How many extensions do I need for a full head of hair?

Having beautiful, thick, flowing hair is a dream for many people. Some are blessed with naturally lush locks, while others need a little help in the hair department. For those with thin or sparse hair, hair extensions can provide an instant solution for adding volume and length. But how many extensions does one actually need to achieve a full, natural looking head of hair? Let’s break it down.

What are hair extensions?

Hair extensions are strands of either synthetic fiber or real human hair that are attached to your own natural hair in various ways. The most common types are:

  • Clip-in extensions – these clip or clip into your hair temporarily
  • Tape-in extensions – these are taped to small sections of natural hair
  • Weave extensions – these are braided or sewn into cornrows of natural hair
  • Micro bead/loop extensions – these are attached to natural hair using small beads or silicone loops
  • Keratin/fusion extensions – these are bonded to natural hair using keratin “bonds”

Extensions allow you to add highlights, lowlights, volume, length, thickness, and styling options to your current hair. They can be a fun way to change up your look for a special event or a more permanent solution for thinning hair or length goals. When done properly by a skilled stylist, extensions can look extremely natural and undetectable.

How much hair do extensions add?

Extensions are measured by their “weight”, which refers to the actual grams or ounces of hair in each piece or package. Here is the approximate amount of fullness added by different weights of extensions:

  • 40g or 1.5oz – adds light to medium thickness and length
  • 80g or 3oz – adds medium thickness and length
  • 120g or 4oz – adds medium to full thickness and length
  • 160g or 5oz – adds full thickness and length

So in order to achieve a head full of hair, most people need 120g-160g or 4-5oz of extensions. This amount should provide a natural looking fullness when properly distributed throughout the head. Less than that may still look a bit thin and sparse. Of course, the exact amount needed also depends on your hair’s current density, thickness, and length – someone with very short, fine hair will need more extensions than someone with chin length medium-thick hair.

How many extension strands will I need?

Hair extensions typically come in packages of multiple wefted tracks or individual clip-in strands. On average, most packages contain 40-60 pieces or wefts. To get a full head, you’ll need:

  • 160g or 5oz = approx 50-60 pieces
  • 120g or 4oz = approx 40-50 pieces
  • 80g or 3oz = approx 30-40 pieces
  • 40g or 1.5oz = approx 20-30 pieces

Again, the exact amount can vary a bit depending on your current hair thickness and density. Thinner hair will require more individual extensions and strands to create fullness. If your hair is already quite thick, you may need slightly fewer pieces.

How many packs or bundles should I buy?

When purchasing extensions, they are usually sold in “bundles” or multi-piece packs. Most packs contain:

  • 10-20 pieces or 1-2oz for clip-ins
  • 10-30 pieces or 40-60g for pre-bonded extensions like keratin tips or micro beads

To achieve a full head, you’ll need:

  • 160g or 5oz: 5-8 packs
  • 120g or 4oz: 4-6 packs
  • 80g or 3oz: 3-4 packs
  • 40g or 1.5oz: 2-3 packs

Ideally, it’s best to estimate on the higher side. Having a few extra extensions is better than not having enough. Any extras can be saved as backups or used for added fullness and volume.

Placement and application

To get the most natural look, extensions should be placed throughout the entire head, not just in one concentrated area:

  • Hairline and temples – 10-30% of pieces
  • Sides – 15-20% of pieces
  • Back of head – 15-25% of pieces
  • Top – 30-40% of pieces
  • Underneath – 5-15% of pieces

Where you need the most coverage and fullness should get the most extensions. For many people, the top tends to be thinnest, so this area often requires the greatest number of extensions.

It’s critical that extensions are applied by an experienced, qualified stylist. They should take the time to carefully match your hair color and texture, determine the optimal placement for a natural look, anchor the extensions securely, and blend them in properly with your natural hair. Rushing the process or doing it yourself often leads to a visible, artificial appearance.


Even after proper application, extensions require regular maintenance to keep them looking flawless:

  • Gently brush and style extensions daily to prevent tangling
  • Use proper shampoos, conditioners, masks and products for extensions to keep them soft and shiny
  • Avoid too much heat styling like curling or flat ironing as this can damage extensions over time
  • Getextensions moved up or tightened within 4-8 weeks of application as the bonds can loosen over time
  • Schedule removal and/or replacement every 2-4 months to keep extensions looking fresh and natural as your hair grows out

With the right amount, placement, and care, extensions can provide the gorgeous full locks you’ve always desired. Just be sure to do your research and find an experienced stylist. Investing in high-quality hair and proper application will lead to the best looking and longest lasting results.

How much does a full head of extensions cost?

The cost of a full head of extensions can vary greatly depending on several factors:

Hair Type

  • Synthetic hair – least expensive option at $100-$300. Doesn’t mimic real hair as well.
  • Remy human hair – moderate cost of $200-$500. Cuticle aligned so mimics real hair better.
  • Virgin human hair – most expensive at $500-$2000+. Highest quality human hair that can be permed, colored, and heat styled.

Attachment Method

  • Clip-in – $100-$500. Less installation time so more affordable.
  • Tape-in – $300-$1200. Takes more time so costs more.
  • Weave – $500-$1500+. Most labor intensive method.

Supplier and Stylist

  • Big box stores – $100-$500 for synthetic or low quality. Less expertise.
  • Online retailers – $200-$1000 for mid-range Remy hair. No pro installation.
  • Salon – $500-$2000+. Get high quality virgin hair and experienced stylist.

Extent and Amount Needed

  • Partial look – $200-$700 for added length or highlights.
  • Half head – $300-$900 to fill out top or bottom section.
  • Full head – $500-$2000+ for complete coverage and density.

As you can see, getting a full head of high quality extensions with professional installation can cost $1000 to $2000+. But many feel it’s worth the investment for the dramatic improvement in the look and feel of their hair. The key is to find an experienced stylist you trust and choose the highest quality hair in your budget.

How long do extensions last?

How long extensions last depends on several factors:

Hair quality

  • Synthetic hair lasts 6-8 weeks.
  • Remy human hair lasts 2-3 months.
  • Virgin human hair lasts 4-6 months.

Attachment method

  • Clip-ins can be reused if cared for until hair quality declines.
  • Tape-ins last 4-8 weeks before needing to be reapplied.
  • Weave extensions last 4-6 months before needing to be redone.

Treatment and maintenance

  • Heat styling and lack of conditioning shortens lifespan.
  • Keeping extensions conditioned and avoiding over-styling maximizes longevity.
  • Getting them tightened or replaced often keeps them looking better.

Your hair’s growth

  • Natural hair growing out quickly makes extensions look unnatural.
  • Average hair grows 1/2 inch per month. Extensions start looking unnatural after about 2 inches of growth.
  • Getting them moved up or replaced every 2-3 months helps counteract hair growth.

With the right hair quality, proper installation, careful maintenance, and replacing on schedule, most people can enjoy 4-6 months of wear from a full head of extensions before needing to be redone.


Achieving a naturally full, thick head of hair with extensions typically requires:

  • 120-160 grams or 4-5 ounces of hair
  • 40-60 individual extension pieces or strands
  • 5-8 bundles or multi-piece packs of hair
  • Placement throughout all areas of the head
  • High quality human hair, preferably virgin
  • Professional installation by an experienced stylist
  • Good at-home care and maintenance
  • Replacing the extensions every 2-4 months

With the right amount and placement of extensions, plus proper maintenance and replacements, you can enjoy a head full of gorgeous hair even if your natural locks are thin or sparse. Just be sure to invest in top quality hair and professional application for the most seamless and natural looking results.

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