Lori Lopez, owner of Wild Orchids the Salon in Antioch, has been managing manes and hypnotizing hair for 35 years, but she’s never seen a trend take off quite like feather extensions, a style popularized by Tyler earlier this year.
“Featherlocks have been around for a few years, but no one really knew about them until Steven Tyler stepped out with this huge feather in his hair,” Lopez said. “It got people’s attention. It’s very rock ’n’ roll. People started going to salons asking how they can get that look. ‘American Idol’ started up in January and by February this trend was like wildfire.”
Lopez said clients ask about feather extensions on a daily basis, and the best part about the new trend is that applying the extensions is easy, painless and takes a matter of minutes to complete. The toughest part is figuring out what style you want. Lopez has feathers in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some are thin and blend naturally with hair; others are wide and feature a bold color that makes the feather pop in the coiffe. Either way, installation is easy. Glue is applied to the quills of the feathers, which is then attached to a hair extension bead laced into the hair and pressed closed to hold it in place. As long as hair is cared for properly, the feather extension should stay in place for up to four months.
“It’s so simple,” Lopez said. “And the best part is that the featherlock is like any hair extension. You can wash it, dry it, curl it and flat iron it without damaging it. As long as you don’t pull on it, the feather will stay in place.”
Lopez believes the simplicity is what draws a wide range of customers to her salon. She’s applied feathers to children and grandmas alike. “Older women really like this trend. It’s a way to do something wild without going too far. It makes them feel young.”
Joelle Garner, a mother of three from Brentwood, tried feather extensions in April on a dare from a girlfriend and loves the new look. “At first I thought I was going to look silly, but the feather extensions are really fun. I got brown feathers so that it blends with my hair, but I might get new ones after these come out. Maybe I’ll be a little braver and try blue or green.”
While the easy application and variety of feathers makes this trend popular with women of all ages, the price is also appealing. Lopez buys her feathers from Condition Culture, which sells its high-quality feathers only to salons, but charges only $6 per feather – a bargain compared to the typical wholesale price of $10 to $15. Lopez keeps the prices low as a way to draw new customers to her salon. For her returning customers, it’s a new way to change up a look without doing anything extreme, such as cutting and coloring.
To remove the extension, clients may either return to the salon for extraction or pinch the hair bead with pliers to pop it open and remove the extension. Lopez recommends that clients keep their feathers in case they’d like to wear them again.
If you’d rather try the trend on your own, there are companies that sell feathers and the necessary tools. But you’ll pay hundreds for a pack of authentic rooster feathers, the most common feather used to create this style. Go to Sephora, located inside the JCPenny in Antioch, and Sultra feather extensions will cost you only $25 for three. Feather extensions can also be found at www.etsy.com, a website dedicated to the sale of unique handmade fashions.