I’m a hair extensions specialist & I’ve seen lice and even mould – here’s how to look after your locks
9th November 2021

LOTS of us dream about having long and luscious locks, and hair extensions can be a great way to achieve our dream look.

But while they look amazing, there are some issues hair extension experts are often confronted with, that can cause problems if not properly dealt with.

Speaking to Fabulous, Haircare Expert Nicole Petty at Milk + Blush says: “Hair extensions are an increasingly popular choice for women looking to add length and volume to their locks. 

"However, while it may seem like a quick fix, there are several issues that hair extension specialists regularly encounter."

Here are just some of the issues hair extension specialists see, and what you can do to avoid them…

Headlice headache

This is an issue anyone can have, so it's important to be alert to the danger of lice before getting extensions as getting rid of them can get a little more complicated once they're in.

Nicole says: "As we know, headlice are fairly common – particularly among children – and are spread by direct contact with the hair of a lice-infested person.

"While lice live and breed on the scalp by feeding off human blood, we have seen some extreme cases of lice getting mixed up in hair extensions.

"Anyone looking to rid themselves of lice will need to use a strong treatment that can damage the extensions and any glue used to secure permanent ones.  

"What we advise is for anyone experiencing this issue to firstly get the extensions removed and put them in a bag in the freezer to kill any critters, followed by intense lice treatment using a nit comb, before finally waiting for at least 20 days before reattaching.”

Hair horror

You might think hair extensions will just naturally blend in with your natural hair, but actually some hair styles are a lot trickier to work with.

Nicole says: “We regularly come across clients who have unfit hairstyles for blending extensions. It might be the last thing on your mind to get your haircut before adding more in, but without the correct cut, you could find your extensions looking very unnatural – as Angelina Jolie showed recently.

"For a better and more natural look, try and avoid any cuts with blunt edges and instead ask your hairdresser for medium-long layers that make it easier to blend hair extensions into your natural hair.

"This will make the appearance of your extensions look more like your natural hair, hide the clips/tapes/bonds and ensure it’s hard for anyone to distinguish where your hair ends and the extensions begin.”

How to look after your hair extensions

Here, Milk + Blush Haircare Expert Nicole Petty reveals her top tips to keep your extensions luscious for longer…

Brush regularly

Use a soft brush on a section at a time, brushing from the tips in a downwards motion, gradually working your way to the top of your hair. 

Cleanse properly

It's always worth checking if it's recommended to wash your specific extensions or not – if done incorrectly, you can end up causing more damage than good.

Remember they don't need to be washed regularly like your natural hair. Use a sulphate free shampoo, avoid scrubbing too hard and rinse thoroughly before blow drying on low heat.

Dry carefully

With clip-in hair extensions, we wouldn't recommend blow-drying every time. Instead, air dry by laying out all of the wefts on a flat surface and gently pat the excess moisture from the hair using a microfibre towel.

If you have permanent extensions which require blow-drying or are short on time with clip-ins, make sure to use a heat protectant spray prior and blow dry on a cool setting to help extend the lifespan of your hair extensions. 

Reduce shedding

To help minimise the amount your extensions shed, one of the most important steps is to brush your extensions out before washing them and again once the hair is nearly dry. The hair is at its weakest point when wet, so be gentle when brushing your extensions to help minimise the possibility of breakage and shedding. 

Store correctly

It’s vital to get into a good habit of storing your extensions correctly when not in use. Ensure all clips are closed and give them a final brush before putting them away. 

Always make sure you store your extensions in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and that they are completely dry when you put them away. This will prevent any nasty mould or bacteria from growing. 

Neglected hair

It's also important to look after your own hair as well as the extensions.

Nicole says: “We’ve encountered a fair share of clients who come to us looking for a quick fix for their neglected manes, from dry and damaged to hair that’s a mismatch of colours. 

"However, without your hair looking and being in its best condition, how are hair specialists supposed to make your extensions look the best they can? After all, it's not a wig.

"If this is you, consider investing in some deep conditioning treatments and an all-over colour before adding extensions to your hair.

"Once you’re happy with its condition, we can accurately colour match and blend the extensions with your natural hair." 

Product palaver

Nicole also adds: "While wearing hair extensions, it's vital you choose carefully which products you use to style your mane.

"As you're not washing them as often, products tend to build up in the hair, which can make them look dull or sticky. 

"What we often discover as a result of customers using too much product is they frequently complain that their hair won't hold a curl or that it's more difficult to style.

"The key here is to avoid anything too drying like dry shampoo or salt sprays. 

"If you find yourself needing to wash them, opt for sulphate free shampoo and be gentle with the wefts.

"For clip-ins, wash each weft individually rather than as a full set and for permanent extensions, ensure you rinse and dry your hair thoroughly to avoid any build-up/slippage."

It doesn't end there either.

A hairdresser recently urged people to do proper research before getting extensions, as she shared a video showing how a client lost handfuls of hair due to damage caused by botched extension bonds.

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