So, you came to us and you got hair extensions, now what? Well, there is more than just washing, drying, styling and brushing that you need to consider. We found a great article on what to do now and how to care for your new, beautiful extensions! We know that the title says wear a weave without wrecking your hair but all of this information can be applied to wearing hair extensions without the weave!
Here’s how to do it.
Get your hair in good shape before adding extensions. Take a break from the weakening chemicals in curl relaxers or dyes to get a head start in avoiding breakage.
Make sure your hair is clean, well conditioned, and free of buildup from dead skin cells and styling products like hairspray. These can cause dryness, flaking, and itching.
“If your scalp is dry and flaky, use a medicated shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, concentrating the suds on your scalp,” Maclin says. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse out. Then wash once more with regular shampoo and condition. Do this once a week for 4 weeks.
If you’re still seeing flakes, visit a dermatologist before getting extensions. You may have seborrheic dermatitis, which can be harder to get under control when you have extensions.
How a hair extension is attached to your head depends on the type you use:
Maclin says the biggest mistake that women make with extensions is wearing them too tight. This puts a lot of tension on the hair follicles, which can make your hair fall out. At worst, it can contribute to the most common type of permanent hair loss in African-American women.
Getting extensions should not be painful or cause headaches. If it does, they’re too snug. Speak up! Ask your stylist to loosen them before continuing.
Clip-ins are the least damaging extensions because they can be removed quickly and require little to no glue or braiding. But they can cause hair breakage if they pull or snag your hair, so put them in loosely.
“Gently shampoo at least once a week to keep your scalp at its healthiest,” says hairstylist Tamika Fletcher, co-owner of Natural Resources Salon in Houston. “This reduces the buildup of product used for styling your extensions and dead skin cells.”
Even if they still look neat and polished, don’t wear hair extensions for more than 6 weeks at a time. “Weaves should be removed to allow for a thorough cleaning of the scalp and deep conditioning of the hair,” Maclin says.
The glue used to secure hair extensions to your head contains chemicals that can cause hair loss. “If bonding glue is absolutely necessary, use bonding glue remover not only to take out the extensions but, more importantly, to ensure no glue remains in the hair,” Fletcher says. “Any remaining glue can adhere to hair and become nearly impossible to remove without losing hair in the process.”
If your hairline or scalp itches after your weave is removed, you may have an allergic reaction. Formaldehyde is used to preserve hair weaves, and it sometimes causes irritation. See a dermatologist. They can treat an itchy or irritated scalp.