How to: PRESERVE YOUR HAIR EXTENSIONS
So you did it! You made the investment in yourself and you are now the proud owner of a fresh weave.
If you are new to hair extensions, don’t worry, they are relatively easy to maintain with these simple instructions. Here are my tips and tricks to extend the life of your extensions.
+ Daily BRUSHING: Biggest rule of extensions is BRUSH THEM DAILY. Always start by grabbing the root and brushing at the ends of the hair, working your way up and then getting in the root BETWEEN the extensions. Daily brushing keeps the hair from tangling or matting which is crucial to ensure the extensions don’t damage your hair. I recommend Sheila Stotts Brushes, they are specifically designed to be used with individual extensions. The Wet Brush also has similar bristles, but at a more affordable price. Use caution when brushing your hair wet, I recommend brushing your hair while it’s dry before getting in the shower to make it easier when you get out.
+ Sulfate free shampoo is a MUST. Sulfates dry out the extensions and weaken the bond, and are tough on your scalp, so finding a sulfate free shampoo will keep your natural hair and the extensions from drying out. Look for color safe, sulfate free, paraben free, and nothing too heavy for the shampoo. Opt for moisturizing conditioners, and make sure to keep ALL products off the bonds. I love Beautiful Color by Oribe, Recovery by Virtue, Beautycounter, Drunk Elephant.
+HEAT PROTECTION: Also having a good heat protectant to keep the ends looking fresh, will keep the cuticle intact longer, also allowing for less friction between the hairs, and less tangling. Keep your irons BELOW 400, and rough dry hair 80% without tension. brush the tangles, then you can use a round brush finish blow drying to smooth out the ends.
+ Proper towel care: Also don’t wrap the hair in a towel all twisted up, it dries out the hair, causes frizz, and can cause breakage. Aquairs has towels that are gentle to the hair and can cut drying time down. Remember, if you take good care of the extensions, they will last longer. Every little step helps.
+ Products matter! Leaving hairspray or dry shampoo for days on end, will dry out your hair, scalp and the extensions. Most of these products’ main ingredient is alcohol so leaving it or layering it on will wreak havoc on your hair. Image leaving alcohol on your skin all day and not adding any moisturizing products, it would get pretty dried out, right? The same goes for your hair, you want to nourish it with the right products. Staying away from salt sprays is also a good call. OUAI has a salt free wave spray that I love, and used on my extensions on vacations for a low maintenance beach wave with 0 effort. Avoid over styling, over washing, over anything. Like anything, balance is key, so properly washing every 3ish days, less product usage, and keeping the ends moisturized is the goal. Fav heat protectant is Olaplex oil, it protects up to 450, has UV filter, and is a bond builder, meaning it repairs the hair’s structure.
+ Which brings us to our next topic: Olaplex treatments are essential! Using this revolutionary product as a conditioner, treatment or heat protectant are the best ways to reap the benefits, but staying away from the bond with the Olaplex is crucial. I would not recommend the shampoo for extensions, since it is a heavier formula . The keratin bond is weakened by oils as well, causing them to slip, so enjoy all the Olaplex, masks, or treatments you want, but stay clear of the root. To read up more on Olaplex, refer to my blog HERE.
+ Stay away from tanning creams, and SPF. Tanning creams contain pigment that can be easily transferred to your hair, so if you’re going to use one, especially with lighter colored hair, be mindful that they don’t stain the hair. SPF also can stain the hair, especially blondes, it can actually turn the hair pink/ orange, so be careful and pull your hair into a bun.
The sun can also oxidize the extensions as well as your own natural hair, yellowing blondes, or stripping brunettes of their richness. Try wearing a hat or chillin in the shade. Sun exposure is linked to premature aging, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
+ Salt water from the ocean can be very drying, so if you like to hit the beach, I recommend applying Olaplex oil to the mids and ends and braiding your hair to keep it from tangling, and the oil will create barriers and protect the hair. If you are taking a dip, shower sooner than later because the bonds are weakened by salt, so even just rinsing with tap water helps. Pools can also dry out and discolor the hair, but follow the same protocol as the ocean. Be sure when you get home to baby your hair and shampoo and condition the hair, even bringing a wide tooth comb into the shower while you condition to brush your hair if it’s gotten tangled.
+ Silk Scrunchies and Pillowcases keep the hair smooth and prevent breakage. There is nothing more luxurious than sleeping on a silk pillowcase, not only will it be beneficial to preventing wrinkles to your skin, but the smooth texture is great for preserving blowouts, and keeping the cuticle smooth since they are less abrasive and absorbent than cotton pillowcases. I like Slip, and they also have hair scrunchies and eye masks. You’ll look so fab in your bed with all that hair and your silk pillowcase!
+ Viviscal Supplementation will make your natural hair thicker. I am proof that it works! I’ve been using it for over a year, and the results are amazing! I recommend all my clients to take this, extensions or not because who doesn’t want thicker hair? It works by keeping the hair from shedding as much, thus the extensions will last longer. Approximately 50 to 150 of your hairs may fall out daily. That is considered a normal rate of hair shedding, so if the section of hair that is attached to the extensions is shedding hairs naturally, after 3 months, there is less hair holding the extension, and needs to be replaced so it can have equal hair attached. But if you shed hair less often, then the extensions can last longer. I have a blog on Viviscal here if you want more information on this miracle nutricosmetic. If you are vegan, take Reservage Nutrition Vegan 9 Builder, it’s not the same, but making sure you get enough amino acids and protein in your diet is crucial so you don’t experience hair loss prematurely.
After all this information, I am sure that you could be an extensions specialist too!! The best advice that I can give is to give your hair as much TLC as you can, and it will love you back. Having hair extensions is a high maintenance lifestyle, but self care is very therapeutic, and know you are worth every penny and minute of time. Now flaunt that weave, and make me proud!