A new article in the Washingtonian has gotten plenty of buzz. That's because the article has pulled the veil off the secretive world of expensive hair extensions in Washington, D.C. Called the hair extensions king in the political district, 45-year-old Christophe Jouenne is at the center of the piece. With hair extensions being such a popular topic, it's no wonder that the article has gotten plenty of attention. According to Google's Keyword Tool, searches for hair extensions and related topics receive approximately 1.1 million searches per month, with the term "hair extensions" receiving 165,000 searches per month.
"Jouenne uses only Great Lengths, which originates in India and which he calls "the Rolls-Royce of hair."More detailed Google searches for extensions make up those 1.1 million searches, with searches for "clip-in hair extensions" gaining 33,100 searches per month. At least 22,200 searches per month come in to Google for "human hair extensions," while "tape-in hair extensions" gets a little bit less at 14,800 monthly searches. But it's the telling "secret hair extensions" 4,400 monthly searches that tells the tale of why hair extension specialists like Christophe are very popular among women who might not want the world to know that they are sporting thick and luxurious hair that isn't all their own. Christophe uses a technique called "cold fusion" - unlike other methods of applying hair extensions, such as micro-linking, gluing, bonding, sewing or hot fusion application with a heated fusion iron. On social media, photos of the cold fusion technique, as well as how-to tutorials on YouTube, are easily found.
"The extensions arrive at Salon Leau in ponytail-like bundles that Jouenne separates into tiny sections. His application of choice is cold fusion, which involves using an ultrasonic wand to clamp the faux onto the real. Ultrasonic vibrations soften the bonding material at the tip of the strands so they adhere. It's painstaking work: 'You take a little piece of hair and bond it a quarter inch from the roots. You bond it, fold it, flatten it, fold it, flatten it.' He muses, 'I think you need to be a bit OCD to do it well.'Despite the popularity of hair extensions, such as those hair extensions worn by Kylie Jenner - as reported by Allure - the cost of the real human hair can run high. When women and men visit Christophe to have those real human hair extension installed via the cold fusion technique, the costs can run even higher.
"This is a crucial distinction. Jouenne's genius does not come cheap. His extension prices start at $1,100 and rise swiftly, to $2,000... $4,000... $6,000."Social media proves the popularity of such hair extensions as well, with the hashtag #greatlengths enjoying 40,327 posts as of this writing, with a plethora of photos displaying the hair extensions. The #coldfusion hashtag on Instagram shows 10,862 posts, even though all of them do not display the cold fusion hair extension technique, a good portion of them reflect the trend. With the popularity of hair weaves and extensions continuing to be reflected by the level of searches coming into Google - along with the amounts folks are willing to pay for such hair extensions - it's likely that the trend won't go anywhere anytime soon. And expect more hair extensions kings and queens to emerge as a result.
"If I get a blowout anywhere else around the country, people say they are the best extensions they have ever seen," says a local philanthropist who wishes to remain anonymous.
[Image via Shutterstock]