Here's How to Properly Take Care of Your Hair Extensions
We’ve already got you covered on which hair extensions are suitable for you, so now that you’ve made this worthy splurge, it’s time to talk proper care. To ensure a long-lived look, it’s essential to get the maintenance rituals for both real human and synthetic hair down pat (yes—there are differences between the two). Below, we’ve consulted with experts at top salons to inform us on the dos and don’ts when it comes to preserving these luxe hairdo additions. Scroll through to learn exactly how!
Why is it important to take care of your extensions?
“They can damage your own hair and won’t last as long as they’re supposed to,” Rita Hazan stylist Mylo tells InStyle. It’s especially important to attend to the definitive needs of your particular hair extensions. “The natural oils of your hair will not reach the tips of your extensions,” added Monica Thorton, co-founder of RPZL. “Proper care includes a daily brushing routine, hydration, and the use of natural products that avoid drying chemicals.”
How do you take care of real human hair extensions?
According to RPZL, it's critical to wash human hair extensions with only sulfate- or paraben-free shampoo specifically on the roots. To help soften and detangle, try Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Sulfate Free Shampoo ($31; bumbleandbumble.com).
RPZL also recommends not infusing the hair in either salt or chlorinated water. Let's be real, that's extremely difficult in the summertime, which is why we're suggesting Barracuda Aquia Dechlorinating Shampoo ($7; amazon.com), a 2-in-1 formula that clarifies hair while also eliminating chlorine odor.
Additionally, avoid bedtime with a wet head (a dry braid or pigtails overnight is ideal) and treat your extensions with care—no pulling or tugging. Try the Spornette Large Super Looper Brush ($12; birchbox.com) to gently brush and detangle without creating further damage.
How do you take care of synthetic hair extensions?
According to Mylo, “Synthetic hair gets dull very fast. Some qualities can be styled with heat, but you have to be a little more careful that you don’t melt the hair.” To style synthetic hair without damaging it, try Drybar High Tops Self-Grip Rollers ($10; sephora.com) or Conair Brush Foam Rollers ($10; drugstore.com) for effortless curls without all that damage.
When washing synthetic extensions to eliminate dullness, lather with a formula specialized for synthetic hair, such as Revlon Texturizing Cleanser for Synthetic Hair ($9; sallybeauty.com). After shampooing the extensions, to painlessly remove tangles, use a wide tooth comb. We love the Ouidad Double Detangler Comb ($26; sephora.com).
Is there a difference when taking care of clip-ins vs. more permanent extensions?
The answer is yes. "Clip-in extensions are made to be temporary, so washing and styling shouldn't be done as often," Mylo tells InStyle. When it comes to real extensions, it's important to wash and style more frequently. "Permanent extensions stay on your hair anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. Therefore, you need to follow the specific instructions from your stylist before leaving the salon."
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