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Hair extensions are not the same as your natural hair and they can't be treated the same way. The more you baby them, the better they'll look.
You'll want to brush 3 to 4 times per day to prevent tangles.
Before you shower, gently brush your hair to remove the tangles. We strongly recommend a Wet Brush. Not a brush that's wet, "Wet Brush" is a brand. Buy a couple! They will be your best friends.
With your Wet Brush in one hand, hold the track (the point where your extensions are sewn into your natural hair) firmly with your other hand. Brush from mid-shaft to ends and be gentle.
If you have multiple rows of hair, remember to brush the natural hair between the rows. That hair can be easily missed and end up tangled.
Brush until your hair is tangle-free.
We're going to mention a few products here. Don't be overwhelmed. You'll get the hang of this pretty quickly and your stylist will help you along the way.
Please remember that your stylist is a small local business. They put a lot of time into selecting and learning about the great hair-care products that they offer. You could just as easily buy something later on Amazon or at Ulta but we love the idea of supporting a small business.
As you read through, you'll see that we heavily emphasize moisturizing products. Protein-based products that are designed to repair damage, including "bond-builders" like B3, Olaplex and Olaplex oil, should always be avoided.
It's important to use "salon-quality" products but, just because a product is considered "salon-quality" does not mean it is the right product for extensions.
We can't stress enough how important it is to use the right shampoo and conditioner. The best salon-quality shampoos for your hair extensions are either sulfate-free or have high-quality, gentle, buffered sulfates.
Avoid protein shampoos that are designed for damaged hair. Protein will dry extensions. If your natural hair needs to be treated for damage, your stylist can help you. In that case your stylist can recommend a reparative shampoo that is less drying and you should do everything you can to completely avoid getting protein-based products on your wefts. You will also want to put extra effort into hydration during your pre-wash and conditioning.
You should also avoid products with non-water soluble silicone. Silicone is an inexpensive ingredient that provides smoothness and shine but it can also build up, cause dryness, and weigh your extensions down. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of silicones to avoid.
Your best option is a hydrating shampoo with high quality very lightweight oils. Your stylist can help you select one that works well with your natural hair and your extensions.
Your daily conditioner should be light yet hydrating enough to maintain the moisture level of your hair extensions. Alternate every third wash or so with a deep conditioner. Avoid heavy masques.
Even if your hair is stick-straight, don't overlook products designed for curly hair since curly hair is often very dry and those products are often extra-hydrating.
For a very deep conditioning, ask your stylist about professional in-salon treatments.
Do your best to avoid the track. This is true for all products. It's harder to thoroughly rinse the track so product can build up there.
As your natural hair grows, the ends get trimmed. This helps remove damage and keeps the ends fresh. Extensions don't grow so the same ends have to last for months! It takes extra care to keep them strong, hydrated, and healthy.
Your pores emit oil that hydrates your natural hair through the shaft. Since hair extensions don’t grow from your pores, they don’t get the benefit of these oils.
That’s okay, we'll make up for it with a light daily oil or serum. Never use a dark heavy oil like Moroccanoil or other argan oils, macadamia oils etc. Dark oils can stain extensions and heavy oils can block moisture from entering the hair shaft resulting in dry hair. Heavy oils like coconut and castor oil will cause buildup and should always be avoided.
Your stylist can help you select a silicone-free light daily oil to keep your ends hydrated, shiny, soft, and healthy.
Just apply the oil from mid-shaft to ends. Apply evenly and always do your best to avoid the track.
Washing hair extensions as little as possible will prolonging their life. If you can cut back to two or three times a week, your extensions will last longer.
To look great between shampoos, invest in a quality dry shampoo. There are a few dry shampoos out there that even have heat protection and nourishing properties built-in.
After your pre-wash routine, your tangle-free hair is ready for the shower. Let your hair fall naturally. Avoid tilting your head forward or backward as the weight of the water in your hair will pull on the track. Water should be running straight down your back.
You want to get the track clean but you don't want to disturb it or pull on it. Avoid circular or vigorous movement. Be gentle while massaging the shampoo into your scalp.
Once wet, apply a little shampoo, mostly to your roots, then briefly wet your hair again (don't rinse yet). You have more hair than before so you'll need more shampoo. After the first bit of shampoo is in, go ahead and apply a little more. This 2-step process helps spread the shampoo and create lather. Remember to be gentle and avoid circular motions.
You will feel the weight of the water in your hair extensions. Do what you can to alleviate tension. Using your hand as a comb, run the shampoo from mid-shaft to ends. This is where you will appreciate the de-tangling that you did before your shower.
When conditioning, only condition mid-shaft to ends. Avoid the track. The oil in many conditioners can cause build-up that’s hard to rinse out. Be generous with conditioner and let it sit three to five minutes so your extensions soak in the moisture before rinsing it out. Loudly singing a catchy song in the shower can help you time this process. We can recommend a few.
"Gentle and careful" continues after the shower. Drying, brushing, and styling are a delicate process as well.
After you finish washing, use a micro-fiber towel to pat your hair dry. Sandwich your hair in the towel and press to absorb excess water.
Avoid harsh movements and attempt to have your hair fall naturally. Circular or rubbing motions will cause your extensions to tangle and knot.
It is best to remove around 75% of the moisture before you begin brushing. A quick rough-dry with a blow dryer (no brushing yet) can also help.
Whether you blow dry or air dry, you'll want to de-tangle first. Use a wet brush or round brush and be gentle. Again, hair falling from each weft should be natural and separate. Your stylist can recommend a salon-quality de-tangler to help.
We also highly recommend a primer. The pores in your natural hair are different from the pores in your extensions. As a result, styling products will absorb and spread unevenly. Primers even out the porosity of the hair and make styling much easier. They can also speed drying time by up to half.
If oils are part of your styling routine, only apply them mid-shaft to ends, never at the track. Use a little heat to help the oil saturate evenly.
If you plan to use a blow dryer or flat iron, now is the time to apply a heat protector. This is essential to protect both your hair extensions and your natural hair.
Section your hair by rows. Avoid clipping or styling half of a weft at one time.
If you'd like to curl your hair, pre-heat the entire length of your strands to avoid "climbing" which is where the hair in the iron will tighten as it heats.
If this sounds like a lot of products, don't worry, there are some great products out there that prime, de-tangle, and provide heat protection. Your stylist is the best person to help you select the best one for you.
When blow drying, point your blow dryer downward. You want water to naturally dry and move through your extensions in the same direction as the cuticle. This will prolong the life of the extensions.
Blow dry your hair as normal, just pay extra attention to the track. Make sure it ends up dry. To avoid knots and tangles, don’t tousle your hair. Always avoid any heat over 330°F.
A hot iron and wet hair do not mix! Moisture inside the hair shaft turns to steam and expands. When the water expands, it can weaken/damage the hair shaft which will be especially noticeable at the ends. Always make sure hair is 100% completely dry before using an iron.
Just like your own hair will experience some fading between salon visits, all human hair extensions will require some touch-ups along the way.
Each stylist will approach this differently and a lot depends on how well you adhere to the care guide and how frequently you wash your hair. During your move-up appointments, many stylists will do a color gloss so your natural hair and your extensions will always look their best. This helps refresh the layer of pigment that neutralizes the underlying naturally warm tones of the hair.
Blondes, especially those with low-lights and melts, should expect more maintenance then brunettes.
Treat yourself to a silk pillow-case to prevent snags and mating during sleep. Always avoid sleeping with wet hair. This can cause tangles and stress on the hair. A loose braid or a bun before bed will also help prevent tangles and pulling.
This is a very important question! Many types of sunscreen can turn your extensions peachy-orange and it most likely can not be fixed. This is a chemical reaction with the dye that is used in human hair extensions. Any sunscreen with Avobenzone (Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane) MUST BE AVOIDED! Bare Republic makes a safe option that also happens to be reef-friendly. Zinc Oxide based sunscreen is the safest but be sure it is not mixed with other harmful ingredients. Regardless of sunscreen type, we advise that you pull your hair up when applying and leave it up to keep it off your skin.
Swimming and hair extensions really don't mix. Just as your own hair can be affected by pool chemicals, minerals, salt water, and sun exposure, you will want to avoid swimming. If you must swim, you'll need to use extra precautions to prevent color fade, tangling, staining, dryness, and damage.
Swimming and salt-water or chlorine exposure will dehydrate the wefts and significantly reduce their life expectancy. You can't know exactly what's in the water and often, your hair will absorb harmful chemicals and residual sunscreen from other swimmers. If you do decide to chance it, right before you swim, pre-wet your hair with fresh water and apply a leave-in conditioner to help prevent the absorption of harmful water and chemicals. Use a protective product with added UV protection to prevent damage from salt, chlorine, and other chemicals that may damage your extensions. Braiding your hair before swimming can help prevent tangles.
Always wash and condition directly after swimming! Unfortunately, no hair extensions company can provide a warranty for hair that has been stained or that has changed color after a swim.
As with swimming, you will want to take extra precaution. If you will be outside, it is essential to use a proper UV protective product. You should brush, wash, and condition your hair as quickly as possible after intense physical activity.
Yes, your stylist who is certified in the application of hand-tied wefts will have no problem maintaining your hair color. If you decide you want to go lighter, you will likely have to replace your extensions as it may be impossible to get them to match the new color of your natural hair.
Hard water is very tough on all hair! It can strip, stain, or damage color and it dries the hair leaving it dull and frizzy.
We just can't get excited enough about soft water! Soft water not only makes your hair and skin look and feel dramatically better, it helps your products lather and last longer and helps fight frizz.
You'll also love not having hard water scale on your sinks, faucets, shower doors, and your car after a wash. Soft water even helps hot water heaters last longer and use less energy. Unless you have extremely hard water, you shouldn't need to spend thousands to get a softener. The softeners offered at Home Depot or Lowes will work well for most people.
Dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone, cetearyl methicone, stearyl dimethicone, dimethicone copolymer, cyclomethicone, amodimethicone, trimethylsilylamodimethicone, and cyclopentasiloxane are non-water soluble silicone-based polymers that coat the hair leaving it smooth and shiny. Think of these products as "glue" that stays in your hair. Unfortunately, they also build up quickly and they prevent water and other important moisturizing products from entering the hair shaft. Over just a couple applications, heavy silicone can leave your hair limp, oily looking, dry, damaged, and dull with brittle ends that are prone to breakage. To remove silicone build-up, use a silicone free, sulfate free shampoo. It may take a few wash cycles. This should help prevent further damage and reduce the oily look but, unfortunately, once the damage is done, it is impossible to correct. Typically a clarifying shampoo is recommended to remove silicone from your natural hair but, with hair extensions, it is not a good idea.
Dimethiconol is a less greasy version of dimethicone that is less prone to build-up and can help with split ends. It is okay when used only every few washes. Frequent use should be avoided.
Dimethicone copolyol, stearoxy dimethicone,and behenoxy dimethicone are okay to use. They are water soluble and will not coat your hair or prevent moisture from entering the shaft.
Quaternium 16, Quaternium 80, and Quaternium 95 are commonly found in products that help speed up your blow-dry. They will cause breakage.
Important! This is not a full list. Please see above for additional products and chemicals that are known to be incompatible with hair extensions.