Microlink Extensions for Fine, Thin Hair (I Tried It!)

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I never really considered microlink extensions (sometimes called microbead extensions) for my hair, but last July, I found myself in a bit of a predicament. I was standing up in a friend’s wedding and I just knew my hair wasn’t going to make the cut when it come down to the hairstyles the bride wanted. I simply didn’t have enough hair to do a decent updo, and no amount of Toppik or teasing was going to change that. I began looking into some hair extensions options for thin hair and learned that microlinks were probably the best option. I wish I had taken pictures, but back then, I had no idea I’d eventually be writing about this. 🙂

Update: Want to know what I hands-down recommend for fine and thin hair? Check out my review on this awesome, remy human hair extension system! There’s even a discount, hint.

How Do Microlink Extensions Stay on Fine, Thin Hair?

The microlink extensions are basically plastic beads that contain some sort of coating on the inside (silicone?) that helps it to grip to your hair. I think you can get links without the coating, but the coating is recommended for fine/thin hair because it helps the bead not to slip.

The Cost of My Microlinks

You can get extensions in both synthetic and human hair – the salon I went to was able to get human hair in a color close to my natural shade; it took about a week and the cost was about $150 for the supplies. Labor would cost $100, for a total of $250. I have NO IDEA what brand or where my stylist got them from. In fact, when I asked if they could be dyed, they told me it wasn’t recommended. I didn’t know much about supplemental hair at that time but I knew that sounded weird, since you should be able to treat human hair extensions just as you would your own. I wasn’t considering them for any long-term use, though, so I really didn’t care. All that mattered to me was that I’d be able to wear them and have them curled/flat-ironed, which you can do with human hair (and some heat-defiant synthetic options).

I ordered 50 of the microlink extensions, but only ended up using 40 of them. It took about 45 minutes to put them into my hair. Basically, a small portion of your own hair is placed through the bead along with the extension. The micro link is then pinched shut with some sort of tool to so that it stays on your head. You’ll need to get them adjusted every six weeks or so — the beads need to be moved up your existing hair to accommodate for growth.

Here is what they look like. You can see the tops of them; one of them even has the bead still semi-clamped on it (I may or may not bite my nails):

Microlinks with ClampMy Microlinks

 

All In All, Did Microlink Extensions Make My Thin Hair Look Better?

I have to say, the microlink extensions worked out pretty well, even on my yucky fine, thin hair. I had them in for approximately one month, and in that time I only had two that came out. This was likely due to my styling, as it was hard to get used to brushing and blow-drying hair that only has the top part “free”.  There were plenty of times where my brush caught one or two of the microbeads, and OUCH, it hurts!

Here I am with them right after I got the microlink extensions installed — I think this is the only pic I have of them with my hair down. Isn’t my son cute? 🙂 I wanted to show you how well they blended. And yes, I do have my concealers on, too:

microlink extensions for fine hair

And here is me at the wedding that I actually got them for. They totally helped my hair to look better, especially in an updo. The girl who did my hair was able to hide all the beads under my own hair. I was concerned about this since my hair is so thin, but you couldn’t see them at all.

Microlink Extensions for Thin Hair
Microlink Extensions Helped My Fine Hair Look Fuller

Would I Get Microbead Extensions Again?

Honestly? Nope. I loved the way they helped my hair to look fuller on the bottom, but if you are experiencing hair loss, they obviously can’t do anything to help what’s on top. Also, when you have so little hair available to cover them up (I do a deep side part so I’m talking on the side that doesn’t have as much hair), you get paranoid thinking everyone will see them as soon as the wind blows. Ironically, no one EVER knew. Not even my husband–and he still doesn’t know, to this day!

(What I would do instead? I tried this Tressmerize system, which is remy human hair extensions plus an optional topper…it works BEAUITFULLY on my thin & fine hair [check out my pics!]. I even have a special discount for ya!).

Side note: I highly, I mean HIGHLY, recommend Big Sexy Hair Root Pump Plus Mousse to add more oomph up top. I can’t tell you how many comments on this blog and via email I get thanking me for recommending this miracle product, which I talk about in my “how to add major volume” post. It’s hands-down awesome for adding volume and thickness at the crown/root. Perfect on its own and for pairing with extensions!

I used to love how my hair would look in a ponytail, though. I’d often wear it in a low chignon and it looked simply adorable. But wearing it down was always difficult. Because the microlink extensions start a bit above the ear, they cut into the hair I was able to tease in order to achieve extra body. Not a huge deal if you just have thin or fine hair, but if you have hair loss and need to use every trick available to hide it, this can be a problem.

I will tell you that they didn’t cause my hairloss to get worse; of course, my loss is on the top of my hide and not on the sides/perimeter. They never felt like they were pulling or tugging, which was nice; they were surprisingly comfortable, even to sleep.

So, what do you think? Are microlink extensions for your own fine/thin hair in your future?

Be sure to check out my post on micro loop hair extensions, too.

Note: While I really liked my microlinks, a good choice for those that want to try them themselves would be a clip in option. This medium brown color would work for me, but they sell them in a bunch of different colors. I’m very familiar with these types of pressure-sensitive clips; they stay really well, even on my fine hair. These would be easy to throw in your hair, clamp down, and go. Plus, if they are too tight or not quite right, they would be super-easy to adjust. If anyone has tried these, let me know. They have pretty good reviews, too, and look promising!

32 thoughts on “Microlink Extensions for Fine, Thin Hair (I Tried It!)”

  1. It might be the updo not the clips setting things off with the TSA, they always pat down my hair if I have a french braid

    • Yes, for sure. Depending on what kind of screening you have, it could be the clip. When I do the metal detector, it reads the clip. When it’s the body scanner, usually no problems!

  2. Hi there,

    I have thinning hair but it isn’t extremely notixeable quite yet. I purchased batiste brown dry shampoo and some hair fibers you suggested.

    I am getting married and would love to wear my hair down with big waves but I need volume. I am considering tape extensions or microbeading but I don’t want to damage my hair. Any suggestions from what you’ve tried?

    Thanks!!

    • I wanted big waves for my wedding and my stylist told me I didn’t have enough hair – boo! This was back in 2004. 🙂 I think extensions are a good solve for the Big Day. Have you seen my review about Tressmerize extensions? Could be a good option if you go the clip-in route (Tressmerize sells a topper + extension kit, topper only or extensions only).

  3. Lauren, Your site is amazing! I really, really appreciate your openness and creativity! It is refreshing and very inspiring. Hair loss can incredibly traumatic as you know. Any suggestions on how to deal with a brand new relationship when you have evidently done such a good job of concealment that the potential new boyfriend wants to run his hand through your hair?

    In a long standing relationship there will hopefully be the trust and honesty that allows you to be open about your hair situation but what about dating,brand new contacts,etc? How stressful is that. The guy touches your hair and encounters a wig, a clipped in hair piece, a layer of concealer gunk? This is enough to discourage me from letting anyone get very close and that’s a real shame. I wear my hair in a ponytail always. It completely hides the hair loss as its only on the very top of my head. Of course one of the first things most guys will ask to see you with your hair down. How neurotic will a constant refusal be. Maybe not at first but eventually! Just what every guy wants, a bald, neurotic girlfriend when there are many normal pretty pleasant girls to choose from. If you are already in a good relationship and then loose your hair it’s different! Any suggestions?

    Many thanks…oh, how you ever thought of hair transplants? New techniques evidently can even help with diffuse hair loss.

    P’S You and your baby are adorable! Thank you for everything, XOXO Nancy

    • I haven’t read anything about new techniques when it comes to transplants – but I’ll see what I can find. The “old” way is so unproven for women that I’m completely against it in 99% of cases.

      As for dating…yep, I bet that’s hard. Assuming you’d want a long-term relationship and are not just dating for fun, my answers changes. I’d probably just tell the guy, “I wear these sort-of extensions” and leave it at that. Someone who you are seeing “just for fun” probably won’t care, and someone you are more interested in shouldn’t care either – but the latter type of person is the opinion you care the most about since you are looking for potential there. Anyone that gets creeped out by that isn’t worth your time anyways…but “lessening” it to “extensions” when it comes to wearing hair might make it better? Concealers are actually trickier in my mind because it’s hard to explain those away, silly as that sounds…!

  4. Hi Lauren,
    Re my previous message, could you offer any tips, very confused, dont want to damage hair further but, really hoped the extensions would help.

    • Have you heard of Tressmerize? This may be a good option for you – it’s a clip-in extension system plus a topper (you could wear one or the other or both) and it’s made for fragile hair. Remy human hair, beautiful colors, and great price, too!

  5. HI Anya, I have made an appointment with a stylist to have 50 microbead extensions added to my hair.
    My regular stylist put too much bleach on my hair the last 2 visits and has totally ruined it, I am so upset as I had lovely hair and trusted my stylist, she was always telling me she used the best products and, her prices showed this, for the past 3 months my hair has been breaking and does not seem to grow.
    This is why I thought the only solution was to have a few extensions until my hair has a chance to grow, obviously no more bleach. However, after reading about your experience I am really worried, its so confusing .

  6. I had microbeads put in for my wedding and left them in for five months with regular maintenance, correct shampoo – the works. They looked amazing and I got used to the beads. Unfortunately I had them taken out yesterday and now my hair is totally wrecked! It’s really brittle and half the thickness it was five months ago. I’m really disappointed as it took me so long to grow it and get it healthy before hand. Think very carefully before you do this as the long term damage is bad…. ?

  7. I have a feeling this is what people think I’m talking about when I say tech hair or micro point links. Totally different. Great to see the picture and know what other people think I mean most of the time.

  8. I’ve used clip in hair extensions several times, but they always give me a headache after about one hour and I’ve had to remove earlier than when i wanted to every time because of said headache. i don’t know if it’s because i’m not putting them in correctly or because of the thickness of my hair, but i’ve been looking for something new to try to make my hair longer since i had it cut shorter than usual. i’ve been curious about the microlink hair extensions and been wanting to try them since i don’t want to have the extensions glued to my hair. in my search for reviews on them i came across your link and just wanted to say thank you for the advice. also your hair looks beautiful and your son is indeed quite cute.

  9. Your hair looked great with the extensions! I’ve been wearing extensions using the micro bead technique for almost 2 years now and absolutely love it! I was purchasing 18-22″ Donna Bella extensions (almost $60 for a pack of 25 strands) but just recently ordered 100 strands of hair off eBay for under $30 and the silicone lined beads as well for around $12. I live in Ohio and found a stylist that does my extensions at $40/hour, with it usually taking her an hour to put 100-125 strands in and she supplies the beads. I wore 2 set of DB hair for around 10 months each, having them adjusted every 12-14 weeks. I bought the pliers-looking tool used to install/remove the beads as well as the threading tool so I could replace a strand that slipped or came out and also so I can take all of my extensions out before my adjustment appointment, which saves her time and me money. I initially got extensions for length after cutting my hair to my shoulders and regretting it… but now I am addicted to the fullness it gives me! I am able to do SO much more with my hair and although my own hair has grown considerably, I love the extra long length with the extensions. I wash the top/crown of my hair (my natural hair) daily and wash my extensions and the rest of my hair 2-3 times a week. I’ve gotten so many compliments since using extensions I have nothing but good things to say about it!

  10. I was told that to put in the micro bead extensions, it would cost me about 850.00. I need very small beads for the top of my head, and was told these beads are very expensive. Is this true? How much should one bundle of human hair cost, plus the beads? I need to have this done for a wedding.

    • I guess it depends on who is doing it and the quality of hair being put in. I had 40 of them put in (you can see the diameter of each in the post) and it only cost a few hundred, all in. I didn’t realize there were certain sizes to get – mine were very tiny.

  11. Hi there ladies,

    I am a hair extensionist and i have done hairdressing for 18 years,i recently did a clients hair with micro bead hair extensions, she has very fine blonde hair so i did my consultation sheet with her and advised her to have 1 gram strands so she would get the thickness and not need as many in, but she didnt want to take my advice and wanted 200 0.5 strands in, so i explained this many she would see them and struggle to hide them, now after having them fitted she messaged me asking if i could remove them the following day, in which i replied and asked why, she told me its because she could see the beads, but i offered to remove some rather then her have all out, but she wanted them out, i offered her my first available appointment which was 2 days time.
    But she blocked me and now taken me to a small claims court, i have proof of messages and consultation form, but has really hurt me tbh and she only paid £120 as they was on offer but is claiming £325.
    Can you please tell me your thoughts on this, see all my clients are very shocked about this,and all writing testimonies about my work x

    • She should have listened to you. You gave her wag at she wanted. Then demands your time because wanted it her way. Ear a hat until your appointment. Remember you wanted what you got. Not what your professional hair dresser said. If I was the judge you would prevail. Good luck. Always respect the judge never interrupt.when the other person or judge is talking and never roll your eyes nor make faces. Even if miss spoiled is totally in left field. The judge reads people well. Lawyers assistant. It most respect remember call them your Honor no matter what.

  12. Hello 🙂

    I got my bead extensions just yesterday. I got them to add fullness ans length. I live the way my hair looks, but I’m worried about them showing (I don’t have thick hair at all) my stylish said they will loosen and it will start to relax a bit, and the beads will become soft. Did you experience this? I’m just so worried about them showing 🙁

    • The beads are plastic, as far as I know, so I’m not sure how they would soften…? I didn’t notice any changes in the texture/consistency when I had them. I was always worried about them showing, too! As far as I know, no one ever saw them, though.

  13. Hi,

    I really like your hair.

    Can you share where to buy the actual hair for the Micro Link Extensions? I bought some beads/links, needle but I see I need to but the Stick Head I Tip Human Hair Extensions any suggestions?

    Thanks for the great post.

    • I’m not going to be much help: my stylist got them (from where? I don’t know). I do know Amazon sells extensions; a quick Google search brought up a bunch of European and Australian dealers, as well. Good luck!!

  14. Have you heard about Simplicity Hair Extensions? They are tape in extensions and they’re awesome. They’re not like tape in extension I’ve seen before, where you sandwich your hair in between (2) tape in extensions. They have these tape wings that wrap around the extension to sandwich your hair to the extension. They lay flat and you hardly know they’re there. They make grafts which are a little different from the extension themselves for use on top and in the fringe area. They can be back combed for extra volume. They glue is awesome and stay in place until you remove them. They other great thing about them is they can be reused. Your stylist can re-tape them. They take very little time to apply and you won’t end up with a bumpy head like the beaded or glue it type.

    • I’ve never heard of Simplicity Hair Extensions – they sound really promising! How are they priced? I both love and hate hearing about new products because I can never find local places that carry them! A disadvantage of living outside a major metropolitan area, I guess. I’m glad you love them; I’ll have to ask around with my friends to see if some of the upscale salons they go to carry them.

    • Where do you your tape extensions? My stylist has been using a glue-in tape gun to do mine on top but if the tape is smoother that would be better–as long as they stay in when you wash them on your head. Thank you

  15. You look absolutely gorgeous!

    This is how I felt after my extensions – but those were not microlink.

    The hair binding that I want to do in Philly is really different from this though. They take one hair and tie a knot of four hairs at the root. She did 28 of them – 28 new hairs I now have, haha! They’re all still there I’m pretty sure. I keep finding them. So they can get really close to the root. Of course, nothing is a substitute for real hair. I really wish I could do this soon so I could tell you what I think.

    • I remember you talking about those. Sadly, I’d need about 28…00 of them to make a difference. 🙂 Have you gone back in, again? I think they need adjusted/redone every few weeks, yes?

  16. Honestly I am very wary of all extensions because they damage hair follicles in the long run. Micro-bead extensions look pretty and are lighter, but I still wouldn’t advice any one to carry it for a long period because they still pull (exert pressure) on the hair root especially as your hair grows out.

    • Extensions do not damage the folical. The folic also is below your skin , extensions attach to the hair that has already grown from your scalp.

  17. Well the result was great- your hair looked beautiful! (And yes, your son is a cutie!!) I am getting married next May in Jamaica. It’s my 2nd wedding so I am not doing the whole formal shebang but friends and family will be in Jamaica with us. I am already thinking about what to do with my hair. My game plan is to curl it or use a deep waver, for texture, and to some how pin it all up into a loose curly beach look. So I was thinking about getting an extension of some sort to add to my thinning hair. I don’t know if I will do the beads but I appreciate your review because it’s definitely something to consider!
    How’s the pregnancy treating you? When are you due?

    • That would look pretty! They also make tape-in extensions which I did research, but the place I got a quote from was too expensive (almost $600). Those are nice for fine hair since they lay flat and they are supposedly less damaging. Ah, the things we go through. I am also looking at a few other options at the moment so my write-ups on those will be forthcoming!

      Pregnancy – no major complaints! It’s completely different than #1, though. They keep flipping my dates around so I’m either 19 or 20 weeks today. Hard to believe it’s halfway over! Which means only about 36 weeks until I have a horrible post-partum shed! Ugh! Due mid-November, although my son was 5 weeks early so who knows…

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