A question we are often asked, yet the answer depends solely on the aftercare of the extensions. As you may or may not know extensions have a life span of on average 6 months, however with new brands and methods becoming more popular, this is sometimes longer and people are getting 12 months or even more! Amazing right? However, the quality of the extensions is one thing, but looking after them correctly is crucial or you will not get the said lifespan of your hair extensions.
So what does this involve?
If I’m totally honest, less is more. You don’t need to feel like you should overload your hair with products to try and keep them in good condition. If anything, you can cause product build up and they are more likely to feel unnatural. The aim of all extensions is to achieve the most natural effect for your desired look, therefore the texture of the hair is important. Over-washing your extensions, drying and using styling tools daily is more likely to shorten the lifespan of your extensions and therefore dry them out faster. However, there are ways round this which mean you can still use styling tools on the extensions without causing any immediate damage. Read below for more information. We recommend washing them once or twice a week at the most.
Washing & Drying
To wash your hair seems so simple, but we all do it differently and with extensions it’s slightly different. We don’t recommend putting all your hair on top of your head and rubbing it all together, as obviously it is more likely to go knotty. On the other hand, we also don’t want you to be afraid of giving your head a good scrub, in fear that they will fall out- as they are designed to stay in your hair even whilst washing/drying. We recommend you shampoo twice as firstly you may not get much lather with this one… it is designed to clean all of the dirt from your hair and scalp. The second shampoo is where the hair is cleaned and made to smell lovely and fresh, you will then find on this wash you will get a much better lather with the shampoo. Remember to give your scalp a good scrub and rinse thoroughly- this prevents the scalp from feeling itchy or irritated after a wash. Finally, finishing with a conditioner or mask treatment, usually we say you leave either of these on for a minimum of 3 minutes to allow it to penetrate and smooth the hair cuticles. This is designed for the mid length and ends of the hair- avoiding the root at all costs as you will only end up with greasy hair! This wash should then last up to a week, using dry shampoo in between washes to refresh your hair. A mask doesn’t need to be used every time- it’s just nice to revive your extensions every few weeks with a treatment.
Avoiding certain products
As extensions are much more delicate than our natural hair, we need to use the correct products. Usually these are salon branded products which are free from sulphates, parabens and alcohol. We love brands like Milkshake, Kevin Murphy, Neil and Wolf, Olaplex and a few others which all have extension friendly products. An Argan oil is great for the extensions to run through the mid lengths and ends daily… this can be either morning or night, however it is great to ensure those ends feel lovely and smooth. We don’t recommend using any branded oils, unless designed for extensions, as often we have found they’ve dried the extensions out. Our preferred oil would be a natural oil, or ‘Kevin Murphy Young Again’ or ‘Olaplex No 7’ which are both amazing for the extensions (these can be purchased in salon). We also don’t recommend heat protection sprays unless stated for extensions- with experience we have noticed heat protection spray is the cause of drying out extensions and causing breakage through the ends.
Brushing your extensions… properly
Often, we find ourselves detangling extensions through the top section due to extensions being poorly brushed. Now this is no fault of your own as naturally we are more gentle and fearful of pulling them out or causing any damage. So, most people brush over the extensions- rather than getting right in between the rows and brushing the root. However not brushing your extensions correctly and frequently is likely to cause more damage and irritation than anything else. This is because both the natural hair and the extensions over time will tangle around each other in between the rows and cause it to feel knotty. This isn’t going to cause major damage to your hair, it’s more the discomfort when coming for your maintenance or removal, having to sit there whilst we are detangling the hair. Not good! Soooo…
To stop this from happening it’s really simple… using either a Tangle Teezer with long teeth (this is called the Tangle Teezer ‘ultimate’) or a bristle paddle brush which you can also purchase in the salon. This is good to do thoroughly before washing your hair and then after when the hair is 70% dry. We would suggest you section the hair in half or in three, then put your brush through the extensions and the top where they are connected and begin to blow-dry. This removes any tangling and leaves the extensions feeling nice and smooth.
Now don’t be alarmed when brushing the extensions if you find some of the hair sheds, this is completely normal and can’t be helped. However, to reduce this please don’t brush your hair less, as that will not help. There are other ways which we can prevent this. Hair extensions are more likely to shed if it is feeling dry or brittle, so by using the right products it will avoid this from happening.
With a good routine with your hair extensions and planned days to wash, you will find they are often easier to maintain than your natural hair and can last for months. You will have the fullest, smoothest and healthiest looking hair extensions… no one would ever know!