Clip In vs. Semi Permanent Hair Extensions

by Molly Gardner

I feel like this is a hot topic (in my brain):  Clip In vs. Semi Permanent hair extensions.  I have a constant mental debate going about “putting the girls back in” for a couple months.  So from out of my brain onto the Onlines, here are my pros and cons of each.  Btw, if you are looking for more of a guide about what each type of extension adhesion technique is, read my post on that by clicking {here}.

Update | I came out with my own line of clip-in hair extensions, called girlgetglamorousHAIR, that I am SO excited about!!  You can read more about them at

I have not changed any of my thoughts in this post, however, because I want my opinion on both techniques to be unbiased! Just so that you know, the original post has stayed the same, I just added this update and photo. 🙂 *


Hair We Go…

Pros of Clip In Extensions:

1.  They are a great way to try out hair extensions.  If you don’t know if you’ll like the look of longer hair or the weight of extensions, these are a great way to try them before having extensions attached for several months.  You can try different lengths, different amounts, etc.  It took me a few times of wearing my clip-ins to realize I didn’t have to wear the whole package.  I also cut about 4″ off the length of my 20″ clip in before I realized I should just buy a 16″ length.

2.  They are really affordable.  My first set of extensions, from proextensions was $89 for a 100 gram set from their ebay store.  That’s an insane deal.  Most clip ins go from around $120 to $250 depending on the quality, length, and color.  I bought myself new clip ins this year for my birthday (WHOOPWHOOP) from The Hair Shop on Wilshire Blvd.  I purchased shade #28, a deep strawberry blonde, a “custom color”, in 16″ length and they were around $160 with tax which sort of hurt at the time but the color is a perfect match so I took a deep breath and got over it.  If you are buying online, I always recommend purchasing a swatch (usually around $4) or a color ring (around $20) to get the right shade and to feel the quality of the hair.  Quality does vary, and sometimes you are just paying for good marketing, but average hair.  So definitely test it out!

3.  They are less time intensive than semi-permanent extensions.  Styling them usually takes me around 10 to 15 minutes max.  You can curl, flat iron, etc. the hair and it will usually hold the style for 1 to 3 wears.  With practice, they clip in in under 5 minutes.

4.  Because you don’t tend to wear clip ins every day, they last longer before getting worn out looking than semi-permanent hair.  I had my first set of clip ins for almost 5 years, which I know is disgusting but we are all friends here and can tell the truth even when it’s kind of grossy-gross, right?  You tend to heat style clip in hair so much less frequently, and heat styling is where most of the damage comes from on our hair.  Less heat damage = longer your extensions look gorgeous.

5.  They are healthier for your hair.  Taking them out at night means you aren’t sleeping on them, not sleeping on them means you don’t have extensions tugging on your real hair, pulling it out.

Cons of Clip In Extensions:

1.  They are not for the pool, beach, or gym.  I don’t think I need to explain why.  Just imagine one stray extension floating in the pool next to you or laying next to your weight bench.

2.  They hurt on your head if you wear them all day.  The clips start to hurt in the way your head can hurt if a headband is too tight.  But then add the weight of the hair on the clips and you can see where I’m going with it.

3.  With an average of 7 pieces in a package, sometimes it can be hard to remember which piece goes where on your head.  And even if you do, you can put it in a half inch in a different spot than when you got them trimmed to fit (You must get them trimmed 🙂  See my extensions guide post on that)  When you put them in a different spot, they can look a little choppy.

*A good trick to remember which piece goes where, is to paint a tiny line in different colored nail polish on the inside of the clip as soon as your stylist takes the piece out after trimming.  Then write down on an index card which color means what, “blue= crown of head, pink=left side front piece, etc. Whatever helps you remember”  Stick that index card in the bag or box with your extensions and feel smug with the self-satisfaction that comes with being well organized!

4.  If you see a friend the day after you wear your extensions around them, or wearing them and then going home with your husband, boyfriend, etc. after taking your clip ins out, you will inevitably get the question “Umm, what happened to all your hair?”  or the more polite “Did you get a haircut…like right now?”  Then you have to giggle like and idiot and play dumb and maybe nothing is less attractive than a grown woman playing dumb.  Oh yeah, a drawer full of hair.  Maybe a drawer full of extension hair.

Pros of Semi-Permanent Extensions:

1.  Your hair looks real purty all the time.  I mean, this is the point of extensions, right?  Your hair looks fuller and longer and you always feel like you are in a hair ad.  Life is your runway.

2.  Extension hair holds style like a champ.  So however you style it can last 2 to 5 days.  Curls stayed curled and flat hair stays flat.  It’s awesome.

3.  The extensions take the brunt of the heat damage.  For me, my poor ends take the longest amount of the curling iron and flat iron heat.  So when the ends are your extensions hair, your regular hair can take a teeny break.

4.  Sewn or Taped In extensions feel more stable in your head than clip ins.  Clip in are, well, just clips holding the hair in.  So with semi-permanent hair you can move it around, put it in a ponytail, etc with more confidence.

Cons of Semi Permanent Extensions:

1.  They can be itchy.  The first week or so, when the extensions are really close to your scalp, it’s hard to shampoo properly.  So your scalp can get a little itchy.

2.  They can be expensive.  I have always purchased my hair from a hair store/supplier, then brought it to a stylist to have them put it in.   This is the least expensive way to do it, as buying extensions right from a salon generally starts around $1,000.  (yikes)  But even how I’ve done it, the hair alone was $300, before paying someone to put it in.  Let’s be honest, unless you’re reading this at a red light in your Maserati, $300 is still a lot of cash.

3.  The method is which extensions are attached to your hair can damage it.  I would never do Fusion bonding, because if it’s done wrong, you have to cut it out.  Cut. It. Out.  That’s scarier than any scary movie, sorry Rob Zombie.  But even my favorite method: taped in extensions, does pull slightly on your real hair, especially while you are sleeping.  This can pull out some of your hair.

4.  They can take a while to style.  For me, because I have thick hair, I had to add a lot of extension hair so that the ends wouldn’t look stringy.  So after washing my hair it would take me a solid hour if I had to blow it dry then style it.  One full hour.  That’s nuts.  To save time, I’d usually wash it the night before, let it air dry, sleep with it in a loose bun, then heat style in the morning.  But it’s a bit extreme to have a Hair Plan.  Like, half the time I don’t know what I want to eat for breakfast, but if you ask me the least time-and-damage intensive way to dry semi-permanent hair extensions, you better sit down with a note pad and a healthy attention span.  I have some life experience on that.

5.  You (or someone you love) can’t run your hands through your hair.  You don’t realized how much you miss brushing your hair from the scalp down or running your hands through your hair until you’ve had extensions in for a couple of months.  Once, when I had microlink extensions (attached strand by strand with a tiny metal bead), I started running my hands through my hair to loosen up the curls at the bottom while I was talking to a friend.  A new friend.  I’d had the extensions in for a couple of months by then, so some pieces were only attached by a few hairs at that point.  (Which is why I prob wouldn’t do microlink again, just Tape Ins)  Long story short I was sitting on a couch at my friend’s house, and I pulled my hands out of my head and one piece of extension came out.  So I’m sitting there, holding a long strand of extension hair with a metal tip on the end, TRYING TO PRETEND LIKE LIFE WAS NORMAL.  I acted like this was just a regular stray hair, pushed it to the other side of the couch, then had to fish it out from behind the couch later and put it in my purse when she wasn’t looking, then throw it away at home.  I wouldn’t say it was the moment I felt the most classy, refined, and worthy of a Vogue cover.

6.  If you color your hair (I do), it’s harder with the extensions in.  It’s just more hair to move around, even if you aren’t coloring the extensions.


Extensions pretty much look the same, regardless of how you put them in.  I feel like I usually use more hair when I do semi-permanent, so it looks a bit thicker than the clip in extensions.  But I could probably just add more pieces of clip is to get the same effect.  Hopefully this guide can help you figure out which you are looking for!

Clip Ins:


Clip In extensions. Why can't I keep my eyes open?

Semi Permanent:

L'Oreal Combo

Those are the major pros and cons of each that I can think of.  Feel free to comment below if I’ve forgotten any!  I hope this helps.  I’ve stuck with clip ins over the last few months our of sheer laziness, but sometimes do miss having my hair did and looking purdy for a whole week at a time.  Let me know below if this helped you and what you decided to do!

Over the past few years of blogging I was leaning more and more towards using clip in extensions.  I realized I could move them around more on my head and get more styles out of them (ponytail, half up, etc), whereas with the tape I had to do my hair around where the tape piece was.  I developed my own line of remy, double drawn hair extensions that I am SO excited about.  You can see more at

Stay Glam!Girl Get Glamorous

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Hello June 23, 2014 - 4:03 pm

I can’t ever do any* kind of semi permanent extensions. Sorry for typo above.

hellos June 24, 2014 - 3:42 am

I am currently less into clip ins and getting into flip in extensions they use a small thin adjustable wire that goes around the head (like headband or crown then you push it down and flip your hair over it all around the thin wire). Secret Extensions is a version of this but not adjustable and cheaper. I do have secret extensions. I’ve also ordered the actual flip in extensions from in platinum blonde (20 inch) for $128.00. It’s so easy and natural looking and held on by the weight of your real hair. I have very fine, damaged double processed hair. This is very very lightweight and safe. I can’t ever do any kind of semi permanent extensions. I once for free at a salon had one fusion extension placed in my hair (just one) towards the front on the right side and the tightness was unbearable and by the time it was growing out I still wasn’t sold on it and actually it one day slipped out (probably taking some of my damaged hair with it) and it was put in right so whatever. But yes I love flip in extensions right now. The wire is NOT uncomfortable at all and won’t slide or be visible. Secret Extensions are not a true flip in but if you wanna try that first you can. is an adjustable true flip-in. Also I like 3/4 wigs if you don’t mind weight I recommend Annabelle’s Wigs online for 3/4 wigs, they clip in towards the back of your head and then a second set of clips at the bottom of your hair. Put the 3/4 wig in by gathering your hair back in a low hair clip then you fasten 3/4 wig at top of back of head (you decide exactly where to secure the top clips) then attach bottom clips and let down clipped up hair.


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