They are described as addicting, colorful and spring’s newest hair trend, and they are making their way onto Ohio State’s campus just in time for Spring quarter. Feather extensions, colorful pheasant feathers in all lengths and colors, are a temporary way to change up a look for all types of hair without doing permanent damage.
Gendala Kelli Anna, co-owner and manager at Phia Salon in the Short North, has been sporting a head covered with feather extensions for almost six weeks, since a client called the salon searching for a new look.
“We had a client call in and Elizabeth Bella, the owner, answered the phone to this client asking about feather extensions,” Kelli Anna said.
“Elizabeth is amazing at jumping on opportunities, so she went on the Internet and Googled feather extensions … and ordered a ton.”
Phia Salon has since become popular for its new extensions.
Kelli Anna decided to try a whole head of feathers and has yet to meet someone else with the same style of feather extensions. Although she is not quite sure how or where the feather trend started, other celebrities have since jumped on the bandwagon.
“I know Steven Tyler has been doing it on ‘American Idol,’ and now there’s four or five contestants with them as well,” Kelli Anna said. “I don’t know where it originated, but I know we started it (in Columbus), and now other salons are doing them. I just see them popping up everywhere.”
Phia Salon has two different processes when it comes to the initial installment of the extensions, both of which are safe and not damaging to hair, Kelli Anna said. Neither of the installments include heat, which can melt or ruin hair, and instead are either bonded with glue or a copper bead.
The fusion, a keratin glue which bonds the feather extensions to the hair, is the more permanent option between the two and can last up to three to four months.
“It’s a longer process to get it out, so this is for someone who really likes the placement and wants them to stay right there for a good amount of time,” she said.
The salon offers a citrus-base solution that will break down the bonds to help remove the feathers from the lock of hair easier. Kelli Anna does not recommend clients remove the extensions without the help of a professional, but the extensions are able to be cut out with scissors because the feathers are bonded to such a small strand of hair.
The other installment process, cold fusion, is more temporary than the keratin bond. A copper bead is clamped on the root of the hair strands and feather instead of using the keratin glue.
“This process can last for up to six weeks, depending on how well the person takes care of it,” Kelli Anna said.
In fact, the feathers are treated exactly like human hair. They are able to be styled as normal and give the appearance of real strands of hair with a little extra flair.
The stylists at the salon, with the help of the client, place the feathers throughout the desired area. While most hair lengths and styles will work well with the extensions, a combination of fine and thin hair is not recommended because the copper beads and keratin glue bonds will show through the hair.
Nicole Heffle, a second-year in marketing, had not heard of feather extensions until a trip to California during spring break. She came home with 12 feathers, with colors including pink, yellow and brown throughout her hair.
Heffle said the trend seems to be extremely popular on the West Coast.
“It really brings out something different,” Heffle said. “They’re so cheap and affordable, and the best part is they’re not permanent. You can put them in and not have it noticed, or you can even get neutral ones that blend in with your hair, but still give it something extra.”
Prices for the extensions vary by salon throughout Columbus, ranging from $5 per feather to $25 for a bundle of seven.
Lauren Lucente, a first-year in marketing, has had three colors of feather extensions in her hair: purple, white and a combination of white and black. Lucente has had the feathers for almost four weeks and has one complaint.
“I don’t really have anything negative to say about them, but sometimes when I brush my hair, the beads get caught on it. But besides that I think it’s a great way to show your individuality and accessorize for spring,” Lucente said.
Kelli Anna describes the new trend as “addicting” and has gotten many positive reactions from clients and people she comes in contact with outside of work.
“The longer I’ve had them in, the more I’ve started to love them,” she said. “And also, people love them. They want to touch my hair, and they’re very interested with how they’re staying in there. Most are really amazed with how artistic it is, but how natural it is. Someone once told me it’s like a more exotic way to do dreadlocks.”
Kelli Anna thinks people should get feather extensions to be part of a new fashion trend.
“It’s new and exciting and colorful. This is a point in time right now when they can be a part of a new trend and fashion, and that’s really exciting to be able to be a part of,” she said. “When they were doing my hair I felt like we were making history. I think it’s time for everyone to jump on the historical fashion moment.”