In October 2014, Kylie Jenner released a line of branded hair extensions.
Naturally, we wanted to try them for ourselves.
Here's what we learned:
1. You have to have a certain kind of hair to use them.
To wear the extensions, your hair must be at least six inches long and needs to match one of the 10* base color options and the single texture option. Women with any hair texture other than straight and silky (or who can't easily blow-dry their hair straight to match the texture) probably won't get the match they want.
*At the time we tried them, only four base hair colors had teal as an option; Bellami recently expanded the line and now six base hair colors are available with the teal effect.
2. Here's what your $250 gets you:
3. What's not included in the box? Instructions.
Which means your first attempt might look something like Jamie's first attempt:
Jamie rushed to put the hair in the second it arrived because she was so excited/lost her shit about the idea of having long hair.
Jamie (pictured above): "I barely looked at the directions online because they weren't very helpful. It was easy and quick to section the hair, clip it in, and keep moving. It only took me about 15 minutes, but it didn't come out very well. So I took them all out and redid my entire head, which definitely came out better than the first time."
4. This is how the clips actually work.
5. Kylie's extensions are 20 inches, which is long AF.
6. The company's color-matching system is actually legit.
To get the best hair color match, we took photos of everyone at BuzzFeed who volunteered to test them, and the photos were taken in natural light. We emailed the photos to the company; their rep sent back her best suggestions for colors for everyone. (Anyone who buys Bellami hair extensions can do this.) She also said there were two volunteers whose hair would not be a good match for any of the options — one of them has dirty blonde hair and the other has balayage highlights. We decided to take her advice and those people did not participate in testing, but otherwise we were all pretty impressed that she was able to choose the right colors from our photos.
7. The extensions work best with thick, dark hair.
8. The quality of the hair exceeded our expectations.
9. How easy they are to style depends on how good you are at doing your own hair.
Katie (pictured right): "This is where things started to go off the rails. I am not good at styling long hair. I had very short hair for most of my late teens and twenties, and I think I sort of missed the time where you learn how to be good at blow-drying and using a curling iron. So I attempted to curl my hair using the clip-less wand (the kind that looks like a big dildo) for 10 minutes or so, and ended up with a look that can only be described as 'not-hot mess.' Rachel took pity on me and took over curling my hair for me — technically against the rules of the experiment, but the situation was so dire she knew I couldn't go back to the office otherwise. With Rachel's help, it actually looked pretty good. I was into it."
10. The extensions are pretty heavy but are surprisingly secure. (We checked.)
11. On the third day, when we had a professional put them in for us, our hair looked SO MUCH BETTER than doing it ourselves.
After wrestling with all that hair on our own, having a team of pros help us was the Jenner-Kardashian pampering experience of our dreams. We hired a makeup stylist for the full effect and asked for two different styles of makeup and hair: Half of us went for all-out Kardashian glam, while the other half went for a "Kylie and Kendall go to Coachella" look. The results were night and day.
Alexis: "I had a super-dramatic transformation on Day 3, and I LOVED IT. I took enough selfies to last me for the next six months. The teal hair was just the icing on the cake."
Jamie: "I wish I could have someone professionally put them in every day."
Sabrina: "The stylist mentioned that since I have thick hair I should start putting the extensions in higher up on my head instead of at the base of my neck like most people do, and she made a glorious fishtail braid."
Kristin: "It was truly night and day. They didn’t move all day (actually, all weekend). And it was way less bumpy than when I put them in. She had them placed so well that you couldn’t really tell there were extensions in my hair."
Rachel: "The stylist repositioned the wefts to account for my side part, something that never would have occurred to me. Something about all the hair and accessories felt very not me (in a bad way), but as soon as I changed back into my regular clothes, put on my glasses, and kind of reshaped the teasing/curls into something that was more my style, I felt amazing."
Katie: "I noticed when I took them out that she had done the layers differently that I had — she put the four single strips at the bottom of my head, and the two widest wefts at the top. Her method looked better from the front, but I think there was an issue where the tape was showing at the top of my head (there wasn’t much natural hair left to cover it because it was so high up). I felt like if you squinted one way, I looked really great. But if you squinted another way, I looked like a Real Housewife or MILF porn actress."
12. Mini hair elastics are a hair-extensions game changer.
It made a huge difference and meant we had a little road map for putting them back in if we took them out at night. (See exactly how to do this yourself here.)
13. If the Kylie extensions don't work for you, we recommend the ~other~ Jenner extensions.
Our co-worker Augusta couldn't participate in the extensions testing because of her balayage highlights, but she worked with us to coordinate and produce this project. The first day with the hair, as she was telling us where we needed to be, making sure we looked our best, and generally just managing us, she reminded us of someone. So we decided to get her some Jenner "extensions" of her own. Read about Augusta's experience with Kris Jenner hair here.
14. With the clothes and makeup, you may be inspired to live that Kardashian-Jenner lifestyle.
15. Your family, friends, and co-workers will probably be fascinated by your new hair.
16. You're not *supposed* to sleep in them...but it's not the end of the world if you do.
Kristin: "With the help of some dry shampoo, my style lasted all weekend long. I actually slept in the extensions until Sunday, because I knew I could never replicate how the stylist put them in."
Rachel: "I slept in about half of mine on Friday night, using the mini ponytails as a guide for where to reattach them the next day. So useful! I wrapped my hair at night like I normally do, and I think that helped keep them in good shape. I actually kept that routine up until my next blowout."
Katie: "Since I had such a bad experience trying to do it myself on Day 1, I decided to try to extend the professional job by sleeping in them. I'm sorry to admit I didn't even wash my face. (The cat-eye eyeliner the makeup artist did also stayed on perfectly; I have to find out what she used.) They still looked pretty good when I woke up. But as the day went on, they started to look a little sadder and sadder and sort of rattier. I also had a bit of a hangover from the night before, and having all these clips and bands in my hair was not helping. I was popping Advil all day to counteract the scalp tension. They were also starting to get a little hot; I desperately wanted to get the hair off my neck. That evening I went to a friend's birthday party, and I looked like a disgraced Real Housewife who was maybe kicked off after two seasons and now has her own diet cupcake-frosting line. When I took them out at the end of the night, I don't think my body has ever felt such intense pleasure. Finally running my fingers through my scalp was like getting a rim job from Jesus."
17. They can make you feel pretty fancy/badass/confident.
18. BUT they may not be worth $250.
19. Hair extension hangovers will never not be creepy.