In an ideal world our clothes would last forever and we would never need to replace them, our tyres would never wear out and our make up brushes would stay soft and fluffy forever. In that same world our hair extensions would stay soft, thick and full of lustre for the rest of our lives.
Unfortunately the bitter reality is that hair extensions, like running shoes or tyres, are also a highly consumable product and have to be treated very carefully and will eventually need to be replaced.
So why do your hair extensions get dry, while your own hair stays healthy? Your own hair receives a natural oil called sebum produced at the scalp, when you brush your hair, this nutritious oil coats your hair follicle and is absorbed, leaving your hair feeling soft and shiny.
You may have heard your hairdresser tell you not to wash your hair too often, well this is because you wash away all the sebum and your hair is left feeling, dry and coarse.
Hair extensions do not receive any of this natural oil and instead are synthetically coated with a type of silicone that after a few washes leaves the hair and it starts feeling dry.
Keep reading to learn the best ways to prevent your hair extensions drying out.
The better the care, the better your hair!
1. Tips for washing your hair extensions
Use Sulphate and Paraben free products to wash your extensions
Sulphates create that foamy texture when you are washing your hair and it sure does clean your hair, however because sulphates are so strong, they can strip your hair extensions of all their moisture, leaving them looking dry and frizzy. Try our HairTalk range of care products which are specifically designed for hair extensions.
Gently wash and dry naturally
Only wash your hair extensions every 10-20 wears. A solution made up of water and about a tablespoon of shampoo, works best for this. First brush your hair extensions and then tie your hair extensions together at the top and submerge the extensions into the shampoo solution for 10 minutes, rinse the hair thoroughly before applying your chosen conditioning treatment.
Tips for deep conditioning the hair extensions:
You don't need to leave in the conditioner for longer than 30 min. Longer than this will have no additional benefits.
You can use a heat up treatment or a leave-in treatment.
When buying a leave-in product don’t buy the most expensive product but rather look at the ingredients of the product. As mentioned above steer clear of sulfate and parabens.
Try using a product that doesn’t leave a lot of buildup as this will leave the hair feeling sticky and cause the hair to knot more.
Make sure you moisturize the ends well.
Rinse any conditioning product thoroughly with lukewarm water.
2. Use a Low heat setting and a Heat Protection Spray
This is so important in order to protect your hair extensions from being burnt. We successfully use GHD irons on our hair extensions, if you do have an iron which allows you to adjust the temperature, we recommend never exceeding 180degrees and don't leave the iron focused on one area on the hair extensions for longer than 5 seconds. Always use a heat protection product. If the hair is styled correctly, your curls can last up to 3 days, this will also help preserve the integrity of your hair extensions. The new GHD Gold Pure Styler features a new dual-zone technology, with two heat sensors instead of one to maintain a safer-for-hair heat of 185°C.
3. Use the correct brush and brushing technique on your hair extensions
You should never ever use a fine tooth comb on your hair extensions, this will damage the hair and destroy the cuticles. You should also avoid teasing your hair extensions. Avoid blow drying brushes, as they tend to pull the hair from the bonds, causing shedding. So what can I use? We recommend using a high quality paddle brush that easily glides through knots and always work from the bottom up.
4. Avoid blowdrying your hair extensions
Blowing your hair extensions all over the place will leave them knotty and frizzy. Rather leave your hair extensions to dry naturally, laid flat on a towel overnight. If you wash them carefully they should be mostly tangle free and once they are dry, they can be brushed with a paddle brush and straightened before being applied to your own hair again. You can use our nifty hair hanger to hold your hair extensions while styling them.
5. Don't leave your extensions in direct sunlight
Too much time in the sun can have it that the UV rays damage the outer cuticle of the hair, exposing the inside shaft of the hair strand, causing your hair extensions to become dry, frizzy, and increasingly difficult to manage. Use a heat protect spray on your hair when you venture into areas with a lot of sun exposure and wear a hat to protect your own hair and your hair extensions. Our HairTalk conditioning spray helps protect your hair hair from harmful UV rays.
6. Do not bleach your hair extensions and avoid colouring if possible
Did you know most hair extensions were black or a very dark brown colour before they were dyed to the variety of different blonde colors available for you to purchase online. Think of yourself or a friend you know who has bleached their hair many times and the kind of strain their hair took.
While hair extension manufacturers have very clever techniques for bleaching hair extensions there is no way to do this without causing damage to the hair. Even your darker shades will have undergone a bleaching and recolouring process.
It is for this reason that we NEVER recommend bleaching or lightening your hair extensions. A silver shampoo can work to tone the extensions, but even silver shampoo used multiple times can cause the extensions to feel dry.
You can dye hair extensions darker with minimal damage, but we find unless you are solely depositing colour without a developing agent, there will always be some level of damaged caused to the hair extensions. Rather always dye your own hair to match your hair extensions.
7. Use nourishing oils on the hair extensions
This will keep your hair extensions looking soft and tangle free, it also makes it easier to brush knots out of them, so you don't have to tug at the wefts. I love this one by John Frieda available at Clicks.
8. Store your hair extensions carefully
Leaving your hair extensions bunched up in the bottom of a drawer or in your travel case will cause them to knot. The difficulty you experience when brushing out these knots adds to the amount of damage that is caused during brushing. Tie your extensions together at the clips and store your extensions in a box or on your hair hanger after brushing all the knots out.