Taking proper care of your extensions can add months and even years to how long they stay looking healthy. I've taken good care and not-so-good-care of extensions before and the difference in how long they lasted was drastic. Putting a little extra care really does help extend their life. Here are my best tips:
1. Just like with your natural hair, limiting how much you heat style is the number one way to keep your hair the healthiest. Try to leave it straight or curled for a few wears, instead of switching back and forth frequently.
2. For most people, including myself, it's not realistic to never ever use a flat or curling iron. So when I do heat style, I always use a heat protectant spray. I mist it lightly on my hair and extensions, let it dry completely before applying heat.
3. Extensions don't need to be washed every time you wear them. They actually only need to be washed every 10-20 wears, depending on how much hair spray or other products you use.
4. When you do wash your extensions, gently massage the shampoo in and squeeze the conditioner through, moving your hair down in three to four inch increments. Never run your fingers down through the hair. Running your fingers and pulling down through the hair while it's wet will start to loosen the hair wefts. This can cause shedding and once shedding starts, it's difficult to stop.
5. Always wait until your extensions are dry before brushing them. After I wash and condition them, I gently squeeze them into a towel, in the same way I applied and rinsed the conditioner. Then I put them over a towel rack to dry and lightly mist a leave-in conditioner over the extensions, focusing on the ends.
6. Every second or third time you wear the extensions, rub a pea size amount of coconut oil through the bottom three inches. This is where extensions tend to show wear the fastest, so adding coconut oil helps keep them hydrated and healthy looking longer.
7. Once hair is dry, I hold the hair all together and brush it starting at the bottom. I brush the bottom four inches, then brush from the middle to the ends, then the roots to the ends. This helps prevent shedding. If you start brushing at the roots, it can tangle your hair and puts stress on the hair, which can make them start shedding. Starting from the bottom up and gently brushing them in sections to the roots helps prevent shedding and tangles.
8. Every fifth time you wash your extensions, deep condition them instead of using regular conditioner. They'll wonder that they did to be treated to special. But for real, this will really help the ends stay feeling silky longer.
9. Get a trim! When the ends start to feel dried out, bring them with you to your next hair cut and have the ends trimmed off.
10. Start curling your extensions at the roots and work your way down. This will save the ends from too much heat damage and prevent them from drying out before the rest of the hair. You will also get a much more even curl this way.