Off the Top: Caring for & Storing Your Human Hair Extensions Between Installations
One of the best things about human hair extensions and wigs is that they can be removed and reused; the hair is just that strong, durable, and beautiful. But what do you do with your newly-removed locks in the meantime?
The first and most important steps are to thoroughly wash and condition the extensions or wig. Shampooing well is crucial, as this will remove any grit, dust, or leftover product that might make the hair turn sticky and clump together later on. You may do this washing before removing the extensions from your head, but it is best to do it afterwards, when you can really see what’s going on with each track or hair piece. Particularly at the base or weft, styling products and scalp greases can build up on hair extensions, and you’ll need to wash this residue away to prevent bacteria and germs from growing on your stored locks.
After shampooing and conditioning, detangle the extensions and make sure they completely dry. Damp locks will mildew while stored, resulting in a funky smell, decreased shine, and increased breakage, not to mention possible health problems. You can use a blow dryer or simply let your wig or hair pieces air dry, but one key step many people ignore is making sure the hair dries true to form. Especially with ponytails and wigs, the hair piece must retain its shape so that you can easily slide it on again later with minimum adjustments.
To do this, simply replicate the same conditions the hair was in when you bought it. Place wigs or hair pieces on a wig head (Styrofoam forms can be bought cheaply at most beauty supply stores). Stuff the heads of clip-on or drawstring ponytails with newsprint or other stiff paper that will hold its shape. You may hang extensions from a hanger or drape over your shower rod while drying, but afterwards, carefully roll or bundle the tracks or fusion extensions together, securing with a covered elastic band.
Once clean, well-conditioned tresses are dry, you’re ready to store them. Make sure that you place the hair in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight, since UV rays can bleach out or yellow locks. Also try to something to put the hair in that is large enough to keep hair straight, neat, and untangled and smooth enough to keep from snagging or tearing at hair. Do not – repeat, DO NOT – simply throw your hair into a drawer or cabinet in your bathroom. All kinds of chemicals, bacteria, and critters may be loose in there! Play it safe.
Wigs heads are fine on a closet shelf, and extensions can even be hung up on hangers. But if the sight of several wefts of hair hanging in your closet creeps you (or your partner) out, you have other options, too. Some women put their hair in plastic Tupperware containers, while others place their locks back in the original packaging. Plastic bags and containers are great, but just make sure the hair has a chance to breathe, so it doesn’t take on a stale or plastic smell. Poke holes in bags or use the mesh kind to allow air circulation; take hair out of plastic containers and shake it out every now and then. This will keep your human hair extensions fresh and ready to rock any time you want!
Take care of yourselves,