The Aftercare Bible: How To Take Care of Your Hair Extensions

The Aftercare Bible: How To Take Care of Your Hair Extensions

Jennifer Helder
May 21, 2024

Your extensions are installed, but now what? This guide thoroughly covers everything to help prevent damage and keep your hair extensions looking great for longer. Let’s explore how to maximize their lifespan and maintain healthy, beautiful hair together!

Taking care of your hair extensions may seem like a daunting task but the reality is, that it can be pretty simple if you remember these three key points. Avoid all the same stuff as if you were caring for any treated or dyed hair, remember extensions are attached to your natural hair so over-styling and pulling will cause issues, and finally, common hair damage that is reversible to natural hair is likely to be permanent to hair extensions. Other than these three differences, hair extensions are natural human hair, they need love to avoid split ends, dryness, and all the other typical haircare stuff.

General Hair Extension Aftercare

The two main goals we want to help you achieve are to help prolong the life of your extensions and to help you avoid any actions that may cause damage to your hair extensions. We want to avoid things like colour fading, discolouration, slippage, matting, chemical damage, and heat damage, without completely stunting your haircare routine.

Avoid Rough Handling

We recommend avoiding any unnecessary strain on your hair extensions. This means using a blow dryer instead of towel drying, using soft-bristled brushes, choosing a less-tension hairstyle to use day-to-day, avoiding rubbing or itching near the extensions, and yes ladies, try avoiding most types of hair pulling.

Protect From Heat

Protecting your hair extensions from heat is just like protecting your natural hair but with a little more caution. Try applying a heat protectant spray before using heat styling tools to shield the hair from damage. Use a moderate heat setting on your styling tools (Nothing over 350*F!), and avoid placing heat directly on the extension bonds.

Keep Treatments Away From The Bond/Beads

Hair extension beads and bonds create a place for chemicals and oils to get trapped. This can lead to slippage and if products contain potentially harsh ingredients, it can lead to permanent damage to both your extensions and natural hair. If you want to use products like hydrating masks, oils, and leave-in conditioners, always apply from the tips up or middle down, try not to apply them too close to the extension bonds. If using an oil treatment, you will not apply any tension until the oils are thoroughly rinsed out. Any tension on the hair extensions will cause premature slippage.

Washing And Hygiene

It’s recommended to switch to a routine of washing your hair only twice a week or once every three days and to utilize products like dry shampoo. Even with your natural hair, you should avoid sulfate-containing products and avoid washing every day since both of these remove essential oils and moisture that help maintain healthy natural hair. Dry shampoo is our favourite choice to help absorb excess oils between washes. You will want to remember that more hair means more time needed to rinse out any products! We suggest washing your hair with shampoo twice. Once with a clarifying shampoo, rinse thoroughly, then the second shampoo with your preferred choice of shampoo, rinse thoroughly and then condition. A clarifying shampoo will break up and loosen a lot of that dirt and product build-up, and the second shampoo will cleanse.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Always consult with your extension specialist before using hair-altering chemicals. Never bleach, tone, or dye your hair with extensions installed. When using purple shampoo, work your way up your hair, as you would with a conditioner and try not to get it on your extension bonds. If you use a purple shampoo, we recommend switching it to the Amika: Bust Your Brass hair mask. Not only does it neutralize yellow tones in your hair but it also is nourishing to your hair! Not like purple shampoo where it leaves your hair very dry.

Sleeping And Hair At Rest

While sleeping or relaxing with your hair extensions we want to avoid any friction to your head. Let’s be real for a moment, when you’re sleeping, you have no control over what you do. But to help prevent any matting or breakage that could happen while you sleep, we recommend that you secure your hair in a braid, or low bun and either sleep in a silk bonnet or on a silk pillowcase. Never, never, go to bed with wet hair, this will almost always lead to some form of matting or damage.

Regular Maintenance

We cannot stress this enough, schedule regular maintenance appointments every 6-8 weeks to ensure the extensions are properly maintained, tightened, and adjusted as needed to keep up hair hygiene and prevent tangling, matting, and slippage. Remember, that every day we lose about 100 strands of our natural hair. We plan maintenance appointments for this reason; as our natural hair strands come to the end of their life cycle and fall from the hair follicles, these hairs are no longer supporting the hair extension. Over about 6-8 weeks, we are at a point where it is critical to remove, and resection the hair extensions into the hair giving back the proper support needed from the natural hair to remain safe for your scalp.

Common Types Of Hair Extension Damage

Both, unique and common forms of hair damage can happen to hair extensions, here we’ll review the most common ones, what causes it, and some tips to avoid them.

Tangling and Matting

Hair tangling is when hair becomes intertwined forming knots and clusters whereas hair matting is a more severe tangling where the knots become tightly packed together. With hair extensions, tangling and matting can happen at the bonds (near the root area) which if left untreated can result in permanent damage and the need for drastic removal procedures. Hair extension tangling and matting are caused by the bonds (natural hair & extension hair near the roots) rubbing and moving around, most commonly while you sleep, and especially if the hair is wet.

How to avoid tangling and matting:

  • Tie your hair back or loosely braid your hair before bed or while relaxing at home.
  • Always fully dry your hair after you bathe, and never rub the towel on your head to dry, you will wring your hair out and wrap your hair up with a towel – preferably a microfibre towel as it is most absorbent.
  • Brush out your hair from the ends of the hair working your way up with a soft bristled or looped hair brush.
  • Brush every morning and every evening before bed.
  • Avoid aggressive rubbing or itching close to your bonds and scalp.
  • Book regular maintenance appointments to have the bonds adjusted to your natural hair growth.


Hair extension slippage is when an extension strand slips down the natural hair with the bead, or out of the bead resulting in the strand falling or hanging lower on the natural hair shaft. It is normal to experience some slippage in the days following an installation, to learn more about what to expect after your installation check out the quick read suggested at the end of this article. Other factors that can cause slippage are damage to the bead, products and oils getting trapped in the bead, improper aftercare, and even pulling or rough handling. Always keep the strands to bring to your next maintenance appointment so we can assess the hair and hopefully get it reinstalled for you.

How to avoid slippage:

  • Avoid applying treatments, oils, and conditioners close to where the extensions are installed, always apply from the bottom up and stop midway.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly after washing it to ensure no residue or products are stuck in your beads.
  • Do not brush your hair above the bonds/beads and use a soft bristled brush starting from the ends of your hair and working your way up.
  • Tie your hair back or have it in a loose braid while sleeping or relaxing at home.
  • Avoid unnecessary straining or rough handling of your hair.

Bubbling or bumps

Hair extension bubbling is when the hair above the extension is trying to go a different direction or is pulled in a different direction than your extension and causes a sort-of bump close to your scalp. This is caused by either your hair’s natural growing direction or by a mishap with pulling or rough handling (this includes styles that pull in the opposite direction of the installation). If you have just had your extensions installed it is likely caused by your hair’s natural growth direction and is not to be worried about since in a few days to a week, your hair follicles will adjust to the new direction. If caused by rough handling or styling, the only way to truly fix this is by having a professional re-adjust the bond either by special appointment or during your next maintenance appointment.

How to avoid bubbling:

  • Allow time for your hair to adjust to the new hair extensions.
  • Prioritize avoiding rough handling.
  • Avoid aggressive rubbing or itching close to your bonds and scalp.
  • Do not brush above your bonds.
  • Avoid higher hairstyles until about 7-9 days after your appointments, this will allow more movement without the bubbling.


Hair extension breakage is when your new hair or your natural hair breaks. Breakage is caused by several reasons, most commonly by rough handling but it can also be caused by chemical or heat damage. Breakage by rough handling is more common with extensions, just remember you have an object, whether plastic or soft metal, clamped to your hair which can allow for your hair to snap more easily. In some rare cases, breakage can even be a result of poor installation practices.

How to avoid breakage:

  • Don’t wash your hair every day and avoid products that contain sulfate as both of these remove your hair’s natural oils.
  • Avoid using high heat, and use heat-protection products before styling – use a heat protector!
  • Never use harsh chemicals with hair extensions installed.
  • Avoid getting products close to or on your extension bonds and rinse your hair very well.
  • Always practice care and avoid rough handling.
  • Do your research on hair extension professionals before booking with them.
  • Always consult with your extension specialist before using treatments.

Split Ends, Dryness, and Frizziness

Our hair extensions are made from real hair so like your natural hair they can develop split ends over time, become dry and/or frizzy. And just like your natural hair, you can use hair masks and oils to help them stay healthy, shiny, and strong.

How to avoid split ends:

  • Use hair masks or oils, and follow our suggestions for keeping treatments away from the bond.
  • Avoid products that contain sulfate or other harsh ingredients.
  • Avoid washing your hair every day.
  • Follow our suggestions for protecting your extensions from heat – I have a GREAT heat protector here for you, just ask!

Colour Fading And Discolouration

Most hair extensions are pre-treated and can be susceptible to colour fading and discolouration just like any dyed or treated hair is. Colour fading is when the hair tones get lighter, and is commonly seen with darker hair colours like brunette and black. Where discolouration is when the tones or colours in the hair shift, this is most commonly found in blonde hair and can be seen as brassy oranges or yellows as well as greens and violets. Colour fading and discolouration can also be caused by over-washing, certain products and chemicals, and even some environmental causes such as the sun.

How to avoid colour fading and discolouration:

  • Use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners to prevent stripping away the colour from your hair extensions.
  • Avoid having hair come in contact with sunscreens and tanning lotions, rinse your hair thoroughly if it does.
  • Protect from UV rays, wear a hat or cover your hair when exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly after swimming in chlorinated pools or salt water to remove any damaging chemicals.
  • Minimize the use of heat styling tools or use them on a low heat setting to reduce the risk of colour fading.
  • Add leave-in conditioner to your hair care, keeping your hair extensions moisturized and protected.
  • Follow our suggestions for using purple shampoos, hair masks, leave-in conditioners, and oils.

Final Notes

Taking care of your hair extensions doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just stick to a few simple rules, remember they are real human hair, and you can keep your extensions looking beautiful while still enjoying your regular hair care routine. Treat your extensions gently – avoid rough handling, limit the use of high-heat when styling, and use heat-protection products. Make sure to keep any treatments or oils away from where the extensions are attached to your natural hair to prevent slippage. When washing, find a balance between keeping your hair clean and preserving its natural oils. Be cautious with chemical treatments and always check with your extension specialist first. And don’t forget to schedule regular maintenance appointments to keep your extensions in tip-top shape. With these tips, you can rock your extensions with confidence, knowing your hair will stay healthy and vibrant.

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