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Will Hair Extensions Damage My Hair?

Updated on November 25, 2015

Are hair extensions really bad for your hair?

Lots of people want long, beautiful hair and hair extensions offer instant gratification to the dreamer. However, they also have the potential to damage your hair.

Hair extensions that are installed, removed and cared for properly will do minimal damage to your hair. If you're wondering "Are hair extensions safe? Will they make my hair fall out?", read on. I will cover ways hair extensions damage your hair, how to prevent damage from hair extensions, how to take care of hair extensions, how to remove them safely and a lot more. I'll even show you a surprising place where you can get cheap hair without sacrificing quality.

photo credit: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Boogoo Photography

So, will hair extensions damage your hair?

The answer is "Maybe" - It depends on how well you take care of your hair and your extensions.

With the proper care and a few affordable products, damage can be kept to a minimum or even eliminated completely!

Preventing Damage from Hair Extensions

Here are some ways you can prevent damage to your hair when wearing installing and wearing hair extensions.

  1. Always wrap your hair up when you go to bed. A silk scarf is best, but if you don't like wraps, tie your hair into a high bun and sleep on satin pillowcases. It will reduce friction, pulling and help protect your hair.
  2. If you're glueing in a weft, never place the weft directly on the part or more than 1/8th inch away from it. Try to keep the adhesive away from your scalp and the roots of your hair.
  3. Use only a light application of glue. You may need more frequent touch-ups, but using too much adhesive will pull out lots of your hair when it's time to remove. This is the biggest risk with glue-in extensions. Use only a medium bead of adhesive, about the the size of the weft.
  4. If you're sewing in, don't cornrow or braid your hair extremely tight and don't sew the weft on extremely tight either. It should be snug, but not extra tight. Braiding too tight can cause bald spots from the hair being pulled out. Sewing too tight causes friction which can lead to breakage.
  5. Never, ever pull out your extensions when they begin to get loose. It's tempting, especially when they begin to slip out in the shower, but you will pull out your own hair along with the extensions. Always wait until you can use an adhesive remover or olive oil and the help of a gentle friend if possible.
  6. Avoid placing extensions at the perimeter of your hair. The hair at the edges of your scalp is often finer and more susceptible to damage. Leave at least 1 inch of hair around the edge of your scalp to prevent damage. It will also help prevent the extensions from showing though your natural hair.
  7. Double up on your weft by placing one strip of hair on top of another rather than making another parting. You will get the same fullness and have less adhesive on your hair.
  8. When you think you are ready to take your glue-in extensions out, do not wash your hair for 2-4 days prior to the removal. Your scalp's natural oil will help soften the adhesive and make the removal a bit easier. Saturate the weft and the adhesive with olive oil or remover and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to further soften. Remove slowly, carefully and never pull.

Keep your extensions shiny and beautiful with a smoothing serum:

I love this serum from Paul Mitchell. I was never a fan of hair serums until I tried this one - other ones I tried felt greasy, oily or didn't work at all. This one is the best I have used. It's extremely concentrated, so you only need a small amount. It also has a pleasant, light scent.

This serum is great on all hair types but it works especially well on hair extensions, which are often colored and chemically straightened. Using a good smoothing serum on your extensions will prolong their life.

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum, 5.1 Ounce
Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum, 5.1 Ounce

To use, apply a small amount through your palms and gently work through the extensions. For the best results, use on slightly damp hair and keep away from the roots, focusing on the dry ends.

 

Wrapping your hair at night is the best way to minimize damage.

Here's a video demonstration of the process.

A hair wrap is a must-have.

Stay On Satin Wrapping Scarf, Black
Stay On Satin Wrapping Scarf, Black

Proper protection of your hair at night is the best way to prevent damage. This satin scarf is affordable and comes with a 4.5 star rating from Amazon customers. It comes in a variety of colors as well.

 

More choices in satin head wraps:

Wearing clip-in extensions?

Never sleep with clip-in extensions in! Always remove them before you go to bed. The metal clips can cause your hair to break and may pull your hair out.

Installing and removing glue-in extensions the safe way.

Proper installation and removal of glue-in hair extensions can prevent or eliminiate damage. This tutorial is very similar to the methods I generally use and shows both the correct amount of glue to use and how to remove them safely.

How to care for your hair after your hair extensions have been removed:

Hair extensions aren't forever and unfortunately for many people, the removal process is when the most damage occurs. Patience is the most important part. Never rush the removal process and seek assistance if you aren't confident or it's your first time. Here are my tips for after your extensions are out.

  1. Always give your hair and scalp a break after you take a set of hair extensions out. A week is good, and a month is even better. Wearing hair extensions for months or years at a time without rest periods can be very hard on your hair and may cause thinning and/or breakage.
  2. After you remove hair extensions, pay close attention to the health of your hair and scalp. Inspect your scalp where the extensions were, looking for broken hairs, bald patches and signs of irritation. Examine your hair, checking for split ends, breakage, thinning and assess the overall condition.
  3. If you experience breakage, thinning or bald patches from your hair extensions, I recommend that you do not wear them again for at least a year. If your hair is longer than shoulder length, 2 years would be better. It's important to give the hairs that were pulled out or broken off a chance to grow out again. Wearing hair extensions again may cause even more severe thinning and damage.

Did you know eBay is one of the best places to buy hair extensions?

I was a little wary at first, but with some careful reading of the listings, I realized you can get great, soft, beautiful, high quality extension hair for a good price. Depending on where you live, it may be much cheaper than your local wig/hair store. eBay also has lengths and colors that are very hard to find in some places. I once ordered 30" keratin fusion hair for a client - it was the longest hair I'd ever seen.

Leave a comment sharing your hair extension story for others to learn from.

What's your hair extension experience? How do you prevent damage to your hair?

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    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 

      4 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I don't mean to be a product pusher but I consulted with Tina Riana extension hair products. They actually have a great idea. You can look them up on amazon. Personally, I think clip ins are the best choice for keeping the hair in good shape. I do the keratip bonds too for my clients that want it.

    • profile image

      vintagevicki70 

      4 years ago

      I have had hair extensions in constantly for around 3 years.

      I began the hair extension journey after bleaching my shoulder length hair, it was always very fine but quite a lot of it, however, the combination of bleaching and straightening had broken it off quite badly, resulting in shorter thinner hair.

      I have always had long hair so was devastated when I had to have around 6" cut off, a few weeks later I decided I could not cope without having long hair so opted for human hair extensions.

      My hair was completely transformed into everything I ever wanted in a hairstyle, I cared for them extremely well, however, I kept each set in for 3 months solid each time, no maintainence checks, no resting for a few weeks in between new ones being fitted, literally taken out, put straight back in.

      Eventually, I had an extreme colour change from very dark brown to Pillar Box Red, absolutely fantastic, until I realised the upkeep was a nightmare, the extensions made it worse, obviously I had to have my roots redone every 6 weeks and it never seemed to apply properly.

      I made the decision two weeks ago to have the extensions removed so I could start to take care of my own hair and hopefully get it back to great condition, I actually expected my own hair to be a little shabby and lack lustre, how wrong I was, my hair is in an awful state, extremely thin and horror of horrors, short!!!!

      I've accepted that its going to be a work in progress, I have sourced the best hair care treatments and have started to take Perfectil Vitamin tablets for, hair, skin and nails, I've stopped with the straighteners and if I use my hair dryer, it's on the cool setting, I am still Pillar Box Red because I love it so much, I know I should go for a trim but I just cannot face letting even a Professional Hairdresser see my hair, I'm so ashamed of it.

      Please take the time to read everything that I have written if considering getting hair extensions, go to a reputable Company and research research research, and please give your hair a rest in between refits, I have learnt that having the hair that I desired, has now left my hair in a much worse state than before I began my hair extension journey.

      Vicki. x

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 

      4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Useful information put simply and easy to understand. Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      Kesh King Ayurvedic Hair Oil, Shampoo & Capules is purely based on safe & harmless ayurvedic theory and Specifically used for deep nourishment of hair roots & scalp, checks loss of hair, stops premature of hair, Alopecia, Baldness, prevents from dandruff, sleeplessness & headache.There is no any side effect of Ayurvedic Keshking Products. Kesh King Products is 100% ayurvedic. Ayurveda is not only treatment but a way of life. It uses herbs, herbal-mineral combination, massage which has no any side effects. Moreover, Ayurveda gives you an in-depth knowledge of life and helps achieve - dharm, arth, kama, moksha. Ayurvedic Keshking Products is CGHS (Central Govt. Health Services) Approved Product. So, you can use it without any hesitation.for more information you may visit www.keshking.com.try it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      Kesh King Ayurvedic Hair Oil, Shampoo & Capules is purely based on safe & harmless ayurvedic theory and Specifically used for deep nourishment of hair roots & scalp, checks loss of hair, stops premature of hair, Alopecia, Baldness, prevents from dandruff, sleeplessness & headache.

      It's always a struggle to grow hair out long and healthy, while still using heat on your hair. Sometimes it seems impossible to be able to put down the straightener and curling iron. Keshking hair oil is best for long grow of hair, shining, maintain colour deep nourishment of hair roots & scalp, checks loss of hair, stops premature of hair, prevents from dandruff, whiteness, regrowth of hairs, sleeplessness & headache.

    • Gaby81 profile image

      Gaby81 

      5 years ago

      Hair extensions will damage your hair, yes. I had them, they looked nice, but my real hair couldn`t grow. I couldn`t comb my hair anymore. I went to my hairdresser and explained the situation. I didn`t want to cut them. So they combed my hair for 8 hour (2 days) and saved me from the mess.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 

      5 years ago from Burbank, CA

      Have you seen the 'halo' extension? Takes a minute to put in once you are used to it. And doesn't create any damage. Great for on camera talent to add length and fullness.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      This is an excellent review - it answered whatever questions on hair extensions you might have. I never even thought of them being potentially damaging to the hair. I doubt if I would ever try one - however the hair serum looks great as well as the silk wrap. But Tom I would love to see you in one of these hair extensions - and please post the photo! Great review, blessed.

    • profile image

      veldagtz 

      5 years ago

      I've never worn extensions, nice tips tom, thanks

    • Tom Maybrier profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Maybrier 

      5 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you very much!

    • Tom Maybrier profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom Maybrier 

      5 years ago

      @Pam Irie: Thanks for your comment. It's a go-to product for me!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I've never worn hair extensions, in fact I usually wear my hair super short. This is an excellent guide, though, and answers lots of questions. Great resource on a timely topic!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I've never worn hair extensions, but I do use the Paul Mitchell product you mentioned. It is an excellent hair product!

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