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The Great Beauty Experiment: How to Make Your Own DIY (Extremely Convincing) Hair Extensions for Under $200

By Natalie |

I’m so excited to introduce a new feature here on Family Style, called The Great Beauty Experiment! Where Babble pays me to try all manner of bizarre and not-so-bizarre and painful and not-so-painful beauty treatments and DIYs to see just how far us females will go for beauty, which treatments actually work, and how painful are Brazilian waxes really?

Up first, a dream come true for yours truly: DIY Barbie Hair!

It turns out that hair extensions are so much more common than I ever realized. When I first sat down with Kristen Jex, my hairdresser (and lovely friend), to discuss this project, she explained that as much as I might think hair extensions are this exotic, only-for-the-rich-and-famous luxury, that the hair industry is huge. People are buying and wearing other people’s hair. A lot. And that putting together your own head of hair extensions is actually really, really easy. And fun! Time consuming. But fairly inexpensive! I was so excited to get started.

After the jump, we documented the process of putting together a fabulous head of hair for me to wear around Manhattan like a glamazon, so you can try it yourself. No, really! Here we go!

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The Great Beauty Experiment: How to Make Your Own DIY (Extremely Convincing) Hair Extensions for Under $200

Welcome to Midtown!

Kristen took me to midtown Manhattan to get my hair, or "bag of hair," as we started to call it. On Broadway between 32nd and 28th there are many, many hair shops. We stopped in a few to compare prices and inventory before settling on our own bag of hair.

P.S. If you’re looking to buy human hair online, I found the brand we selected HERE, at


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About Natalie



Natalie Holbrook is a hopeless optimist living in a tiny apartment in New York City with her husband Brandon and her fat baby, Henry August. She blogs at Hey Natalie Jean, a love letter from her family to New York City, and where she capture all the lovely little things that make up a wonderful life. Read bio and latest posts → Read Natalie's latest posts →

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30 thoughts on “The Great Beauty Experiment: How to Make Your Own DIY (Extremely Convincing) Hair Extensions for Under $200

  1. Aerin says:

    I have a question about the type of clips you used? I can’t see them clearly in Step 6. Thanks!

  2. jane says:

    this whole thing seems way over the top. saved 10 minutes, huh? did you spend 10 hours making the things & 2 hours doing the write up & editing pictures?

  3. kim says:

    False lashes, fake hair, absurd wedges “hidden” in sneakers. Check, check, check.

    I wonder what is next.

    There seems to be a theme of making yourself as false & fake as possible in the name of beauty. Most moms (or even women in general) don’t have the time or money to spend on such ridiculous endeavors.

    I would be more interested in beauty regimens that are not so laughable. I am embarrassed by this shallow display of what Babble considers beautiful. Natalie seems to make her living off such base behaviors… something I am sure she will take as a compliment.

  4. Georgiana says:

    Loved this post! When my mom was in her twenties, she (willingly) had extensions hot-glued in her hair by a hairdresser whose client base was made up of predominantly, ahem, ladies of the night, but then when my mother washed her hair, the extensions shrivelled up and stuck out of her hair at odd angles and refused to be tamed, so she cut them out, which looked even worse. Since being told this story, I have had something of a phobia of extensions, but this post makes them seem, if not easy, definitely manageable! So thank you – I feel like singing ‘A Whole New World’; this is quite an exciting development for my pathetic + thin hair.

  5. Megan says:

    I can barely find the time to put all the groceries I bought today in their proper places–I can’t imagine finding the time to do this! I do agree that a pursuit of beauty this time-consuming and expensive makes me kind of sad–I didn’t have time to even WASH my hair this morning. But I recently read a touching blog post about a girl with trichotillomania who wears hair extensions, so I’m glad this stuff is out there to help people like her who struggle. I do wish, though, living in a wealthier area where going to the gym is THE social event for women and the only place to make friends (and I don’t have a membership), that we as women didn’t focus so much on our outer selves.

  6. Natalie says:

    @KIm–I’ll also be covering things that cost next to nothing and take up very little time. If it’s not your cup of tea, then fine!

    @Jane–This was never meant to be a time saving project, it is just a fun project that Babble has asked me to cover in a series. Thank you for your comment!

  7. Nani says:

    This is awesome! My hair is already pretty long and really thick so I wouldn’t do this any time soon but it seems like a lot of fun to just change it up every now and again. Especially while your waiting for your hair to grow out!

  8. Kendall says:

    This is so hilarious! I thought your comment about it being a creepy art project must have been so true. Although I doubt I’ll ever do this, I completely enjoyed the step-by-step. (I was particularly amused by your husband in the background of the Step 9 photo. Ha!)
    Looking forward to the rest of the series

  9. petra j. says:

    um…no. just no.

  10. Natalie B. says:

    for the women who think this is extremely shallow, sometimes it is not all about the end result but the adventure to get there. It seems like a crazy way to do hair extensions but also something that would be fun to do with your girlfriends to give that baby thinned out hair some oomph! I Loved the tutorial and really looking forward to the eyelashes!

  11. Angelika says:

    you are turning into a kardashian.

  12. Jessica says:

    I love you, Natalie. I think you’re great. This is silly, girly fun. I shaved my head a few months back (for fun) and I so often fluctuate between wanting short hair and long hair (if only to just braid it for the day). I totally get the extension thing.

    I spent the last year “hibernating” away from girly stuff, thinking that it was all frivolous and expensive and a waste of time, that all I needed was to just wash off the mascara, remove the toenail polish, and donate my high heels to be happier with myself. That wasn’t the answer (for me). There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take care of yourself in whatever fashion that entails: painted nails, naked nails; fake eyelashes, no mascara; hair extensions, hair buzzing; lacy push-up bra, no bra; high heels; barefoot and everything in between. I wish women could just come together and celebrate our choices as individuals. Big hugs to Natalie and everyone who has commented. May you all find time in your day to take care of *you.* In whatever way that appears.

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