3 things that can damage your hair extensions
If you weren’t blessed with long, flowing glamazon locks, hair extensions are an easy solution. After all, they’re the secret behind most of those red-carpet hairstyles you’ve seen on your favourite celebrities. However, getting hair extensions is a commitment. You are investing money (and time) in the extensions themselves and the installation. So why wouldn’t you invest the same amount of effort into learning on how to care for them properly? Here are three of the worst things you can do to your hair extensions and tips on what you should be doing instead to keep them healthy, shiny and on your head.
#1: Not washing and brushing your hair properly
When the time comes to wash your new mane, the most important thing is to do so gently and in one direction only. Wash your hair no more than two times a week with gentle sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. Thus, always check product labels for safe and effective ingredients. Overly-harsh chemicals can destroy the cuticle of your delicate virgin-hair extensions, leaving them weak and opaque like the average chain-store product. An alternative that might help you extend the time between washes is using dry shampoo to keep your hair looking and smelling fresh.
Also, no more princess Ariel’s fork- like combs for you (dinglehopper was it?). Buy a special extension brush or one with appropriately wide teeth. This is vital and worth every penny, trust me. Also, remember that you can’t brush your hair as you did before extensions. Now it has to become a daily activity to protect against tangles as it grows. Make sure to use a gentle touch and always start at the bottom and work your way up. Never brush your roots, instead gently run your fingers through to keep them from tangling. For tape-ins only brush it when its dry and hold your hair just under the tape to ensure that you’re not pulling on the tape itself.
#2: Not protecting your extensions (swimming, exercise, and sleeping)
We all want to rock beautiful mermaid locks on a sunny pool day; however, if you fancy swimming, doing so without protecting your hair extensions might not be the best idea. Avoid getting your hair wet or be sure to wear a swim cap to keep it nice and dry. If you’ve exposed your hair to chlorine or ocean salts, wash it immediately. Lastly, apply hair masks to protect your hair from prolonged sun exposure or use your favourite hat.
When sleeping, a very good tip is to loosely braid your previously dried hair before going to bed. Not only does this give you fabulous beachy waves in the morning, but it also protects your hair from excess friction and tangling. Success! Also, never sleep with wet hair and use a silk pillowcase or bonnet to protect from breakage.
When exercising, a high –Arianna Grande style– ponytail will work best to protect your hair extensions from sweat and oils.
Storage: Many women think that they can simply wash their extensions and then store them immediately afterwards. That is a big fat no, no. Hair extensions that are stored while wet or interior sections at your root or weft that haven’t been dried properly can easily sprout bacteria and mould. Always start by gently washing each strand and continue to fully dry and detangle them. When blow- or air-drying your extensions remember to separate each track or fusion section to allow air to circulate between strands. Double-check wefts, by pressing them against your thumb. Store them flat in an airtight container where the extensions are not crumpled.
#3: Leaving extensions in for longer than recommended
Even if you take good care of your hair extensions and buy an excellent quality product, they don’t last as long as you think. On average, glu-ins last 4 weeks, tape-ins up to 6 weeks, and protein- bonded extensions last 6 -8 weeks. Clip-ins can last up to a year since you will not wear them daily. You may think that by leaving them in longer, you can save time or money but it’s the opposite. Keeping your appointment with your hairstylist to readjust them may extend their overall duration and protect your hair from any damage. Consider tape-ins for example, if you leave them in more than 8 weeks, the tape starts to breakdown. Eventually, it will no longer stick to the hair, but the other piece of tape. When you finally wish to take them out the tape will be left in the hair, making it very difficult and time- consuming to remove without damaging your hair or the extensions.
Ultimately, the best advice we can give you is to always listen to your stylist. They are professionals and therefore the most qualified to inform you on how your hair and extensions should be taken care of. Listening to them is just as important as the hair itself!