Hair extensions are a great way to achieve the hair of your dreams and switch up your style! But while they may look amazing just after you walk out of the salon, you need to make sure you’re properly looking after your extensions to keep them looking amazing. It’s so important that you keep up with a maintenance routine as there could be serious consequences if you don’t. We’ve seen really bad cases of matting and on the other end of the spectrum, people have ended up ripping out some of their hair.
Whether you’ve been getting extensions for years or it’s your first set, we’re going to go over the best maintenance routine to keep your extensions looking perfect.
Wash your hair extensions correctly
One of the most important things you need to consider is your hair washing routine! You may not have realized how damaging using the wrong technique or products can be to your natural hair and your extensions.
When considering the products you’re using, make sure to avoid products with sulphates, alcohol and fragrances. You’ll also need to talk to your stylist for what products are best for your type of extension. Micro rings and pre taped wefts for instance, will need different levels of care so you don’t damage the rings or glue. But for general hair and extension health, you can check out our hair growth hair care line!
Now that you know what products you need and know what to avoid, we need to talk about how you wash your hair. You need to be as gentle with your extensions as possible. We advise keeping your hair down your back and not flipping it over or folding it on your head. If you focus on massaging the shampoo into your roots and scalp, the water will wash the soap down the hair and clean it that way. If you feel your hair needs an extra clean, you can gently massage the shampoo into the mids and ends.
By treating your hair gently, you’ll be able to prevent knotting and matting. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re not putting conditioner on the top of your extensions as this may cause them to slip. Because of this, you should also avoid using hot water. Try and keep your showers/baths to warm and below as hot water can strip oils from your hair resulting in breakage.
Avoid products with sulphates, alcohol and fragrances
Be as gentle as possible when washing
Don’t put conditioner on your roots/near the top of the extensions
Don’t use really hot water to wash your hair
Don’t sleep with wet extensions
Your hair is at its weakest when it’s wet. It’s also the most prone to tangling and matting. If you go to bed with wet/damp hair, it can do some serious damage as you toss and turn throughout the night. If you only take one thing away from this, it should be this rule. Never sleep with wet extensions!
You need to be very gentle when doing anything with your extensions. If you’re going to bed with wet hair and waking up with tangles, you’re going to need to be less than gentle to brush them out. You’ll need to be so gentle when brushing your extensions normally, let alone with knots and matts.
A great way to avoid this is to, one, dry your hair before bed, but also to braid your hair. You should learn how to do a Dutch or French braid on either side of your head so it’s not uncomfortable but also protects your hair extensions. By braiding your hair before bed, you’ll minimize the pulling and tugging on the bonds during the night and prevent slippage.
You could also invest in a silk bonnet and silk pillowcase. It may feel a bit old fashioned wearing a bonnet to bed, but it’s a great way to prevent breakage on both your natural hair and hair extensions. A silk bonnet on a silk pillowcase will reduce the friction on your head and can really help prevent slippage.
Don’t sleep with wet hair
Braid your hair before sleep if possible
Invest in a silk bonnet and pillowcase
Always be gentle when brushing your hair extensions
We’ve mentioned this a bit through our previous points, but we really want to hammer home just how gentle you need to be when brushing.
Our clients can be really shocked with how much hair they’ve saved by using the right hairbrush. If you have naturally curly/dry hair, it can be very prone to breaking during brushing. Using a soft bristle brush like a Tangle Teezer can be a great way to prevent breakage. The flexible bristles will bend instead of tearing through your hair, minimizing breakage and pulling. You can check out this amazing article to find out what brush you should be using for your hair.
You need to make sure that you’re brushing from end to root and it helps if you hold just above where you’re brushing to prevent breakage and pulling. Pulling too harshly on your extensions can result in your hair extensions slipping.
You can ask your stylist about any detangling sprays they recommend and are safe to use on your extensions. Sprays are great for preventing breakage as they help the brush glide smoothly through your hair.
Whilst tangling is an inevitability of extensions, it can be prevented/minimised. We also would advise that you gently brush your hair multiple times throughout the day to prevent tangling. At a minimum you should be doing this:
When you wake up
Before you go to sleep
Before and After washing your hair.
Use the right hairbrush for your hair. Tangle Teezer’s are pretty much universal
When brushing, work from end to root
Use a detangling spray
Brush your hair as gently and frequently as possible
Minimize Heat Damage
You should be minimizing the heat on your hair regardless as to whether you have extensions in or not. But extensions can be very susceptible to heat damage, whether they’re human or synthetic hair. Here’s a few ways to keep your heat damage to a minimum:
Use a heat protectant spray
Adjust the heat on your hair dryer/straightener/curler to the lowest setting.
Take regular days off from using heat
There are so many techniques for curling your hair without using heat that using curlers seems a bit redundant at times.
Take regular breaks from heat
Use little/low heat
Use a heat protectant spray
Separate the bonds
As with anything, the more frequently you do it, the less time it will take. Your stylist can show you how to do this if you’re unsure, but you should be making sure to separate the bonds in your extensions everyday. You’ll just need to feel with your fingers to make sure that none of the bonds have become tangled, and if they have, you’ll need to try and gently pry them apart. By doing this, you’ll be preventing the bonds becoming matted with any loose or shedding hair.