Hair extensions whether it is clips-in, weaves, micro-links, fusion or tape-ins can be a great way to add volume, colour and length to your hair. Depending on the hair extensions you use they will require different care requirements to ensure they stay in good condition for as long as possible. Extensions are either made up of real human hair or synthetic fibres that are manufactured out of plastic to imitate human hair. What you decide to buy will depend on the look you want to achieve, your budget, your lifestyle and the time you want to invest in maintenance.
This blog post will give you eight tips we have found that help to prolong the longevity of 100% human hair extensions. Most high-quality human hair extensions can have a lifespan of up to a year but this depends on how well you care for them. By following these tips you will get more life out of your hair extensions and more bang for your buck, pound or euro. These are tips we recommend to our customers that purchase our range of curly and textured clip-in extensions. They have worked for them and we hope they will work for you.
- Choose your hair tools wisely
Be gentle when manipulating your hair extensions and stick to a limited set of tools like a soft bristle brush, cushioned brush, wide tooth comb or even your fingers. Avoid using brushes and combs with fine close spaced teeth as this will only increase the likelihood of the hair getting caught and matted. Combing or brushing vigorously through your extensions will only increase shedding and tangling. Treat your hair extensions like it is your real hair. A good rule of thumb is if it is not good for your real hair it is probably not good for your hair extensions.
- Detangle your hair extensions
It is always good practice to detangle your extensions at the end of the day, as they are more likely to tangle throughout the day. We always recommend finger detangling with our clip-in extensions because it reduces over manipulation, which is important with curly or textured hair. Whatever your preferred method, whether it be your fingers, a comb or a brush, do not be tempted to rush. All hair extensions will shed and tangle to a certain extent but you can minimise this by having a consistent detangling routine.
- Moisturise your hair extensions
It is good practice to moisturise your hair extensions to keep them hydrated and looking healthy. Hair extensions do not benefit from the natural sebum that your hair produces to keep your hair moisturise; therefore, you have to add it by using products. Depending on the type of extensions you have (e.g. clip-ins, weave, tape-in, etc.) it will determine how often you will need to moisturise it. If you wear clip-ins you may only have to moisturise them with every use whereas if you have a weave you may want to moisturise the hair more often.
You can moisturise your hair extensions by using a daily moisturiser or leave in conditioner. You can also use a spray bottle mixed with water and a bit of conditioner to add moisture. If you choose you can apply oil (e.g. olive, jojoba, coconut) to seal in the moisture and add shine. It is not necessary to use a lot of product when moisturising your extensions, so play around with the quantities and see what works for you.
- Shampooing and co-washing
Depending on how often you use products on your hair extensions and how long you wear them for eventually you will have to deal with product build-up and dirt. If this happens you can wash your hair extensions to keep them clean. When you are washing your hair extensions it is better to use sulphate-free shampoos as sulphate shampoos can cause them to dry out. However, if you have a lot of product build-up sulphate shampoos can be more effective at cleaning the extensions. Whatever you choose will ultimately depend on the state of the hair. You can also co-wash (i.e. conditioner washing) your hair extensions as conditioners are better at keeping hair moisturised but also have gentle cleaning agents.
Customers that buy our clip-in extensions commonly ask how often they should wash their extensions. We always say it depends on how often you wear them and the number of hair products you use. If the hair is starting to look very dull and has a residue of product and/or dirt, it is a sign it may need a wash. It is a good idea to assess the hair after each wash to see how it has held up. With curly or textured hair extensions the curl pattern can lessen or alter after every wash that is why we suggest it is better to wash the hair less than to risk over washing it. The less you wash the hair the longer it will last. Remember when you are washing your hair extensions to be gentle and to not ruffle or pile the hair on top of each other as it will only create more tangles.
- Deep conditioning
After washing your hair extensions you should always follow up with a deep conditioner to help moisturise and soften the hair. It is good practice to leave the deep conditioner on with a plastic cap for 30 minutes before rinsing it out. If you have removable hair extensions like clips-in or tape-ins you may decide to deep condition the hair for a few hours or even overnight. After you have rinsed out the conditioner and removed any excess water it is best to let the hair air dry rather than using a blow dryer.
- Minimise the use of products
This might sound contradictory to tip number three but you do not want to use too many products on a regular basis. Sticking to a few hair staples is better than using a concoction of 15 products and overloading the hair. This will only lead to over manipulation, product build-up and more frequent washes, which is a recipe for reducing the lifespan of your hair extensions and not getting your money’s worth. You may also want to avoid or reduce the use of products with alcohol such as gels, hairsprays and mousses. If you want to use these products use them minimally or opt for more natural products like aloe vera gel.
- Reduce the use of heat styling tools
Depending on the type and texture of your hair extensions it may be fine to curl and straighten the hair with heat styling tools. However, if you choose to do so use a heat protectant and use these tools sparingly as excessive heat will dry out and damage the hair. Remember hair extensions are not your real hair so if they are damaged it is irreparable! We suggest avoiding the use of heat on curly and textured extensions because it can change the curl pattern. If you want to curl your hair consider using heat-free techniques such as braid-outs, twist-outs, rollers, bantu knots, flexible rods, etc., to obtain your desired look.
- Protective styling
Like with your real hair protective styling is a great way to prevent your hair extensions from knots and tangles because they are protected from rubbing against your clothes. High buns, braids and ponytails are good examples of protective styles. Protective styling is also a good practice for when you are doing moderate to intense exercise to keep the hair from getting matted and tangled, especially while you sweat.
As a final point, it is easy to forget that human hair extensions need to be treated as if it is your hair. The same as with your real hair, less is more with hair extensions; avoid over-manipulating, washing and styling to keep it in better condition. By following the tips and tricks explained above you should be able to extend the lifespan of your hair extensions and enjoy them for much longer.
If you have any tips that worked for you please share them below, we’d love to hear from you!