Hair extensions can add extra length and thickness to your own hair. Want them to last for long? Here are some tips to care for your hair extensions.

Hair extensions are great if you want a different hairstyle or more volume without waiting for your hair to grow naturally. They can make your hair look longer and thicker. While you can enjoy these benefits, don’t forget to take care of them even if they are not your actual hair. They need to be maintained so that they can last longer. Also, if you don’t show some love and care, hair extensions might make your scalp itchy. They may even cause damage to your own hair. Find out how to take care of hair extensions, and increase their scalp life!

What are hair extensions?

Hair extensions are like hair accessories that add extra length, thickness, or even colour to your own hair, says aesthetic – plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Shraddha Deshpande.

A woman making ponytails with hair extensions
Hair extensions can add volume and length to your hair. Image courtesy: Freepik

There are many types of hair extensions, each with its own way of being attached to your hair.

  • Clip-ins, which are like hair clips with extra hair attached.
  • Tape-ins, where the extensions stick to your hair using special tape.
  • Sew-ins are like sewing extra hair into your own hair.
  • Fusion extensions use a special glue to bond the extensions to your hair.
  • Micro-link extensions are tiny strands of hair attached using small beads.

Most people go for clip-in extensions because they are easy to use, says the expert. You just have to clip them onto your hair whenever you want, and take them out when you are done.

How to take care of hair extensions?

If you don’t take care of your hair extensions properly, they can cause some problems. They might not only make your scalp itchy or irritated, but may also damage your own hair. So, it is important to treat them with care and follow the rules for taking care of them.

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1. Handle with care

Treat your hair extensions delicately, which means avoid rough handling, tugging, or pulling, especially while brushing or styling. Be gentle to prevent unnecessary stress on the hair strands, which can lead to breakage and damage over time, says the expert.

2. Wash with caution

Use a mild and sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that are specifically meant for hair extensions. While washing, do it gently, avoiding excessive rubbing or twisting, which can cause tangling. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove all traces of hair care products.

3. Detangle every day

Incorporate daily detangling into your hair care routine to prevent knots and tangles from forming. Start from the ends of the hair and work your way up to the roots using a wide-tooth comb or a specialised hair extension brush. Take your time and be patient to avoid causing unnecessary stress on the hair.

4. Watch the heat

Limit the use of heat styling tools such as flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers on your hair extensions. Excessive heat can damage the hair fibers, leading to dryness, breakage, and loss of shine. If you must use heat styling tools, always apply a heat protectant spray beforehand and go for the lowest possible heat setting.

5. Protect at bedtime

Before going to bed, you can either remove them or loosely braid your hair extensions or tie them up in a soft ponytail to prevent tangling while you sleep. Consider wrapping your hair in a silk or satin scarf or using a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction and minimise damage.

A woman with hair extensions
Protect your hair extensions while sleeping. Image courtesy: Freepik

6. Trim regularly

Schedule regular trims with your hair stylist to maintain the health and shape of your hair extensions that are made of material like silicone, vinyl, silk or human hair. Just like natural hair, split ends and damage can occur over time, so it is essential to trim the ends periodically to keep the extensions looking fresh and prevent further damage from spreading.

7. Mind the overlap

While installing hair extensions, ensure that the strands are evenly spaced and do not overlap each other. Overlapping can create unnecessary tension on the natural hair, leading to breakage and discomfort, says Dr Deshpande. Proper placement and spacing are crucial for the long-term health of your hair and hair extensions.

8. Shield from sun

Protect your hair extensions from prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which can cause colour fading and dryness. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or use a silk scarf to cover your hair while spending a lot of time outdoors, especially during peak sun hours.

9. Use lightweight products

Choose hair care products specifically formulated for use with hair extensions, as they are lighter in weight and less likely to weigh down the hair or cause buildup. Avoid products containing harsh chemicals, alcohol, or sulfates, which can lead to dryness and damage.

10. Stick to a routine

Establish a consistent hair care routine for your hair extensions, including regular washing, conditioning, and deep conditioning treatments. Consistency is key to maintaining the health and appearance of your hair extensions, so make it a habit to care for them as you would your natural hair.

Just like your own hair, hair extensions can get damaged from heat styling, sun exposure, and harsh chemicals. So, follow all the tips to care for your hair extensions.

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