Expert calls for hair extension ban after damage rises


Faye Heukin

One of the UK's top hair specialists says there's been an increase in the number of women seeking help over damaged hair after using extensions.

Steve O'Brien, a trichologist at the London Centre of Trichology, says there's been a 15% increase in the last two years.

He says it's down to women using glue in extensions.

The Trichology Society is calling for them to be banned, because of the damage they do to women's hair.

Mr O'Brien says it doesn't help that celebrities make wearing extensions and maintaining them look easy.

He says two years ago the London Centre of Trichology was getting about 30 people in a month but now it's more like 50 and increasing.

He says the number of enquiries has also gone up.

Experts want hair extensions using glue banned because they say the bonding is causing traction alopecia, which rips hair out by the roots causing small bald patches.

The condition can continue to spread even after treatment is started making the damage irreparable.

'Falling out'

Twenty-three-year-old Faye Heukin from Scarborough says she's still suffering with the damage they did to her hair.

I'd say at least two or three [people] a week are coming in saying, 'Look, what can I do with my hair? it's completely ruined'
Natalie Rowe

She says: "It's still not grown back. I wear hair extensions, wigs and stuff.

"I just found a number in the paper for a mobile hairdresser. I went with it and got them done, they were only £150.

"Within a few weeks they started getting really matted and falling out. So I went back to her and she took them all out, and my hair with it.

"I feel paranoid when I've not got my wig or my clip-ins in. I definitely have low confidence now."


Natalie Rowe is also from Scarborough and runs a business providing hair extensions and wigs to salons and hairdressers.

She says she's seeing a big increase in girls with damaged hair.

Maria Fowler
Image caption Maria Fowler from The Only Way Is Essex says shortcuts aren't good

"Girls come in with bald patches that can't be covered with clip-in extensions," she says.

"The amount of wigs we sell now is due to people wanting really, really long hair who've gone down the glue-ins road, they've completely ruined their hair.

"I'd say at least two or three [people] a week are coming in saying, 'Look what can I do with my hair? It's completely ruined.'"

Maria Fowler is one of the cast members from ITV2's The Only Way Is Essex.

She says: "I think if you're going to have hair [extensions] get clip-ins. If you do want bonds, make sure you get them done somewhere properly.

"Everyone on the show, we all like our fakeness but you have to do it properly. Shortcuts are never good."