Sew-in hair extensions have been the advancing rage in youth and adults since the 90s. It’s with no doubt that your mother and grandmother might have worn them before.
They are crazily popular because of their ability to tuck away one’s natural hair. In addition, the lifespan of the sew-in weave surpasses that of most hair extensions.
How else would you want to accessorize your hair when there is this remarkable idea.
As an extensions specialist, I will help you know everything about sew-in extensions. You will find the answers to what you didn’t know about them in this article.
Let’s get started.
What Are Sew-in Hair Extensions?
Sew-in hair extensions are permanent hair extensions that involve hair wefts sewn onto a braided hair base. They’re what you hear most women referring to as ‘weave’, the most common term for sew-in extensions. At times they are called weft hair extensions instead of sew-in extensions.
These names get derived from the concept that sew-ins apply the threading (stitching) technique to secure the hair bundles. They’re a great way of adding instant length and volume. They also offer the chance to glam up in different hair colors without bleaching your actual hair. 
Pros of Sew-in Hair Extensions
The pros of sew-in extensions outline the benefits you accrue from wearing them. It can be helpful to examine them ahead of time, especially to align with your hair needs.
Buying the hair bundles and the installation costs are cost-friendly compared to other hair extensions.
For instance, micro rings and bonded hair extensions will have you parting with even $1000 or more. Yet, with around $300 in your pocket, you can approach a reputable hairstylist for a proper sew-in install.
Generally, they are significantly economical, looking at how long they last in your hair. These are not the extensions that keep you visiting the salon often and spending chunks of money.
Good for Thick Hair
If you have thick hair, sew-in weave extensions are a good option. Thick hair melds with sew-in extensions because they’re dense enough to hold the additional weight of the hair bundles.
You’ll also notice that braids stay more intact and do not loosen up fast in thick hair.
For such hair extensions to be as long-lasting as they are, it supports the truth that they do not slip away disproportionately. The stitching of the thread into the cornrows provides a tight attachment to the hair bundles.
This is not the kind of attachment clip-ins or micro-ring extensions have. It’s a sturdy and firm hold that does not allow the hairpieces to go down easily.
Sew-in extensions shield your whole natural hair away from damaging agents. The braids give the hair an utter break from frequent styling, tangling, brushing, oil buildup, and regular maintenance.
On the other hand, the installation process does not use heat or glue to secure the wefts of hair.
Any woman who is always in a hurry for work is well-suited to use the sew-in extensions. They barely have time to style up or brush the hair extensions.
Sew-in extensions come in handy in such cases because they require little maintenance. You can style it once a day, and it maintains that look the entire day.
And you need not worry about getting late for your morning schedule.
Cons of Sew-in Hair Extensions
Enlightening yourself on the cons of sew-in extensions is equally important. They help with the decision-making process on whether to have them on or not.
Potential Hair Loss
Poor installation of sew-in extensions includes pulling the hair when braiding. That brings about tension and pain on the scalp, and if the braids are too tight, the more the problems.
You’ll see white flakes at the hair root, which means it has been adversely pulled. The hair gets brittle and weak, and it breaks with time.
Unfriendly to Thin Hair
Thin hair cannot bear the weight of sew-in extensions since it’s delicate. It’s vulnerable to hair loss if an inexperienced stylist applies the sew-ins to it. And if you didn’t know, it’s hard for thin hair to stay long in braids, as it loosens up so fast. 
Sew-in extensions do not grant the versatility to switch between different hairstyles. You’re limited because the hair bundles are sewn into immovable braids. Sew-ins do not support any other hairstyle apart from a bun or a ponytail.
Hard to Wash
Since the hair gets braided down, it’s easy for hair products to accumulate into an excessive buildup.
You have to wash regularly and thoroughly to prevent this occurrence. You will not avoid the buildup if you don’t, and cleaning the sew-ins will be a nightmare.
How to Install Sew-in Hair Extensions
You may want to know how your hairstylist will apply sew-in extensions to your hair before the appointment. Or even to gauge whether you can install them on your own at home.
Let me burst your bubble in good time. As safety is always the key concern, sew-in extensions are risky to install by yourself.
Unless, you don’t mind the risk of getting stabbed with a needle. If not, you’re likely to braid improperly since it’s hard to see your head’s back.
The process itself requires the following tools: a (curved) needle, a color-matching thread, and a tail comb.
Installing Sew-in Extensions (Step-By-Step)
Wash, condition, and dry the hair and scalp thoroughly to make it all ready. You should ensure your hair is clean before installing the sew-in wefts.
Take your tail comb and cut out your hair. That’s where you would like the hair part to be on your head; it could be a middle or side part.
Basically, a part is the bare scalp area on the head when you have your weave on. Then braid down that leave-out section so that it does not mix up with the rest of the hair.
Create your first two braids on either side of the leave-out. These should be as thin as possible because the sew-ins will look weirdly voluminous if they are thick.
And these braids will be the last to fix onto the extensions’ tracks.
Separate the front hair edges from the hair to be braided. This hair is usually fragile and needs no braiding as it may break off.
Braid the outermost row of the hair perimeter. Braid from the front to the ear to the back on one side of the head.
Then form another braid on the other side, from the front to the ear to the back.
And connect the end of the former braid to it and continue braiding horizontally straight at the back.
After setting up the braids at the edges, create the inner braids in the same way as in step (5).
Do this while heading towards the middle of the head. Keep connecting the ends of one cornrow to the next at the back of the head.
Braid the remaining hair in a different braid pattern upon reaching the middle of the head.
Braid from the front without going straight along the back. And sew the last two ends of the hair cornrows into the cornrows.
Oil the hair with hair serum, like coconut oil. Spread it in the spaces between the cornrows to do away with dryness.
A dry scalp is susceptible to flaking and scalp irritation.
Put on the wig net. After that, insert the thread, matching the color of your hair, into the needle.
Then sew it to the cornrows starting at the hair perimeter. By doing so, you secure the wig net to your hair.
Cut off the excess wig net at the leave-out area and around the hair perimeter.
You would have formed a complete hair base to attach the extension tracks at this level.
Take a single extension track and attach it to the perimeter cornrow. You should sew beneath the cornrows so that you can put the hair up in a pony or bun confidently.
And sew three to four more double tracks in the ear-to-ear direction at the back.
Then sew in a U-direction. That’s from one side to the back straight and the other side.
Continue with that pattern until you cover the entire head except for the braided leave-out at the front.
Untie the braided leave-out and create a clean part. Lastly, use a flat iron to straighten the entire hair for a sleek and glamorous appearance.
How to Take Out a Sew-ins By Yourself
The advice you get everywhere concerning most hair extensions is to have them removed by a hair technician.
Yet you’re in a situation where the sew-ins are ripe for removal, but money for such an expense is unavailable.
You may also find that you’re far distance-wise from your hair technician. That’s when you’ll have to take them out by yourself, or else you expose yourself to hair damage. These are instructions on how to do it:
Watch this video for visuals on the removal process.
Removing Sew-in Extensions (Step-By-Step)
Start with the top sew-in weft hair. Using your fingers, look for where any thread is and hold it up. Make sure you’re only holding up the thread and not together with your hair.
Take your scissors and place the thread between the scissor’s blades. Move one of the scissor blades against the line till it snaps. You might accidentally cut your own hair if you cut by clamping down the blades.
Move down along the extension track, cutting the thread loops. You may not need to use the scissors in some instances since the thread unties itself.
Continue unthreading as you work down to the back until the last bundle is out.
Look for the threads binding the end of the cornrows and cut them out too.
Unbraid the hair cornrow by cornrow until your whole hair is free from braids. You’ll see some threads popping out, but those will come out as you unbraid your hair.
FAQs About Sew-in Hair Extensions
Why are sew-in extensions so itchy?
Intense itchiness in sew-in extensions is probably due to the buildup of hair products on your scalp. If you do not wash and rinse out all the hair products, that’s the aftermath you’re exposing yourself to.
And sometimes, it could be due to excessive sweating from gyming or vigorous physical activity. You may realize that the itchiness aggravates the more you sweat. It’s healthy to have frequent washes if you’re a sweaty person to alleviate the discomfort.
What is a versatile sew-in?
Versatile sew-ins are a particular type in that enough hair is left around the hairline instead of braiding the entire hair mass. The amount of perimeter leave out has to conceal the braids fully for the sew-in extensions to blend well and appear distinctly natural.
Are sew-in extensions painful?
Sew-in extensions can be painful if installed in your hair by an unprofessional stylist. Constantly pulling and tugging hurt your scalp when setting up the braided cornrows.
After the installation is complete, you will notice that the pain does not disappear, especially if the braids are too tight. Your head gets sore, and you might experience headaches. Thin-haired women are prone to such pain because their hair is fragile and slightly scarce.
Do sew-in extensions loosen up?
Yes, sew-in extensions loosen up as they wear out over time. They get displaced and lay loose due to the braids and the sewn thread beneath loosening up. That’s normal and does not suggest the installation process was poor.
Some ladies have a false belief that braiding tightly would make the sew-in extensions more durable. In fact, they will not take more time to loosen up, but pain and hair loss will be the aftereffects.
How long does it take to apply sew-in extensions?
Expert hair specialists may take 2-3 hours if fast and thorough enough. However, It may take longer, even six hours, depending on your specialist’s speed and the sew-in type.
How long does a sew-in with leave out last?
A sew-in with leave out (or versatile sew-in) lasts 2 weeks to 12 weeks. How keenly you follow the correct aftercare routine and how fast your hair grows, amongst other factors, determine its lifespan.
And even if your hair grows fast, the more careful you are with sew-ins care, the longer they’ll serve you.
How many packs of hair do you need for a sew-in?
The number of hair packs varies based on whether it’s a partial or full sew-ins. If you’re going for a partial sew-in, 2 packs suffice. A full-sew-in will take more, approximately 3 packs.
But, you will need to add one more pack if you opt for 22″ length or longer hair extensions. That’s because such hair length comes in less hair density.
What are the braidless sew-in hair extensions?
Braidless sew-in extensions are sew-ins that attach the hair extensions directly to the natural hair instead of braided cornrows. The hair technician fixes micro-links on small sections of hair, setting up the base.
This way, the hair technician sews the hair extension wefts through the hair between the scalp and the micro links.