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Aren’t hair extensions the best thing since sliced bread? You can go from short to long, thin to fabulously thick pony, dark-haired to light, or even just streaks in bright colors in an instant—all without hours at the salon and tubs full of chemicals that ruin your natural mane.
The downside to your newfound mane glory? Hair extensions are costly, and they do need regular maintenance. Whether you’ve invested in clip on hair extensions, sewn-in, micro-link, tape hair extensions, synthetic or real, donated human hair, you must care for them properly to ensure their longevity.
Not sure what that entails? Worry not, for we’ve provided essential tips to optimize your extension’s life.
Following are 10 easy tips for maintaining your hair extensions:
People tend to assume that you should wash your extensions as scarcely as possible, but this is a common misconception that can reduce the life of your extensions and damage your scalp.
Yes, a healthy, clean scalp and roots will ensure that your extensions last as long as possible. That, however, does not mean you should hop into the shower every few hours. Overdoing the shampoo and conditioning can damage your roots and reduce the lifespan of your extensions. So what’s ideal? Two, maybe three times a week! And never go longer than a week without washing your hair.
When it comes to extensions, remember that they require special care as your natural oils do not travel down the hair shaft, resulting in dryness and, subsequently, breakage. Yes, even hair extensions are prone to damage. Thus, using a gentle, hydrating shampoo and nourishing conditioner is important to replenish and moisturize your hair extensions.
More and more women are adopting silk or satin pillowcases, even sheets, as they do not soak up moisture from hair when we sleep. This helps prevent dry and damaged hair. In contrast, cotton pillowcases cause friction, leading to breakage, and the loss of moisture leaves your hair brittle. It is important to protect your hair not just when you step out or use heat but also when you sleep. Would it surprise you to learn that taking these steps will help extend the life of your hair extensions?
If real hair is prone to breakage and damage from impatient detangling, imagine the fate of hair extensions. To avoid shaggy, frayed, or thinning hair extensions, always be gentle when trying to untangle knots. Don’t be afraid to use detangling products and a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush.
Tempting as it is to use all the products in your vanity for luxuriously sleek and tamed hair, less is always better. Only use what you need—be it hair spray, mousse, serums, etc. Why? It's simple. Too many products can weigh down your hair and cause build-up. This will also make your hair extremely oily, which is a big no-no if you want to make your extensions last.
Heat is damaging to your hair and your extensions alike. Reduce the stress your hair and extension undergo when facing heat by:
If you opted for hair extensions for curly frizzy hair but now want a sleek hairstyle, speak with your stylist about the pros and cons of straightening your extensions. As an alternative, you could use heat-less styling methods or put your hair in a creative up-do.
Take the time to separate and detangle your extensions every day. It may sound like a task, but it shall only take a few minutes, and doing so regularly will extend the life of your extensions, making them look fresh for longer.
A deep conditioning treatment once a week will go a long way in making your hair healthy and protecting it from damage and breakage. You can use a ready treatment available or make a natural mask using ingredients found at home!
Deep conditioning helps make your hair healthy and strong. It also gives your extensions proper support and grip, helping them last longer. Furthermore, it will make your extensions look fresh and new by restoring any moisture and shine lost over the week.
Love air-dried hair? Then time your washes in a manner that you avoid having to go to bed with damp extensions. If you are in a pickle and need dry hair fast, use a hairdryer at a low setting before heading to bed. If you do wish to try overnight styling, don’t do so too frequently.
The most important thing to remember when washing or generally wetting your extensions is that your roots and extension bonds must be dried within 30 minutes.
Damp roots will not only weaken your extensions, but they are also more prone to developing fungal infections.
If you wish to color your extensions, hire the services of a professional to do so. At the very least, consult an expert and have them coach you through the correct procedure.
Why? Because bleach and hair color can wreak havoc not only on your natural hair but on your hair extensions too.
Wondering whether hair extensions are worth the money? Absolutely! And by simply learning to care for your hair extensions, you’ll make your dollar work harder for you.
However, if you do notice that your extensions are beyond DIY care, it might be time to consider getting new ones. After all, no matter how well you care for them, extensions do come with a time limit. Here’s what you can expect: