Steps To Wash Different Hair Extensions At Home

Quick and easy methods to keep your extensions clean, healthy, and shiny.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dr. Shruti Chavan Dr. Shruti ChavanMBBS
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Krati Darak MBA, Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 3 years

Welcome to hair extensions 101! Your first lesson in extension hair maintenance is learning how to wash different hair extensions. Hair extensions can be made of natural or synthetic hair. You need to wash natural hair extensions regularly to keep them clean and healthy. If you use synthetic hair extensions, you must wash them to remove any lye or harsh chemical coating the synthetic fibers. These chemicals can make your scalp itchy. Washing your extensions keeps them shiny and fresh. Keep reading to know more.

Synthetic Hair Vs. Human Hair

Before we talk about washing hair extensions, it is important to learn about the different types that are available on the market. Hair extensions are broadly classified into two categories, based on the source of the hair. While human hair extensions are made of real hair donated by people, synthetic hair is made of artificial fibers like kanekalon.

Human hair extensions offer a more natural look, last longer, and offer more versatile styling options. On the other hand, synthetic hair has a superficial luster that wears off fairly quickly. While you can style human hair extensions with heat styling tools, you cannot do that with synthetic ones.

While human hair extensions can be washed and cared for just the way one does their own hair, synthetic hair needs more mindful treatment to maintain its quality, appearance, and durability. Thus, human hair extensions are a better choice even though they can be more expensive.

In the following sections, we discuss stepwise washing instructions for a few different types of hair extensions. Keep reading to learn more.

How To Wash Hair Extensions – A Step-By-Step Guide

Image: Shutterstock

Step 1: Detangle The Extensions

Image: Shutterstock

This is the first and most important step before you start washing the hair extensions. Synthetic hair often tangles easily. Thus, brushing gently helps clear all the knots and detangle the extensions. Brush the extensions from bottom to top without pulling the hair out.

Use a wide-toothed comb or soft bristle brush while working on extensions. Take a single wefti  XA group of hair extensions joined together by sewing over a piece of cloth to be used for hair styling. and place them over each other to form a bundle. This ensures that the hair does not form tangles during the washing process.

Step 2: Prepare The Sink

Fill the sink with lukewarm water, squirt about 2-3 pumps of organic shampoo, and create bubbles. To keep the shine and luster of the hair extensions intact, use a color-safe shampoo that does not contain parabensi  XA group of chemicals generally used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products as preservatives against bacteria and mold. , sulfatesi  XA group of chemicals used in shampoos as cleansing agents that bind with oil and dirt to remove them, and can strip away moisture and leave the hair dry. , and alcohol.

Step 3: Wash Every Hair Weave

Image: Shutterstock

Wash 2-3 wefts of the hair extensions at a time with a moisturizing shampoo. Hold the top of the weft in one hand, dip it into lukewarm water, and wash gently with light strokes. Do not rub them vigorously as it may damage the texture.

Lilly, a YouTuber, takes her time to scrub her hair weave after shampooing to get rid of all the dirt and sweat. She then rinses the shampoo with water and adds, “I use half hot half cold. It gets the shampoo out of the hair quicker. High water promotes bubbles, cold water doesn’t but you still need that hot water to get all the dirt off (i).”

These hair accessories are made of synthetic hair, and shampooing does not strip off the natural oils. However, gentle washing is essential to maintain the shine and texture. Place each weft on a neat towel after washing and repeat the process for the rest of the wefts.

Step 4: Condition The Weft

A conditioner helps soften the extensions and restore their shine. Apply a dollop of natural conditioner onto each weft from top to bottom. Massage gently and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water to remove all the residue.

Lilly also likes to use tea tree oil after the conditioner. She adds, “I’m gonna go ahead and start adding in this tea tree oil coz the ends of the hair were specifically dry. So, I’m gonna go ahead and put all my focus into those ends.” She then adds the weave to grocery store bags and adds, “I like to double mine for the extra heat and steam.” This is followed by microwaving the bag three times for two minutes and rinsing the weave in cold water.

Step 5: Apply Deep Conditioning Mask

Image: Shutterstock

Apply deep conditioning cream or hair mask to make the extensions soft and smooth and leave it on for an hour or overnight. Apply hair mask on damp extensions and follow it up with gentle and thorough rinsing after an hour. If you want to keep the hair mask overnight, bundle it softly and cover it with a shower cap. Rinse it thoroughly the next day for a super soft and supple texture.

Step 6: Rinse Thoroughly

Rinsing in cool water is important after applying a hair mask. Any residue on the hair extensions makes them greasy and will weigh down your original hair. Washing in cold water seals the cuticlesi  XThe outermost layer of the hair shaft, made of layers of dead cells, provides protection against damage and also responsible for its shine. , locks in moisture, and adds shine to the hair extensions. Wash each weft thoroughly under running tap water.

Step 7: Air Dry

Image: Shutterstock

Towel dry your extensions after rinsing the extensions to absorb the extra oil without damaging them. Do not rub the towel as it may damage the extensions and develop tangles. Place the wefts on a microfiber towel and let them air dry naturally. If you want frizz- and tangle-free wefts, apply a lightweight hair oil with your fingers and comb with a wide-toothed brush.

Step 8: Blow Dry

Before blow-drying your hair extensions, apply a heat-protectant spray. Use the blow dryer in a cool setting to prevent any heat damage, as you would do for your natural hair care. Start by drying the roots of the wefts and follow to the ends. Use the blow dryer in a downward motion to smoothen the extensions and prevent tangles.

Step 9: Comb Each Weft

After drying the extension, comb each weft with a wide-toothed brush. After combing, bundle the wefts together and comb from top to bottom.

If you have beaded hair extensions and are worried about taking care of it, the following section may help you.

Technique For Washing Beaded Hair Extensions

  • Microbeads are delicate and may fall out or drop easily. Thus, use a loop brush or nylon boar bristle brush to detangle knots.
  • Wash each microbead weft with a shampoo that is free of silicones, parabens, and alcohol.
  • Apply the shampoo gently through the hair from root to tip. Do not tug or pull the wefts as they may detach from the natural hair or the bead may get damaged.
  • Apply conditioner to the tips of the extensions to moisturize them. Do not apply it to the root or bonds of the beads.
  • Rinse the shampoo and conditioner out of the hair extensions thoroughly as any product residue may damage the hair and beads.
  • As the microbead extensions are not detachable, frequent hair styling or heating tools may damage their natural texture. Hence, use heat protectant sprays every time you use a styling tool.

Scroll down to our next section to know the techniques of washing feather hair extensions.

How To Care For Feather Hair Extensions

  • Feather extensions can be washed, brushed, blow-dried, straightened, curled, or styled easily as per the requirement.
  • Handle the micro links of the feather extensions with care. Do not brush over the micro links as it might damage the roots.
  • Always use a mild shampoo and dry the extensions on low heat.
  • The feather extensions may detach from the roots as the hair grows. Save them in a pouch and reinstall them after two weeks.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Always remember to store your hair extensions away from sunlight.

protip_icon Trivia
It is believed that Cleopatra used to wear hair weaves made of dyed sheep wool and human hair.
protip_icon Trivia
Hair extensions are believed to have originated in Egypt around 3400 BC.

Hair extensions add an oomph factor to your hairstyles. They make your hair look thicker, longer, and more voluminous. If you want to experiment with hair colors but are worried about hair damage associated with hair treatments, extensions can add that pop of color without the use of harmful hair products. But, you need to learn how to wash different hair extensions to preserve their lifespan and avoid frequent visits to the hair salon. When you first buy extensions, you should wash them to remove lye, which may cause your scalp to become itchy. When washing these extensions, you need to treat them like your natural hair. Take time to detangle, condition, and comb your extensions to increase their lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do hair extensions thicken after washing?

Hair extensions expand after you wash them. Therefore, they may appear thicker than before.

Do extensions blend better after washing?

Yes, extensions blend better after they are washed. This is because most hair extensions look glossier than the wearer’s original hair. Washing them with a gentle shampoo and conditioner can remove the unwanted shine and help them blend well.

Should I oil my hair extensions every day?

No. It is not necessary to oil your hair extensions every day. Using excessive amounts of oil can make the hair heavy and lead to buildup, which can make the extensions look lifeless.

What not to do after hair extensions?

After getting hair extensions, avoid using heat styling equipment or heavy hair products, and avoid washing your hair for at least 48 hours.

How long can I go without washing my extensions?

It depends on several factors like hair type, the type of hair extensions you have, and how oily your hair is. However, it is not advised to skip washing your hair extensions for more than a couple of days.

Key Takeaways

  • You need to wash your hair extensions properly to keep them looking healthy and clean.
  • Detangle the extensions, wash every hair weave, and apply a deep conditioning mask to maintain their shine and texture.
  • You need to wash your hair extensions once a week or fortnightly.

Hair extensions giving you trouble? Worry not! Learn how to keep them fresh and clean with this easy tutorial on washing them at home!

Personal Experience: Source

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