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Extension Care Guide

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Congratulations!

I'm thrilled to be here with you on your hair extensions journey!

Embarking on this adventure doesn't just involve the initial install, it also requires the diligent care you provide at home during the 6+ weeks between appointments. This at-home maintenance significantly impacts the lifespan of your extensions. 

This guide will set you up for success on how to best care for your new beautiful hair! If you have any questions, you can reach out to me using the contact info below. 

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Contact Me

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Salon Maintenance

Maintenance Appointments

Your first maintenance appointment will be scheduled 6 to 8 weeks after your initial installation appointment. The process includes removing your extensions and reinstalling them. We will also do a small trim on the ends to ensure that they fully blend with your natural hair.​

Please note that we will not be washing your extensions. They will be reinstalled as they came in. 

Extension Lifespan

The average lifespan of traditional hand-tied extension wefts is approximately 6 months.

 

Damaged or compromised extensions can greatly impact the final result and make reinstallation challenging and uncomfortable for you. For this reason please be aware that damaged extensions will not be reinstalled and will need to be replaced.

Extension Treatments

At times, your extensions may require some additional care, such as a gloss, detoxing treatment, or root shadow touch up. Please note that these extension treatments come at an extra cost and are not included in the extension maintenance price.

Color Fading

The color of your extensions will fade over time and need occasional touch-ups. Blondes, particularly those with low-lights and color melts, should anticipate more maintenance compared to brunettes. 

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Products + Tools

Professional Product Recommendations: It is important to use the specific professional products recommended for your extensions. This is not an attempt to upsell products, but a sincere recommendation intended to maximize the lifespan of your extensions. Please be aware that opting for non-recommended products could potentially shorten the lifespan of your extensions. 
 

The Correct Brush: The right brush is critical for maintaining the health and shine of your extensions. I highly recommend the Ergo Super Gentle Paddle and/or the Original Wet Brush by the brand Wet Brush.  

 

Sulfate-Free Shampoo + Conditioner With A Low pH: These products are essential for maintaining the integrity of your extensions. They gently cleanse your hair without stripping away the necessary oils that keep it healthy. A hydrating and sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner is best. 

 

Leave-In Conditioner: For detangling your extensions. It helps to moisturize and nourish your extensions throughout the day, making it more manageable and reducing breakage. By providing extra hydration and protection, a leave-in conditioner keeps your extensions healthy, smooth, and easy to style. I recommend using "Untangled" by Kevin Murphy. 
 

Heat Protectant: Prior to applying heat to your extensions, it is crucial to always utilize a heat protectant spray. This spray serves as a thermal barrier, effectively minimizing the potential for heat damage. Ensure that your heat protectant has fully dried before using any hot tools. I'd recommend using "Shimmer Me Blonde" by Kevin Murphy or "The Shield" by Amika as your heat protectant. 

Daily Serum: Using a serum daily will keep your extensions feeling soft and healthy. Use a serum that is not tinted. Tinted serums and oils will alter the color of your blonde extensions. Remember that when it comes to serums- less is more. 

Silk/Satin Pillowcase: A silk or satin pillowcase is an absolute must for extensions. Unlike cotton or other materials, silk and satin cause less friction between your hair and the pillow. This reduced friction helps to keep your extensions from tangling and matting while you sleep, which in turn reduces the risk of breakage and damage. 

Dry Shampoo: Dry shampoo is a great product to use when you have extensions. You'll be washing your hair less now that you have extensions, so dry shampoo will be your best friend. It effectively absorbs excess oil, leaving your hair looking fresh and clean. I recommend using "Perk Up" by Amika. 

Hydrating Conditioning Mask: A hydrating mask can help keep your extensions looking shiny and soft. We recommend doing this every third wash. Avoid using masks that contain protein. 

Water Filter For Shower Head: Hard water can damage your extensions, strip your color, stain your extensions, and leave your hair dull and frizzy. A water filter for your shower head is important to maintain your extensions and hair color. 

Silk Scrunchies: These gentle hair ties are perfect for extension clients as they help prevent breakage and minimize hair pulling, keeping your extensions secure and intact. 

Shower Cap: These keep your extensions dry and protected while showering. They help maintain the longevity of your hair extensions style by shielding them from water and humidity. This will prevent you from having to wash your extensions as frequently. 

 

Microfiber Towel: This is a must-have as it absorbs excess moisture from your hair gently. This reduces frizz and keeps your extensions feeling smooth. 

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Home Maintenance

How To Brush Extensions

To keep your hair extensions tangle-free, it's important to brush them multiple times per day. 

Start brushing from the bottom of your hair and work your way up towards the scalp. Avoid brushing directly from the scalp to minimize tension and pulling. For better control, hold the base of each row with your free hand while brushing. If you have multiple rows, remember to separate them and brush in-between. Aim to brush 3 to 4 times per day to prevent tangles. 

Before showering, always gently brush your hair to remove any tangles.

To avoid hitting the corners or your row, brush your hair in a downward motion toward the floor instead of brushing from your front hairline to the back.

Be mindful of headrests, jacket collars, scarves, turtlenecks, and other items that can cause tangling in hair extensions. 

Avoid using round brushes on your extensions as they can pull, stretch, and break hair extension strands. 

Nightly Routine

To keep your hair and extensions looking their best, it's important to do a nighttime ritual.

One key rule: NEVER go to bed with wet hair, as it can lead to matting and tangling. Make sure your hair is completely dry and detangled before going to bed. 

Before bedtime, gently brush your extensions to remove any tangles or knots. Apply a small amount of oil or serum from the mid-lengths to the ends of your extensions. This provides moisture and helps prevent dryness. Additionally, using dry shampoo on the roots of your natural hair at night can be beneficial.

To prevent tangling and friction while sleeping, secure your hair in a loose braid or a loose high bun. Avoid sleeping with your hair down and unsecured. Make sure that you are using the silk or satin pillowcase. 

How To Wash Your Hair And Extensions

Before stepping into the shower, ensure that you detangle your hair.

Clip up each section of your hair in halo sections before you get into the shower. You'll want to section off the top section of your natural hair and clip it away. Next take the top row of your extensions and clip that up. Then clip up the hair in-between the rows of extensions. Next you'll clip up the second row. You'll be left with the bottom section of your natural hair near your nape that you'll leave unclipped.

Wet the nape of your hair in the shower then start shampooing with that section. When using shampoo, focus on your scalp rather than your ends. Begin with a quarter-sized amount of shampoo, create a lather by rubbing it in your hands, and gently apply it to your scalp. The first shampoo may not produce much lather, which is normal. Rinse it off and repeat with a second round of shampoo, which should create a lather. 

Rinse thoroughly by using a strong stream of water. Instead of running your fingers vertically down your head, work horizontally around the rows. Avoid vigorously scrubbing the top of the extensions or pulling on the row. 

Then pull down the next section of hair and repeat the process until you have finished shampooing and rinsing each section of hair. 

To prevent tangling, avoid applying shampoo to the ends of your extensions. As you rinse the shampoo from your scalp, it will naturally cleanse and refresh your extensions. This gentle approach ensures effective cleaning while maintaining the integrity of your extensions.

 

Limit your hair washing to twice per week to maintain the health of both your natural hair and extensions. Washing your hair more frequently can result in dryness of the extensions, making them more prone to breakage and shedding.

 

Avoid using toning shampoos, conditioners, and other toning products on your extensions to prevent staining.  

How To Condition Your Extensions

Apply conditioner to the midsection and ends of your hair. Do not apply it to your scalp. There is not need to clip away your hair into sections for conditioning. 

Take about a half dollar size of conditioner in your hand and apply it to your extensions starting halfway down the length. Allow the conditioner to sit on your extensions and hair for at least 3 to 5 minutes. 

Be careful not to apply conditioner to the top of your extensions, as it may cause swelling and slipping. This could potentially lead to build up between the extensions. 

Rinse the conditioner thoroughly from your hair and in-between the rows using a strong stream of water. 

To optimize your hair care routine, it's beneficial to alternate every third wash with the application of a deep conditioner. This will preserve the health of your extensions. 

Avoid using protein and repairing deep conditioners. Instead, focus on using hydrating deep conditioners. 

How To Dry Your Extensions

Microfiber towels are excellent for absorbing excess water in your hair and hair extensions. Gently pat your hair with a microfiber towel to soak up any extra moisture. Avoid vigorous rubbing to prevent tangling and friction. If you have thick hair, consider dividing it into sections for thorough drying. This helps prevent tangles and allows you to focus on one area at a time. 

To ensure smooth and tangle-free hair, apply a detangling leave-in-conditioner. Use your fingers to gently untangle any knots, starting from the ends and working your way up the roots. Then, with the extension brush, thoroughly detangle from the ends.

Air drying is an excellent method to prolong the lifespan of your extensions. However, it is crucial that the top of the extensions are dry to prevent swelling. So you will want blow dry the base/root of the extensions and you can let the rest of your hair and extensions on the mids and ends air dry. 

Wet hair is more fragile and prone to breaking and damage. So it is crucial to be more gentle with your hair while it is wet. Start brushing at the bottom and work your way up. If you start at the base near the root and forcefully pull downward, you'll create knots. 

When blow drying, direct the airflow of your blow dryer downwards. This encourages the natural drying process, allowing water to move through your extensions in alignment with the cuticle's direction. By doing so, you will effectively prolong the lifespan of your extensions. 

Heat Setting

Excessive high heat is damaging for both your natural hair and the hair extensions. To maintain the health and appearance of your hair extensions, limit the use of heat when styling your hair. And do not exceed 330 degrees Fahrenheit when you do use hot tools. As previously mentioned, be sure to use a heat protectant.

NEVER use hot tools such as curling irons and flat irons on damp hair. This will cause significant damage to both your natural hair and the extensions. 

Wearing Your Hair Up

When you wear your hair up, be sure that it's either in a high ponytail/bun or low ponytail/bun. This way the extension wefts are completely flipped all the way up or all the way down. 

Also, avoid wearing your hair up for multiple days as it can lead to excessive matting and tangling. Instead, make it a habit to undo your bun or ponytail at the end of the say and gently brush your hair before bed. 

When you do wear your hair up, release some of the tension by gently scooting some of the hair at the base forward so that the ponytail or bun isn't as tight and it does not pull on your scalp. This will make it more comfortable for you, your scalp, and is better for the extensions. 

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Post Workout Hair Care

After working out or going into a sauna, make sure that you thoroughly dry your extensions. Pay special attention to the extension line and base of the extensions to prevent moisture retention and swelling. Moisture retention and swelling at the base will reduce the lifespan of the extensions. 

Swimming And The Beach

Swimming in general is not good for hair extensions. If you decide to take the risk, then rinse your hair with tap water and generously apply leave-in conditioner. Keep your hair slightly damp and then secure it in a braid.

 

It's important to take extra precautions when swimming to prevent color fading, tangling, staining, dryness, and damage. And be sure to use a protective product with UV protection to prevent damage from salt, chlorine, and other chemicals that may harm your hair and extensions. 

ALWAYS remember to wash and condition your hair immediately after swimming. DO NOT leave wet extensions tied up on your head. 

Some sunscreens that contain Avobenzone and Octocrylene will turn your extensions pink or orange. Unfortunately once this happens, it cannot be reversed. Safe sunscreens that you can use are Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Sun Bum Mineral SPF 50 Lotion, and Coola Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen. 

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Spray Tans And Self Tanning

Spray tans and self tanning can stain both your natural hair and the extensions. To prevent this, wear your hair up and avoid having your hair make contact with your skin until you have showered. If you use self tanning products that rub off onto white clothing when you wear them, then they will also stain your hair. You should avoid using these while you have extension and/or if you have blonde hair. 

Boats, Motorcycles, And Convertibles

While riding in a boat, on a motorcycle, or in a convertible then be sure to secure your hair in a bun or braid to avoid your hair matting and become severely tangled. 

Image by Amanda Kelly
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Pain And Discomfort

After your appointment, if you experience any pain caused by your IBE Extensions, don't hesitate to reach out. Send me a message at 703-473-5771 and include a picture. The extensions should feel like you're wearing a baseball cap backwards on your head and should feel like they are hugging your head. 

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