Hair Extension Care 101
by Salon D’s stylist Rachel Ani & Barb Quinn of HairStyle-Blog.com
The right care will keep your hair extensions looking great day in and day out, and maintain the life span, so you can use them again and again. Depending on whether your hair extensions contain human or synthetic hair, how you care for them may vary slightly. Follow these tips to keep your locks looking their best.
Human Hair Extension Care
- Handle With Care – Be gentle with your hair extensions. Hair extensions are an extension of your hair. Braid your locks at night or wear a silk sleeping cap to prevent the hair extensions from tangling or falling out while you’re asleep. Finger comb the hair or brush the extension from roots to ends. The brush should be a boar bristle paddle brush or a plastic and boar bristle paddle brush.
- Shampoo and Condition – Use a gentle shampoo to wash your hair extensions. A sulfate free shampoo would be ideal. Avoid pressure when you lather and scrub and don’t rub the strands together, since this can cause the hair to loosen. Rinse the extensions in cool to warm water. After shampooing, use a moisturizing conditioner to nourish and moisten the hair. Once a week or when the hair begins to look dry, use a deep conditioner.
- Styling – Avoid heat treating hair as this can promote frizz and dryness. Run a serum through the ends of the extensions to minimize frizz. If using heat is neseccary, use a thermal protectant spray. If possible, allow your hair to air dry. If you must speed things up with a blow dryer, set it to the lowest heat you can to get the job done. If you are going to round brush your locks, section your hair off and place the round brush underneat the fusion bond or hair lock. For the same reasons try to avoid styling with flat or curling irons.
- Hair Cuts- Regular haircuts will preserve the life of your extensions. A trim every 4-6 weeks will keep split ends to a minimum. This also gives you stylist a chance to check each piece of your extensions to make sure they aren’t matted. Your hair naturally sheds, however if the hair is wrapped up in a fusion bond or a lock, the shedding hair has no wear to go and remains in the bond/lock. These need to be trimmed to prevent matting and to ensure easy removal.
Synthetic Hair Extension Care
- Daily Care – Use a wide-toothed comb to brush synthetic hair, working through any tangles until the hair hangs free. Just as with human hair extensions, it’s important to be gentle with these to preserve their life span.
- Cleaning – Look for a shampoo specially designed for synthetic hair extensions. Wet the hair under warm water, then apply the shampoo. Be gentle when washing the hair to avoid creating tangles.
- Styling – Heat from hair dryers, flat irons and curling irons may melt synthetic hair extensions so use any heat producing implements with extreme caution.
- Storage – When not in use, keep your wig on a wig head to preserve its shape. To avoid accidentally damaging your lace front wig or other wig, keep it away from heat sources. Do not store the wig, or wear it, for that matter, near a stove, radiator, open flame or other heat source.
- Cleaning – Place your wig on the wig head to clean. Fill a spray bottle with warm water and a tablespoon of shampoo designed for either human or synthetic hair, depending on your wig’s composition. Spray the wig with the shampoo mixture. Rinse the wig under the shower to remove all traces of soap, keeping the wig on the mannequin head to preserve it shape. Air dry the wig.
- Styling – Be very gentle when combing and styling your wig, particularly if it is a lace front. You don’t want to accidentally remove hairs from your wig. Brush a wig from ends to top.
Depending on the type of hair extensions, your hairstylist may have additional tips. Follow their advice to preserve your new look.