Maclin says the biggest mistake that women make with extensions is wearing them too tight. This puts a lot of tension on the hair follicles, which can make your hair fall out. At worst, it can contribute to the most common type of permanent hair loss in African-American women.
Getting extensions should not be painful or cause headaches. If it does, they're too snug. Speak up! Ask your stylist to loosen them before continuing.
Clip-ins are the least damaging extensions because they can be removed quickly and require little to no glue or braiding. But they can cause hair breakage if they pull or snag your hair, so put them in loosely.
Don't Skimp on Shampooing
“Gently shampoo at least once a week to keep your scalp at its healthiest,” says hairstylist Tamika Fletcher, co-owner of Natural Resources Salon in Houston. “This reduces the buildup of product used for styling your extensions and dead skin cells.”
- If you wear clip-in extensions, remove them first. Clean and dry them separately before reattaching.
- If your weave or extensions are sewn, bonded, or glued into your hair, separate your natural hair from them as best you can. Then wash, rinse, and condition your real hair separately from your faux hair. Towel-dry gently before you comb through or blow-dry.
Don't Overdo It
Even if they still look neat and polished, don't wear hair extensions for more than 6 weeks at a time. “Weaves should be removed to allow for a thorough cleaning of the scalp and deep conditioning of the hair,” Maclin says.
Take Care When Taking Extensions Out
The glue used to secure hair extensions to your head contains chemicals that can cause hair loss. “If bonding glue is absolutely necessary, use bonding glue remover not only to take out the extensions but, more importantly, to ensure no glue remains in the hair,” Fletcher says. “Any remaining glue can adhere to hair and become nearly impossible to remove without losing hair in the process.”
If your hairline or scalp itches after your weave is removed, you may have an allergic reaction. Formaldehyde is used to preserve hair weaves, and it sometimes causes irritation. See a dermatologist. They can treat an itchy or irritated scalp.