How to Care for Hair Extensions

Hair extensions are wonderful. You can add length to your hair or a beautiful streak of color. They can cover a bad cut or color and allow you to tie short hair in a ponytail. With all the glorious things they can do, can you return the favor and take good care of your extensions? Proper care of extensions ensures they’ll be around for a while.

Caring for Clip-In Extensions

Take your extensions out before going to bed. Unlike sewn-in extensions, clip-in extensions must be removed before you go to bed. The tiny combs can dig into your scalp while you sleep, which can be painful. They also tend to be more fragile than sewn-in extensions.

  • Start from the uppermost extensions first. After you have taken them out, you can move on to the middle and bottom extensions.

Wash your extensions once a month. Place the extensions in a tub or sink, and dampen them with lukewarm water. If you can, use a handheld shower head. Apply a small amount of shampoo and gently massage the fibers. Rinse the lather out, and repeat with the conditioner.

  • If your extensions are synthetic, use a wig shampoo intended for synthetic fibers.
  • If your extensions are real hair, use a mild shampoo and conditioner, or a shampoo intended for extensions.

Hang the extensions up to dry, and don’t brush them while they are wet. Pat them dry with a soft towel first, then clip them to a pants hanger. Place the hanger in your shower, or in a well-ventilated area. Wait until the extensions are dry before you brush or style them.

  • It is very important that you wait for your extensions to dry. If you brush them while they are wet, the fibers will frizz.

Comb extensions using a wide-toothed comb. Make sure that the extensions are dry. Start combing them from the ends first, and work your way to the top. Never comb straight down from the top to the ends.

  • Avoid using the same comb that you use on your own hair, especially if these are synthetic fibers. The oils from your hair can degrade synthetic fibers.
  • Be patient and take your time when combing your extensions. If you rush, you will damage them.

Keep them moisturized, especially when you style extensions often. When your extensions are dry, comb a little bit of leave-in conditioner evenly. Don’t overdo it because they’ll become greasy easier than your natural locks.

  • The only exception to this is if the extensions are make from synthetic fibers. In this case, skip the leave-in conditioner.

Take care when heat styling your extensions. It is best to avoid heat styling, such as straightening or curling, all together, especially on synthetic extensions because they will melt. If you heat style natural hair extensions, be sure to use a heat protecting spray, and a lower temperature.

  • Avoid blow drying the extensions. This can cause them to tangle.
  • Make sure that your extensions are dry before you heat-style them. Be sure to style them before you clip them to your hair.
  • If your extensions are made from fragile or synthetic fibers, stick to no-heat styling methods instead.
  • If you can, get 2 sets of the same extensions. Keep 1 pair “just for curling” and 1 “just for straightening.” This will cut down on style time and damage.

Wear extensions in a ponytail only if they were made to be worn that way. Some extensions will fall apart in a ponytail. Read the labeling when buying new extensions to see if you can use them in a ponytail. If it doesn’t say whether or not you can, it is best to be on the safe side and do not put them in a ponytail.

  • Some people recommend putting extensions in upside-down, with the teeth of the combs pointing upward, then pulling the extensions up into a ponytail. This will allow you to create a more natural looking ponytail.

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