I have been wearing hair extensions for years, and I have definitely had a lot of trial and error in the process. I can honestly say "been there, done that" to most of the problems that come with hair extensions, so I have learned A LOT over the years. So here are all of my best tips for all of you!
First thing first, you have to choose your brand and your method of Hair Extensions, and find the extensions that you love. It's easier with so many bloggers wearing them, because they can make recommendations so you don't have to do what I did, and go through three different brands to find what you love. As far as deciding to use clip-ins or tape- ins or bonded, that depends on your lifestyle!
Tape-Ins: They take small (and I mean small!) horizontal sections of your hair and they apply two sided extensions to your hair, pressing them on either side of the hair section and basically taping them to your hair. A lot of people like this process because you don't take them out. There is a LOT of care that goes into these kind of extensions, but they are very popular. I wanted them for a long time, and almost got them when I worked at a salon, but my hair texture is naturally so curly that I envisioned a tangled mess every morning. They're not for everybody, so consult your stylist if they will work for your hair texture and type.
Bonded/Fused extensions: The process is similar, only they take an even smaller section (like ten to twenty individual strands of hair) and "fuse" a small hair extension, using a process of glue "beads" I haven't heard the best reviews about these, just that they pull and damage your hair a lot more than the Taped ones. But you be the judge! I personally never tried them, and I think the Tape-Ins are a more updated version of glue-ins.
Clip-Ins: Clip ins are pretty easy to figure out. They just clip in! I like them the best because I like to be able to take them out at night, I can't sleep with anything (even bobby pins!) on my head, so my hair extensions options are limited to clip ins! I love them. They are the easiest for maintenance, and they last much longer. With most tape/clip ins you have to get them done every two-four weeks, and with clip ins, you can make them last up to six months or sometimes more!
My favorite brand is Luxy Hair Extensions! I am on my second set of them, and I love them. Their customer service is amazing, and I think that the extensions last a long time, and they are really thick! I have tried other brands where I felt like there was almost no hair on the clips. Of course, there is a lot of care that goes into wearing extensions, and you can ruin a perfectly good set easily and quickly if you are not careful on how well you take care of them! Speaking as somebody who has done that, here are the things that I have learned and my top five tips for keeping the longevity in your extensions. Extensions can be VERY expensive, and so it's important to do everything you can to make them last, so that you don't have to constantly be investing a fortune in faux hair! While these generally apply to all extensions, I am specific about Clip-In's for a lot of my advice. If you have anything other than Clip-Ins, advice numbers 2 and 5 will not apply to you. :)
1. USE A THERMAL SPRAY
This is a big one. I haven't always used a thermal spray on my extensions, and it's so bad for them! The hair can quickly become damaged and fried, just like your real hair (and if not more easily!) so it's so so important to use a good thermal spray whenever you curl or straighten them. My favorite one right now is Redken Iron Shape, click here for the link!
2. WASH SPARINGLY
It might sound weird, but don't wash your extensions often! There are a few reasons for this. The first is that they don't need washed very often because they are not attached to your head, so they don't produce oils the way your real hair does. Secondly, because they don't produce oils, washing them often can dry them out quickly. I typically wash my extensions 1-2 a month. The only reason you will wash them is if there is a lot of product build-up, and I don't use a lot of product on my extensions, so I go even longer than most when it comes to washing mine. But even just washing them 1-2 times a month, they always look clean. I also do not wear mine everyday. But by washing them sparingly, you help them last longer!
3. USE A LEAVE-IN SPRAY/CONDITIONER
As I mentioned before, because hair extensions are not attached to your head, they don't produce oils, so it's important to add conditioners, oils, etc to them to prevent them getting dry. I like to use a leave in conditioner meant specifically for hair extensions, which is another tip I have learned, use the products that are meant for extensions, it will be way more beneficial because they are specifically designed for them. I also use a Moroccon oil on the ends sometimes when they feel dry. Click herehere and here to see products I mentioned. I couldn't find the leave in conditioner that I love, so I put a few links of some others, but the one I buy is at Sally's, it's called Miracle 7, and it's a leave in conditioner for extensions.
4. BE CAREFUL WHEN BRUSHING
This is an obvious one, but sometimes when our extensions are tangled, it's easy to just rip our brush quickly through it, not thinking about the damage it's causing. Extensions don't recover from damage the same way, and while you shouldn't be harsh on your real hair, you should be especially careful with your extensions. I only use a brush specifically made for hair extensions, it's designed to detangle without pulling too much, and I love it. Also, be sure to brush our your extensions before you store them, and be really careful around really badly tangled spots. Here are a few of my favorite brushes here and here.
5. TRIM THEM
This one might seem odd because extensions don't grow the way normal hair does, BUT trust me on this one. This isn't something you do when you first get your extensions, or even after you've worn them for a few months. This is a trick I use when my extensions have been worn a lot, and it's starting to show but I don't want to invest in another pair yet. Now, I don't take scissors and just cut straight across, I use a technique I learned in Hair School called "Point Cutting" so point your scissors vertical, and cut. You won't be cutting the hair straight across, so you won't get a blunt edge, and not every single hair will get cut. It's a technique that helps get ride of damage without sacrificing too much length, which is what you will want when trimming your extensions.
There are my five tips for keeping your extensions in good conditioner for as long as possible! There are of course other factors, but these main 5 have helped me the most!