“Anyone can wear extensions and still have healthy hair,” says Melanye Maclin, MD, a dermatologist and hair loss expert in Washington D.C. “You just have to take the time to show your natural hair and the weave some TLC.”
Here's how to do it.
Prime Your Hair and Scalp
Get your hair in good shape before adding extensions. Take a break from the weakening chemicals in curl relaxers or dyes to get a head start in avoiding breakage.
“If your scalp is dry and flaky, use a medicated shampoo that contains zinc pyrithione or selenium sulfide, concentrating the suds on your scalp,” Maclin says. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse out. Then wash once more with regular shampoo and condition. Do this once a week for 4 weeks.
If you're still seeing flakes, visit a dermatologist before getting extensions. You may have seborrheic dermatitis, which can be harder to get under control when you have extensions.
How Extensions Are Attached
How a hair extension is attached to your head depends on the type you use:
- A partial or full weave is sewn into tight braids of your own hair.
- Extensions are bonded to your hair with a type of glue. You may need 50 to 100 of them, depending on the thickness of your hair.
- Clip-in extensions add volume or length in a hurry. You attach them under the top layer of your hair.