is virtually indistinguishable from your natural hair.