Sew-In Hair Extensions: Hand-Tied Vs Machine Weft
Stitched hair extensions have been around for years; however, due to a recent descent into the realm of social media, weft extensions have begun to increase in the industry. Since sew-in weft extensions are often supported and recommended by celebrities and other large influencers, more and more clients may have come to you and asked to use them.
The problem that comes with sew-in hair extensions is that many clients (and even some stylists) don’t realize that there are many differences between hand and machine hair extensions. Clients often walk into a salon and ask for hand wefted extensions, only to come out with machine wefted extensions, usually due to a major misunderstanding between client and stylist, or even stylist and educator.
In any case, especially as a stylist in 2022, it is important to understand what sew-in hair extensions are and the difference between the two main types: hand-pulled and machine-pulled. Once fully understood, it will be much easier to give your clients the exact type of weft extensions they want when they sit in your chair.
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Differences Between Hand-Tied and Machine Wefts
There are a number of key attributes that separate the hand-tied and machine weft extensions, mainly due to their manufacture. Nevertheless, we will clarify the most significant elements of each and explain specifically how and why they differ from each other.
Hand-Tied hair extensions are exactly as they are described: several strands of hair are tied together by hand to form a weft. Because hand-tied weft strands are carefully sewn together, they end up thinner and less noticeable than machine weft strands. This method does not require a large amount of hair, making many clients prefer this invisible, seamless integration.
Machine weaves are very different from hand weaves. Their main difference is that, as their name implies, machine weave is knotted with a sewing machine. Sewing a woven weft requires enough hair to be caught and sewn by the machine. Because of the large amount of hair required, machine weaves are significantly thicker and may be two to three times denser than hand-tied weaves.
Are Hand-Tied or Machine Wefts Better?
Like any type of extension, hand-tied and machine wefts certainly have their advantages.
Pros of Hand-Tied Wefts
Since the amount of hair required for a hand tied weft is minimal, it can be well hidden after installation. Hand-tied wefts lay flat on the head and are not noticeable even when hair is draped over the body. They also provide a natural look, giving the client more volume, especially for those with fine hair.
Hand-tied wefts are also more flexible than most other hair extensions on the market. They offer versatility and a great deal of comfort. Most clients find that they barely feel the hand-tied hair extensions because they fit the curve of their head without any problems. Not to mention, clients can treat their hand-tied extensions like their natural hair; they can be washed and styled as usual without having to work around their presence.
Pros of Machine Wefts
Machine weaves are usually more durable than hand-tied weft threads. Because of their manufacturing process, machine weft threads can be sized and cut to fit the customer’s head shape, while hand-tied weft threads cannot. Because of their greater density, machine wefts can also provide more thickness with fewer weft threads.
Machine wefts are less costly than hand-tied wefts because they require less intensive labor in the manufacturing process.
Which is Best?
Although they each have their own appeal, hand-tied extensions are usually the best choice when it comes to sewing weft. Because of their cumbersome positioning, hand-tied weft extensions offer hairstylists and clients the flexibility that comes with natural hair.
While both options are useful solutions, hand-tied wefting is less bulky than machine wefting and is easily layered, which gives clients less hair density and weight. Hand-tied wefts are beneficial for any client and any part of the head; they blend perfectly and are virtually invisible. Hand-tied hair extensions can also last up to 12 months if well maintained.
How Do I Determine Which Weft to Use?
Working as a stylist helps you to really understand that every client is different, especially when it comes to their hair. Not only is every client different, but hair extensions are also differentiated from their counterparts. The different types of hair extensions are designed to accommodate the diversity of hair. The same is true for manual and machine hair extensions, each serving a specific hair type better than the other. A hair extension consultation gives you the ability to analyze your client’s hair and determine which type of weft is best suited. While both hand- tied and machine wefts can be chemically treated, the texture of the hair does not necessarily play a large role in determining between the two. However, thickness and integrity are the most important qualities to look for when evaluating a client’s hair for sew-in extensions.
Hand tied extensions are best suited for clients with fine and/or brittle hair. As mentioned earlier, the weft of hand extensions is virtually invisible. Finer hair types allow for the use of hand-tied extensions because they can be placed flat and provide a large amount of seamless, natural-looking volume. The slim lining of hand-tied weft makes them perfect extensions without any volume that might peek through thin hair.
Machine weave is usually best suited for clients with already thick or coarse hair, which makes it easy to hide thicker liners. In addition, machine weaves should be avoided on fragile hair due to their weight, making them a more reliable option for clients whose hair is capable of withstanding their weight.
However, as a stylist, you are not tied to only one type of stitching for each client. Many times it is necessary to use a mixture of both hand-tied and machine-tied knots. A combination of hand tied and machine wefted can be used at the back of the head, while hand tied should be sewn around the top of the head where the hair is more delicate. Many stylists also decide which weft to use based on the diameter of the head. If the hand-tied weft is too long, it is advantageous to use a machine weave weft, which you can cut accordingly. In any case, the most important thing as a stylist is to match density to density and make sure you pay attention to the fragility of your hair.
Hand-Tied Vs. Machine Wefts
The difference between sew-on weft threads really comes down to how they are made. A hand-tied weft is tied together by hand, while a sewing machine combines hairs into a machine weft. Each has its place, of course, and the fundamental thing as a stylist is to recognize their key features and provide the most appropriate weft for the client.