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How to Take Care of Synthetic Hair Extensions

Updated on June 21, 2013

The first thing to take into consideration when choosing to buy either natural or synthetic hair extensions is the fact that synthetic ones take a damn sight more work to look after than the natural ones. This is largely down to the fact that you have to be very careful how much heat you apply to them because, especially the really cheap ones, you can easily melt them if you're not careful.

That is not the only issue to worry about, but keeping them clean is also something to take into consideration. Exactly how much he needs your particular synthetic extensions can take will depend on which ones you bought and some of the more expensive ones are able to be heated up but even so – except for one type, they will never take as much heat as natural hair. Personally I only use synthetic hair extensions when I'm looking for a shock value color, and I prefer to throw them away after a very short time, but if you need to save money and look after yours here are some tips as to what you can do.

Clearly not real hair
Clearly not real hair

What are the different types of Synthetic Hair Extensions?

There are 5 types of synthetic hair extensions made from the following synthetic fibers:

  • Polypropylene
  • Toyokalon
  • Kanekalon
  • High Temperature
  • Monobiber

Polypropylene (PP Fiber) is currently being removed from sale and is best avoided - do not buy this particular type - it is well outdated now and potentially dangerous. It is also widely used in the food industry and is being closely inspected for potential issues.

Toyokalon is not dangerous but cannot be subjected to any sort of hot treatments. It is cheap, lasts a long time and will stand multiple washings.

Kanekalon is extremely popular, styles well and can take heat treatments far better than Tokokalon. It is especially able to hold a curl, so - if your hair is curly or you are of African American descent this may be the one for you to look for.

Heat Resistant fibers are - as the name suggests - resistant to heat. Just make sure you get the flame retardant versions as well - some of the cheaper brands can catch fire.

Monofibers are the best synthetic hair extensions and - although they are more expensive than all the other fibers, they are still considerably less expensive than natural human hair. These are as close as we can get to natural hair at the moment. "Doctored Locks," are well respected and come in a wide variety of colors.

Buy some shampoo designed for synthetic hair

The first thing to do, is buy yourself some shampoo that is made especially for synthetic hair, because it's not possible to wash synthetic extensions in normal shampoo, because they can't cope with the hot water you usually use with normal hair.

Basically you need to use a shampoo that you can use with cold water, and probably one of the best products on the market is this one from Revlon. Anyone who's used synthetic hair extensions for any length of time will neither one of the main issues with them is static electricity, and this shampoo is designed to eliminate static electricity at the same time as it strips out any oils and salts.

At the end of the day, you're never going to get the exact same look and feel from synthetic hair as you do from natural hair,. But – that's half the fun!

Buy a de-tangling spray!

Once you have washed the extensions and dried them carefully without using a hot hairdryer, the next thing to do is use of detangling spray. The best one I've ever come across is this magic spray, which I have to say – I have no idea what's in it – it does seem to work like magic.

It's really good on real hair as well, and all you need to do is just spray on, comb through with a brush and leave it. The manufacturer claims it has what they call an "advanced cuticle sealing formula," and although I have no idea what that is supposed to mean, I guarantee this will give you tangle free shiny hair extensions in about three minutes flat.

I highly recommend this product, both for synthetic hair extensions and synthetic wigs, with the added bonus of it being good for your own hair as well.

Buy some conditioner designed for synthetic hair

Once you have your extensions in for any length of time, you're going to discover that they start to look a bit jaded. Personally – I never leave them in long enough to need to do this but if you're discovering that your extensions look sort of dried out and dull, then you're going to need to buy some conditioner.

The condition I recommend is the same manufacturer as the shampoo – Revlon, and they seem to be very good at producing products for synthetic hair. Only use this in extreme situations, because it is a little expensive, and if you're not careful, you'll end up spending more on your cleaning products that you would do by replacing the extensions in the first place.

As I said at the beginning – I rarely leave mine in long enough to need to use all these different products, but I use them on my clients all the time.

Be careful!

As I mentioned earlier, be very very careful if you are applying heat to synthetic hair extensions, because if you're not careful you are going to melt them. The other thing to consider, is if they start to fray, you can treat them like any other split ends and trim them. Just be sure and use extremely sharp scissors and be very gentle with them.


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