Caring for Your Hair Extensions
Congratulations on your new set of Hair Extensions!
Now let's cover the basics on how to wash and wear these beauties. Remember, how well you take care of you extensions along with the products and accessories you use will determine how long they will last. Based on my many years of experience, as a stylist and as someone who frequently wears extensions, here are my personal instructions, tips and recommendations for taking care of your hair extensions once you leave the salon.
Do NOT get your hair wet or damp for 48 hours after application. Give your bonds time to cure. This includes washing, sweating, saunas and hot tubs. Unless you have Beaded Weft Extensions, this applies to you.
Shampoo and Conditioning
- Gently comb your extensions to remove any tangles BEFORE wetting. NEVER brush your extensions when they are wet.
- Always stand with the head up straight, not bent over, to avoid tangling.
- Wet the hair with lukewarm water, avoid high heat, and apply shampoo in small circular motions. Never rub the hair back and forth.
- Bring the shampoo to a lather at the scalp but do not rub the extensions. Fingers should gently run through the extensions top to bottom. (If you're not getting a good lather, see instructions below about adding a step for a clarifying shampoo.)
- Rinse well and apply hair masque only to the tail of the extensions. DO NOT apply masque to the attachments.
- Let the masque penetrate the extensions by allowing it to remain in the hair AT LEAST 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
- Apply a small amount of conditioner to ends DO NOT apply conditioner to attachments. This is a great opportunity for detangling gently with your fingers. NO brush.
- Squeeze out the excess water from hair and pat dry with towel. DO NOT rub the extensions back and forth between your hands this will cause major tangling!!
Note: Clarifying Shampoo
**IF your hair does NOT lather, that means that the shampoo can’t get through the build-up on your hair to get clean. So rinse that first shampoo out, then apply a CLARIFYING (but not Redken) shampoo. It should lather well, let the lather sit for 3 minutes, then rinse. Follow with your daily shampoo, it should REALLY lather now, then your conditioner.
The purpose of using a CLARIFYING shampoo is to detox the hair of unnecessary product build up on the extensions that should be rinsed out like oils, smoke, chlorine, salt water, hairspray, hair products etc. We recommend using a clarifying shampoo every other week! It’s trial and error to find the right schedule for you. If your hair feels dry, you are using too much clarifying shampoo. If your hair feels heavy or has a film on it, then it is time to use a clarifying shampoo. (Tip: Don’t use Redken clarifying shampoo it’s too drying. Please ask me what clarifying shampoo will work best on your extensions.)
Types of Products and Styling Tools That Are Great for Hair Extensions
- Sulfate Free Shampoo- cleanses the hair and scalp
- Conditioner: to moisturize the hair and return the hair to PH balance following a shampoo
- Silk Drops: add natural shine, prevents frizz, detangles and moisturizes. Apply on ends only.
- Leave-in Conditioner Spray- a great product to provide a little extra moistue and help detangle the hair. Colorproof Pure Release Detangler is a good one.
- Hair Spray
- I find these product lines to be ideal for hair extensions: Aveda, Kevin Murphy, Colorproof, Pureology. NOTE: Only purchase these products at a salon because the quality of these brands in a salon is different than that of a supermarket or drugstore.
- I prefer these brands for hot tools: T3 Styling Tools, Babyliss, and Paul Mitchell.
- I prefer Kitsch Hair Ties like these blackout hair ties or these nylon elastic hair ties, each under $10.
- For combing, I use the Olivia Garden Boar Combo Paddle which you can find here. A little pricey at $32.95 but with both boar and ionic bristles, it's very gentle on extensions.
IMPORTANT: Avoid brands such as: Conair, Ion, Moroccan Oil (shampoo and conditioner), Revlon, Ovation, Wynn, Davine, Sally’s Products or any grocery or drugstore products such as Garnier Fructis, Tresemme, Pantene, etc.
Apply a small amount of silk drops or leave in conditioner on damp or dry hair. Hold your hair extensions while gently detangling hair out. NEVER brush your extensions when they are wet. It can cause them to loosen up and slide out or weaken your own hair since it has more elasticity when it is wet. You can blow dry hair extensions from roots to ends or use a diffuser for a beachy look. Dry bonds first using fingers to get then at least 75% dry before using your brush.
- You can let the extensions air dry, as long as you dry the attachments first. The longer the attachments are wet the softer they get and can easily slip out over time.
- When drying your extensions with a blow dryer, direct the nozzle with the grain of the hair (roots to ends) not against it. This will help minimize tangling and frizziness. Avoid blow drying hair upside down. Use the cool button on your blow dryer once the hair is completely dry to tame down any frizz and add shine.
- Before going to bed your hair and extensions MUST be completely dry to prevent tangling!! NEVER go to bed with your hair wet.
BRUSHING AND STYLING
To keep hair extensions in the best condition possible brush hair 2-3 times a day. Once in the morning, Once before bed, and sometime in between if you can.
- Always brush your hair before washings, never wet.
- Always brush extensions using your stylist approved hair extension brush.
- Start by gently detangling ends and brush up hair shaft.
- Once the majority of your extensions are tangle free section off hair and brush over/ in between attachments at the root with your hair extension brush. This is important to prevent matting and tangling at the root to keep you hair healthy and your removal simple.
Before sleeping tie hair in a lose pony tail or in a lose braid this helps prevent your extensions from tangling. Other times it is important to braid or tie up your hair:
- Windy days out side
To ensure longevity of your hair extensions, use a heat protectant when using hot tools. You can curl, flatiron, and beach wave your extensions just the same as your biological hair. Just be sure to keep any direct heat off of any of the attachments.
SWIMMING AND WORKING OUT
You don’t have to sacrifice your routine to have great hair! You can still enjoy a day at the pool and your time at the gym with these tips to preserve your extensions.
- Before swimming, braid extensions and get hair damp with clean water (no salt or chlorine)
- Liberally apply a leave in conditioner to hair (Oribe Run Through and Unite 7 Seconds are both great options).
- Reapply through the day as you would your sun screen. This prevents your hair extensions from soaking up drying chemicals and keeps it tangle free.
- Once you are done enjoying the water wash hair with a clarifying shampoo, condition and blow dry.
When getting a sweat in at the gym, avoid tight ponytails or buns. Scrunchies or Invisabobbles are a great option to keep your hair secured for your workout without being too tight. If hair/scalp gets wet from sweating, dry roots with a cool blow dryer once workout is complete. If you don’t have access to a blow dryer directly after your workout, release your hair from the ponytail and let your scalp “breathe.”
Congratulations on your new, fabulous hair extensions! Of course if you ever have any questions about how to properly care for your extensions after your appointment that wasn’t answered, here don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Master the 3 Bs: Brushing, Blow Drying and Braiding
Get a quick and easy overview of the most important steps when wearing and caring for hair extensions. I'll show you techniques, tools and tips for keeping your hair extensions in top shape in this 5 minute video.