How to Rejuvenate Your Hair After Extensions

Hair extensions are a great way to add volume, length, and texture to your existing style, which is why they’re so hugely popular. But as any extension aficionado knows, you’ve got to take care of your own hair while wearing them— and afterward.

The reality is, though often minimal, extensions can cause damage especially if you’ve neglected your own hair or engaged in extension no-nos like wearing clip-ons to bed. But not to worry! Here are some helpful tips for rejuvenating your tresses so you can wear your natural style with confidence while giving your hair a break from extensions.

Proper Removal

 

The first step towards post-extension hair health is making sure your extensions are removed properly. Often times this means a visit to the salon. While you can remove them yourself, an experienced stylist will know the best way to remove taped, woven and bonded extensions in a way that is least damaging to your natural hair.

What’s Your Damage?

 

Before you can treat damaged hair, you’ve got to identify the problem areas. Is your hair split, dry, dull or thinning, and if so, where is the damage most noticeable and how severe is it? To put together the best rejuvenation plan, you’ve got to know what problems you’re trying to solve so you can identify the best tools and techniques that are available to address each one specifically.

Cut

 

A good cut can make even the most tired tresses look vibrant and healthy again. Split ends are almost inevitable with extensions, and keratin bonding or other attachment methods can cause dryness and breakage since the heat and chemicals used can weaken hair at the attachment point. Your stylist will need to cut the damaged hair away which can mean going with a shorter look. But what a short, blunt cut lacks in length, it can make up for in sass and sophistication and— here’s the real benefit –a shorter do keeps weight at the bottom of the hair, giving your roots a much-needed respite.

Color

 

Obviously, if we’re talking about repairing damage, you want to stay away from harsh chemicals and bleaches, but there are more gentle solutions available if you want to punch up your color post-extensions. For example, your stylist may be able to add subtle highlights near the roots, which adds brightness without risking further damage.

Also, a toner is a great option since it only deposits color and doesn’t require opening the cuticle to strip away natural color as does bleach. And contrary to popular belief, toner is not just for blondes. Redheads and brunettes can also benefit from toners to warm, deepen or brighten natural color. Acid-based toners reflect light in a way that gives natural hair a super glossy shine for a luscious, healthy glow. Bonus? You can use pigmented masks at home to maintain gloss and health between salon appointments.

Moisturize

 

Extensions can cause dryness which leads to breakage and hair that appears dull and lifeless. Thankfully, a ton of moisturizing options are available from deep conditioning masks to oil elixirs to natural remedies. Rejuvenating dry, limp hair is as easy as a trip to the drugstore, supermarket or salon.

Pre-shampoo treatments

 

These are an effective way to deliver nourishing oils to the hair’s cuticle and can protect vulnerable strands from stretching and snapping during a wash. Look for pre-shampoo treatments with essential oils in the ingredient list (think chamomile, coconut, and argan).

Deep Conditioners

 

Most of us have seen illustrations of hair cuticles showing protein cells lying on top of one another like roof shingles. These keratin cells intermesh to create a waterproof, airtight barrier around the root (or cortex) of the hair, and when those cuticles are damaged, problems are inevitable.

Deep conditioners used once a week can replenish moisture and help repair damaged cuticles. Ones that use a potent mix of natural elements like wheat germ oil and honey extracts with healthy doses of provitamins like B5 are fantastic for hydrating thirsty hair in addition to ridding your hair of tangles. Deep-conditioning overnight masks applied after a wash can be especially revitalizing to damaged hair.

Natural Remedies

 

If you can’t get to the salon or drugstore to pick up your favorite products, look no further than your pantry. A few tablespoons of microwave heated olive oil rich in fatty acids can moisturize and protect hair against further damage.

Look to your fridge for protein-rich eggs, filled with the amino acids that restore strength, volume and shine to lifeless locks. Combine with a small amount of shampoo, massage into your hair and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing well. You’ll be amazed at how well this delicious breakfast item works to repair dry, extension-damaged hair!

Wash

 

Lots of people believe the less you shampoo your hair, the healthier it will be. But washing regularly is actually the best remedy for dull, limp hair. A clean scalp is a healthy scalp, which is essential for hair growth.

If your hair follicles are clogged with oil, dirt, and product, your hair can’t grow properly so it makes sense to wash your scalp regularly, daily even. Some shampoos contain ingredients like selenium sulfide and salicylic acid that gently exfoliate dead skin and excess styling product from clogged follicles. For curly hair, which is naturally prone to dryness, you can reduce the stress of frequent shampooing by using an ultra-gentle cleansing conditioner.

Taking a break from wearing extensions gives you a chance to lavish some TLC on your natural mane to make sure it stays healthy and gorgeous. It also gives you a chance to try out a new cut and to fall in love again with your natural color. Rejuvenating extension-stressed hair is easy thanks to the knowledge of styling experts and the plethora of high-quality products available on the market. Healthy hair requires time and effort, so as you rock your natural look, remember the most important ingredient of all: patience!

~ Mariam Kathet, Associate Editor

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