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Extending the life of hair extensions

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Make them last!

Long hair, don't care! Well, in theory -- except maintaining that long hair requires a lot of care!
Woman with long hair

Make
it last!

Long hair, don't care! Well, in theory — except maintaining that long hair requires a lot of care!

Find the right extensions for you

To ensure your extensions last a long time, find the right type of extensions to fit your lifestyle. You want to find the type of extension and application that will work well with your hair and scalp. Shop around and take advantage of free consultations so you can explore and ask questions about the different types of extensions available on the market.

"If you are going to use extensions, you should have your extensions put in by a licensed professional," says Philadelphia salon owner and stylist Giovanni Melé of Giovanni & Pileggi. "Find a brand that is made from the highest quality of human hair, and use a Keratin bond that creates a strong hold with the least amount of damage. A person has to decide when to take this type out, rather than other extensions that use synthetic bonds. Synthetic bonds deteriorate with humidity, washing and using hair tools making the extensions fall out, as well as create hair loss. Some higher end brands can be pricey depending on how many bundles of hair a person would like to put in, but last from four to six months. Just like normal hair, you have to care for your extensions. When brushing the hair, use a wide-toothed comb to gently care for them.”

Invest in great products geared toward hair extensions

A great paddle brush with boar bristles is crucial for fine hair. Before taking a shower, use a detangler, and then proceed to slowly brush, starting at the ends and working your way through the root to prevent breakage.

Make sure to brush the attachment site as well as the lengths of your extensions to avoid tangling at the roots. Once extensions get tangled, things get messy quickly!

Keep your extensions in good shape with regular salon visits

Be diligent about follow-up appointments your stylist makes for you, especially if you are a first-time extension client. Your stylist should schedule a complimentary check-up for one to two weeks after first-time application. This is for a review of your home-care maintenance. Very often potential problems can be averted if you stay on top of them.

When possible have your color done at the same salon where you get your extensions. Not all hair professionals are familiar with extensions and an incorrect shampoo or blow dry can mean disaster!

Details matter

"My clients swear by using silk satin bed sheets to help prolong the life of their extensions. They also put their hair in a soft ponytail to minimize tangles and matting of the extensions," says New York celebrity hair stylist Angelo David, who also cautions to never go to sleep with wet hair!

Minimize excessive and complicated styling of hair

Exposure to hot tools can damage the way your extensions are attached to hair. Don't use a flat or curling iron near the base of your extensions, or ever aggressively brush hair without holding hair by the base.

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