When it comes to hair extensions, aftercare is everything. Hair extensions can be expensive but at The Hair Alchemist, we personally see them as more of an investment. With the right aftercare routine, you can increase the lifespan of your hair extensions from months to up to 5 years! Now, you may be thinking that sounds like a lot of work, but that doesn’t have to be true. We have put together some helpful tips and tricks for reducing the damage to your hair, helping to keep your hair extensions in tip-top condition for as long as possible! Naturally entirely eliminating hair damage is impossible but for hair extension longevity, doing your best to do so is a must.
There are all kinds of myths floating around on the internet and in magazines about what does and doesn’t cause damage, how best to look after damaged hair and much more. We ‘re here to debunk some of those myths and make sure you know exactly what the best way to look after your hair extensions really is.
So let’s begin…
How to Tie up Hair Without Damaging It
We get it, as much as we’re all about ‘long hair, do care’ sometimes you need it out of your face. Whether you’re at the gym, at work or completing your look with a high pony, we all tie up our hair now and again. The problem with this is that the most commonly used hair ties or bobbles can cause hair breakage. Hair ties made of rubbery materials or with a metal clasp are the worst offenders. They tend to pull hair too aggressively causing breakage and even hair loss in extreme cases.
Don’t panic! There are options for tying up your hair without inflicting damage on it. Go for a hair tie that is loose and smooth. Seamless hair ties are a great option, as they can be used with no danger of catching and breaking strands, something which may occur when using a metal clasped bobble. Scrunchies would also fall into the category of loose and smooth and lucky for you, they’ve made quite a comeback as of late. Another option would be to use a plastic spiral hair tie. These are made of coiled plastic which gives strong hold without pulling on the hair. This helps you reduce breakages, prevent split ends whilst also making for more comfortable wear and minimising hair kinks on removal.
If you weren’t going for a particular style and just needed your hair out of your face, maybe try a silk scarf, headband or hair clip instead. All of these options are much less likely to cause hair damage than a hair tie. Finally, it is important to note that you should never tie up your hair tightly before bed or whilst wet. Tossing and turning can whilst the hair is tied can cause more breakages as the hair is more likely to be pulled this way. When the hair is wet, it is at its most elastic and therefore more prone to breakage.
In terms of styling the hair, damage depends on what it is you do with it. Hairstyles that require large amounts of heat from hair straighteners or curling tongs will cause more damage than those styled without heat. Heat damaged hair becomes dry and brittle causing a higher chance of breakage. By using a heat protection spray before applying heat to the hair, you can help to protect the hair cuticle. Using a good conditioner before applying heat can also help to strengthen the hair and prevent damage occurring.
In addition to heat damage, extremely tight hairstyles can cause hair breakage, if work frequently. For example, tight braids, buns or even ponytails can cause the hair to break. Where possible try to wear looser hairstyles such as loose braids or simply leave your hair down. Damage can however be minimised by changing the style of the hair frequently. In doing this, the same strands of hair are not constantly affected, therefore helping to improve the overall hair health.
Shampoo and Conditioners
When looking after your hair extensions, one of the most important and simplest places to start is with your shampoo and conditioner. Many shampoos found in the high street contain something called sulfates. Sulfates are ingredients added to shampoos and conditioners in order to create suds. They attract oil and water allowing dirt to be washed away. Sounds good right? Wrong.
Although sulfates allow dirt to be washed away, they also strip the hair and scalp of its natural oils, making the hair dry, brittle and frizzy. Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, allow the natural oils to remain in the hair, helping to keep your locks full of moisture. This does not mean that the hair will be any less clean, it just might take a little longer.
At the Hair Alchemist, we use only Neal & Wolf products. All haircare products from Neal & Wolf are not only sulfate-free but also paraben-free, TEA free, DEA free and cruelty-free.
Prolonging the Life of Your Hair Extensions
- You should never wear your hair extensions for more than 2 months at a time. Within this time the hair can grow up to around 1.1 inches. This hair growth can cause the roots to tangle. You should visit your hair extension salon for regular maintenance appointments, including refitting to ensure the longevity of the hair.
- When wearing hair extensions, you should wash your hair 2-3 times per week, using a high-quality shampoo and conditioner such as the Neal & Wolf products used within the salon. Before washing you should detangle the hair with a wide-toothed comb. When applying conditioner, be careful not to apply to the bonds as this can cause slippage.
- When brushing your hair, it is important to avoid going over hair extension bonds with the brush. Bonds should be held when brushing in order to support the hair and avoid breakage or slippage.
- If you are a regular user of sunbeds, the hair should be wrapped in a towel before use. The heat from sunbeds can cause the hair to dry out and the bonds to melt.
- Prolonged water exposure has also been shown to weaken hair extension bonds and so frequently participating in activities such as swimming should be avoided. This also includes activities such as saunas or steam rooms. If the bonds are exposed to water or a combination of water and heat (i.e. Sauna) the hair and bonds can begin to deteriorate. You should rinse the hair with fresh water immediately if exposed to chlorine or salt as found in pools and the sea, and attempt to dry the bonds as quickly as possible.
So there you have it, some easy tips and tricks for keeping your hair in amazing condition. With a high quality shampoo, damage proof hair ties and a few golden rules, hair extension aftercare doesn’t have to be a minefield. By looking after both your own hair and your extensions, you can have salon hair year-round and beyond.