Many women are afraid of coming out of extensions especially if hair extensions are the only hair style they wear. Some women don’t like the length, density or health of their own hair, and for that reason refuse to come out of hair extensions. Hair extensions have many qualities. They help build confidence, provide a low maintenance hairstyle, and allow you to change up hair styles as you please without compromising the health of your hair. Hair extensions should be worn a few months out the year sporadically and not all year long without any breaks in between. As a hair stylist and a trichologist I see so many women come into the salon with traction alopecia and hair breakage due to the improper use of hair extensions.
Traction alopecia is hair loss due to excessive pulling and tension on the scalp. The pulling can be from tight braids, bonded hair extensions, tight ponytails, excessive weight of the added hair, or from constantly pulling on the scalp when corn rowing the hair. Some women have noticeable traction alopecia along the hairline and nape area. Traction alopecia leads to scarring of the scalp. Scar tissue on the scalp means the openings of the hair follicles are closed permanently. This is noticeable to the eye and the scalp will look shiny and sometimes feel smooth.
Hair breakage is defined as a fracture along the hair shaft. Many women experience hair breakage with hair extensions associated with the excessive use of heat to blend in hair that is left out on the top, sides and back of the head. Breakage also comes from the tracks from the extensions rubbing against the hair that is left out. Some women who wear extensions will experience breakage when they relax their hair with the extensions still in. This can be dangerous because relaxer can get stuck in the tracks and if not rinsed out properly cause damage to the hair and scalp.
Hair extensions are not a problem if they are used temporarily. Any extension that has to be attached to the scalp causes tension, and if worn long term, can cause hair loss or hair breakage. Go to a professional hair stylist who specializes in hair extensions and who can help you maintain hair and scalp health at the same time. Hair extensions that are attached with the cornrow technique should stay in for 2 months. Leaving extensions in longer than 2 months can cause excessive tangles of your hair once you take down the hair extensions. Your hair cannot be deep conditioned properly, or your scalp cleansed properly with extensions in the hair. Taking breaks wearing extensions is essential so that you can take proper care of the hair and scalp.
It is very important to shampoo your hair while the extensions are in your hair. Please do not go weeks or months without shampooing your hair while you have extensions. Bacteria, dandruff, excessive oil, perspiration and dirt need to be cleansed from the scalp often. Not shampooing your hair while having extensions is like not washing your face every day and creates a cozy environment for bacterial and fungal infections. Allow your hair extensions to dry thoroughly after you shampoo. Sit under a hooded dryer. Squeeze your cornrows to make sure all water is out before you proceed to styling.
IF YOU DO NOT LET YOUR CORNROWS DRY PROPERLY, YOUR HAIR AND SCALP WILL HAVE A MILDEW SMELL. THE MILDEW SMELL IS VERY HARD TO GET OF. THE MILDEW SMELL IS A SIGN OF MOLD LIVING ON YOUR SCALP. YOU CAN GET A SCALP INFECTION. LONG TERM SCALP INFECTION CAN LEAD TO PERMANENT HAIR LOSS.
How should you take care of your hair after hair extensions?
In the salon, these are the steps I use for clients coming out of hair extensions.
- After all the hair extensions are taken down. You should exfoliate the scalp. I use Scalpure. Scalpure is a mask that is specifically used for pulling out impurities on the scalp. Go to http://www.scalpure.com/#!skincare/c1se
- After you exfoliate the scalp, use a clarifying shampoo that will help remove all the impurities off the hair and scalp. You can use MalibuC Scalp Wellness or MalibuC Undo Goo.
- Most likely coming out of extensions, your hair will feel dry and tangle easily. In that case, use an intense moisturizing deep conditioner and sit under a steamer or hooded dryer for 15 to 20 minutes. I recommend Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm, or Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner.
- Rinse out the deep conditioner, and use a leave in conditioner such as It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In, or Chi Keratin Leave In Conditioner.
- Skip step 4 after you rinse the deep conditioner if you want a straight style, and use Joico Smooth Cure Leave – in Rescue Treatment and Joico Smooth Cure Thermal Styling Protectant before you blow dry and flat iron your hair.
- If you are doing a wet set such as a flexi rod set or twist out, use Design Essentials Natural Twist and Set Lotion.