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Review: Education for Aqua Hand-Tied Extensions

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

D’Arcy Harrison is a salon owner based in Seattle, Washington with over 17 years as a licensed Cosmetologist and served as the Advocacy Director for the Sovereign Stylist. She assisted grassroots efforts against a Washington State attack on Booth Renters and she uses her experience to uphold cosmetology industry regulation. D’Arcy’s blogs are typically focused on legal issues, overviews of legislation, and general business practices. D’Arcy believes that the government should work for the people and has dedicated a large portion of energy to informing on proper ways to challenge government action. These efforts led her to help create "Cosmetologists of Washington United."

The online certification class I participated in was taught by Samantha Sharpless, Artistic Director of Aqua Hair Extensions. Samantha is a commission salon owner & hairstylist in Ohio and has worked with Aqua Extensions for over 6 years. I was excited to learn this method and am grateful to AQUA and THE SOVEREIGN STYLIST for inviting me to review!

The purpose of this review is to talk in detail about the quality of Aqua’s certification education and to learn what makes their brand unique as well as their hand-tied weft extensions method.


  1. This class was held via ZOOM (online video conferencing)

  2. Samantha used a mannequin to demonstrate the technique and utilized a detailed slide presentation in tandem with her instructions and guidance.

  3. The class was a total of 7 hours with (1) 10-minute break and (1) meal break of 40 min.

THE KIT: Each Certification includes a kit of needed tools and supplies. INCLUDED:

(1) Container of Colored Microlock Aluminum Beads with Silicone Center

(2) Curved Sewing Needles

(4) Bundles of Hand-Tied Weft Extensions

(1) Sectioning Fine-Toothed Comb

(2) Velcro Hair Grips

(1) Step-By-Step Guide

(1) Extensions Tool & Case

(1) Spool of Thread

(1) Microlock Loop Tool

**Not Included: Mannequin Head and Stand and/or Tripod

What is Covered In the AQUA Hand-Tied Weft Extension Certification Class?

  • Goals For the Class: Set you up for success and teach you how to “Build the House,” to give you a full understanding of the application, instruction, tips & tricks on the method as well as provide business guidance on how to approach adding this service to your menu.

  • Details on the AQUA Brand: who owns AQUA? Who do they sell to, and who do they not? How is Aqua’s processing of the hair unique? How is it different than other methods and brands?

- What Colors, Weight, and Lengths are Available via AQUA hand-tied wefts

- What REMY hair is and what it means to leave “the cuticle intact.”

- How many wefts a typical full head may use and what NOT to do with the wefts.

  • HOW TO CONSULT: guides you through the details that need to be reviewed when determining if hand-tied wefts are appropriate for the client and their desired look. This also includes what factors may be a deterrent to a client for this method.

  • How to PREP their hair before applying Hand-Tied Weft Extensions

  • At-Home Care Tips for the client and Recommended Products/Tools

  • Guidance on HOW TO PRICE this LUXURY SERVICE


This class was well put together, from the experienced educator who works in the field every day to the clear and concise slides that were a great visual in partnership with detailed insights and notes from Samantha.

I am impressed with the care this company takes to keep professional integrity in the industry by refusing to sell on Amazon or other online sites. They are exclusive to professional, licensed hairstylists or local pro-only distributors.

I was intrigued by the special care they take to highlighting that the hair extension industry is unregulated, and therefore - ANYONE can CLAIM that they are selling you human hair. AQUA ethically sources its hair from Indian Temples in Asia and does not contribute to human rights abuses. I appreciate this attention to holistically doing business. Many of us know what it’s like to work with brands that only care about the bottom line and not the essence of upstanding business practice.

As a hairstylist - I have always been focused on maintaining the integrity of the hair as much as possible and was delighted to hear about the detailed and careful approach AQUA takes to treat and color the hair for its brand. Let’s just say-- their processing takes a lot longer than many other brands and is intent on making sure the client gets the most longevity out of their investment via the continued health and the hair color of the wefts.

REAL TALK: Learning the method is CHALLENGING when not in an in-person environment. In general, learning a new technique is always tricky to a degree, but unfortunately, due to COVID19, educators are not traveling for classes at this time. This is in no way within AQUA’s nor the educator's control. It's just the nature of the circumstances that we currently live in.

Having an instructor stand over you and watch you work for 1-2 minutes at a time is not always possible via video conference. Every class participant has a different quality camera, lighting, and setup. Unless specifically requested for a “check” of work by the class educator, you may not get the in-depth troubleshooting you might need.

** If you take this certification, I highly recommend asking for the educator to look at your mannequin head after each stage for critique. It is essential to maximize your time in the class and to advocate for yourself.

I enjoyed the up close and focused demonstration & method by Samantha on her mannequin head. She was an expert at directing the mannequin and her webcam for us to see how her fingers behaved. She also repeated her instructions as repetition assists in absorbing training.

ISSUES: I will admit--- the first row of beads and weft, I was essentially disgusted with my work! I kept picking up extra hairs, I felt clumsy, and the loops onto the beads and wefts were not landing in the right spot. I questioned my entire career choices! I definitely wanted to give up during that point- but needless to say, Samantha was patient, understanding, and reminded the class participants that this is part of the process. As I always say- sometimes the hair looks horrible before it looks GREAT! I reminded myself that it took me many years to master certain haircuts and hair color applications.

“Were you able to foil highlights perfectly on the first try?” Samantha asked us. The answer, of course, is NO. The most important part she emphasized was that you absolutely SHOULD NOT finish the certification and go straight to charging clients.

The key to this method is PRACTICE. Samantha recommended having a model and practicing the method before charging full price. Hair extensions are a LUXURY service, and due to this, you must make sure you know the detailed points of service specific to this method to ensure a satisfied and return client.

After our meal break, I continued on to tackle this learning again with a fresh mind and a full stomach! With more practice on the 2nd & 3rd rows of applying microlocks and wefts with the sewing needle & thread - I finally started feeling more confident and, by the end, was moving and grooving in a rhythmic focus.

My next step will be running numbers for pricing and determining who my model “guinea pig” will be for my first full head. NOTE: Even for a practice model - Samantha directed us NOT to “just” charge for the hair- take a deposit and determine what makes sense for our time as a newbie to the method.

I enjoyed this certification - and although learning a new method via Zoom is not easy - I found benefit and growth in attending this class! I look forward to interacting with their certified only Facebook Group in the future.

RATING: 4 Stars

I give it 4 out of 5 stars due to a great educator. It is well-organized, containing focused instruction and a 3-dimensional review of how to approach this method for your business.

Aqua Hair Extensions graciously offers "The Sovereign Stylist" members 20% off their training courses. Signup today and add a new service just in time for the new year.

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