Sun, sweat, salt water, and chlorine can damage a naturally silky head of hair, and for those of us with hair extensions (guilty!), summer can turn those extra waves into a tangled disaster. Protecting hair becomes more and more important than ever!
The hair that extensions are made of can be treated just like your regular hair.
Extensions require gentle care no matter what the season. Regular brushing with an extension-friendly brush and using sulfate-free products are the bare minimum. Consider using a leave-in conditioner for extra moisturizing, too. For additional concerns, it really depends upon whether you have tape-in or bonded extensions. Each one comes with its own particular areas of concern.
For tape-in extensions, the biggest danger they’ll face this summer comes from your hair- and skin-care products. Lotions, including sunscreens, can loosen the tapes. Wash your hands after applying lotions to avoid getting any onto your hair, and avoid using conditioner at the roots of your hair. Apply conditioner only up to a couple of inches from the roots, and be gentle during shampoos.
Bonded extensions’ biggest threat is water. Swimming is fine, but avoid letting them soak for long periods of time, and dry them promptly when you get out of the water. Try putting your hair into a low bun, or a loose braid, while swimming to avoid tangles. You may also want to use a detangler on the ends of your hair – away from the bonds – to keep both your natural hair and your extensions as tangle-free as possible.
Here’s a lesson from Marcia Brady: Brush your hair every day. Especially when you have hair extensions. Especially in the summertime. Just make sure you are using a special extension-friendly brush in the vicinity of the bonds or tape. “The teeth on other brushes will yank at the extensions. However, you can use a regular brush to untangle the ends,” advises Arussi. Extension brushes typically have looped bristles that are specifically designed to glide through hair. Personally, I also like to hold the bond or tape while brushing to avoid excess tugging at the root.
When it comes to summer product picks, leave-in conditioners will help keep your extensions from getting tangled and dried out. “The key is to be mindful of your roots and keep product away from the tape or bond,” says Michals. In my experience, detanglers (also targeted towards the lengths and ends of your hair) are a lifesaver, as extensions tend to tangle more easily than natural hair.