Test Drive: Twiggs' Hair Extensions

Hair Extensions: The Long Story

Test Drive
Travis Anderson
Twiggs’ Shauna Raisch and David McCarthy make Hollywood’s favorite hair extensions blend right in to look naturally glamourous.
After I test drove eyelash extensions for our November issue, people started asking where to go for hair extensions. Sensing another tough assignment ahead, I turned to the trendsetting and jet-setting crew at <a href="" target="_blank">Twiggs Salonspa</a>&mdash;owner Shauna Raisch and her nephew/right-hand man, David McCarthy. Between their trips to LA and New York (where they were called to assist with fashion week), they squeezed me in for a consultation at their chic Wayzata salon. They assured me that the new hair would look real&mdash;like Jessica&rsquo;s and Lindsay&rsquo;s, not Paris&rsquo;s. Um, how about Gwyneth&rsquo;s, I asked?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Totally, they promised. <p> Named one of the 200 fastest-growing salons in America, Twiggs is one of the few in town that uses a brand called Great Lengths, favored by the Hollywood elite. According to VH1&rsquo;s <i style="">Fabulous 40</i>, Great Lengths are the &ldquo;Rolls Royce of hair extensions, the crème de la crème of hair.&rdquo; While some brands feature synthetic hair, which is attached by sewing, gluing, knotting, braiding, waxing, or melting, GL&rsquo;s process is 100 percent natural. It begins in India with the hair of virgin brides who have sacrificed their locks in a religious ceremony. The &ldquo;temple hair&rdquo;&mdash;untreated and chemical free&mdash;is then shipped to Rome, where it is slowly stripped of all pigment and then treated with textile dye. Forty-two shades match nearly every head of hair&mdash;I ended up with a bizarre mix of three&mdash;pale blond, honey, and deep brown&mdash;which amazingly blended right in.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> The careful process began after a chair massage, two shampoos, and a blow out to get my hair bone dry. Row by row, a hot applicator iron attached the extensions&rsquo; natural keratin bonds to my hair strands about a quarter of an inch from my scalp, and voilá&mdash;instant (or, seven hours later, in my case) gratification. I spun around to see my old, stick-straight, waist-long high school&ndash;days&rsquo; hair framing my starting-to-wrinkle face. Raisch whispered that most people can&rsquo;t sport the superlong look as they get older. To avoid &ldquo;stripper hair,&rdquo; she said, extensions are made only an inch or two longer than the desired length, because once clients see their extensions they&rsquo;re reluctant to cut them. After some snipping, texturizing, curling, and a quick sweep of bangs, the finished style was much more twenty-seven than seventeen. Totally Gwyneth, they said . . . and Laura Linney, Genevieve Gorder, and, according to my colleagues, a little something seventies. Famous or not, I certainly feel fabulous.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> <em>Twiggs Salonspa, 785 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-258-0200</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> &nbsp;</p> <table bgcolor="#fbf3f2" border="1" bordercolor="#bfbfbf" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" height="100%" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> <strong>Cost</strong>: A complete top-shelf Great Lengths extension package ranges from $1,200 to $4,000 (prices start around $500 for more typical extensions), plus a day in the chair.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> <b style="">Lasts:</b> Three to five months.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> <b style="">Procedure:</b> An initial consultation is made to determine color and length. Application occurs a few days later and includes a dry cut and style. Two weeks later, the bonds are checked and, if needed, a wet cut is given.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style=""> <b style="">Maintenance:</b> Washing, brushing, and combing the hair are fine; life goes on as normal except that you feel a little more glamorous.<br /> &nbsp;<br /> <strong>Heads up:</strong> Initially, when your head hits the pillow at night, the bonds feel short and stubbly, but that gets better in a couple of weeks as the bonds soften and the hair grows. Expect to lose some strands here and there. It can happen in the privacy of your home while brushing your hair or out at a restaurant, so beware.</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><span style=""><i style=""><o:p><i style=""><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';"><i style=""><o:p></o:p></i></span></i></o:p></i></span></span>