How To Wash Hair Extensions (in 6 Simple Steps)

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Washing your hair extensions doesn’t have to be a challenge with the right knowledge and information.

If you’ve just invested in your first set and you’re wondering how to wash hair extensions without causing damage or loss, we’ve got you covered.

Whether you have tape in extensions or bonded hair extensions, here’s how to wash hair extensions to keep them looking beautiful for longer:

Washing Hair Extensions in 6 Steps

1. Brush through using a hair extension brush

Before you even think about stepping into the shower, you’ll want to make sure you brush your extensions all the way through.

Brushing is vital for all kinds of hair extension.

This is because matting and tangles can quickly worsen during the washing process and are incredibly difficult to remove once scrubbed in.

2. Use a pre-shampoo treatment before you get in the shower

Pre-shampoo treatments are a popular option for hair extensions.

This treatment helps to smooth, cleanse and hydrate your extensions, as well as to benefit your natural hair.

A minimum of 30 minutes is recommended per treatment for the best possible results.

3. Keep your hair upright and wet thoroughly

How you wash your extensions is just as important as the products you use. Ensure that you’re wetting your hair downwards and not flipping it forwards, as this can lead to knots and tangles.

Much like your normal hair, you’ll need to saturate your extensions for shampooing thoroughly.

4. Lather your shampoo and gently massage into your scalp

Lather your shampoo in your hands before applying it throughout your hair, paying particular attention to gently massaging your scalp.

It would be best if you were careful not to pull or catch your hair when shampooing. The ends of your hair shouldn’t be scrubbed in the same way as your scalp.

5. Apply conditioner to the mids and ends

Once you’ve entirely rinsed out your shampoo, you can then apply conditioner as you usually would to the lengths and ends of your hair.

It’s important to rinse thoroughly, as one of the most common causes of itchy scalps around your extensions is a build-up of products.

Never apply conditioner to the scalp, as this can lead to extensions slipping or degrading.

6. Squeeze all excess water out, pat dry, and style, as usual,

Once your hair is clean and clear, grab a microfibre towel and squeeze all excess water out.

Take care not to scrub your hair or pile it up in a towel, as this is an easy way to cause tangles.

You’ll only need to wash your hair extensions two or so times per week in their lifetime, so if possible, let your hair air dry before picking up the styling tools.

How to Wash Different Types of Hair Extensions

Want to know how to wash hair extensions specific to the type you have installed? Here are some of our top tips for the most popular options for hair extensions available today:

How to wash hair extensions synthetic

Synthetic hair extensions may have a similar texture and feel to human hair, but they don’t have the same properties.

Picking a mild, suitable shampoo that’s sulphate free is the best option for synthetic hair.

You also need to take care to avoid tangles by using a brush and a wide-tooth comb to remove snags gently.

Synthetic extensions do best when they are hand-washed and air-dried.

How to wash hair extensions sewn in

Sewn-in extensions have the benefit of not being held together with adhesives.

This makes them more hard-wearing for washing, though you should be careful to avoid washing your hair upside down or catching any of the threads.

Gentle, thorough massage is the ideal choice for weaves and similar sewn-ins.

How to wash bonded hair extensions

Bonded hair extensions are easy to clean with the right products for the job.

The person who installed your extensions will recommend a suitable shampoo, and pre-shampoo can be particularly beneficial for this extension type.

Wash gently but thoroughly for the best results – especially if you’re using dry shampoo on the in-between days.

How to wash hair extensions tape

Tape hair extensions are amongst the most delicate options when it comes to hair washing.

Sulphate-free shampoo is a must, and no oil-based products can get near your scalp. This includes conditioners, which can loosen those bonds and lead to extension loss easily.

With careful washing, your extensions can stay in perfect condition for longer.

How to wash beaded hair extensions

Beaded hair extensions are held in place using micro-rings, which can potentially be pulled or drop if they are caught.

Brushing is vitally crucial for these types of extensions.

You should also ensure you scrub your scalp gently and keep the conditioner away from the beads or rings.

Hair Extension Washing FAQs

Can you wash hair extensions with normal shampoo?

You should always wash extensions with a suitable, sulphate-free shampoo.

You can often receive guidance and advice on the best shampoo to buy from salons that provide extensions, and you may even be able to purchase the correct items in-house.

An alcohol-free shampoo is also highly recommended to keep your extensions in beautiful condition.

How do you wash your hair extensions at home?

If you want to know how to wash hair extensions before use or how to wash hair extensions at home in general, a salon or extensions brand is the place to start.

Different hair types and extension options will have other care requirements.

We’ve covered some of the basics above, but you can always ask a professional for more tailored advice.

Can you put hair extensions in the washing machine?

You should always wash hair extensions by hand, whether they are attached to your head currently or not.

The harsh cleaning chemicals used for clothing can degrade and damage synthetic and human hair.

The movement of a washing machine could also result in a big mess of tangles. If in doubt, opt for hand-washing.

How often should you wash hair with extensions?

The standard recommended time between washing for hair extensions is four to five days.

This may seem like a long time, but it’s a must to ensure the longevity of expensive extensions in particular.

You can opt to spot-wash parts of your natural hair throughout this time, such as if you have a fringe that becomes greasy after a couple of days.

Can you wash your hair with extensions glued in?

Provided you use the right recommended shampoo and keep conditioner away from your scalp, you should be able to wash your hair with glued-in extensions.

Many different brands and adhesives are available for glued-in extensions, so you may want to either speak to a professional or check what a specific brand has to say about aftercare and washing.

Is it normal for your head to itch with extensions?

Unless you have a sensitive scalp or a reaction to the adhesive, you shouldn’t have an itchy scalp from your extensions.

One of the critical causes of itchy scalps over time is a build-up of product around the extension area.

This could be due to not correctly rinsing your hair when washing or using styling products with a too-infrequent washing routine.

Hair Extension Specialists at Lux Hair Lounge

With proper care and TLC, your hair extensions can look incredible and boost your confidence for their entire lifespan.

If you’re thinking of giving extensions a try, our professional team at Luz Hair Lounge can help. Book your appointment today with our friendly hair extension hairdressers.