Hair Extensions 101: Maintenance and Upkeep
Hi friends! Happy Labor Day! Ever since I posted my hair extension transformation with Garnish Hair Studio, I’ve received a ton of questions regarding the maintenance and upkeep of hair extensions. How do you take care of them? How often do you have to get them redone? What products can I use on them? With all these questions, I thought the best way to conquer them was to round them up in a blog post to share all the details around the maintenance and upkeep of my hair extensions.
For those of you missed my previous post, last April I got semi-permanent natural beaded rows hair extensions put in my hair by Candice Motley at Garnish Hair Studio in Raleigh, NC. I’ve lived with them in my hair for just under six months, and I think that’s long enough to say I loveeee them without still being in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of hair extensions. I call if the honeymoon phase because there is definitely a stage of just getting hair extensions in which you fall in love without realizing all the maintenance and upkeep that goes into taking care of them. Eventually you may decide that the upkeep isn’t worth having them, but that wasn’t the case for me. To be honest, it truly isn’t that bad to manage the upkeep, and it certainly doesn’t outweigh the pleasure of having them (for me at least).
If you’ve been considering getting hair extensions, but are unsure if you want the struggle of high-maintenance hair, I’m here to help. In this post I lay out the hard truth behind the upkeep of hair extensions so that you can make the decision of whether you can manage hair extensions beforeeee getting them and going through the large investment. Yes, hair extensions are quite an investment, but for me, any investment into your self and your confidence is well worth it. I love the length and volume I get from hair extensions, and they truly make me feel ‘good’ as vain as that makes me sound (I’m okay with that, this post is all about honesty), so I personally plan to have them for a very long time.
Getting Your Hair Extensions ‘Lifted”
With natural beaded rows hair extensions, you have to visit the hair salon every 6-8 weeks for routine maintenance to have your hair extensions ‘lifted’ and retied into your hair. As your hair grows, the hair that is attached to your extension wefts, also grows. Because of this, you have to retie the wefts into your hair so that they remain at your scalp and don’t grow out with the rest of your hair. This minimizes the tear and pull of the hair that is attached to your hair extensions and minimizes damage at the root of your hair. It also makes the extensions easier to style when they are closer to your root rather than hanging by a couple strands.
What is the cost involved with these appointments? Although this appointment is less expensive than the extension install, it is still an investment. I think a common misconception is that a person gets hair extensions and the initial appointment are the only costs incurred. You have to budget for maintenance appointments every couple of weeks and be prepared for those additional costs. This is also the time that you may color your roots, so those costs will be added into these appointments as well.
How do you care for your extensions between maintenance appointments?
There are several things I do to care for my extensions and minimize wear in the 6-8 weeks between maintenance appointments.
- I only wash my hair 1-2 times per week. Over washing is not only bad for your personal hair, but it also dries out your extensions, so I try to avoid unneeded washes by using dry shampoo.
- I minimize heat styling and only do so when absolutely necessary. For blow drying, I let my hair dry almost completely before finishing blow drying my hair straight. I also use a very low heat level on my blow dryer. When I curl my hair, I try to make that curl last for 2-3 days with minimal touch ups in-between. I definitely recommend using a heat protectant on your hair extensions that will minimize heat damage when heat styling, too.
- I try to use a wet brush or wide tooth comb that doesn’t have ‘beads’ on the end of the bristles. In doing so, I avoid my brush getting stuck in the wefts of my hair extensions. When you minimize pull it will help keep your hair healthy and avoid breakage to the hair that is attached to your hair extensions.
- At night I braid my hair to avoid tear and pull while I sleep. Again, helps minimize breakage of your hair extensions and your personal hair.
What products do you recommend using on your hair extensions?
You definitely want to use a silicone, paraben and sulfate free shampoo. I personally really like the Unite line. I use their blonda line (purple shampoo) and their volumizing line. I used to use Monat and still really love the products, but since I don’t use their entire line exclusively as advised, I’ve recently stopped using it. I’m not a fan of their dry shampoo so can’t commit to the entire line right now.
Other than shampoos and conditioners, I still use Monat styling products – specifically the Rejuveabeads (seals and repairs split ends), leave-in conditioner (it’s great to use some kind of leave in conditioner to help moisturize extensions), and their blow-out cream (serves as a heat protectant). I put all these products in in that order prior to blow drying my hair. In between washes, my go-to dry shampoo lately has been Klorane for brunettes. I’ve used several dry shampoos and that is the one I find myself going back to. Occasionally I will use a hair mask on my hair when my extensions feel super dry. Any mask that isn’t high in protein, parabens, sulfates or silicones should work great. Just make sure it is very hydrating/moisturizing.
All in, how much do hair extensions cost?
I get this question ALL the time and I’m afraid to say I don’t have an answer to that question. The investment for every person is different depending on the amount and length of hair extensions, whether you need to custom color them, which type is best for your hair, etc. If you are in the North Carolina area and interested in hearing more about hair extensions, I can’t recommend Candice Motley (@missmotley) at Garnish Hair Studio (@garnishhairstudio) in Raleigh enough. I would contact her and book a consultation appointment. She will be very honest with you in regards to cost and she will recommend what type of extension is best for your hair (everybody is different). The consultation does not obligate you to getting hair extensions, it simply provides you an opportunity to get all your questions answered from a true expert. CLICK HERE and fill out the consultation form to get you started.
As always – if you have any questions, or feel I left something out, leave me a comment below and I’d be happy to answer your questions. Thanks for stopping by to read!