Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Clip-in hair extensions don't have natural oils like the hair on our scalp, so they don't need to be washed as often as your hair. However, how often you clean them will depend on how frequently you wear them and how much product build is in the hair.
To ensure they last a long time, maintain a smooth and shiny finish, it is best to take proper care; after all, they are an investment piece that can last for months.
Here are the steps to prepare your hair extensions for your wedding day.
If your extensions are new, more than likely they won't need washing as they are ready for use from purchase. Sometimes new hair wefts can be coated with heavy products to make them super shiny and slippery to work with. Your hairstylist may ask you to wash your pieces after using them at the trial from their experience.
STEP ONE: Do the hair extensions blend with your hair colour?
When purchasing online, a brands customer service team can help you select the colour tone to match your hair colour. If it's slightly off or you recently changed your hair colour, make sure you take them to your hair colourist to assess. Sometimes they will apply a root stretch to deepen the roots or apply a toner to match your freshly highlighted hair. I recommend seeing the hairstylist at least 1-2 months before the wedding to discuss and plan the colouring in time for the wedding.
100% Remy human hair can be coloured.
STEP TWO: Do the hair extensions blend with your haircut?
Advise your hairdresser around your hair colour appointment that you need your extensions added to your hair when styling. The professional stylist can see if any adjustments need to be made with the length or shaping around the face to blend with your hair seamlessly.
STEP THREE: Brush to detangle to prepare for the hair wash process
Before getting the hair extensions pieces wet, stack the individual wefts into one pile, take either a loop hair extension brush, a smoothing bristle brush or a large wide tooth comb and gently brush from the ends first to the roots to remove any knots and detangle the hair.
The best practice is to use a loop brush designed especially for extensions as the bristles reduce the risk of damaging the weft hair as they effortlessly glide through the hair and remove any tangles.
Always brush the hair dry only as this process helps protect the hair to reduce any breakage and hair fall.
Make sure all the clips are closed, ready for washing.
STEP FOUR: Lay the hair extensions out flat ready for cleaning.
Next, place a towel near the sink and lay each hair weft flat on top of each other to stop the hair from tangling. When you are ready to wash the extensions, you can either pick up the bundle in one hand, close to the clips or wash each hair weft separately. For excess product build up in the hair, its recommended to wash them individually.
STEP FIVE: Prepare the washing station.
Ensure the sink is clean and add enough lukewarm water to dip the extensions. You don't want the water to be too hot.
Next, squirt in the water three pumps of sulphate-free or alcohol-free based shampoo and swoosh the water around to disperse the product evenly in the water.
You want hair care products that are sulphate-free and alcohol-free; otherwise, the ingredients will strip the hair of natural oil, make the hair drier and increase the risk of tangling or matting. Where possible, try and select shampoo and conditioners designed for colour treated hair to keep the colour vibrant.
STEP SIX: Washing the hair wefts with shampoo
When washing wefts in bundles, hold the pile in one hand near the clips and submerge the hair into the water. Run the other hand over the hair in long strokes, do not rub the hair, allowing the product to penetrate the hair and reduce tangling.
If there is product build-up where the clips are, you can add them to the water too. Or you can leave them out to reduce drying time.
Alternatively, you can wash each weft separately for a more thorough clean. For larger wefts, you can fold the base inwards to make it easier to manage in your hand.
Once washed, remove excess water and set aside on the towel and repeat for the full set of wefts.
STEP SEVEN: Adding moisture with conditioner
To keep your hair extensions soft and shiny its recommended to either add a deep conditioning conditioner or hair mask to seal the cuticle. The wefts don't have a supply of natural oils from the roots like on your scalp so they can get dry quickly.
Gently massage the conditioning treatment into the hair and leave on for 5-10 minutes back on the towel. Then rinse out each weft thoroughly.
STEP EIGHT: Rinse thoroughly and seal the cuticle.
Once the hair extensions are adequately hydrated, rinse the conditioner or treatment with luke-warm clean water to remove the product residue. If the product hasn't washed out properly, it may cause styling issues from weighing the hair down.
Next, turn the tap onto cold water and rinse the hair to seal the cuticle flat, making the hair shinier.
STEP NINE: Lay flat to air dry
Remove excess water from the hair by squeezing with your hands, don't rub the hair with a towel as it can tangle.
Lay the hair wefts flat on a dry towel next to each other to air dry naturally.
To prevent frizz while drying add a tiny amount of argan hair oil to each weft's ends.
When 80-90% dry, you can use a wide-tooth comb to ensure the hair drys straighter.
STEP TEN: Blow drying
If you need to blow-dry the hair extensions smoother, it is best to wait until the hair is 90% dry.
Spritz a heat protectant spray on each weft and blow-dry with the hair on a warm setting, not hot, in a downwards direction to keep the hair smooth and prevent heat damage.
STEP ELEVEN: Brush to smooth
Once 100% dry, gently brush the hair from ends to roots to smooth the hair and detangle.
STEP TWELVE: Store hair extensions tangle free.
Some hair extensions come on beautiful coat hangers, or boxes to store. Once the hair is brushed through in one direction neatly place the bundle back into its packaging to reduce friction and tangles for ease of use.
Here is the instruction video from ZALA on how to correctly wash your extension wefts.
Always check the instructions from the brand where you purchased.