#1 Excessive Heat Styling
Heat styling is undoubtedly the leading hair Don’t #1 when it comes to extensions.
Blow drying, flat ironing, and curling excessively are causing damage to your hair and your pockets. Constant straightening and blow drying suck moisture from your extensions. They also permanently altering the curl pattern of your extensions.
Now, you may be thinking “I use heat protectant every time, so I’m good.” Wrong! Heat protectant does shield your hair from most of the harm of heat styling, but the inevitable will still happen. A few months down the road your hair will be a little harder to manage, the curl pattern will be looser, and you’ll have split ends. The severity of heat damage also depends on the quality of the tools. If your a DIY girl and your using tools like Marcel irons, be very very careful.
Or better yet leave those to a professional, because Marcel irons do not have temperature control which could cause you to burn your extensions.
Try allowing your extensions to air dry to prevent heat damage. If your extensions have been made into a wig check out one of the wig drying mannequins that will enable you to dry your wig from the inside out. When the wig cap and wefts are dry, you can let the hair itself air dry. When it comes to styling invest in flexi rods and perm rods.
They’re a definite life saver for preserving curly styles and come in tons of different widths, so the possibilities are endless.
#2 Washing Too Much or Too Little
If you didn’t know that managing your hair extensions is a little different from how you handle your own natural hair then I’m glad you’re reading Don’t #2. The maintenance for virgin hair is different from the hair that grows from the scalp. There is no way to repair extensions from the “root” like you would your hair because there isn’t one.
Which leads us to extension damaging Don’t #2, excessive washing or not washing your extensions at all. Excessive washing, no matter what you wash your extensions in robs them of the natural ‘good stuff’ that gets left in the shaft of the hair. You should only shampoo every 15- 20 wears or when there is a noticeable amount of product build up.
Heavy oils, heat protectant, and hair sprays need to be washed away regularly, but even every week is too much and will lead to dry, tangling hair regardless of the quality.
Washing too often is damaging to your hair, but not washing often enough is just as bad. Imagine how gross your natural hair would feel after a month of regular styling and not washing it once. Your extensions would be the same way, greasy, heavy, tangled, and unruly.
It’s not just product build up you should be worried about either. Exposure to everyday dust and pollution can also add to suffocating your tresses. Washing them regularly will remove all of the harmful chemicals and residue that your hair is bound to collect on a daily.
#3 Using Harsh Chemicals
My favorite thing to do with my extensions is color them. Coloring extensions usually involves bleaching them several times. Don’t #3 is my personal favorite; chemically processing your extensions in any way is always damaging to some extent.
Always consult a professional for all your coloring needs. But, if you are an expert DIY gal like myself here are some rules to follow when bleaching your extensions:
One, take the bleaching process slow, don’t get a 50 volume developer just because you’re impatient.
Two, while bleaching keeps your extensions moist. If while you are lifting your hair, the mixture begins to get dry and nearly crumbly apply more of the mix to keep the hair from drying out.
Three, deep conditioning is KEY.
Yes, bleaching causes damage, but proper aftercare of your extensions can keep them looking healthy and fabulous.
#4 Cutting the Wefts
Now, I know any professional hairstylist is going to cringe at this idea but for all you do-it-yourself girls Sin #4 is something to keep in mind.
Whether you’re using your extensions for sew-in, quick weave, or you’re creating a wig, cutting you’re wefts is a no-no. I know it may seem like it’s the better way to go for a flat install but it’s only doing damage to your extensions. Your wefts are sewn by a machine that holds all the individual strands of hair together.
Cutting one section of the weft can destroy the entire weft. Sure, sealing it may solve your shedding for the moment, but eventually, you will not be able to use the hair because all the strands are falling out. Instead, practice folding the ends of your wefts so that you won’t have to cut it but you can also achieve a flat install. Not only will save you from having to buy new extensions within three months but you’ll also be able to keep the original thickness of the extensions.
#5 Rough Handling Extensions
Alright so Don’t #5 goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but this time we’re talking about the link for the hair.
When handling your extensions, you should treat them the same way you would your hair. Always comb from the bottom up. Some of us may know that rule but do we really follow it? Just think of all the times you’re in a hurry and you just run a brush through your hair and walk out the door.
Did you brush your hair from the bottom to the top? Probably not. Think about how hard you had to brush your hair and how much hair you left behind in your brush. If you’re anything like me, seeing strands of hair all over the place makes me want to cry (dramatic, sure but I pay good money for my inches!)
Comb your extensions from the bottom to the top until you hit the bottom of the knots instead of above them. This makes the detangling way easier. Doing it this way will also help stop shedding and ripping out large chunks of your extensions. Invest in a brush with narrow, widely spaced teeth.
Also, stop combing your extensions while they’re wet. This is a point when they’re most fragile and prone to breakage and split ends, not to mention they will tangle even worse. Try just using your fingers instead, separating any knots from the tips and work your way up.
Don’t #6 is a styling faux-pas to a professional and a real struggle for us DIY gals. I am by no means a pro with sheers, so cutting my hair can be an absolute nightmare. As if cutting your tresses into the perfect style isn’t tricky enough, doing a few of these things wrong could make it even worse.
First off, get a pair of real styling scissors! I know it may be tempting to grab the first pair of scissors you can find, but don’t do it. Styling sheers are more narrow and sharp than craft scissors. They will stop you from getting blunt and bulky cuts. Using dull scissors to cut your styles could cause split ends.
#7 Lack of a Nighttime Routine
No matter how you have installed and styled your extensions, your nightly routine can make or break the lifespan of your hair. Your nighttime extension routine leads us to our seventh and final Don’t, going to bed without prepping your hair.
If your extensions are Deep wave, Water wave, or Spanish wave take time to detangle four to six sections, and two strand twist each of them. For all other loose curl patterns try three strand twists, plaits and flexi rods for versatile heatless styling. Finish your nightly prep by tucking your detangled sections into a satin or silk bonnet (yes they are different). This is the perfect way to ensure your extensions stay tangle free, perfectly coiled, and moisturized.
No bonnet? No problem!
Use your least favorite neck scarf or bae’s durag, what’s most important is that you wrap it up!
We all spend a lot of time and money on our hair, and that will never change, but how we care for our extensions should. Show your bundles some tender love and care and avoid these seven extension damaging habits.
What are some tips you follow to help your extensions last?