So you've decided to invest in your precious crown by purchasing high-quality hair extensions. Now the next thing you have to do is take care of them. Yes, wearing them will magically transform your hair into luscious, goddess-like locs but extensions aren't made of magic. Meaning you can't just treat them like a cheap 2 dollar hooker and expect them to be good to you.
You still have to take pretty good care of them, just the same as your hair. Here we will go over some tips as well as other factors to be conscious of during your hair care routine. These tips are some that can also be applied to your own natural hair.
First, let's discuss shampoo and conditioning.
You will want to use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that says "hydrating" or "moisturizing". Sulfates strip the nutrients and moisture out of hair and since extensions are not getting the natural oils from your scalp like your own hair, it will dry them out. You should avoid sulfates for your own hair as well unless your hair is excessively oily. But be careful if you color your hair, sulfates will leave your color looking dull and discolored.
When shampooing, DO NOT vigiously rub the hair together. Gently work the shampoo in a downward motion. When applying conditioner, be sure to comb it through, to evenly distribute.
If you're wearing semi-permanent hair extension (tape-ins, beaded wefts, sew-ins, etc...) or wear a wig daily, then you should shampoo and condition your hair weekly to remove product build-up and dirt and dander from inevitable environmental conditions. Build-up on the hair can cause the hair not to flow properly, tangle, and curls not to hold.
Temporary extensions (clip-ins, ponytails, etc..) will need to be shampooed and conditioned after 5-7 wears or after you've used a lot of product, especially hair spray.
Also, you should use tepid to lukewarm water when shampooing. Hot water opens the cuticles of the hair shaft. Closed cuticles make the hair look and feel smoother. (Personal Hair TIP: This is why you should rinse your own hair will cooler water after applying conditioner in the shower. Give it a try and you'll see that your hair is smoother)
Now let us talk about Blow Drying
I advise you to let your hair air dry if you can but if you are in a hurry and need to dry your extensions, I advise you to apply a heat protectant. (This doubles as advice to your own hair as well) Also when using a blow dryer, do not use high heat. Use medium to low heat. Hotter temperatures open the cuticle of the hair shaft and dry out the natural moisture, leaving the hair with a frizzy finish.
Hot Tools Styling
HEAT PROTECTANT! HEAT PROTECTANT! HEAT PROTECTANT!
I highly advise using a, you guessed it, heat protectant prior to using a flatiron or curling iron. It will create a barrier to help prevent heat damage. However prolonged, daily use of hot tools will eventually result in heat damage no matter how much heat protectant you use. (This double as advice for your own hair)
Sleep Care Routine
If your extensions are removable, you should thoroughly comb or brush them before storing them. If your extensions are semi-permanent, then you should still brush them, starting from the bottom and working your way up the hair, then put your hair in a loose braid or twist. I also advise wearing a satin bonnet while you sleep or getting a silk or satin pillowcase. Cotton sheets cause friction on the hair resulting in breakage and split ends. (This doubles as advice for your own hair)
Follows these tips and your hair and hair extensions will thank you for it. Be good to your hair and it will look good for you.
Remember, "Don't just be Ready... Be Stage Ready!"