Extensions can be your best friend or your worst enemy; it honestly all depends on how you care for them. Although some of us have experience with hair extensions, it does not mean we have mastered the maintenance part. You might know how you want to style your extensions and the look you're going for, but that doesn't mean you know the don'ts of hair extensions. We all want pretty hair but pretty hair comes with a price: proper maintenance. If you are a beginner in the hair extension world, this post will most definitely prevent you from making common mistakes, but if you've been in the hair extension world for a while now, don't be surprised if you've been unintentionally doing some things wrong...it happens to the best of us.
#1 Don’t style your natural hair without a heat protectant
When you choose to have hair left out in a sew-in, you are inherently taking up a huge responsibility, one that you wouldn't have to take with a closure. Sometimes (most times) when blending your hair into extensions, heat is required. To reduce the amount of heat damage on your natural hair, it is important to wear a heat protectant. Heat protectants are usually sprayed onto the hair and they are good in minimizing hair damage and giving the hair are nice shine. Not all heat protectants are made equal so you don't want to cheap your way out of this one. Unless you want fried hair, I suggest finding a good heat protectant.
#2 Don't try to cut your own extensions
Although it appears to be an easy task...I mean you're just getting a pair of scissors and cutting hair...right? WRONG! You can't just use the first pair of scissors you find and think it's ok for you to cut your own hair. If anything, styling scissors should be used when cutting hair because that's literally what they're made for. Dull scissors can cause split ins and bulky cuts (gross). I know cutting your hair seems like the perfect DIY project but if you're not careful, you can cut the extensions wrong leaving the hair completely ruined. I mean it's not like the hair extensions can grow back; you would have to buy another bundle to make up for it. So do not cut your extensions unless you have the experience, and if you don't, find a professional.
#3 Don't wash your hair too much or too little
Extensions should be adequately cared for but at the same time...they are not your natural hair. For starters, your natural hair and extensions should not have the same wash day routine. Excessive washing or not enough washing can serious damage the extensions (and your natural hair as well). Excessive washing will dry out the hair leaving it matted and tangled, but not washing it enough will leave it heavy and greasy. You do however want to wash them regularly, but even once a week can be a little too much. Your extensions should be washed when you see a noticeable amount of product buildup which can be around every 14 to 15 days. This is more so to clean your natural hair because if your own scalp is not thoroughly cleaned then you will be more susceptible to problems such as mold and scalp fungus. When washing, the hair should be rinsed a minimum 3 times to get out all the extra product, however, the longer the hair, the more product there is to rinse.
#4 Don't Man handle your hair extensions
Hair extensions are not your punching bag, so do not handle them as such. When combing or brushing extensions, you want to use a wide tooth comb of a paddle brush, starting from the base of the hair and working your way down. But when detangling, you want to section off the hair, starting from the ends and working your way up. After detangling, you can resume to gently brushing the hair (starting from the base). Typically, we are too rough when it comes to combing and brushing our hair extensions; we even brush them the wrong direction. It is important to always do it the right way to prevent tangling, excessive shedding and breakage.
#5 Don't just go to sleep
I cannot express how important it is for you to develop a night time routine. You cannot expect to rock baby doll hair when you treat it like a bird’s nest. It just doesn't work that way. As much as you would like to go to sleep however you want, you can't because you have to prep your hair for the following day. And in order to prep your hair, you have to groom it at night. This might include wearing a silk scarf or using a satin pillowcase, plaiting your hair into a loose braid, wrapping your hair etc...there's so many things you can do to ensure your hair is protected while you're sleeping.
If you're gonna spend the money, it only makes sense to put in the right amount and time and effort to maintain your hair. I'm not asking you to dedicate an absurd amount of hours a day for haircare. Keeping your extensions in good condition should not be a difficult process, and if it is, you're doing something wrong. Just don't forget this list of don'ts and you should be fine.