A Quick Guide to Hair Extension Maintenance

Written by: Nancy Pinder



Time to read 4 min

Approximately 50% of all women experience noticeable hair loss in their lifetimes. Synthetic and real hair extensions can help give you the thicker hair that you desire. 

However, understanding hair extension maintenance is important if you want them to look believable.

In this article, we discuss how to clean hair extensions and what to consider when you buy hair extensions. 

Continue reading to get the long and thick locks you've been looking for.

Real vs. Synthetic Hair Extensions

To learn hair extension maintenance, it's important to learn about the different types of extensions first. 

The two types of hair for hair extensions include real and synthetic.

Real Hair Extensions

Real hair extensions are made of natural human hair. They tend to last approximately 1 year if well-taken care of. They also tend to be easier to care for than synthetic hair extensions.

While real hair extensions look great, the downside is the price point. These tend to be more costly than synthetic models.

Since real hair extensions are made of natural human hair, they can be used with any product that can be used on your natural hair. This includes heat and beauty products. 

However, be sure to use the best products to keep them in good shape.

Synthetic Hair Extensions

Synthetic hair extensions are a great option for those looking to buy hair extensions on a tighter budget. 

They're also the best hair extensions for those wanting to try them out before committing to higher-priced brands and models.

Synthetic hair extensions are more sensitive when it comes to products and styling. If you want extensions that you can style with heat, then make sure they are labelled as "heat friendly."

Even if you buy hair extensions that can't be used with heat, they tend to hold their out-of-box styles better than natural extensions. 

The lower price point also gives you the flexibility to invest in more styles and colours for experimenting.

Types of Hair Extensions

There are many different types and subtypes of hair extensions, but we are going to focus on some of the broadest and most common categories. 

It's important to understand the differences between each type as they have slightly different needs.

Clip-In Extensions

Clip-in hair extensions come in strands with a clip at the top. You attach the slip near the roots of your hair and hide them with the top layer of your natural hair.

Use clip-in hair extensions for short durations only. You can wear them every day but you should remove them before bed to avoid tangling.

Tape-In or Bead-In Extensions

Tape-in or bead-in extensions are semi-permanent and are typically applied by a professional hairdresser or cosmetologist. 

This is done with either a bead of glue or a strand of tape. You'll also need professional help to remove these as your hair grows out.

If you have clean hair extensions and practised good hair extension maintenance, then these can be reused with new glue.

Sew-In Extensions

Sew-in hair extensions are designed for thicker hair. These tend to take several hours to apply, are very heavy, and can be uncomfortable. 

However, these also tend to last the longest and feel the most secure.

Install Hair Extensions Correctly

Good hair extension maintenance starts with installation and daily care. M

ake sure you either know how to install the extensions properly or have a professional walk you through the process. 

Even better, buy hair extensions and have your favourite stylist apply them.

Know How to Style Them Safely

How you style your synthetic or real hair extensions determines how long they'll last and how good they'll look. 

We recommend minimizing your use of products and sticking to only those necessary to keep healthy and clean hair extensions.

One of these necessary products is heat protectant spray for heat-friendly extensions. Even with this product, we recommend setting your styling tools to low heat and taking frequent breaks. This will help minimize damage.

You should also be sure to brush your extensions daily and whenever you take them out (for temporary extensions). Use a wide-tooth comb for curly hair extensions and a paddle brush for straight hair.

Routine Night Care

You should never go to sleep while wearing temporary hair extensions. Even the best hair extensions are at risk of getting tangled in your sleep.

For semi-permanent extensions, make sure you either keep your strands in a loose braid or gently wrapped in a microfiber towel. We also recommend sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase to minimize damage caused by friction.

If you wash hair extensions before bed, make sure to leave time for them to air dry before laying your head down. 

Going to bed with a wet head of hair can compromise binding agents and make your extensions fall out faster.

How to Wash Hair Extensions

Wash hair extensions at a minimum frequency. While it's important to keep your hair and scalp clean and moisturized, you don't want to overwash your extensions. 

Wash hair extensions when your extension become greasy or every 3 to 4 days.

When it comes time to clean hair extensions, use products that are intended for colour-treated hair and wash gently. 

These will help keep your extensions looking vibrant and minimize any damage from the washing process.

Conditioning Treatments

Hair extensions don't receive the benefit of natural scalp oils. 

For this reason, we recommend investing in weekly conditioning treatments with your favourite stylist. 

You can also buy deep conditioning treatments and try this at home.

You can also invest in a leave-in conditioning spray or treatment that you can use at home. Keeping your strands well-hydrated prevents split ends and helps them last longer.

Take Hair Extension Maintenance Seriously

Take hair extension maintenance seriously by following the above guide. 

Wash hair extensions only when necessary and only use products intended for color-treated products. These tips will keep the best hair extensions looking and feeling great.

Find the right hair extensions for you by shopping our collection.

Nancy Pinder

Nancy is our resident hair and beauty specialist at RiRi Hair Extensions. She advises customers daily in our Lakeside and Bluewater stores, helping them find the perfect look, length, and shade of hair extensions. 

Nancy also presents our TikTok live to thousands of viewers across the world. You can catch her on our TikTok every week!

Find Nancy on TikTok!

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