Hair Extensions Maintenance | Everything You Need To Know
The lifespan of hair extensions can vary from 3-6 months to a year or more, depending on the general care they receive and how often they are used. The more you wash and heat style your extensions, the shorter their lifespan, so try to keep washing and styling products on your extensions to a minimum. The important thing to remember is that your hair extensions do not have a natural source of hydration like your own hair, so keeping it hydrated and reducing dryness is essential to prolong its life.
1. Proper Hair Extension Routine
You will need to make a few changes to your regular hair care routine once you have extensions. The products you currently use to wash, condition, and style your hair may not be safe for your extensions. Your shampoo and conditioner should be alcohol and sulfates free to avoid damaging your hair extensions. When it comes to washing your hair, it is important to adopt a gentle technique, which will not spoil your extensions. When conditioning your hair, you should also be careful not to apply any product to your roots or it could cause your extensions to slip off. Finally, if you are using hot styling tools, be sure to use a protective spray first - your extensions will last a lot longer this way.
2. Brushing techniques
The way you brush your hair can also play a major role in how long your extensions last. Before you start brushing your hair, gently detangle it with your fingers - this will put less strain on your roots as you brush. From there, start gently brushing the ends of your hair and work your way up. To make sure that your extensions don't get tangled and that you don't damage the bonds, buy a soft bristle brush or a wide tooth comb. Most traditional brushes are very harsh for extensions.
3. Storing your extensions
Storing your extensions properly is one of the best and easiest ways to keep them looking better - and it doesn't take a lot of time or effort as well. After removing your extensions, make sure the clips are closed and give them a full brush before putting them away. Extensions can also be stored in an airtight container and even a shoebox, if you are passionate about reusing. The key is to keep extensions out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place. It is also important to make sure the hair extensions are dry before storing them to avoid product buildup, mold, and other bacteria.
Before putting your extensions away, make sure they are thoroughly brushed and use a hair tie to secure the wefts near the base of the hair. Then gently roll the extensions into a loose circle. To pre-style the extensions, use the hair and gently tie it back before storing it in the box, it will create a nice wave for when you are ready to wear it next.
4. Multiple sets can come in Handy
It's okay to have more than one set. In fact, it’s better! Imagine jumping out of bed after rehearsing several times only to find that you are late with a big day ahead. Instead of using precious minutes to curl or style your extensions, imagine having a curly set ready to clip on.
If you can rock it, having a set of straight hair extensions and a curly set saves you time and gives you options for any occasion. It also minimizes the need to heat your extensions, which will keep them in good condition for longer.
5. Avoid multiple hair products
Using multiple products with hair extensions means that more work will be required to remove and replenish the hair. It can also cause damage and breakage. Using a variety of hair styling products in hair extensions causes product buildup and can shorten the life of the extensions. It is best to use the products only when absolutely necessary, for example by using a heat protection spray before using hot tools. Keep in mind that hair extensions will generally curl easier and faster than natural hair, so keep the temperature very low. The use of hair oils, especially for the ends of extensions, is encouraged as it will help prevent split ends.
6. Don't sleep or exercise with hair extensions
While extensions can be part of your daily routine, it is best to exclude them from some of your daily activities to help keep them going for longer.
Remove your hair extensions before bed and don't sleep on them. Rubbing against your pillow (even if you are sleeping on a silk pillowcase), will entangle the wefts between them and your natural hair. The clips can also become loose and pull on your natural hair. Clip-on hair extensions are designed to be easy to clip on and off so you can make sure that you and your extensions get a well-deserved restful sleep.
While natural oils and sweat can be easily washed off and removed after training, the same is not true of hair extensions. Sweat will cause rugs to weft and can produce bacteria if you don't wash your extensions. The constant movement and friction will also cause tangles and knots. Essentially, make sure you remove your hair extensions before you hit the gym or start a sweat session, it will help keep hair dry, healthy, and last longer.
7. Only wash extensions when necessary
Products and washing go hand-in-hand; the more products you use, the more often you have to wash your hair and your extensions, which really should be avoided when trying to extend their lifespan. For daily extension wearers, a general rule is to wash hair extensions after every 30 wears or once a month. If you notice a ton of product build-up or if the extensions are becoming increasingly difficult to style, it’s probably time for a wash.
Remember, unlike our natural hair that will produce oils to keep strands moisturized, extensions do not. That’s why using a hair oil, or sulfate and alcohol-free conditioner is important in preserving the lifespan of your hair extensions. Sometimes, washing with conditioner only and skipping shampoo is also a good way to keep the extensions looking and feeling like new.
While the natural oils and sweat can be easily cleaned and washed away post-workout, the same does not go for hair extensions. Sweat will cause matting to the wefts and may produce bacteria if you don’t wash your extensions. The constant movement and friction will also cause tangles and knots. Essentially, make sure to remove your hair extensions before heading to the gym or starting any sweat session, this will help keep the hair dry, healthy and last longer.