When it comes to protective styles in the natural hair community, weaves and extensions have long been popular and continue to be an incredibly thriving business within the haircare industry. It all started with an Ohio woman by the name of Christina Jenkins in 1950. Jenkins and her husband created and patented the first known hair weave business, appropriately titled "Christina's hair Weave."

It was not long before Jenkins' intriguing technique was sought after around the entire globe. She was soon being flown everywhere to demonstrate her method of temporarily adding hair of different qualities, textures, lengths, and colors to women's original manes.

Today we see everyone rocking weaves and hair extensions--every age, every race, and every hair type. The weaving technique has evolved much since Jenkins' innovative days. And, if done correctly, weave and extensions can actually offer up benefits to natural hair. But like every pro, there comes a con. Here, we break down the three most popular types of weave-- sew-in, clip-in, and glue-in-- and examine their benefits and harmful side effects.

sew in weave

Sew-in Weave

Sew-in weave might be the most beneficial of the three. This is done by braiding the hair to the scalp (like cornrows) and having either real or artificial hair woven into real hair. Nowadays it can also be accomplished without braids.


  • Your styling options are versatile.

  • can be blended or you can use closure pieces or braiding methods that allow your hair to be fully protected.

  • You can use ‘closure pieces’ to fully protect your natural hair from root to tip.

  • You are still able to moisturize, cleanse, and condition your natural hair & scalp.

  • If left in for a long period of time (no more than a couple of months at a time), your real hair will retain length.


  • Without using a protective net, your natural hair may become dry and lose moisture while it is weaved.

  • If your hair is braided too tight, it may weaken, become fragile, and more prone to breakage and split ends.

  • Your hair is at greater risk for thinning and bald patches.

2. Clip-ins>>

apply clip in

Clip-in Hair Extensions

With clip-ins, changing up your hairstyle drastically and adding some length can be done without much skill and doesn’t have to be as tedious as a sew-in. Not only are they easy enough for beginners, clip-in extensions are usually the most affordable of the three types of weave. If you’re an avid DIY-er, making them at home can be feasible, too.


  • Depending on what type of hair you use, it can be simple to blend in with natural hair.

  • Clip-in extensions are easy and quick to apply.

  • They’re inexpensive to purchase and easy to find.


  • Since they aren’t as high-quality and secure as sew-in weave, they aren’t as reliable--subject to falling out of place.

  • Just like sew-in, clip-in extensions can harm natural hair via breakage, thinning, and weakening of the hair shaft (by constant tugging hair at the scalp).


3. Glue-ins>>

glue in weaveGlue-In Weave & Extensions

Unlike sew-ins, glueing in weave (also called “tracks”) can be the most damaging of the three methods. This can be done at home using a bonding adhesive to glue real or synthetic hair close to the natural hair root.. Glue-in styles are usually affordable and accessible--found in most hair and beauty supply stores at a reasonable price.


  • Glueing in weave and extensions makes it easy to blend in with natural hair and styling options can be versatile.

  • They are cheap and can be found at almost any hair or beauty supply store.

  • Glue-ins are stronger than clip-ins.


  • Removing the glue from the hair damages the hair shaft, preventing hair growth & length retention.

  • Since you cannot wash or condition your hair, it will not be as moisturized or as clean.

  • If the bonding glue gets wet or is part of an old application, the tracks can easily slide out of place.

  • With this method, there’s lots of room for breakage via combing and brushing during styling.


Weaving hair can be an effective form of protective styling but should never be an excuse to neglect the overall health of your natural hair. Remember to continue to show love to your tresses from root to tip, cleanse and moisturize often.

Next: Pros & Cons of Coloring Curls