SEIJI UEHARA is a Manhattan-based hair stylist who is well known among the New York City fashion crowd. He opened his first hair salon, Filament, during the summer of 2015. Filament sits on a picturesque, tree-lined street in the heart of the East Village. Seiji’s inspiration for opening his own salon was to create a unique and intimate space where his clients could unwind and feel catered to.
Seiji started his career as a stylist in some of the most sophisticated salons in Tokyo, his original hometown. After intensive training in Tokyo, he decided to move to New York City and use his craft in the city. Since living here, he has earned a reputation as a master of adding extensions to hair, receiving recognition in various fashion editorials including Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
Seiji and I go way back. He was referred to me by one of his loyal clients who at the time was a professional TV makeup artist turned rock singer; she couldn’t say enough superlatives about Seiji.
When you meet Seiji in person and experience his calm demeanor and extraordinary talent, you understand why he is so well loved and admired in his field. I sat down with Seiji at his quaint salon during New York’s famous Fashion Week. We spoke about all things having to do with hair extensions and his passion for this type of hair art form. He is a skilled and talented artist, whose clients travel across state lines as well as international borders to make sure their hair is in the right hands: his.
In our interview, Seiji explained the intricate facts you need to be aware of when choosing hair extensions.
What exactly are hair extensions?
Seiji Uehara: Extensions are hairpieces that can come in a track form or individual strands either in real hair or synthetic (or a combination of both). It is then placed with one’s real hair to add length or thickness.
Are there different types of extensions?
Seiji Uehara: Yes, there are several different kinds of extensions. There are the clip in extensions that are more temporary. Then there are tape in extensions which last a little longer (up to 5 weeks) but are also considered more in the temporary category. And then there are the fusion extensions which is a strand by strand process, placed strategically by a trained professional with a Keratin bond, up close to the scalp. These types of extensions can last anywhere from three to five months depending on how fast your hair grows and what your lifestyle is.
What kind of hair extensions do you specialize in?
Seiji Uehara: I do all 3 types of extensions but my favorite type of extensions to do are fusion extensions because it looks the most natural and can be customized to fit each client individually and perfectly.
Who uses hair extensions?
Seiji Uehara: The people who tend to enjoy using extensions the most are people with fine hair and people who want to add instant length without having to wait to grow their hair. Amongst my clientele, woman are more likely to request extensions than men.
Do extensions damage the hair?
Seiji Uehara: That’s a very good question. It really depends how you take care of your extensions. If you brush your hair out every day and use the proper shampoos and conditioners (no sulfur) because that can break the Keratin bonds, your hair can stay in healthy shape. It’s also important to change extensions regularly (every 3-5 months depending on one’s hair growth) with new hair extensions.
How do you know if someone is good or not?
Seiji Uehara: Great Lengths, which is what I use, is a company that trains all their stylist and certifies them. You cannot use this top of the line real hair product without going through their strict training process. So, look at the quality of the products the stylist is using and check to see if they are trained and certified to put in extensions. It’s always a good idea to ask for recommendations from people you trust.
How much do extensions cost?
Seiji Uehara: Also, a hard question. They can cost anywhere from $600 to $3000 for fusion extensions which are the type that I primarily do.
Are there different kinds of hair one can or should use?
Seiji Uehara: There are lots of different companies out there. Great Lengths is one of the top of the line companies in the marketplace for hair extensions. Great Lengths hair works best with a broad range of people. They can also make custom made curly hair. The higher the quality hair the more real the extensions will look and the better it will blend in with your own hair.
What do you like about extensions?
Seiji Uehara: I like extensions because of the way it makes people look and feel. It helps people to feel great about their hair and how they look.
How can people find you and where you work?
Seiji Uehara: People can find me at my Salon Filament Hair Salon in NYC. I’m located in the historic East Village in New York City. I can also be found on the Great Lengths website. People can also follow me @filament on my Instagram page or find me on my website www.filamenthairsalon.com