How to Wash Hair Extensions

How to Wash Hair Extensions

Washing your hair extensions will keep them looking shiny, healthy, and clean, but how do you do it without damaging them? Don’t worry—in this article we’ll walk you through the best way to wash your hair extensions, whether you have clip-ins, keratin extensions, or a weave. We’ve also included tips on how to help your extensions last longer so you can rock them for as long as possible.


Washing Clip-in Extensions

  1. Wash Hair Extensions Step 1

    Remove your extensions. One of the advantages of clip-in extensions is that they are temporary and easy to both apply and remove at home. Removing your extensions will make washing them much easier.

    • Be sure to always remove your clip-ins before showering or swimming. Sometimes the metal used in the clips can rust or otherwise be damaged by water.
  2. Wash Hair Extensions Step 2

    Detangle your extensions if needed. Just like your natural hair, it’s best to detangle extensions before washing them. Gently run a wide-tooth comb to remove any knots. Start at the extension’s clip and end at the hair tip.[1]

    • Hair extensions are prone to drying and may need extra care if tangling occurs. If you cannot remove the tangles with the extension dry, try wetting it with detangling spray and trying again. If you still have a stubborn knot, try wetting the hair completely and adding conditioner before combing.
  3. Wash Hair Extensions Step 3
    Prepare a wash basin. Fill up a clean bathroom sink or a small plastic tub with warm water. Avoid using hot water, as this can damage your extensions. However, keep in mind that too-cold water will not effectively rinse grime and shampoo from the extensions.
  4. Wash Hair Extensions Step 4
    Soak the hair extension. Hold the extension by the clip and dip it into the basin. Avoid getting water on the clip. Run a wide-tooth comb through the hair to make sure it has been evenly wetted.
  5. Wash Hair Extensions Step 5

    Shampoo your hair extension. Select a shampoo that is gentle, moisturizing, and free of sulfates. Lather a dollop of shampoo and work it into the hair from just under the clip to the tips. Try not to create tangles, but use the wide-tooth comb again if needed.

    • Lather the extension just like you would washing your own hair. The major difference is the hair in the extension is likely to be much dryer and delicate than your natural hair. Make sure it is soaked through before working in the shampoo to keep in from tangling.
  6. Wash Hair Extensions Step 6
    Rinse your hair extension with warm water. Start by dipping the extension back into the basin. Gently squeeze the extension from clip to tip while submerged. Then, delicately run the extension under warm water from the faucet.
  7. Wash Hair Extensions Step 7
    Condition your hair extension. Use a light-weight moisturizing conditioner. Massage in a dollop of conditioner, focusing on the center of the hair and working up and down. Treat it as you would natural hair. Rinse again with warm water. Remove excess water by gently squeezing the extension with a towel.[3]
  8. Wash Hair Extensions Step 8
    Allow your hair extension to air dry. Hang up your hair extensions to dry straight. This type of hair extension can be conveniently clipped to many surfaces. Avoid blow drying hair extensions, as this may dry out and damage the already delicate hair.


Washing a Weave

  1. Wash Hair Extensions Step 9

    Pre-treat your hair with moisturizer. Because your extensions aren’t getting the moisturizing oils produced by your scalp, they have a tendency to dry out much faster. Dry hair of any kind is much more difficult to wash and is prone to breakage. Add a little hair oil to your weave before you shampoo.

    • Place a shower cap around your hair and allow the oil to infuse into your hair for about an hour before moving on.[4]
  2. Wash Hair Extensions Step 10

    Clarify your hair and scalp. This will remove built-up hair products and prevent dandruff. Fill a spray bottle half with water, half with apple cider vinegar. Spray it track-by-track onto your scalp and massage it in. Then give the weave itself a few spritzes. Leave this to set for five minutes before rinsing with warm water.

    • You don’t have to clarify every time you wash your hair. Once a month should be enough to keep your scalp healthy.[5]
  3.  Wash Hair Extensions Step 11
    Pick the right shampoo. There are many shampoos on the market specifically made for hair extensions. However, some stylists recommend that any mild shampoo can be used. Others advise to treat your weave like dry, damaged hair and use a deep-moisturizing shampoo. Like your natural hair, finding what works best may require some trial and error.
  4.  Wash Hair Extensions Step 12

    Shampoo your hair. Wet your hair thoroughly before applying the shampoo. Add a dollop of shampoo into your hair and lather it. Massage the shampoo into your roots. Be gentle to avoid tangles and breakage. Rinse with warm water. You can do this in the shower or using a sink or wash basin.

    • When you clarify your roots, you can skip shampooing them.[6]
  5.  Wash Hair Extensions Step 13
    Condition your weave. Keeping the hairs moisturized will extend your weave’s lifespan. Deep condition with your choice of moisturizer. Leave it for 15-20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water.[7]
  6. Wash Hair Extensions Step 14
    Dry your hair. Either allow your hair to air dry or sit under a hooded dryer. You may also use a blow dryer, but this may damage your weave. Focus drying your roots. Make sure your natural hair and the portion of your weave attached to it dry out completely. Damp hair under a weave can cause mildew or even a bacterial infection.[8]
  7. Wash Hair Extensions Step 15
    Repeat as necessary. It is generally recommended to wash your weave and natural hair once every one to two weeks. Washing too often will cause breakage and result in a weave that doesn’t last very long. However, not washing at all can damage your natural hair and may end up being unhygienic.[9]

Washing Keratin-Bonded Extensions

  1. Wash Hair Extensions Step 16

    Choose the right shampoo. Because you want to avoid damaging the keratin bonds, shampoo selection is very important for this type of hair extension. Do your best to find one made specifically for use with hair extensions. If this isn’t possible, pick a mild moisturizing shampoo instead.[10]

    • Be sure to avoid shampoos containing sulfates and silicone. Sulfates will dry out your extensions, while silicone may cause them to slip off.[11]
  2. Wash Hair Extensions Step 17
    Wet your hair. Use warm (but not hot) water. You can do this in the shower or at the bathroom sink. Run your fingers through your hair to make sure it is soaked-through and tangle-free.
  3. Wash Hair Extensions Step 18
    Shampoo your hair. Shampoo your hair, including the extensions, as you normally would, but avoid scrubbing directly at the bonds since it can weaken and damage them.[12] Take a dollop of shampoo and lather it into your hair. Massage it in beginning at the scalp and work your way down to the bottom hair tips. Rinse the shampoo out with warm water.
  4. Wash Hair Extensions Step 19
    Moisturize with a conditioner. Keep in mind that extensions will not be reached by your scalp’s natural oils. Even if you don’t normally need to condition your hair, use one when wearing extensions.[13]
  5. Wash Hair Extensions Step 20
    Rinse with warm water. Hot water may damage your extensions, while cold water will not properly remove residue. Wrap your hair with a towel to remove excess water when you’re finished. Leave your hair to air dry.
  6. Wash Hair Extensions Step 21

    Repeat washing two to three times a week. Remember that more frequent washings will shorten the lifespan of your extensions. You can wash your extensions as often as you normally wash your hair.[14] If you normally go longer than 2-3 days, add a leave-in conditioner to your extensions to keep them moisturized.

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