<p>MODERN SALON editor Alison Alhamed&#39;s 24-inch hair extension transformation, created with Great Lengths Cold Fusion method, custom-colored and applied by Ursula Sienko at Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.</p>

MODERN SALON editor Alison Alhamed's 24-inch hair extension transformation, created with Great Lengths Cold Fusion method, custom-colored and applied by Ursula Sienko at Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.

<p>Ursula Sienko, owner of Hair Fusion Bar.</p>

Ursula Sienko, owner of Hair Fusion Bar.

Photo courtesy of

Courtesy: HFB

<p>Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.</p>

Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.

Photo courtesy of

Courtesy: HFB

<p>Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.</p>

Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.

Photo courtesy of

Courtesy: HFB

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<p>MODERN SALON editor Alison Alhamed&#39;s 24-inch hair extension transformation, created with Great Lengths Cold Fusion method, custom-colored and applied by Ursula Sienko at Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.</p>
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MODERN SALON editor Alison Alhamed's 24-inch hair extension transformation, created with Great Lengths Cold Fusion method, custom-colored and applied by Ursula Sienko at Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.

<p>Ursula Sienko, owner of Hair Fusion Bar.</p>
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Ursula Sienko, owner of Hair Fusion Bar.


Photo courtesy of

Courtesy: HFB

<p>Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.</p>
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Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.


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Courtesy: HFB

<p>Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.</p>
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Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.


Photo courtesy of

Courtesy: HFB

When Ursula Sienko decided to open her Hair Fusion Bar in Millburn, New Jersey, she had a clear concept: she wanted to focus solely on hair extensions.

It was her own hair extension transformation that inspired her nearly two decades ago to specialize in extensions. “Having fine hair myself, the feeling the extensions gave me was something I wanted to share with the world,” Sienko says.

Even in the salon’s earliest days, Sienko was booked and busy, thanks to word of mouth.

“When I started, no one really knew about extensions like they do now,” Sienko says. Around 2008, the hair extension category started to boom, acording to Sienko, who says the feather extension craze helped put all forms of extensions on the map. “Prior to that trend, a lot of extension business was happening behind closed doors,” she says. “No one was really talking about it.”

Her vision in 2008: To open a space specializing in extension services, catering exclusively to extension clientele, and transforming clients one bundle at a time. Fast forward to today, Sienko now owns three spaces—two in Illinois and one in New Jersey—devoted to the art of hair extensions, and her business is growing every year.

“What we do here is we give hair: no one leaves our salons without some sort of hair addition,” Sienko says. From tape and fusion extensions to clip-ins, wigs and toppers, Sienko has earned her reputation as a “Miracle Worker” in the transformation business.

Sienko, who has used Great Lengths and the HairUWear family of brands throughout her entire experience in the extension world, says the quality of the product she works with is the most critical part of the transformation.

“There are three reasons why I love working with Great Lengths extensions,” Sienko says. “First,  the quality of the 100% Remy hair is outstanding. Next, the colors available match natural hair colors perfectly—it’s spot on. Lastly, the bond on the extensions mimics the hair’s natural compound. Natural hair expands and contracts, and the Great Lengths’ bond allows the hair to do that, too, ensuring the natural hair stays healthy. The bond is extremely important for the health of the hair, of course proper application is critical, but it starts with the bond.”

FUSION EXTENSIONS: Great Lengths offers two fusion application options for their pre-bonded extensions that are applied strand-by-strand: Thermal Application and Ultrasonic Touch.

“Thermal fusion uses minimal heat to apply the bond to the natural hair, and is best for finishes that require a smaller bond,” Sienko says. “Thermal fusion at Hair Fusion Bar have a rolled finish at the attachment site, which is always smaller than a grain of rice per strand.”

The Cold Fusion service at Hair Fusion Bar uses the GL Ultrasonic Touch machine and is perfect for clients with fine, thin hair, looking for a heat-free application. “It’s the healthiest application we offer,” Sienko says. “It’s a flat bond folded around the clients’ natural hair, applied with the Ultrasonic Touch application machine. The bond feels so natural, the hair flows more naturally because it’s flat, and it’s very comfortable for clients while they sleep since it lays flat.”

MODERN SALON editor Alison Alhamed's 24-inch transformation, created with Great Lengths Cold Fusion, custom-colored and applied by Ursula Sienko at Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.
 - Courtesy: HFB

MODERN SALON editor Alison Alhamed's 24-inch transformation, created with Great Lengths Cold Fusion, custom-colored and applied by Ursula Sienko at Hair Fusion Bar in Chicago.

Courtesy: HFB

THE HAIR FUSION BAR DIFFERENCE

COLOR CUSTOMIZATION: “We completely customize all of the hair and color to match our clients’ hair color and density,” Sienko says. “Often, hair extensions arrive as one solid tone—no lowlights or highlights. That’s our specialty—total color customization.” Although the color customization adds service time—about 45 minutes—it’s what sets her salon apart from others offering extension services. “Using Great Lengths extension in our fusion services, we’re able to take a client with, say 2% gray and 98% dark brown, and totally transform her color by making a customized color just for her.”

TRANSFORMATIONS: Sienko and her team have also earned a reputation in her market for super short-to-long transformations. “From pixies to long hair, we do the impossible,” she says, saying she has clients who have undergone chemotherapy and are looking to grow out their hair, and that extensions can help. “We always ensure the hair will grow out healthy—that’s the goal, healthy hair.”

SAME-DAY SERVICES: Hair Fusion Bar also offers same-day services—for those who travel to her or are limited to same-day services, clients can experience a consultation and service in the same day, a game-changer in the salon world.

TEAMWORK: Her staff requires certification with Great Lengths extensions, and they then apprentice directly with Sienko for about six months to learn the Hair Fusion Bar customization offerings.

“Stylists who succeed at Hair Fusion Bar have to love what they do,” she says. “There’s no one person doing one job, we all come together and work as a team to offer services to clients without them spending the entire day at the salon—although there are certainly transformations that can take longer based on how customized the look is, our average is two hours.”

REMOVAL: Combs are never used during the removal process at Hair Fusion Bar. “All removal is done with product and our hands—nothing harsh or aggressive,” Sienko says. “We take our time and are extremely gently with our removal process.”

MIRROR-FREE APPLICATION: “We love a good reveal,” Sienko says. “Also, when a client is sitting through a removal and also an entire application, if she’s watching herself in a mirror it can sometimes feel like the service is longer than it really is. So we don’t have mirrors facing the clients during the service so they get the full reveal effect.” As Sienko specializes in pixie-cut transformations, the no-mirror layout can also help avoid clients fixating on a pre-blended look and allow them to simply relax during the service, knowing they’re in good hands.

MAINTENANCE: While application and matching density-for-density is so important in the application process, often it’s what’s happening at home, and how well a client cares for her extensions, that can determine her overall satisfaction with the transformation. “At-home maintenance is extremely important to achieve healthy hair growth while wearing extensions,” Sienko says.

For that reason, Hair Fusion Bar developed a weekly blowout program for clients to not only avoid at-home blowdries—which, of course, add time due to the added hair—but it’s also to ensure clients are maintaining their new look to ensure the experience is positive.

“It can be a new world when you go from having thin hair to an entirely new look that’s full, voluminous and longer,” Sienko says. “Our weekly blowout program ensures that we’re checking in with our clients’ at-home maintenance and that within whole lifespan of the extension wear it looks great, so she isn’t walking around with extensions that should have been removed or that might need a little touch up due to natural hair shed or daily wear.”

For weekly blowouts at her salon, clients receiving a fusion service—Great Lengths’ flagship product offering—extension clients pay $60 per month.  “At the end of her four months of wear, the $240 she spent in blowouts is applied as a credit toward her next service,” Sienko says. “In other words, we essentially offer free weekly blowouts to our returning extension clients receiving a fusion service,” including half a bundle of complimentary hair for touch-ups throughout the lifespan of her fusion extension service—typically four months.”

LOVE WHAT YOU DO: Sienko stresses that she loves what she does, as the old saying goes “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“I never feel like I’m doing a job,” says Sienko, who also offers solutions for clients suffering from health- and medical-related hair loss—including discounts up to 70% for cancer patients.

“I always feel like I’m creating something beautiful that clients can’t get on their own. It’s so satisfying and rewarding to transform someone, it’s an honor and what I was meant to do.”

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Originally posted on Modern Salon