How Does Shampoo Affect Hair Extensions?

December 05, 2022

How Does Shampoo Affect Hair Extensions?

Hair extensions can add length and volume to your natural strands, however, they require a lot of care to preserve their luster, shine, and bounce.

But don’t let that discourage you from getting a set of extensions! You can extend the life of your extensions by keeping them moisturized and clean.

Importance of Cleaning and Moisturizing Hair Extensions

You can achieve the silky smooth hair extensions of your dreams by combing them with a wide-toothed comb to detangle them and prevent matting and knots.

This alone, however, isn’t all there is to maintaining your hair extensions.

If you want to keep your hair extensions’ natural sheen, you will need to moisturize them with hair oil and wash them with shampoo. This will rid them of layers of debris and dirt that accumulate due to environmental pollution.

This brings us to the question —  how should you wash your hair extensions?

Let’s dive into the finer details.

Hair extensions are typically made of synthetic hair so washing them won’t strip them of their natural oils — mainly because there aren't any to begin with.

So, your regular shampoo and conditioner, which makes your tresses look like they’re straight out of a commercial, will not work for your extensions as well as they do for natural hair. Some chemicals in these products can even damage your bonds, make your hair fall out, and dry your hair.


How To Choose a Shampoo for Your Hair Extensions (Or the Guide You Don’t Think You Need but Actually Do)

Shampoo helps clean debris from your hair while adding nutrients to your locks and protecting your extension bonds. As you can tell, they’re essential for the longevity of your hair extensions so you must pick the right one.

These tips will help you find the right shampoo for your tresses (both real and fake).

Rule Number 1: Avoid Shampoos That Contain Sulfates

Hair extensions may not grow from your scalp but they’re still susceptible to damage from harsh chemicals like sulfates which is what causes the foam in shampoo. They’re surfactants that clean grease and dirt from the hair.

The only catch?

They can strip the hair of oils and moisture which is bad for natural hair. As hair extensions aren’t attached to the scalp and don’t have their own natural moisture, using shampoos with sulfates could result in even more dryness.

But that’s not all!

Sulfates can also damage and break down the keratin bond which could make your hair extensions fall out. Hence, you should use sulfate-free shampoos to maintain their health and luster.

It would also be a good idea to avoid shampoos with other toxic ingredients like:

  • Parabens. They can cause skin irritation and may lead to neurotoxicity.
  • Bad alcohol. They can make your hair extensions dry, dull, and insanely frizzy.
  • Mineral oil. It can severely clog your hair and can be very difficult to rinse out of your extensions.

Rule Number 2: Look For Moisturizing Ingredients in Your Shampoo

Unlike your real hair, your extensions don’t have the same sebum that’s produced by the scalp. Sebum retains moisture and replaces lost oils which keeps your hair from drying out.

Since your hair extensions don’t benefit from the oil from your scalp, look for shampoos that are specifically formulated to moisturize your tresses. Hair care products with coconut milk, aloe vera, and argan oil are good options as they hydrate your hair extensions and restore their sheen and color.

Rule Number 3: Be Gentle With Your Hair

When you’re washing your extensions, be gentle.

Don’t pull, tug, or rub too hard when applying shampoo as it could lead to shedding and breakage. You should only use lukewarm water to wash your extensions as it can help open up the hair cuticle without causing frizz and tangles.

Once you’re done, pat your hair dry with a microfiber towel. These types of towels are gentle and won’t pull any strands out, allowing you to enjoy longer, thicker hair for longer.


Word to the Wise: Don’t Overwash

Overwashing your hair extensions can strip them of moisture making them dull, dry, frizzy, and prone to damage. Hence, it’s recommended that you wash your hair extensions a maximum of once a week to keep them looking healthy without excessive buildup.

When shampooing your extensions, we recommend that you wash them twice. Once to remove all traces of dirt, debris, and build-up followed by another shampoo-rinse cycle to clean your hair.  


Wrap It Up With a Quality Conditioner

Since hair extensions don’t get coated in natural oils from your scalp, they require some extra TLC so they can look amazing for longer.

We recommend using a conditioner at the ends of your extensions — one that replaces lost moisture while protecting your strands from falling out. While there are multiple options available, we recommend a conditioner with keratin and coconut oil so that it can hydrate your hair, rebuild damaged strands, and pave the way for easy detangling.

Be sure to avoid applying a sulfate-free cleansing conditioner to the scalp or extension because your hair extensions are at their most vulnerable when they’re wet which could make the panels slip out of place.


In Conclusion

While not all shampoos are bad for your extensions, it’s best to get a sulfate-free version. Opt for a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner combo to keep your extensions hydrated,  healthy, and looking awesome.