For the most part, human hair extensions can be treated like natural hair, but adhering to the experts’ best practices will ensure they look flawless and last their full life span.
Wash with a sulfate-free shampoo like Glam Seamless Cleanse ($15) and follow with conditioner, but avoid getting the conditioner near your roots, as tape-in extensions could slide out over time. Aronson recommends then applying a leave-in product, like It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in ($19, ulta.com), through the lengths of the hair before brushing them out to detangle and keep the extensions in good condition. Clip-ins and ready-to-wear styles can also be washed when needed—Cristin suggests every three to five wears—and should never be slept in. “With proper care, they can last for a year or more, depending on the frequency of wear.”
Extensions can be curled, straightened, braided and styled like normal hair, but Conner says, “if it’s high-quality hair, it will also respond to heating elements and styling just as our own hair would. So, if you heat-style extensions too much, they, too, will get split ends.”
“Whatever you do, don’t break the golden rule: Never sleep with wet extensions, and always put your hair into a loose ponytail or braid before bed,” says Cristin. “This will ensure your extensions look their best, day after day.” We like Slip’s Midnight Scrunchie Set ($39), which cushions hair overnight without leaving behind a dreaded dent.
Lee and Conner agree one of the biggest mistakes people make is not brushing their hair—or not brushing it enough—which can lead to tangling or matting. “Once things start getting tangled, that’s when the breakage happens,” says Lee. Keasling is a fan of the iconic Great Lengths Boar Bristle Brush ($76), which detangles hair without damaging extension bonds. “With proper education, clients should be able to brush their hair all the way down from their scalp,” she explains. “This ensures they are brushing the loose hair cuticle in the same direction as the hair is naturally falling to avoid any matting.”
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