Whether you have short hair, medium hair, or long hair, hair extensions are a great way to add both length and volume to your mane. Of course, when dealing with hair extensions, whether they’re clip-ins or ones that get sewn-in, you’ll have to follow a hair care routine that will keep them looking their best. To learn how to do just that, we spoke with L’Oréal’s go-to hair extension expert, Kellon Deryck. Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks we picked up for taking care of hair extensions.
TIP #1: GIVE EXTENSIONS TLC
You may notice an overarching theme to this list of tips—that you should be showing your extensions lots of love. After all, you probably paid quite a bit for them! According to Deryck, if you have human hair extensions, you should care for them the same way you would hair grown from your very own scalp. He says, “The maintenance method may differ but the level of TLC required won’t change.” So, if you weren’t happy with your lengthy hair care routine pre-extensions, don’t think this is your way out!
TIP #2: DON’T SLEEP ON THEM
Just as it’s important to remove your makeup before going to bed, you want to make sure you remove clip-in hair extensions before getting your beauty sleep. Keeping them in can cause them to become tangled in your hair and can damage your clips. When taking out your clip-ins, do so from top to bottom. This will limit any tangling during the removal process.
If you have sewn-in extensions, you have to (of course) leave your extensions in for bed. To keep them from becoming tangled and prevent frizz, you can wear a sleeping cap or silk scarf while you sleep.
TIP #3: BE GENTLE
When combing and detangling your extensions, use a wig brush or a wide-tooth comb that will be gentle on them. Remember to always start from your ends and work your way up! “Just like detangling your own hair, starting from the ends and working your way to the root will help cut down on shedding and breakage,” says Deryck. If you take care when detangling, you’ll get a longer wear out of your extensions—so, it’s well worth it.
TIP #4: KEEP WASHING TO A MINIMUM
If you have sewn-in hair extensions, wash your hair as often as you normally would. If you have clip-in extensions, however, washing your extensions once a month is fine. While this may seem like an extreme length of time, remember that clip-in extensions don’t have the natural oils that your hair does, so washing them too often will cause them to become dry and brittle.
TIP #5: USE A GENTLE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
For hair extensions, you want to make sure you use a mild shampoo and conditioner. Consider using one that’s safe for color-treated hair as your hair extensions have likely been dyed to the perfect shade. For hair extensions made from human hair, we recommend the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Conditioner to keep your extensions looking soft and manageable.
Editor’s note: Having trouble finding products suited to your extensions? We’ll let you in on a little secret: If you have extensions made of real hair, normal hair care and hair styling products should do the trick! All you need to do is look for gentle, color-safe formulas.
TIP #6: AVOID HEAT TOOLS
Your hair extensions don’t receive the oils and nutrients that the hair on your head does, so when you can, avoid using heat tools to style them. Instead, opt for a heat-free styling option like a texture spray.
TIP #7: USE HEAT PROTECTANT
When you do style your extensions with heat, make sure you use a heat protectant to prevent heat damage. On human hair extensions, try using the L’Oréal Paris SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray before you straighten your (faux) strands.
TIP #8: SWITCH UP YOUR HAIR STYLING PRODUCTS
When using hair styling products on your extensions, use ones that have a gentle formula—just like your hair care products. Instead of using the same old hairspray you always reach for, try locking in your look with the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold with UV filter for Color-Treated Hair. The color-safe formula will give human hair extensions a long-lasting, brushable hold that’s ideal for when it comes time to detangle your extensions.
TIP #9: STORE THEM PROPERLY
If you have clip-in hair extensions, it’s a must to store them properly to prevent them from becoming tangled. Try storing them in an empty shoe box! When storing extensions, put them in a ponytail so the clips don’t snag on the rest of your extensions. Simply wrap each weft around each other before securing them with a gentle hair tie.
TIP #10: KEEP THEM MOISTURIZED
While sewn-in extensions get moisture from your hair’s natural oils, clip-in extensions can become dry as they don’t have the same exposure. To keep them from becoming parched, use a leave-in conditioner every so often. Just make sure not to use too much as this can cause your extensions to appear greasier than your natural mane!
Want more hair extensions tips? Head over to our article, 5 Tips for Styling Hair Extensions.