Whether weft, weave, tape-in, tips or beads, when add-on hair goes wrong and you find yourself dealing with mattes, tangles or worse…them falling out, chances are it was a failure to care for them. Add-on hair is made of real human hair, but it lacks the one essential protective element your own hair has: the oils from your scalp. While clip-ins require the least amount of maintenance, fusion and tape-ins still require brushing and proper care to stay flawless.
Stick with these 5 essential rules for extensions care and you’ll be looking perfect for months to come!
RULE #1: BE CONSCIOUS OF WHERE YOU ARE AND THE THREATS THAT EXIST TO YOUR HAIR.
One of the more surprising things that can cause major issues with your hair extension is the rigors of daily life, such as sun, wind, even salt & chlorine. Human hair is susceptible to UV/A and UV/B exposure; Ultraviolet wavelengths penetrate the cuticle, damages the hair proteins at the cellular level, drying out your extensions, and even breaking down fusion bonds. Rock your beautiful hair for a day at the beach and before you know it, you’ve photoaged and dried them out. So what to do?
- Minimize sun exposure via a beach umbrella or a nice beach hat.
- If you’ll be taking a dip in the ocean or pool, apply the conditioner before heading into the water to serve as a barrier between your hair and damaged salt or chlorine. Once you’ve had a nice swim, gently air dry your hair, only lightly using a towel. You can also style your hair in a low bun or a big braid to keep it free of tangles, especially on a windy day.
RULE #2: YOUR EVENING AND MORNING RITUALS DEFINITELY MATTER.
There are 2 times of day are where 80% of damage to your weaves, extensions, or clip-ins: morning and night. At night, tossing and turning, coupled with friction from pillowcases can scuff and raise the cuticle, while also leading to tangling and matting. In the morning, just like your regular hair, your hairpieces are most vulnerable to damage when they are wet. Drying with a towel, improper washing technique, or even excessive thermal styling can lead to damage or fall-outs. Here are a few suggestions:
- Each night, brush out your hair. Do this by holding the roots of your hair with one hand to support the bonds and with the other brush in a downward direction starting and the ends and working your way up towards the scalp. This should never, ever be done when your hair is wet and should also be done in the morning BEFORE you shower.
- Invest in silk pillowcases for sleeping as the fine woven fibers won’t catch and tug on your hair at night as cotton pillowcases do. You can also use satin scarves of satin sleep cap or even put your hair up in a bun before going to be to prevent damage or tangles. For clip-ins, dedicated a special drawer to lay them flat on a silk pillowcase to keep them looking pristine.
- Speaking of shower routine, whatever you do not rough wash or “ball and lather” your hair. Instead, shampoo and condition gentle by combing your fingers through the hair from weft to ends, also keeping your hair smooth and straight. Other washing methods only put a strain on bonds or lead to tangles.
RULE #3: BEFORE YOU CRAZY WITH THAT BLOW DRYER…READ THIS.
Blow dryers even for natural hair may speed up morning routines, but more often than not the heat essentially microwaves the hair, causing the cuticles to flake or not sit flat. Allowing your hair extensions (and even your own hair) to air dry allows the cuticles in the hair that swell and rise to gently return to normal temperature. You’ll be amazed at how shinier the hair is using this method as opposed to speeding things along with a blow dryer. If you still want to use a curling iron or wand, wait until they are 100% dry.
- If you really need to use a blow dryer, first pretreat your weft or extensions with a heat protectant spray and then use the cool setting to air dry your hair until it is about 90% dry and use your fingers to address any tangle. Start at the root and work your way down through the lengths and ends, always blow-drying in a downward direction to keep the hair from getting tangled as much as possible.