We all know that you should always "wash it before you wear it" and your hair extensions are no different.
Not only is it a necessary step in cleanliness, but it can also save you a lot of hair and scalp issues in the long run. We have all seen plenty of disturbing stories on social media about women with bug, mold, and other unfortunate things festering under installs.
Proper prepping can put a stop to all of that. Not to mention it will allow you to use your bundles longer and save you a ton of money.
Why You Should Wash Your Hair Extensions
Cleaning your new extensions is nothing like cleaning your hair.
You can't be nearly as rough nor can you wash them as often. These single strands of hair are masterfully sewn to wefts and cannot receive the same nutrients that the hair growing from your scalp is.
So, excessive shampooing will lead to dry, unmanageable hair.
I personally only shampoo my extensions before the first install and after excessive heat styling. After that, I co-wash anytime my hair needs cleaning. Co-washing is essentially a superficial cleaning, leaving the majority of oils behind while removing dirt and styling products that stay on the surface.
It is a great cleansing regimen for extensions because it cleans while leaving behind the nutrients that make the hair luscious and flowy.
Another thing to keep in mind when shampooing your extensions is that not all shampoos perform on extensions the way they do on your natural hair. Some shampoos contain chemicals like sulfate, alcohol, and salts, which will rob your new beautiful hair of its natural nutrients, luster, and moisture when used in excess.
The easiest way to avoid dryness is to use a type of shampoo that is meant to hydrate, reconstruct, or infuse your hair.
A few of my favorites are Tresemme, Organix Coconut Milk, Organix Coconut Water, and Giovanni.
How to Wash Your Hair Extensions
The process of washing your hair extensions is simple.
Remove your hair extensions from all of its original packaging, then unravel it. Fold the weft in halves, about three times, until you can hold the entire thing in one hand.
First, fill your sink or a basin with warm water. Then add some shampoo and a maximum of 4 drops of your favorite oil to the water and lather. Argan oil is the perfect oil because not only does it increase natural shine but its also lightweight.
Next, grip the hair below the weft and submerge the extension in water from the tip of the hair to the base of the weft. While submerged rub the wefts vigorously, while holding the hair itself tight.
After you've cleaned the wefts thoroughly, dip the length of the hair extension in the water repeatedly while also finger combing it. When you've finished cleaning all of your bundles, rinse them thoroughly under running water.
It's imperative to rinse the hair extensions thoroughly because leftover residue could cause matting.
Deep Conditioning Your Hair Extensions
Deep conditioning after shampooing your hair extensions for the first time is essential.
This process will replenish what shampooing has removed from your extensions, ensuring that they last as long as possible. Be sure to keep away from deep conditioners with alcohol and sulfates, because they won't seal in moisture like you intend to.
Ring the extension out so that it is not dripping wet. Then apply about a quarter-size amount of the deep conditioner of your choice, from the tip of your extension, and work your way up. Do not apply a deep conditioner to the weft of your extension!
Also, use your fingers to comb the product through from base to tip.
After you've repeated this process on the other extensions, place them in a bag and cover them with a warm towel. The heat from the warm towel will help the deep conditioner penetrate the shaft of your hair.
Let your hair extensions sit for about 20- 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
If you are short on time, heat your hair with a blow dryer for about 10 minutes.
Drying Your Hair Extensions
Drying your hair extensions is another major step to starting an install off right. I know we've all seen those horror stories of women removing their hair extensions, only to find mold growing on the wefts.
Its caused by moisture being trapped in the wefts, so to avoid ruining your extensions here is one step. Hang your hair extensions from pant hangers and air dry them for at least 24 hours.
Make sure that the wefts are dried thoroughly. Just because the length of the hair is dry doesn't mean the weft is. If you're in a hurry try blow-drying the wefts first and air drying the length of the extension.
Remember, excessive heat exposure can damage your hair extensions so don't blow dry them regularly.
Sealing Your Wefts
Weft sealing is relatively new to us DIY mavens, but professional hairstylist has been doing it forever. Sealing your wefts can ensure that your extensions last after you have cut or split the wefts. It's also great for minimizing shedding.
Professional brands like Salon Pro, for example, have weft sealants. If you aren't interested in purchasing a professional grade product, you can also use a fabric glue called Fray Check. It seals the edge of fabrics, so the loose pieces do not pull and fray.
After your extensions are completely dry, you can apply the sealant. Lay your extensions on a flat surface, unfolded. Start from one end and work your way down to the other end. You want to concentrate the liquid on the seam where the wefts meet.
Be careful not to apply so much that it drips down the weft and onto the extension. Once you've made your way down the length of the weft, leave it and allow it to dry for at least 4 hours. Repeat these same steps with the rest of your extensions, and you are ready to install your extensions.
Hear's to Healthy Hair Extensions!
Having quality hair and taking the time to properly prep it makes all the difference with the perfect install.
Following my hair care tips on how to wash your hair extensions will not only make it look better once installed but will last longer as well.
If you have any additional tips, please drop them in the comments section below!