If you are new to the lifestyle of wearing clip in hair extensions, you probably have several questions on keeping them at their best. If you have had your hair for a while and are curious what you should be doing to maximize the longevity of your hair, then this is for you as well. This blog will walk you through one of the most important parts of maintaining the moisture, shine, and overall appearance of your clip in extensions, which is washing them. Just like you have to shampoo and condition your natural hair, the same goes for hair extensions. The goal with washing is to remove product buildup, and keep them looking as fresh as the day you started wearing them.
One of the first things you will need to do is have the proper tools needed for washing them. Some things you will need are a wide tooth comb, which will be gentler on your extensions. You will also need a shampoo and conditioner that is designed for clip in extensions or wefted hair. Wefted hair refers to hair that is sewn on a track. If these products aren't available, the use of a sulfate and alcohol free, and color safe shampoo and conditioner is an alternative and will do just fine. A soft bristle brush, in combination with a wide tooth comb this will reduce tangling. As an optional item,a shower cap or saran wrap for the conditioning process would be useful. Lastly, cleaning your hair will require some time. Not to worry though, the process is relatively easy as you will see.
- Awide tooth comb
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Bristle brush
- Shower cap
Step 1: Detangling and Combing
Hair extensions after wearing can become matted, and have tangles, much like your natural hair. This is especially true when you style and use products or just a windy day outside. The first thing you will want to do is lay each of your extensions out flat, you may spread them out end to end, or place them neatly on top of each other. It is good to note, before you begin combing them, is how they are attached. Hair extensions can be somewhat delicate near the clips or track end, so going at them very quickly could potentially pull some stands out. Often times this is an overlooked aspect of brushing. It is best to take your time on this step to ensure you don't pull out stands unnecessarily. Start by combing with your wide tooth comb at the ends of the hair and gently work your way up to the top. Once you have finished with the wide tooth comb, up can switch to a soft briskly brush to help the detangling process even more. Do this for each section of hair.
Step 2: Sink Preparation and Shampoo
Shampoo is meant to cleanse, and remove build up, and in a sense refresh. A different approach is used on shampooing hair extensions. You will first need to make sure your sink is cleaned and free of dirt and other contaminants. Then, using lukewarm water fill the sink about halfway. It is a good idea to add about two or three pumps of shampoo to the water while it is running. You won't want to apply shampoo directly to the hair, as it can lead to more tangles. Once your sink is ready to go, it's time to start washing! If you wash smaller amounts of hair will be easier to manage. Using one hand you'll want to firmly grasp the top where the clips are and slowly with your other hand move the soapy water through the hair completely. The goal is to clean, not tangle. You will want to submerge the clips as well. A q tip can be used to really get in and between the clips . After you have shampooed each clip in section place them on a towel.
Step 3: Conditioner Time
Of all the steps, conditioning your extensions is probably the most important. It puts valuable moisture back in, and brings back the softness and shine. Depending on how much time you have, will also determine how long to condition. It is best to have at least an hour dedicated to letting the conditioner penetrate the stands, even better if you can apply the conditioner and let them rest overnight. Liberally, apply the conditioner starting with the ends and massage upwards towards the clips. It is not necessary to get conditioner on the clips and weft, so mainly focus on the hair itself. Once you are done applying you place the extensions in a shower cap or even wrap them in saran wrap if you don't have one, and let them sit. Time is completely up to you, but the longer the better up to about 8 hours or overnight. A minimum of an hour will do the trick nicely.
Step 4: Rinse and Dry time
Once you have let the conditioner soak in its time to rinse. You'll want to use cold water, and by cold I mean as cold as you can handle. This will lock in the conditioning stage and give you maximum shine and aid in tangle prevention. Again, taking smaller amounts of hair at a time, start rinsing until the water is clear. Then place on a clean towel. Once all hair strands are rinsed you will want to allow for adequate dry time. It is advised to not use heat on your extensions, and is best to air dry. Using heat, such as a blow dryer, can reduce the conditioning effects and also create a tangley mess.
Step 5: Comb
Lastly, you'll want to again comb through your extensions when they are completely dry, and make sure they are free of tangles and to keep them straight. You should avoid combing the hair when it is wet, because hair is at its most fragile state and it can lead to breakage. Use your wide tooth comb for best results, and as always start from the ends and with your way through slowly to the top.
That's it! You now have the steps needed to wash your lovely clip ins, and keep them looking fresh!
With proper care clip ins can last up to 6 months, or even longer! The most asked question is how often should I be washing my clip in extensions? This will depend on the frequency you wear them. A good general rule of thumb is to wash after about 15-20 times of wearing them. Since extensions aren't getting the oil from your scalp, washing is primarily used to remove build up of product. The less you wash them the longer your extensions will last, but it's also important to properly wash them to remove build up, unwanted smells, and oils.