How to maintain your weave in hair extensions
Every day in the store and through e-mail and social media, I get tons of questions about how you can maintain your woven extensions. For those of you who don't already know, a weave is when you have your own hair cornrowed flat to the scalp in rows, and wefts of extension hair are sewn over the braid(s) to achieve longer and/or fuller hair. There are a few key things to keep in mind when you have a weave, and we're going to go over some of them today!
First of all, you've got quite the situation going on under all that beautiful hair: Braids are not indestructible and they need to be maintained gently. For the first few days, they will be tight, and some tea-tree oil might help with the itching. If you really can't stand the pulling sensation, run a hot bath and just sit there for as long as you can; the steam will loosen up your braids just enough to relieve some of that tension. NEVER scratch at your braided hair; you can cause serious damage this way. Always "pat" your weave to relieve any discomfort, and be mindful of your braids when combing or brushing your hair. You should always be starting at your ends, when your hair is dry, and ideally with some sort of a detangler or leave-in conditioner. I highly recommend the Lord and Cliff Hair Essence, which also acts as a heat protector and a PH balancer. A great brush to try is our detangling Loop Brush: the bristles are looped, which prevents them from catching in your braids and breaking or pulling your hair. You should be spraying a daily maintenance product through your extensions at least once daily, and combing them out in the morning and before bed, at the very least. Product is EVERYTHING when it comes to extensions: this hair has been cut off, coloured, and attached to your head. It's not getting natural oils from a scalp, so you need to replace them by using conditioner, leave-in, serum, heat protector, etc. You can't baby them too much.
Then there's washing, and this is SO important. Extension hair should not be washed more than once or twice a week. You can wash the top of your hair, where you are likely extension-free, or use dry shampoo in between washings, (I love our Re-Fresh Dry Shampoo in "Clean Breeze"; it works great and has a fantastic scent) but if you are washing your extension hair too often, it will dry out and start to be problematic. I recommend asking the girls here at Abantu for help choosing the right extension-specific shampoo for your hair, and using it once a week. Before showering, comb your hair out with a detangling product, part your hair down the centre and pull it forward on either side of your neck. Wet the hair, and gently smooth shampoo over the strands. NEVER scrub or rub the hair around, as this will cause tangling. Your hair is at its most fragile when wet and you need to take care. After rinsing the shampoo out, you want to condition. I always condition twice, and I leave it in as long as I can each time. I am a strong believer that you should use a deep-conditioning product every time you wash your extensions, and am a huge fan of the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak and the Healthy Hair Pacs Organic Hot Oil Hair Treatment; sometimes I use both in the same wash for increased manageability, shine, and detangling benefits! Once I’ve conditioned, I squeeze as much water out of my hair as possible, pat it down with a towel, and spray in a leave-in conditioner. After a shower, I love the Red-E To Go Instant All-In-One Hair Treatment or The O’Pro Detangler Spray. I will apply this liberally through the extension hair and the ends of my own, and let it air-dry. I almost always let my extensions air-dry most of the way rather than blow-drying them from wet, but with a weave it is imperative to make sure that you get your braids/tracks as bone-dry as possible. Use your hair dryer and focus only on these areas; once they are dry, let nature do the rest. Eliminating water in the braids will prevent mildew, mould, etc from developing inside (never a good look).
Once my hair is almost completely dry, I section everything up except for my bottom row, and this is where I start. I will finish the drying process with my hair-dryer, aiming the airflow downwards in order to aid in sealing the cuticles of the hair. This step will ONLY benefit you if you are wearing Remy hair, meaning that the hair has been kept with single-direction cuticles. Once it’s dry, I put in a liberal amount of the Fantasia Hair Polisher Heat Protector Straightening Serum, and seal that in with my H2Pro Black Diamond Flat Iron. I can’t get enough of this serum: It smells fantastic, it locks out humidity, it makes my hair sleek and shiny; I absolutely love it! The H2Pro Flat Irons are great, too- this one has an automatic shut-off after 40 minutes, diamond dust plates for extra shine, and wet-to-dry capability. Its plates also have edges that are bevelled perfectly for curling. Once I’ve completed the bottom row and surrounding natural hair, I section out the next row up and continue as such all the way up to the top of my head.
Because you only want to go through this entire process once a week, it’s wise to do your best to maintain your hair style throughout the week. I generally wear my hair straight, so I’ll either pin it flat around my head or tie it in a loose bun at night, but pin curls are a great way to freshen up a curly-haired look while you sleep. Finish up by tying a satin sleeping cap over it, and you’re ready to hit the hay- and wake up looking fabulous!
Maintaining your extensions properly comes down to three basic ideas: No over-washing, perfecting your combing/brushing technique, and the use of the right PRODUCTS. Be mindful of these things and your extensions will last you at least a few months before it’s time to consider replacing them.
Do you have any questions regarding extension maintenance? Or any little tricks you do at home that you’d like to share? Comment below!
Thank-you for reading!
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