What To Do, And How
I’ve always thought that the worst thing about getting braids was the post takedown process.
Every-time, I braided my hair, I would worry about my hair getting dirty. Braids are not cheap, but I felt as though if I wanted to keep my hair from getting dirty, I needed to take out my hair every month.
One month of having braids is not an extended period, and it becomes costly to upkeep them. Eventually, because my hair would have too much buildup after taking my braids down, I stopped getting them.
At the time, I was young and unaware of how to prevent buildup in my hair while it was braided. I also didn’t know how to remove buildup from my hair while wearing extensions. My mom was in charge of my hair, and she used always to tell me to co-wash my hair once a week.
At first, that sounded ridiculous because how was I supposed to wash my hair when it was in a protective style? After doing my research, I realized that with the proper care, calculated time length, and good products, I would be able to keep my hair clean.
What Is Build-Up?
You know the grey knot in your hair after you take down your braids?
That clump of dirt in your hair after taking out your weave? That stuff is considered excessive build-up. The excessive buildup is deemed to be bad for a few reasons. It can give your hair an odd smell (Check out this article on: how to get rid of smell in braids) or might be an indicator that you’ve kept your protective style for too long. It is relatively difficult to remove if not tended to regularly.
Also, excessive build-up can be extremely damaging to hair. The build-up of dirt can require that you remove with excessive brushing or combing. As you may know, excessive brushing and combing can damage the edges, and pull out additional amounts of hair.
Leaving a style in for too long is dangerous because it becomes easy to suffer from hair loss. You can lose your hair if you leave a protective style too long.
That’s why it is essential to ensure that you can maintain the form when you get it.
Pay Attention To Hair Type
Hair type matters when it comes to buildup.
Of course, build up can occur no matter what hair type, but the amount of buildup and how quickly it happens depends on the kind of hair you have, the variety of extensions, and how you can take care of them. First, let’s start off with the type of natural hair you have.
If you have loose curls, then your hair is less susceptible to excessive buildup. In fact, without the help of braiding hair, it may be hard for your hair to stay in a protective style for long unless interwoven very tightly.
Loose curls can still have buildup but it won’t happen as quickly, or as often.
You’ll probably have an easier time removing buildup if it should occur. If your hair texture is kinkier, then your hair is more prone to having buildup. The texture of kinky hair isn’t loose, and since they are tight curls, it is easier for dirt to get caught in hair, and stay there.
Your natural hair texture is an important factor when it comes to excessive dirt buildup within the hair. The next thing to notice is the type of extensions. Human hair is the type of hair that will help you have the least build up.
All About Human Hair
Why? Human hair is the type of extension that can be washed and styled as if it were your real hair. Human hair will also last longer than other extension types because you can wash it and style it as you please.
Because you can wash it, and style it, you can wash the hair you’re protecting underneath the style.
The most important step when it comes to cleaning human hair extensions is the drying process. It is imperative that you ensure that your hair is dry. Hair that is wet is more prone to buildup from damp dirt.
By washing and drying, you can minimize the appearance of dirt in your hair. The other kind of extension type is synthetic. Synthetic hair is less manageable than human hair because in most cases it cannot be washed or styled. Because synthetic hair cannot be washed like human hair, it is more prone to dirt build up.
For example, I wear synthetic crochet hair, and I can’t wash it without it getting severely tangled. I have to change my hair every 4-6 weeks to prevent massive buildup in my hair. When you use synthetic hair, the best way to prevent buildup is to change your hair every 4-6 weeks.
You won’t have to worry about washing and drying, but the cost of changing synthetic hair so often will be higher than human hair.
Prevent It Before It Starts
The first thing to do when you get extensions is to wash your hair and make sure it is completely clean.
The cleaner your hair is before getting extensions the easier it is to prevent buildup. Again, just in case you forgot, a buildup of hair is the grey looking clumps of hair that appear after you’ve had a protective style.
If you are more prone to dandruff, or other scalp and hair conditions, then it is likely that you will have buildup in your hair. I ’m more prone to getting buildup on my scalp, so I use some specific products, both natural and chemical to curb the effect.
The first thing you’ll want to use is a clarifying shampoo. A clarifying shampoo is like a regular shampoo but about 10x stronger. This kind of shampoo is a great way to relieve the scalp of dirt and residue. It removes any oils and gunk you have and give you a clean, fresh feeling.
This product is stronger than normal so don’t use it in replacement of your regular shampoo. Use this kind shampoo about once every two weeks or once a month to avoid taking the natural moisture out of your hair.
My favorite clarifying shampoo is Acure Organics Clarifying Shampoo. It is about twelve dollars and made from natural ingredients. It is vegan, sulfate-free, so it’s not drying, paraben-free and cruelty-free.
This particular shampoo is gentle enough to an everyday wash, but also tough enough to remove product buildup and excessive dirt.
Another way of preventing buildup is using conditioning masks. An amazing mask that I use is the Hydrate Superfood Treatment. This hair mask has avocado and coconut oil that assists in moisturizing dry hair. It keeps your hair hydrated when you’re trying to avoid buildup.
Don’t use too much, and focus on applying the hair mask mostly on the ends of your hair. It’s a bit more on the expensive side, but because you won’t need to use it often, it should last you a long time.
A cheap way for me to remove buildup is using an apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse. ACV smells foul, but it benefits the hair by removing buildup, treating hair loss, and dandruff, and fighting dry, itchy scalp.
Use a four-one to ratio when rinsing your hair, and witness how quickly it removes buildup.
The important part is that you keep your hair clean, remove buildup before getting extensions so that you won’t have to worry about it too much while you’re wearing them.
Remove Buildup While Wearing Extensions
So, this sounds like the hard part, but it’s fairly easy. There are ways to remove buildup while wearing extensions.
You should know that buildup will occur more easily if you wear products like gel while you’re wearing extensions. For me, the greatest hair tool that I own is an applicator bottle. An applicator bottle will help you apply products to your scalp while you have extensions. This way, you will make less of a mess.
The first step I do to remove dirt while wearing extensions is to use an applicator bottle to apply my oils. I apply some oils to my scalp by dousing each section until my head is entirely covered. After that’s completed, I add the oil to my edges and then do a hot oil treatment.
I do the hot oil treatment for about 45 minutes, and allow my scalp to absorb all the oils. The next step that I do, but not every time, washes my hair with a clarifying product. Again, I apply the clarifier with an applicator. Rub it in with my fingers in between each braid, and then rinse. If you’re opposed to using that, then use an apple cider mix.
Apply it to the scalp in the same way, and then rinse. By doing this, you’ll be able to keep your braided hair underneath your extensions clean and avoid buildup while it’s protected. This is also a great way to refresh the scalp and give your hair a detox.
Typically the next step is to do a co-wash. The co-wash can help both your natural hair and your extensions. Of course, this is only if you have human hair extensions. The co-wash will help clean the strands of your hair that have filth in them. Use a comb to get through your extensions, if you have those kinds of extensions. If not, then don’t worry about combing, but make sure you rinse all of it out.
Of course, use the applicator, and then let the deep conditioner sit for about 20 minutes. If you’re using a leave-in conditioner, then it’s okay to leave it in after application. Don’t use too much.
A leave-in conditioner can hydrate and strengthen hair, but it can be heavy if too much product is used.
Always remember is drying. The drying process will be the lengthiest part.
This is because your natural hair underneath extensions will require more drying since it cannot be combed. A great way to dry your extensions and your natural hair is a hooded dryer. They evenly dry your entire head without direct heat.
Hooded dryers also don’t give as much heat damage as much as a hairdryer. They also allow hair to absorb any deep-conditioning or hot oil treatments more easily. Hooded dryers aren’t cheap to come by, but they are an amazing investment. If you don’t have one, then a simple hairdryer will do.
However, be aware that this may cause more heat damage than you’d like. Also, keep in mind that the drying process will be longer since you will have to ensure that your hair is dehydrated.
What To Remember
Don’t forget that buildup is a result of the product, dandruff, or dirt.
If you don’t clean and take care of your hair, the buildup can be excessive. When wearing extensions, hair can become extremely dirty. It is essential to ensure that your hair is clean before getting extensions and after. There are plenty of methods for cleaning hair with extensions.
Human hair is the best option when it comes to cleaning your hair while wearing extensions since it can be styled. Synthetic hair cannot be washed or styled. Buying an application bottle is the best tool you can have because you’ll be able to apply all kinds of products without making a mess. You can use all sorts of ingredients like natural apple cider vinegar or an organic clarifying shampoo.
Remember that a clarifying shampoo is one of the best ways to clean dirt from hair. Your hair doesn’t have to be dirty while you’re wearing extensions and as always, we’re here to help.