I am no stranger to weave or hair extensions, and I have tried method after method, and some certainly worked way better than others. My favorite, for my type of hair, would be the braidless sew in with micro links method.
Traditional sew ins require your natural hair to be braided up in cornrows, in some sort of pattern so that the wefts of hair can be sewn onto your braids.This works best for black women because their hair is much thicker, and coarser, so it can withstand the sew in much easier than a woman with Caucasian style hair. Caucasian style hair is softer, and thinner, and it is silky, so a lot of times even with synthetic braiding hair added in the braids will often begin to unravel under neath the wefts, causing your weave to become loose and eventually begin falling out. Breakage is also extremely common amongst Caucasian women when they wear weave. A braided sew in can wreak havic on anyones hair, but especially Caucasian women.
I had several sew in’s done with braids, and every single time it’s been a complete disaster. Either it gets loose, or it’s too tight and causes some major pain, or my hair is all broken off by the time I take it out. Sounds fun right? Those are the sacrifices I’ve made to have long, full hair. After a bunch of research I found a salon that was supposed to have a kick ass weavologist, and I set up a consultation. During my consult she suggested I go the route of a braidless method, and at the time I had no idea what that meant but I was pretty much willing to try anything. Shout out to Kelee at S.A.S. Hair Studio in Albany, NY. for changing my hair game! (@Sashairstudio).
The braidless method, is just as it sounds, braidless! You do have to leave your natural hair out, which is a deal breaker for some people, but I personally had no problem with it, so I went ahead with it. Instead of braiding the hair down and then sewing the wefts on to the braids, she used micro links (tiny little beads that are clamped onto the hair usually to attach micro link or I-tip extensions) to create a base going horizontally across my head. Each micro link is attached to a small portion of hair, and clamped down to hold it in position with a metal tool. The weft is then sewn onto the links.
With the braidless method, you get to leave your natural hair out giving you of course the most natural look possible, you can part your hair anyway you’d like, you can put it up in a high ponytail or bun with out having any tracks showing, and the best part in my opinion; YOU CAN WASH IT! For me, that was the worst part of getting a sew in. I could not stand not being able to really wash my hair and scalp. It is also extremely simple to remove, and I would probably say the safest removal method for your hair.
It’s not for everyone though. If you are looking to switch up the color of your hair without having to dye it this method unfortunately would not be an option for you. Same if you are looking to change your hair texture, or curl pattern.
I personally loved the braidless sew in! I am partially asian, so I have extremely fine and straight hair, getting braided up is always a complete disaster and my hair held it against me every single time. The braidless method allowed me to be able to style my hair in most up do’s, and being able to wash it was definitely the best part. In my opinion I also felt like the braidless method lasted longer than a traditional sew in. When your hair begins growing out, it doesn’t really matter. I wore the sew in for over two months before I took the hair out and had it re-done, and honestly the only reason I took it out was because I had let it grow out so long that it looked like I was rocking a 30 inch weave. So if you’re cheap like me you can really get your money’s worth out of this method for sure. (P.S. this photo was about 3 and a half years ago, my glow up has been real, good lord have mercy).
Timing wise, it takes just about the same amount of time, maybe a little bit less to install, in comparison to a traditional sew in, and the cost is a little bit more expensive depending on your stylist, but is by no means an out of this world difference in cost. I haven’t done it in a long time so off the top of my head I can’t remember exactly how much I paid, but I want to say I paid around $350 total, excluding tip, for the install and for 2 bundles of 20 inch hair, that I purchased from the salon I went to. Which I thought was a pretty good deal. Also note ladies that since your natural hair is left out, depending on your needs and wants, you won’t need to purchase as much hair as you would with a traditional sew in.
From my experiences not all stylists will know how to do this method, but there are many who do so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone in your area! Let me know if you’ve tried this method, and if you liked it!
If you are a hairstylist, or are just handy when it comes to extensions, and want to try this method at home all you’ll need are the micro links, the tool to add and remove them, and a curved weaving needle and appropriate thread!