I have a confession. I watched an ENTIRE season of Celebrity Rehab just to see Rachel Uchitel’s extensions…And I’m not the only one.

Since this is The Big Blonde Hair Blog, I have my fair share of readers with hair envy. Reader’s want Michelle Money’s Hair, Alexis Bellino’s Hair, Vanessa Hudgen’s Feather Hair Extensions…And I totally get it, as I have a bit of a hair obssession myself, as in I dream about Guilana Rancic’s ombre extensions every other night. My obsession is the very reason I’ve managed to hunt down a few hair secrets in my quest for celeb-like hair, like the following: Most of your favorite hair-icons have used hair extensions at one time or another. That sexy, flowing hair that you can never seem to get for yourself? It’s not theirs!

If you think you can’t afford them, that may not be the case. There are exceptions to the $1000- and-up-for-a-weave-rule that don’t require you to get anything done in the basement of a tanning salon and pay in cash. Fortunately, I discovered my exception, which I thank the hair gods daily for letting me in on. My best kept hair secret and exception to the excessive spending extension rule is Joan Lazar at Exsalonce Salon & Spa in Chicago.

Joan has been working in the industry since the age of 12, when she began shampooing at a family salon, and she never strayed from the industry. Since that age she has spent years perfecting her craft, and hair extensions are just one of many areas that she has expertise in.

Lazar uses Tony Odisho extensions, which are 100% human hair and are fused to your hair with a bio-keratin bond that is non-damaging, using a heating tool. For those of you who follow the blog, a keratin bond is also used by Great Lengths, the most recent brand of extensions worn by Alexis Bellino on this season of Real Housewives of Orange County. With proper care, the extensions will last 4-6 months, and with a keratin bond you won’t have to worry about them falling out and blowing your cover!

Upon calling for an appointment, you will be scheduled for a free consultation with Lazar, who will determine the amount of extensions that will work best for you (normally 50-150 “strands”), dependent upon what you are looking for, and match them to your hair color. Extensions can be used for volume, length, color change, or all of the above. At your consultation you will schedule an appointment to have the extensions put in, which generally takes 1-2 hours.  Other methods can take hours upon hours, so this is a time saver as well.

The current (as of 4/26/11) cost of extensions with Lazar is $6/strand, so your tab will probably range between $300 – $900 (aka one visit to your favorite retailer on a bad day and one night out with the girls), and will most likely fall somewhere in the middle. (*Not including the generous tip you will want to leave Joan once you see how hot you look with your new hair!). This is insanely reasonable for this quality of extensions and method, as many salons in the area charge over twice as much per strand, and many brands sell strands containing less hair. It’s virtually impossible to get quality extensions put in properly for under $1000 (look into it, I dare you). Rumor has it that Uchitel paid $5000 for her locks.

Once you leave, it’s as simple as using the proper shampoo and conditioner and sleeping with your hair pulled back in a pony tail to prevent tangling.

I’m on my third set, and although I’ve given up a few pairs of designer jeans and nights out, they’re well worth it! And as someone who can apparently write a dissertation on extensions, I’m one to be trusted.

So throw away those ratty clip ins and call Joan at Exsalonce Salon and Spa at 773.327.4848 for an appointment.  You’ll fall in love with the way you look and walk out of the salon feeling like a celeb yourself. With summer approaching, there is no better time to get the look!  

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