Updated: Aug 20
Now you’ve got your fabulous hair extensions, how do you look after them to keep them in top condition?
Proper home care is essential to maintain the integrity of your hair and your new hair extensions and to help prolong their life. It is important to not only follow the correct advice, but to also use the correct and recommended products. Failure to follow correct aftercare advice could cause lasting damage to your hair and reduce the lifespan your hair extensions.
Do not wash freshly applied fusion or taped hair extensions for the first 48 hours. Do your best to keep your scalp dry and avoid excess heat for 2 days after application, this will allow any adhesive to harden or bond effectively.
Do not wash hair extensions every day,
it is recommended that you should wash your hair no more than 3 times per week. Over-washing could lead to dryness, damage, and unnecessary wear and tear to the hair extensions. ***Tip: If you wear bangs and feel the need to shampoo them daily. You can section out the fringe and wash that area over the sink instead of shampooing your whole head.
Before washing you should de-tangle the hair from ends to root using a gentle, natural bristle or natural/nylon blend brush. (Knobs nobs at the ends of the bristles can become stuck in the extension bonds or stitching and cause shedding or damage.)
Wash the hair in an upright position shampoo in lukewarm water, ensuring that you do not massage vigorously or twist the hair.
Massage the shampoo into the scalp and over bonded areas with a gentle, vertical motion letting the suds run through the lengths of the hair. Do not scrub horizontally/ against the natural fall of the hair, it will cause tangling and can flip the bonds.
When applying conditioner ensure that it is only used on the middle and ends of the hair – avoid putting product on the root area and areas where extensions are attached, making sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid any build-up. ***Tip: Conditioner tends to build up at the nape. Separate your hair into two halves down the center while rinsing so that you can feel the water on the back of your head, that way you know its thoroughly rinsed.
After washing, avoid rolling or rubbing the hair, instead gently squeeze out the excess water and pat dry with a microfiber towel, or even an old cotton t-shirt.
Apply detangler to damp hair, starting at the tips spray into the hair moving upwards, avoiding the bonded areas at the roots.
Gently blow dry the hair on the lowest heat and highest air flow setting until hair is 80% dry, then proceed with a higher heat setting and lower air flow to shape the hair.
Do not leave fusion or taped hair extensions to dry naturally, the moisture can soften the bonds/tapes and cause them to fall out. Hand or machine tied hair extensions can be air dried but DO NOT go to bed with wet hair.
Styling & Finishing
You should use a low temperature, under 300 degrees Fahrenheit, if possible. Ensure your hair is completely dry and cool before styling. Always use an oil free heat protector to protect your hair, and hair extensions, when working with heat. Virtue Labs and Surface Hair have created great styling products which have heat protection built right in.
You must keep heat away from adhesive and the bonds at all times, as this may cause them to melt, become brittle, or come loose from your natural hair.
*** Is your heated styling tool getting old? If so, you may want to replace it. The heating elements will actually get hotter before burning out, so you think it’s set on low heat, but it is actually getting up over 450 degrees. ***
A variety of products can be used on hair extensions, these include hairsprays, serums and light oils. Coconut oil is for Thai food, not for your hair. Do not use cooking oils in your hair extensions, it will conduct heat and will cause
buildup in your hair. You should always avoid all bonded areas with styling products, as this may result in slippage.
It is important to use a professional hair extension brush on or near the extensions, a good quality boar bristle brush or nylon/ natural blend is best. This is to prevent the hair from tangling or matting. Hair extension brushes are specifically designed to flow through the bonds. Avoid brushes with little balls on the end of the bristles. The balls will get stuck and pull hair from the bonds or cause unnecessary damage to the hair extensions.
When brushing hair extensions, you should always start to brush your hair from the bottom then slowly move up towards the top of the head to the root area. Hold the bonded area when brushing to prevent excess tugging, and to prevent forcibly removing the bonds or snapping the thread of sewn wefts.
If your hair extensions become tangled, be careful when brushing and use a professionally recommended detangler to help detangle the hair. Do not yank the knot out! Contact your stylist asap if you cannot remove the tangle.
You should gently brush your hair thoroughly twice a day to prevent natural knotting and matting. Try not to over-brush your hair as this may result in damage to the hair itself and cause unnecessary wear and tear.
Avoid brushing the hair when wet as it is more fragile.
When it comes time to go to bed for sleep or any other "horizontal activities" always make sure your extensions are completely dry to avoid any potential problems occurring. We suggest putting your hair into a loose ponytail or braid(s) before bed which helps to prevent the hair from tangling or matting. It is best to sleep with your hair in “pigtails” or braids on the sides secured with scrunchies. If you are using a heatless curler or secure your hair in braids it is acceptable to leave it damp, but not wet.
If swimming, coat your hair thoroughly with a mixture of water and conditioner and tie it back or braid it to help prevent the chlorine and sea water from affecting your hair. If you swim regularly for exercise, it is highly recommended to wear a swim cap, public swimming pools are highly chlorinated, and will strip color and moisture from your hair.
If you are going in a hot tub tie your hair up as high as possible and wear a scarf tied at the top to protect the fragile hairs at the nape of your neck. Do not stew your hair extensions.
Remember a wet sponge will not soak up as much water as a dry one. Wash thoroughly afterwards and apply a generous amount of conditioner to the ends.
We recommend that you regularly separate the bonds and or rows of your hair extensions. Hair that sheds naturally daily can become trapped in the bonds and cause them to matt or tangle together. Skipping this step can result in large matted areas that are extremely difficult to brush out and can result in loss of hair.
It Is vital that you only use high quality products compatible with your hair extensions. Surface Hair, Goldwell Kerasilk, and Virtue Labs are great options. Talk to your stylist for specific recommendations.
Discoloration & Fading
It is important to understand the difference between discoloration and fading, they both present themselves in a similar way, but are very different. They both also naturally occur but can be avoidable. It is vital that you understand that discoloration or fading can (and do) occur when using hair extensions, understand why it occurs, and how it is fixed. Educating yourself on these points will help if they do occur and help to manage your expectations.
Hair extensions, especially blonde colors, can discolor over time, or when exposed to several different environmental factors. You should take additional care to avoid hair extensions coming into contact with products that contain UV protection (as well as other ingredients), these include but are not limited to; sun protection creams, false tanning products, and certain heat protection sprays. Contact with these products can change the hair to a pink, peach, or copper color, especially, when combined with high mineral content water (hard water) which then causes a chemical reaction with the hair extensions.
Discoloration is more common during the summer months; this is usually due to the warmer weather and the use of products that can contribute to the cause of the discoloration. It is also the time that most people go abroad on holiday, this then exposes the hair extensions to harder water than they may usually use, swimming pools, seawater, and an increased use of sun protection products. Be under no illusion, discoloration can still occur at home, as well as abroad.
We would recommend using Malibu C Hard Water Sachets or the Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Kit to remove any buildup or mineral deposits on the hair and rectify any discoloration that may have occurred. You should attempt to treat the hair immediately after discoloration has occurred as the longer it is left, the more difficult it is to remove and return the hair back to its original color. You can also use these products as a preventive measure if you live in a hard water environment, or use problem products on a regular basis.
It Is worth noting that some brands of oil contain artificial colorings which are known to stain the hair, especially when combined with heat. These brands should never be used as the staining is difficult to remove.
There are many factors that can cause hair to fade and all hair, natural and hair extensions will fade throughout the duration of wear. Fading is a natural occurrence and is due to how hair color works, and what comes into contact with it that may cause fading to occur at a quicker rate than it normally would.
There are several things that can contribute to the hair fading quicker or strip the color and/or tone from the hair, these include but are not limited to: certain ingredients in haircare products, UV protection sprays, and abrasive products, general wear and tear, and electric styling tools. Ash shades and bright colors are particularly prone to fading due to the way in which they are originally colored and/or toned.
It can be difficult to return the hair extensions to their original shade once they’ve faded, it would require the hair to be recolored. Although the hair can be recolored using professional products by an experienced and trained professional, it is not recommended this as it can cause damage to the hair and doing so would be entirely at your own risk.
Removal & Maintenance
Hair extensions should only be removed by a trained professional to avoid damage to your own hair and scalp, we do not recommend self-removal for this reason.
A regular maintenance appointment is vital to maintain the longevity of your hair extensions and protect against any unnecessary damage to your own hair or scalp. It is important to routinely have the hair extensions removed and refitted depending on the method and in-line with your own hair growth. Go to the maintenance schedule by extension type page for more information.