Hair Extensions That Have Overstayed Their WelcomeIn the world of weave, hair extensions play a major role in the beauty industry. Women from all backgrounds have been wearing extensions for many years. From cutting, dying and several different installations method, it’s clear it has great benefits. And one of the greatest benefits of having extensions is that it provides convenience. The convenience of hair extensions allows people to have much more time in their life without worrying so much about their hair. But sadly, even convenience can become too comfortable. There are too many cases where women have left their extensions in for far too long. There’s not a law that states when extensions should be taken out, however, not having any exposure to your scalp for an extreme amount of time isn’t healthy. Below I will go through some effects of leaving your extensions in for too long.
Hair Becomes MattedHaving matted hair is never a good thing! Studies show that the average rate of hair growth is about one-eighth of an inch per week. Now, of course, depending on your age, health, etc.; it may grow faster or slower. But either way, there is some hair growth each month. So there’s no specific time that you must remove your extensions, but a well-recommended timeframe is between 6-8 weeks. Most times, your natural hair is braided down or glued down when getting extensions. Covering your scalp doesn’t mean hair growth stops. It’s still growing underneath the extensions and also has nowhere for it to go. So the new growth hair just sits on your scalp. Now, because you’re not growing seven inches a day, it’s okay for the hair to sit. But once you past 6-8 weeks of having your scalp covered, you enter into a danger zone. Many would recommend washing hair extensions after 3-4 weeks, to remove any build up. A good hair tip while washing would be only to use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. Doing so, will relieve the tension from the matted hair and keeping moisture in the hair. The last thing you want is to not only have matted hair but for it to be dry and brittle. And because it’s matted, that means the detangling process won’t be pretty. So try your best to not bypass the two months of wearing hair extensions.
InfectionsInfections are something nobody should want brewing on their scalp. But this is what will happen if you leave your hair extensions in for a long period. There are several stories online of stylist discussing how their clients left their extensions in for at least one year. Yes, you read that correctly, one whole year. They didn’t dive deep into the reasons behind it, but I’m sure one of them was that they didn’t know they couldn’t do that! So let’s talk about this one.
Extreme SheddingOkay, so let's say you get lucky and your hair doesn’t get matted, that will be great. However, you can still be prone to excessive shedding from all of the new growth build-up. Shedding can also be caused by not clipping your ends too. On average, most people clip their ends every several months but if you're tucking your hair away, how will you be able to do that? You won’t be able to. The longer you keep your extensions in, the longer your natural hair falls off of its regimen.
Scalp Needs to BreatheWhen your scalp isn’t getting air, bacteria is forming underneath it. Now, let’s take that and add in sweat and other moisture and product build-up that will occur over a year’s time. Eventually, all of those bacteria can turn into mildew and mold. It's common to associate mold with moisture in a home or building, but not in your head. This type of mold is growth inducing, meaning it’s feeding onto something that has happened. Much like if you leave food on your floor for a long time, bugs will eventually come. This logic is the same with hair. Removing the source will hinder the mold growth. Also, because you have mold between your scalp and hair extensions, it’s a sure fact that your natural hair is also infected.
HygieneWhen most of us think about hygiene, we think about brushing our teeth daily, showering and making sure we put deodorant on, everything but our hair. But maintaining a proper hair regimen is just as important. Some people think that just because they are wearing extensions, it excuses them from maintaining it. You won’t spend an entire day on your extensions, but there is some maintenance that’s needed to prevent infections. It’s recommended to wash and condition your hair after 2-3 weeks of getting it installed. Now, when washing your hair, it’s important to use a moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo, as mentioned earlier. It’s important not to let your natural hair become dry and brittle. After shampooing the hair, it’s crucial that you take a blow dryer and completely dry your hair, focusing on your scalp area and middle section. Remember, most times; braids are underneath extensions, so your natural hair is exposed to water as well. The entire head should be dry when done. You want to avoid having any lingering smells so drying completely will prevent this. The biggest take away is to make sure you’re treating the extensions as if it’s your natural hair.
BreakageWhen I say breakage, I am not speaking about from your hair strands. Leaving your extension in too long, over time, can loosen up your braids. When that happens, the weight of the extensions will then cause tension on your natural hair. All of the product build-up and matted hair hold weight. That’s when your edges will become affected, and slowly push back the entire perimeter of your head.
Tips to Avoid an Overdue Disaster
Hair Tip #1When we hear stories of people getting mold from their extensions, sometimes they aren’t 100% to blame. Yes, they still should have gone through the maintenance process and also not leave the hair in so long, but sometimes the type of hair needs to be questioned. Making sure you’re purchasing hair from a reputable company is very important. Sometimes you can be installing bad hair. You must question it, if you can, where is the hair coming from and the history of it. Believe it or not, sometimes people are sold hair that came from a deceased person. Or hair that has mold already building on it. Just be aware of that while shopping around. A great hair provider to go to would be Private Label Extensions. You can be sure you’re getting Grade A quality hair weave when purchasing through them.
Hair Tip #2When preparing for extensions, it’s important to prepare your hair as well fully. Also, depending on whether you have natural hair or relaxed hair determines how to maintain your extensions. When you’re natural, your hair is in its healthiest state. However, if your hair is relaxed, we must remember that means a chemical is on your hair strands. So when it comes to washing your extensions after 2-3 weeks of installation, you want to make sure you’re applying a deep conditioner to the hair. Apply it just as you would if you weren’t wearing extensions. Chemically treated hair is prone to breakage so you want to make sure you’re locking in moisture the best you can. Purchasing a scalp oil with a nozzle attached to it is also a good way to apply moisture to your scalp. Whether your hair is relaxed or natural, your hair should always remain moisturized, but it’s more crucial for relaxed hair. As mentioned earlier, it’s important the natural hair has moisture while the hair is growing to prevent any breakage.
Low Self-EsteemHaving self-esteem is a big factor when it comes to self-care. How you feel about yourself should be very important. And most times whenever women get their hair done, they feel great about themselves, and rightfully so! As humans, we are beautiful beings, but it’s important that you believe it for yourself, too. However, one big downfall for leaving your extensions in too long is that the chances of you having to cut all your hair out are very high. After having an extreme case of matted hair and getting infections, it would almost be wise just to start your hair journey over and began a healthy one. Now, depending on what type of infection you have or the severity of it, you may just be able to have it treated by a dermatologist. You may need to see them either way, but hopefully, they will be able to save your hair. However, you would just start over if your hair is matted. If you try to begin to detangle your hair, it may be impossible, but also you may even damage the hair even more which you wouldn’t be the best thing to do. Cutting all your hair off for some is a very liberating feeling. They may feel free and just feel like they have a second chance. But sadly, that’s not always the case. Some women feel like hair defines them and they are nothing without it. After experiencing what happens when you leave your extensions in too long, they may feel defeated. Having to cut all their hair off because of something they did, I’m sure isn’t the best feeling.
Thinking You’re Saving MoneyYou don’t hear many extensive reasons as to why people leave their extensions in too long. But there is one big misconception that people think they are saving money by keeping it in longer and “getting their monies worth.” However, that is backward! Healthy hair over damaged hair should always be the goal. Yes, extensions can very well cost you a pretty penny, but that really shouldn’t affect you if you’re able to get them, right? By removing your extensions in the recommended timeframe, you will be saving yourself a lot of unnecessary damage in the long run.
Counter-ProductiveI once read a story from a woman who was describing a bad experience that her sister had gone through. She talked about how she left her extensions in for close to two years. The sister was very upset with herself but also didn’t know what to do and didn’t feel comfortable with cutting all of her hair off. So, she did what was comfortable for her; she continued wearing extensions after taking out the old ones. Not only is this wrong, but it’s also counterproductive. You’re trying to fix something by adding to the problem again. Yes, the old hair may be gone, but the most important thing to do is allow the scalp to breathe and heal fully. If you ever find yourself or someone you know in this situation, do research and find other options for them. One great alternative would have been to cut all the hair off and wear a wig. That way at night or whenever the person was home, they could simply remove the wig and allow the scalp to breathe and even do scalp massages. This article is to simply inform the effects of leaving extensions in for too long. Extensions are by far one of the greatest moves made in the beauty industry, and it’s constantly evolving. But while we love how it makes us feel, we all must be aware of the maintenance involved in having them. Before installing your extensions, it's vital to ensure proper care for your hair.
You Will Get Through ItIf you ever experience something like this just know that everything that happens in life is nothing but a learning experience. Going through something difficult is the only way we can grow from them. It’s the only way we’ll know what not to do, and to of course use it to help others. If you ever have questions about your own hair or even extensions, don’t hesitate to consult with a licensed cosmetologist.
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