My (not so) dirty hair secret is out: this hair isn’t all mine. I’ve been getting extensions for over a year now – and hardly anyone has guessed. The main goal was thicker, fuller hair. Getting some extra length didn’t hurt either
Whether you’re thinking about getting extensions or are just starting to try them out, I’ve picked up some aftercare tricks along the way.
Here’s the do’s and don’ts to keep extensions looking good and lasting longer.
MAINTAINING YOUR NEW LOCKS
Don’t worry, keeping up with your Fusion, Microlink/iTip, or Tape-In extensions isn’t super hard. But you have the power to perfect or destroy your extensions… dun, dun dun.
Don’t wash your hair for at least 24 hours; although 48 hours is ideal. The more time you give bonds to seal, the better. This also helps with slippage as there’s no chance of moisture getting in between the bonds.
Do shampoo hair as you normally would. Just be gentle! And…
Don’t use products that contain parabens, or sulfates. They dry out the oil in your natural hair – and worse in extensions – and can also irritate your scalp, fade your color, even cause hair loss. Not good.
Do be careful with conditioners, oils, or sprays. Stick to applying from the midshaft down, avoiding the bonds. You probably already been taught to do this with natural hair. Leave-in conditioners (Janelle has me hooked on Phai-shau) and hydrating oils are great for extensions, especially if they’re feeling dry.
Do make dry shampoo your new bestie - if it isn’t already. Even without extensions, you should wash your hair as little as possible. With extensions, aim for no more than twice a week at most. That’s where a GOOD dry shampoo (like Living Proof’s) comes in, ensuring less slippage and getting rid of oiliness.
Don’t just run a brush through your hair. Brushing gently was honestly the hardest part for me to get used to. Hold the roots of your hair with one hand while brushing downward with the other, paying particular attention to the bonds (like those on the side of your head!).
Do brush hair two to three times a day, and before showering or wetting your hair. I use a boar bristle hair brush when dry. For wet hair, I apply my leave-ins then wait as long as possible to comb with a curved, wide-tooth comb. Babe Hair also makes an extension brush that’s specially designed to not pull or catch extensions.
Don’t sleep with wet hair. It won’t look good the next day (trust me), especially if extensions get matted. Once your hair extensions are completely dry, braid hair or tie it in a loose ponytail.
Do avoid salty or chlorinated water. Salt and chlorine can harm your extensions just like they harm your natural hair. I’m never really a fan of putting my head under water in pools so I’ll do a high bun or braid to keep water off the bonds. However, I’m a beach-lover. I’ll take the chances going for a dip in the French Riviera (I leave this week!) – but prepare beforehand. Getting hair wet with normal water first gives less room for hair to absorb the salt water (or chlorine) then simply pin up to avoid mats.
MORE TO COME!
Wondering what you need to know before you get extensions? I’ll share a bit more about the process, Janelle’s amazing skills, the many types of extensions, and styles we’ve done to my hair in the past in my next blog.
Until then, check out before and afters in this portfolio.
Have questions about maintaining your new extensions? Ask me below in the comments!