The 8 Best Clip-In Hair Extensions of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.
We put 16 sets of clip-in hair extensions to the test.
There’s something about switching up your hairstyle that feels therapeutic to the soul. A good hair day can make all the difference from turning an average day to an exceptional one, and on days when you’re just not feeling your look, clip-in hair extensions can instantly help to give your hair more body, length, or even a brand new style, like a high pony.
Popping on some luscious clip-in extensions will get you salon-worthy looks from the comfort of your bedroom. You can style, reuse, and customize the clip-ins to create various hairstyles. And the best part? They last for years before needing to be replaced.
Yet, shopping for hair extensions can feel like a single-footed dance, as you’ll need to consider a variety of hair types, textures, colors and styles in order to find your perfect match. To simplify the shopping process, we handpicked 21 of the most popular clip-in extensions out there and tested 16 for ourselves. We tested the extensions over four weeks out in the real world and we judged each one based on their ease of use and attachment, comfort, variety of shades, and the overall final look. These are the eight best clip-in extensions that came out on top, according to our testers.
Related:The 11 Best Flat Irons of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Hidden Crown Hair Extensions Crown Clip-Ins
What We Love: They feel very secure on the head and you’ll never need to worry about it falling off.
What We Don’t Love: It might take some time to perfect the application process.
The clip-in hair extensions from Hidden Crown had all the features we were looking for, which helped it claim the best overall slot. From its natural color to the real-feel texture, these extensions impressed us right from the start. It can be tricky to find the perfect shade for redheads, but their “natural red” option looks seamless against the rest of your hair, blending in almost flawlessly. It probably helps that it’s constructed with 100 percent Remy human hair, making it difficult to distinguish where the real hair ends and where the clip-ins begin.
These extensions will also hold a curl much better than your own hair, so if you are heading out to an event and expect to be out for a while, you’ll be pleased to find that these extensions will keep their style throughout the night. That being said, it does come with a bit of a learning curve where the application process is concerned. The extensions come with several clips, which you have to evenly place across your head to secure them. However, once they’re in, they held on quite securely without any slippage.
Price at time of publish: $459 (3-piece, 24-inch)
Type: Remy human hair | Shades: 35 | Length: 8-26 inches | Number of Wefts Included: 5
RPZL Clip-In Extensions
What We Love: These extensions are tangle-resistant and feel extra soft.
What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t come with a case, so you will need to find a safe place to store it.
Yes, these extensions are a splurge, but they are worth every penny. If you want instant red carpet-level glamour, mega volume, and just all around glossy, expensive-looking hair, this is it.
The clip-ins are made of 100 percent virgin Remy hair, meaning that the hair has never been dyed before turning into extensions. Not only are the extensions totally pure, but they were also treated to be frizz and tangle resistant, so you can expect soft and completely undamaged hair when you shop from RPZL.
When worn, it’s completely impossible to distinguish which hair is our own and which are the extensions (although we still recommend styling your own hair in tandem with the extensions in order to create an even look across your head).
Because the clips remain sturdy once fastened, it’s easy to go through with a curling iron without tugging or pulling the extensions out of place. We did however notice a mild discomfort from the clips after a full day of wear, which is to be expected if your head is not used to the sensation of having clips on them for long periods of time.
When you’re ready to take them off, you have to prepare a separate case to store the hair in as the brand does not provide one for you.
Price at time of publish: $250
Type: Virgin remy hair | Shades: 15 | Length: 16-20 inches | Number of Wefts Included: 7
Insert Name Here Ponytail Extensions
What We Love: It’s an easy way to add a little texture to your hair.
What We Don’t Love: It can start to feel quite heavy after some time.
For anyone looking for a quick and easy way to change up their hairstyle for a day, this wavy clip-in ponytail will help you achieve a stylish look in no time. It earned our best budget spot because you'll get a stylish 'do that is available in an impressive number of shades without compromising too much.
In addition to the 21 shade options, the ponytail is super versatile and looked great on a range of hair colors and textures, including those of us with naturally straight hair. Just slick back your hair and insert the comb at the base of the ponytail, wrap the velcro around and boom, your hair is transformed without ever needing to touch a curling iron.
And despite the wavy texture, we were pleasantly surprised with how soft the extensions felt. The 26-inch ponytail definitely makes for an eye-catching statement, but along with that gorgeous length comes a bit of weight, which began to tug and feel a little heavy after some time. When you’re done using it, you can safely store it in the provided pouch to use again another time.
Price at time of publish: $59
Type: Infinity-flex vegan hair | Shades: 21 | Length: 26 in | Number of Wefts Included: 6
Luxy Hair Clip-In Extensions
Best Shade Range
What We Love: The hair feels extremely silky and smooth.
What We Don’t Love: Redheads may have a difficult time finding the right shade.
With 37 shade options, it doesn't get more inclusive than this set from Luxy. The brand offers the highest number of color options out of all the winners on this list, although most land within the blonde to brown range.
We tested these clip-in extensions on both platinum blonde and red hair, and while the color match for the blonde extensions was nearly immaculate, the red hair showed a slight mismatch on our tester. Luckily, the brand offers a 60-day exchange and return policy, so if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, you can swap it for something that is.
Overall, the Remy hair felt silky soft to the touch, never tangling or becoming stringy. It made the final result look extremely glamorous — it’ll definitely make you want to spend a night out on the town.
With this set you’ll get nine pieces of hair, separated into four attachments in various sizes and widths. You won’t have any trouble sectioning them into their respective spots to make the overall look smooth and consistent. Once in, the hair feels natural and weightless, letting you enjoy the look without the tugging or discomfort.
Price at time of publish: $235
Type: Remy hair | Shades: 37 | Length: 16-24 in | Number of Wefts Included: 9
ONYC Tight Kinky Curl 7 Piece Clip In
Best for Natural Hair
What We Love: They’re easily customizable, giving you lots of styling options.
What We Don’t Love: There are only two color options.
As its name suggests, the Kinky 7-Piece Clip-In Extension set was designed specifically to mimic 3B-3B natural texture, making it the best option for those who rock their natural style. Although our tester's hair was darker than the extensions they used, it matched her coily texture exactly. With this set, you’ll receive a generous supply of seven clip-in pieces. It mimics a 3B-3C texture, and it accentuated our tester’s natural hair perfectly.
The application process is quite easy, even for beginners, which also makes it a great option for anyone new to the clip-in game. You can choose how many of the pieces you want to use, and adjust the volume of your hair according to the vibe you want. Once they’re in, the virgin kinky-curly blend of real human hair looks completely natural on the head. If you want to spice it up a bit, we found it very easy to define the curls further using mousse. You can also easily style it in dozens of different ways, courtesy of the different weft lengths. The downside here is that the style is only offered in two colors, which makes it difficult to color match.
Price at time of publish: $110
Type: Virgin kinky curly human hair | Shades: 2 | Length: 12-20in | Number of Wefts Included: 7
Bebonia Spiral Clip-In Extensions
Best for Volume
What we love: They’re very easy to fasten and the base can’t be seen from the outside.
What we don’t love: The ends can get a little stringy.
If you're looking for a simple way to take your hair from ordinary to extraordinary, the trick is to add volume, and these extensions make it a snap. The Bebonia spiral curls come in a variety of different sizes, making them easy to layer around your head to amp up the fullness. Due to the tight curly texture of the set, they're especially great for 2C and 3A hair types that need a little extra boost. You can choose between two thickness options, 110 g and 220 g. The first is recommended for those with fine hair, while the latter is for those with thicker hair, as it has more hair per weft and three more wefts total.
If you’re new to the clip-in game, then you’ll be delighted to find how easy it is to clip these in. The six wefts can be placed along your head to layer as you please, and once in, they remain comfortably on without any tugging or pulling. While you’ll definitely notice the extra bounce in your hair, you won’t notice the clips keeping them in place, as they don’t dig into your scalp.
The extensions are made of 100 percent Remy human hair, which makes it one of the softest and most natural options. We did notice some stringiness towards the ends of the hair, which sounds like a con, but it actually makes it look more like real hair overall (because who has perfect ends, really?).
Price at time of publish: $155+
Type: Remy human hair | Shades: 10 | Length: 16-22 in | Number of Wefts Included: 6
Bebonia Ringlet Clip Extensions
Best for Curly Hair
What We Love: The quality of the hair blew us away.
What We Don’t Love: The color options for darker hair are limited and might not work well for people with very coily textures.
Bebonia certainly knows a thing or two about curly hair, earning a second appearance on this list. There are two features in particular that make this option stand out above the rest for curly haired people: The two thickness options and the strong hold of the curl, which didn't soften or relax despite our repeated usage. And although the extensions are styled in tight ringlets, you can also soften them into a looser curl with a bit of coaxing, just coat the strands with a styling product and start brushing until you get the curl pattern you want.
Overall, the quality of these extensions is excellent. During our testing day at The Lab, our attending hair stylist on set was even blown away with how authentic these felt. Even better, the attachment process is pretty simple — the most difficult part of the process is splitting and sectioning off your hair. For this, hair stylist D’xenia Clark recommends “using a double mirror to install ringlet curly extensions because you want your parts to be clean.”
We found that while the hair feels luscious and sleek, if your own hair is also not soft, it may look inconsistent. The brand says that this product is for 3C to 4A hair types, but we found it to be more for 3A to 3B hair. As you work with that expectation, you’ll be quite pleased with how the product looks and feels on your head. Without tugging or pulling, the extensions feel lightweight and luxurious.
Price at time of publish: $155
Type: Remy human hair | Shades: 7 | Length: 16-22 in | Number of Wefts Included: 9
Barely Xtensions Ponytail
What we love: It takes less than five minutes to attach.
What we don’t love: There aren’t many color options, which makes color matching slightly difficult.
Ponytails are a quick and easy way to add a little pizzazz to your look with little effort. Yet so often, they slide down your head as you wear it throughout the day or the velcro gets stuck in your natural hair and becomes painful to untangle. We experienced none of these common side effects with this ponytail from Barely Extensions, which makes it our selection for best ponytail.
It's a single 22-inch piece with a hidden comb to place the attachment into hair and secure with velcro strips. Although the entire process is impossibly speedy — it took us less than five minutes to style — it looks like it was whipped up by a professional.
These extensions are one of the few synthetic hair options we included on this list. Visually, you can’t really tell that it’s not real hair. However, texture-wise, the ends slightly give away that the hair is not natural, but even then it remained soft and flowy.
Hairstylist Nekea Thomas comments that “the only time I would turn to synthetic vs natural hair is if I’m doing a ponytail or top knot.”
Our only disappointment is that the brand only offers three color options, although the ponytail we tested did in fact blend naturally with our hair, even if it wasn’t a perfect color match.
Price at time of publish: $60
Type: Synthetic | Shades: 3 | Length: 22 | Number of Wefts Included: 1
Our Testing Process
To start, we spent four weeks researching the most popular and top-rated clip-in hair extensions currently available. We curated a list of the top 21 extensions and we put 16 to the test. We paired each tester with the extensions that best matched their hair color and textures. Our testers then wore the extensions twice a week for four weeks to properly and thoroughly analyze their performance and write down their insights throughout the process. We asked the testers to specifically consider how easy the extensions were to use, wear and fasten, how comfortable they were to wear, the overall quality of the extensions, and whether the value matched the retail price. After reviewing all of the tester feedback, along with insights from two professional hairstylists, we narrowed our list to the eight best and top-performing clip-in hair extensions.
What to Keep in Mind
Natural vs. Synthetic Hair
Hair extensions can come in two forms: Natural human hair (called Remy hair) or synthetic. While many people prefer natural hair extensions for their authentic look and feel, along with its longer lifespan, they do usually come with a higher price tag. However, that investment provides you with the option to wash, style, and reuse your extensions as you would normal hair. They are also known to outlast their synthetic counterparts — natural hair extensions maintain their structure, shape, and overall look for about a year while synthetic hair averages only four to six months.
Hairstylist Dimitris Giannetos, who has styled everyone from Amal Clooney to Rosalia, recommends natural clip-ins. “You can do anything you want to them and re-create any hairstyle you love since they are made out of real human hair,” he says “when using synthetic hair you can’t use any heat which limits the hairstyles you can do.”
Synthetic hair is a little trickier to maintain, and despite recent innovations to make them appear like natural hair, they may never reach the same level of softness. Yet, the lower price point of synthetic hair offers you the ability to purchase more extensions and styles, giving you the freedom to rotate through various looks without the costly commitment. The Barely Extensions Ponytail is made of synthetic materials, but could easily be mistaken for real hair just by its looks.
Hair Color and Texture
When shopping online for clip-in hair extensions, it can be a tricky dance to find the perfect color and texture. That being said, don’t fret if the extensions don’t match your hair to a T. All hair types have slight variations in texture and color already, and the addition of extensions simply accentuates this feature. This is at least how Giannetos styles his clients. He uses either highlighted colors or two different colors because “all hair has a natural dimension,” meaning that the highlighted extensions “blend better with your own hair.”
Most brands echo this recommendation, suggesting a mix-and-match application to achieve a more natural result. However, if you do want a color and texture that matches perfectly, Priscilla Valles, hairstylist to Khloe Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Katy Perry and Hailey Bieber, recommends matching at your ends rather than your roots. “You usually want extensions for length or thickness because that is where they are usually extending from and that’s where the blending occurs,” she says.
We recommend searching through a brand that offers a wide variety of looks, like the Luxy Hair Clip-In Extensions or the Hidden Crown Clip-In Extensions.
Hair wefts refer to the number of hair strips found on the extensions. Depending on how many wefts there are, you can customize and alter your hairstyle and get as natural or as volumized as you wish. The Barely Extensions Ponytail features a single large hair weft that can be clipped onto your existing ponytail. The Luxy Hair Clip-In Extensions comes with nine wefts, sectioned off into different lengths and thicknesses, awarding you a little flexibility on how you structure your hair extensions.
Your Questions, Answered
How do you put in clip-in hair extensions?
When testing these clip-in extensions ourselves, we found that the process of inserting clip-ins was much easier than expected, even for beginners. Clark explains that you want to start from your nape up (usually a two-clip). “After the nape, you would be following with a clip-in that covers most of your occipital bone horizontally and usually reaches near the temple (usually a four-clip or five-clip).”
Follow this process up and add or leave out as many wefts as you want to achieve the fullness you want.
Thomas suggests using dry shampoo at the root, teasing or back-combing once or twice and spraying the tease before inserting the clip to get a nice lift at the root.
How long do clip-in extensions last?
This truly depends on how often you use them and how well you care for them. Giannetos estimates that they can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
To get the most usage out of them, you will want to take several steps to ensure their quality does not deteriorate quickly. Valles recommends brushing after every use from root to ends and storing them in a silk or ziplock bag. “Wash them after four uses, condition, and use a hair mask on them and blow them dry.”
Do clip-in extensions damage hair?
Clip-in extensions are one of the least damaging styling options for your hair. While traditional extensions can pull and rip at your hair, clip-ins are largely harmless. However, “if your hair is very fine I find it helps to replace the big clips with smaller ones so they’re more gentle and tug the hair less,” says Giannetos.
How do you wash clip-in extensions?
If you want your clip-in extensions to last and remain in good shape, it’s vital that you wash them regularly. “I definitely recommend washing at least once a month to avoid damaging the hair. Especially if you’re using hot tools often, product buildup could cause the hair to burn or split,” says Giannetos.
If you are working with Remy human hair, you can wash your extensions with the same products as you do your natural hair. However, in terms of technique, hairstylist D’xenia Clark recommends “lining them up one behind the other and attaching a claw clip to the base of the extension (where the clips are placed).”
Next, you’ll want to hold onto the clip and wash them thoroughly. “Comb through with your fingers, rather than roughly rubbing them together.”
Also, make it a habit to frequently brush them, says Thomas, in order to avoid messy-looking tangles.
Can you sleep with clip-in extensions?
While it might be tempting to just crawl into bed after an evening of soirées, you shouldn’t sleep with clip-in extensions. “Sleeping with clip-ins could cause irritation on the scalp,” says Valles, who adds that it’s not only harmful for your scalp, but it will cause the extensions to deteriorate quickly as well, as the hair gets rubbed and tugged throughout the night. For long-lasting clip-ins and a healthy scalp, always remove the extensions before heading off to dreamland.
Why Shop With Us
Bianca Kratky is a commerce writer at InStyle, with two years of experience covering fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products. In order to write this article, she spoke to hair stylists D’xenia Clark, Priscilla Valles, Nekea Thomas, and Dimitris Giannetos to get a better understanding on how to best care for clip-in hair extensions. She also consulted the team here at InStyle who thoroughly tested and tried every single one of the mentioned clip-in extensions themselves.
Related:The Best Hair Clips for Thick Hair, According to Celebrity Hairstylists
For more InStyle news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on InStyle.