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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Feathers: A hair fad that won’t make you look 7

    Tim Glass
    Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat Christy Delhantey models feather fringes, a hair accessory.

    It’s rare that we get a truly wearable trend in hair. Remember the hair wraps all the girls wore back to school, post sunny spring-break trip? Synthetic clip-in locks that more rightfully belonged on a Barbie? Those weird fake-hair scrunchies once sold at Claire’s? Thankfully, these bygone fads have found a classier, more current cousin in the feather extension —  a look fit for little girls and 20-somethings alike.

    You probably already know this. Maybe in the last month or so, you’ve found your eyes fixed on a subtle (or not-so-subtle) standout strand in a classmate’s hairdo. Chances are you asked about it and were answered, “”these are turkey feathers””; “”this is feather fringe””; “”this is the new thing.””

    If nothing else, these extensions, which range from neutral blond-blending hues to vibrant rainbow shades, are gaining popularity. And, according to Gadabout SalonSpas stylist Catherine Rocha, it’s for a good reason.

    “”It’s removable; it’s easy to take care of; it’s a fun little thing,”” Rocha said.

    Of course, it’s not the only extension of its kind. Shimmers, which amount to little slivers of tinselly, synthetic ribbon, seem to be the direct, if inferior, ancestor of the feather extension.

    “”We used to have shimmers, and about a year ago they were the new thing,”” Rocha said. “”They only lasted two or three weeks. And we’d tie them at your roots so there would be like a little bump at your root, whereas these go on the hair shaft, so they’re a lot more comfortable and a lot more user-friendly. You can curl them with a curling iron or flat iron them. They will withstand heat from whatever source you’re using.””

    Properly affixed feathers will also withstand any washing regimen you can throw at them, so go crazy with the hot and cold.

    While the look is more sophisticated than extension fads past, the process is pretty simple and takes about three seconds to complete. The feathers, once selected, are arranged into two asymmetrical sets and, with a spaghetti-thin chunk of hair, are threaded through a bead matched to the customer’s hair color. The bead is then clamped shut with common pliers, and the pointy feather tips are snipped short near the scalp to prevent painful poking. Each feather lasts about one to two months, at which point Gadabout suggests you come back to remove the bead (but truly wild cats can just go at it with their own pliers).

    So how many feathers count as fringe? There’s no simple answer, though an odd number is suggested to keep the look pleasingly off-balance. And though Gadabout SalonSpas sells individual feathers for $8 each, most of their customers come looking for more.

    “”Usually people get five for $35 because that’s the best deal, plus you can see them more that way. One feather with a whole head of hair is really hard to see,”” Rocha said.  

    But sometimes one is enough. With the particularly popular turquoise, red and bright pink feathers, less is sometimes more. It can be easy to overload.

    “”A lot of times mothers will bring their little daughters in, too … because their daughter always wanted red hair or blue hair, and this is a really easy fix,”” Rocha said.

    Really, though, partaking of the feather fad could be a good fix for anyone eager for a change. Me? I’m jumping on the temporary extension bandwagon while it’s still making stops in 20-something land.  

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