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The Long and The Short of it…My Extension Hobby

I have a big problem. I seem to have been extended. I am not sure when it happened. I am not sure why it happened, but every single part of me is either longer, darker, wider, thicker and generally larger than life. I do know I am running out of options to carry on extending. I mean, the human body has only a certain amount of space. Plus I may have to start applying for planning permission if I get any bigger. But sadly, when I think this over, I find myself trawling websites to find something about me that can still be improved. I think it is time to go back to the beginning and try some sort of personal regression therapy to help me move on because I am addicted. I am addicted to extensions.

It started roughly four years ago. With the rise of the nation’s L’Oreal sweetheart, I started to spend my Saturday nights full of envy for her Geordie hair. I would twirl my short bob around my fingers and sink into the couch hoping that one day, I would look like her. On the day that happened, I would be able to say ‘because I am worth it’ and toss my head leaving open mouthed stares in my wake. I had to get a plan. I had heard about hair extensions through my interest in WAGS. I am not too proud to be part of that WAG culture, though sadly I am too poor to adopt it as a way of life. But, one particular Saturday in my hour of need, I consulted google and found that long hair was available to me, at a mere two hundred pounds.

Now I know what your all thinking, two hundred pound on a trip to the hair salon, that’s insane. I agree wholeheartedly now, but back then, it felt like a lifeline to goddess like beauty. So of I went. I had one hundred and fifty individual strands of ‘Russian virgin’ hair glued to my hair. At the time I had no idea what ‘Russian virgin’ meant, I mean how did they know the lady it came from was a virgin? Not that I cared, because her virgin hair gave me a mane to die for. At least it did, for about two weeks. By the end of week three I was scratching like a primary schooler with head of lice. The glue was splitting at the top and every time I used a hairdryer I looked like Frank Gallagher from Shameless. What was I going to do? How could this be happening? Cheryl’s always looked perfect. I was confused.

One week later my husband crashed my car, and in a fit of unadulterated rage, I picked every strand out of my hair and sat in my lounge drowning in glue flakes and the Russian virgin’s lovely hair strands. It was a disaster. I was two hundred pound down. Lesson learned right? Not a chance, I booked my second appointment the next day. Three weeks later I am sat back in the hair salon chair getting some more of Russia’s finest glued back in. This time it would be better, this time they would last the full twelve weeks and I would be home free. I wasn’t wrong, this time it was better and they lasted a full 4 weeks, and then I pulled them out again. I decided to temporarily give up on extending my hair.

Now, I had been flirting with the idea of nail extensions. There was a whole range of methods to choose from and I could play around with colours. Brilliant I thought what a good idea. So I faced a choice. Did I want acrylics or gel nails? Did I want nail art or airbrush finish? Was I happy to just have white French tips, did I want natural or even snazzy coloured tips? It was so exciting. So I took myself of to the nail bar. Forty minutes later I emerged bruised and battered. My nail beds had been filed within an inch of their lives. Cuticles that I didn’t know I had had been teased, pinched and shaved. My fingers were raw. But on the top of the pain was some lovely hard acrylic nails with a French polish tip that I imagined looked like Coco Chanel’s (FYI, I have never seen Coco’s Nails, but I have imagined them a lot.)

I went home and showed my husband. He smiled and then reminded me that my son needed a bath. I went upstairs and ran the water and all the while I was admiring my perfect nails. My son followed and I tried to help him undress. I poked him in the eye three times and proceeded to scratch him on the leg. It then slowly occurred to me that these nails were maybe a little unpractical for a mum of three. They looked so nice. But, I couldn’t pick anything up of the floor. Every time I stroked the dog she cowered, and my Husband thought I looked like Elvira. I decided to temporarily give up on nails extensions.

The months went on and by chance I came across some startling news. Did you know that you could get long, lustrous eyelashes added to your own and that stayed on for 6 weeks? I didn’t. I began to wonder if this could this be true. No more stick on’s? I needed to find out where this was happening and I needed to find out how. I went back to my trusted friend Google and I found an ‘eyelash technician.’ This should have warned me off. Honestly, how can simple eyelashes warrant the need for a full-time work force? Though sure enough, I found one as easily as I could find a local chemist and off I went in search these Hollywood eyes. I found that the process of extending your eyelashes is quite odd. You lie on a bed with your eyes shut and pools of water form on the pillow because of your streaming tears. The ‘technician’ assures you that the fumes from the glue are temporary and you will regain full eyesight in no time. Eventually you sit up and try to open your eyes. You can’t do it. The ‘technician’ starts attacking you with cotton buds. When your eyes are finally free and she offers you the mirror and you are full of optimism. You hope to see a Kardashian. What you actually see is spiders legs, glued to your once perfect eyelashes. The bus journey on the way home is also frightful. Furiously blinking, your eyes are still streaming and people are staring at you mournfully wondering what’s wrong. You find yourself explaining to the pensioner next to you that you are not crying. You have just had your eyelashes extended. She gives you a puzzled look and then pats you on the knee.

By the time I arrived home that day I was actually crying. My right eye was swollen and the left half stuck together. Every time I closed them to go to sleep it felt like I had gravel in both corners and then after a few days, all the eyelashes/ spiders legs either fell off or pointed in the strangest directions. I also realised that for every false lash I lost, I lost a real lash also. Two weeks later my eyes were completely bald. I could spend a good hour or two telling you about the amount of Vaseline I used to calm the redness circling my poor eyes, but I think you may have got the gist. So I temporarily gave up eyelash extensions and pondered what was next.

I must mention that throughout this four year extension obsession, I always maintained a tan. Now, if you are a tanning novice you should know that maintaining a tan is a huge commitment. First of all, you have to think about methods. Will it be salon spray tan, home tanning with a mitt or the good old sunbed method? My experiences amount to the following:

The salon method entails ruining your bed sheets, smelling like biscuits and looking like David Dickinson for the first few days. The home tan involves large patches of brown and natural coloured skin making you resemble a chess board. The sunbed, well we all know the dangers of this method. I have to tell you though the sunbed is my first choice. It’s for health purposes only, honestly! I crave the vitamin D that those killer UVA rays give me.
Although I often wonder what risk I am placing myself under, the thought of my chubby little legs being white and pasty scares me more than anything. I have no excuses. I admit to being a fool. But I am only human and I want to look like Michelle Keegan every day.

Anyway back to the extensions. You may have noticed that I have written the word temporarily quite often when I talk of ‘giving up’. To be honest, I have only given up any of these beauty treatments for a certain length of time. The measure of the abstinence usually coincides with the severity of the damage caused by the last treatment. I mean, I have been exploring this way of life for 4 years and just with my hair alone, I have gone on to try the weave (sewn) in, micro ringed weft, glue in (for a third time) methods. Then amazingly six months ago I discovered the holy grail of hair lengthening, the Micro Ring method. I have had two different hairdressers do this to my hair because the first one attached them so tightly they scarred my skull, but the second hairdresser is a heroine. She manages to perfectly place them on my bonce and colour blend my own hair so it is totally natural looking. I am not in any pain and my now hair swishes just like Chezza’s. Yes, I may have had to re-mortgage my house to achieve this, but I don’t care. There is one thing that still evades me though. My own short bob hasn’t grown at all, not an inch, in four years.

The nails became regular also. I am typing this now with the sound of my acrylics clicking away on the keys. What I have found is that whilst the Chinese nail bars ravage your nail beds, they are certainly the best for application and longevity. Oh and yes, I do still play around with colour a lot. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what colour my own nails are as I haven’t laid eyes on them for years.

Lastly, I have had eyelash extensions from just about every ‘technician’ in my county. They still glue my eyes together and get tangled or fall off. But on that third day, when my eyes are better and the eyelashes are all still intact, I do look like a Kardashian, at least I think I do. On that third day when I look in the mirror it makes it all worth it. The money, the pain, the destruction of my natural beauty and the torment of the addiction, it all feels like it doesn’t matter. My hair is long and shiny, my nails are manicured and my eyelashes look like Elizabeth Taylor’s. It is on those days I can finally look in the mirror and declare ‘because I am worth it’ which I think was my goal in the first place.

I as write this I am realising that maybe my addiction is not so bad after all. I think in future I may refer to it a hobby. It sounds better like that. I don’t think I am that far gone. I mean I haven’t had Botox or fillers (purely because I can’t afford them otherwise I would look like a guppy fish,) and it’s not like I have had eyebrow extensions. Hmmmm, 4D eyebrow extensions are the next big thing. I wonder how much they cost. Excuse me a minute, I need to go on to google ………..
Love Keels xx



  • Amy Tocknell says:

    Ha ha ha! Keels, you will be my go to person for beauty advice now! I only just started getting my eyebrows threaded! xx

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