Once you take the plunge with hair extensions, wefts, or wigs…there’s no going back! The feeling of being able to accessorize your hair, transform yourself in a flash or get the full, thick, or long hair you’ve yearned for is amazing. If you’ve made the investment before and weren’t happy with how long you were able to enjoy it before it started looking worn, lifeless, dull or damaged…chances are something went wrong. So what exactly happened? Was it quality? That you can’t control (but we do by creating durable, high quality hair pieces), or was it care? A lot of times we don’t always know how best to care for what we buy to make sure it lasts as intended. We’ve rounded up some important rules of the road when it comes to getting the most WEAR with your hair!
Daily Hair Care
Whether your extensions are the kind that you don’t take out for months, or simply clip-ins that you take out each day…they both require some daily care when you wear them.
- Before install or after you shower (see below) your extensions should always be gently brushed to detangle, smooth and prevent tangles. It’s important to use the right brush for the job however, as many brushes while great for your real hair (like boar bristle brushes) can pull on the attachment of your extensions and weaken it over time. We recommend always using a specially designed hair extension loop brush that will take out the tangle (without doing any mangle!).
Simply brush in one direction with a smooth, downward motion to detangle. No need to do 100 brush strokes (that’s too much). You can also use a Detangling Caddy that will grip and hold your extensions safely and securely while you brush and detangle.
If you’re going to use a blow dryer, curling or flat iron…go for it! But remember to keep the heat setting low and the power low. Over time high heat can do a number on your extensions or wig (and also can harm your real hair). If you are using our curly/textured hair, you can use a diffuser for bouncy curls without having to use hardly any heat at all. If you’re planning on using a hair straightener, you should use our Deep Conditioning Treatment during your next shampoo/condition to help prevent cumulative damage to the hair. Alternatively you can use a thermal styling spray to keep them protected.
Washing Your Extensions and Wigs
How often should you wash them? A good rule of thumb is that after 8 to 10 times you wear them, you should gently wash your hair clip-ins. If you have clip-ins, never shower with them.
If you have more permanent installs such as beads, tape-ins, sew-ins, etc. you should wait at least 76 hours to give the bonds time to settle in and then only wash your hair every 3 to 5 days. This can vary however during hot summer months or if you have an active lifestyle.
All of our products are made with 100% Indian Remy Hair, so they’re really no different than the hair you were born with! Just like your natural hair you absolutely DO NOT want to use any harsh shampoos or conditioners on them unless you want the color to fade and the sulfates to dry and damage the hair. Always and only ever use sulfate free shampoos and lightweight conditioners on your extensions.
We recommend our INSPIRE Care Shampoos and Conditioner, that are pH balanced, free of sulfates and harsh chemicals and are designed specifically for use on extensions, wigs and units.
Every week or two we also recommend a more intensive deep conditioning treatment. These specially designed natural conditioners will help to restore moisture and impart beneficial oils to your extensions that they don’t get from your scalp (as they aren’t directly connected and can’t benefit from scalp oils).
Washing Your Wigs
Caring for your wig is no different than extensions really save for one caveat: a mannequin head.
Drying Your Extensions and Wigs
Fact: your real hair is most fragile when it is wet. Your extensions or wigs aren’t any different as they are completely made of real human hair. The drying method will be a little different if you have an install vs. just a wig or clip-ins.
Wefts, Beads, Fusion, Tape-ins, etc.
Since these are meant for months of wear, you can’t exactly take them out to dry them. So dry them like your own hair, but don’t ever ball and rough dry your hair. Go for supersoft towels and simply pat dry by sandwiching your hair in between the folds of the towel.
Clip-In Hair Extensions
Maintaining Your WIg
To maintain the full shape and not harm the life expectancy, always let your wig air dry on a mannequin after shampooing the same as described above. Meaning, always pat dry, never rough dry.
Best Styling Products for Happy Hair
What are some of the best styling products for hair extensions?
- Quality hair care: sulfate-free shampoos and natural conditioners are a must
- Hair oils: will impart a beautiful shine and give your real human hair extensions and wigs the kind of beneficial oils they can’t get any other way.
- Leave-ins: Are amazing for giving your hair that all day thirst quenching in dry, hot conditions or cold, frigid conditions.
- Non-alcohol based sprays and mousses: many heavy duty stylers rely on a lot of alcohol in them. Over time this can really do a number on your extensions (and real hair)
- Ionic/ceramic blow dryers and flat irons: these salon quality hot tools impart beneficial ions to the hair and are far gentler than your run of the mill cheap blow dryers. Ceramic irons are far less damaging than metal plates when it comes to curling and smoothing.
When it comes to wigs or clip-ins, the nighttime routine is simple: just take them out (though how you store them matters…so see below). For more permanent installs however such as tape-ins, beaded wefts or sew-ins, your nighttime routine will be a little different to protect your hair and not stress your bonds.
Option 1: Braid your hair or put it up in a bun as you sleep. This will keep your hair and out of the way so it doesn’t get pulled on as you toss and turn in your sleep. Silk pillowcases actually work wonders for your hair because the very fine weave doesn’t grab your hair in the night.
Option 2: Put your hair up into a Silk Cap or bonnet that is designed for extensions. Silk Caps and hair wraps are made of very fine, soft fabrics that won’t catch or pull on your hair as you sleep.
Beneficial hair oils, such as Argan Oil are also ideal for application while you sleep, as they impart rich moisture, shine and keep the ends of your hair healthy and split free.
Storing Your Extensions and Wigs
While your wefts, beads and fusion extensions go in and stay in, clip-ins and wigs do not. Clip-ins should be stored in a silk or fabric bag to keep them fresh and tangle-free.
In a pinch, you can even just use a silk pillowcase and line a special drawer for it if you’d like.
Mannequin heads as mentioned above should never, ever be stored flat. The base can quickly become bent and crumpled, leading it to not sit correctly at the crown over time. Mannequin heads are the ideal way to keep your wig safe, well cared for and with a base that will last.
The Environmental Hair Disasters
Aside from all of the above, some of the most common blunders we make with extensions and wigs are the environmental conditions we subject them to that will dramatically cut their lifespan.
Threat #1: That Old Sun
When you have totally on point hair, what’s better than a day in the sun? Whether you’re at the beach, at a special occasion or even out on a hike, while we tend to lather on SPF on our tender skin we often don’t stop to think about the damage UV rays do to our hair. Just like our real hair, UV wavelengths can not only dehydrate hair, but also microscopically damage it. Moreover, UV rays break down color pigments and will fade out the color in colored extensions or wigs. What to do? If you know you’re going to be in the sun for a long period of time. SPF 30+ sprays can help to protect your hair from sun exposure and so can big floppy, fashionable sun hats.
Threat #2: Swimming
Pool water and sea water can do a number on our real hair, much less extensions. Pool water contains chlorine that can dry out the hair and in some cases can even add a greenish tinge. Sea water contains loads of salt obviously that equally will dry out the hair, but also a lot of minerals that can build up on the hair, damaging it or altering the color. We always recommend removing your clip-ins before swimming, or at the very least for more “permanent” installs pull your hair up into a protective swimming cap. You can also use a leave-in conditioner before dipping into the water to coat the hair before diving in.
Do you have an active lifestyle? You go girl! Chances are you put your hair up in a bun or braid into ponytails while you get your workout or run on…but a word of caution. Keep your hair loose with a few scrunchies so your bouncy hair doesn’t pull and tug your natural hair or the attachment site. When you’re done, give your hair a shot of cold blow dryer if you have or at least take your scrunchies out so your extensions can air dry. Sweat along the weft line can cause buildup over time or create an environment for bacteria (ick!)