Do Hair Extensions Damage Hair?
The most asked question at consultations? “Do hair extensions damage hair?” The truth is good hair extensions won’t damage your hair – but a bad application and/or poor aftercare will. At NuTress, we think hair extensions should be a want not a need, and we do everything we can to keep it that way.
In this blog, I’ll give you some pointers to help you avoid not just a bad set of hair extensions but in the most severe cases, permanent hair loss.
Why do hair extensions damage hair?
I trained to fit hair extensions 16 years ago. The technique, colour blending, etc were covered in detail, but preventing damage to the client’s natural hair wasn’t even mentioned. I soon noticed that while some of my client’s hair remained perfectly healthy, no change to the density or condition, others had horrible bald patches and hair loss, the root area would matt and the removal was difficult. But what was causing this? I knew it wasn’t the hair extensions – they were all applied in the same way. Seeing bald patches and damage made me wince. I had to fix it, but first I had to work out why it was happening.
What Did I Learn?
You’d think that after 16 years the hair extensions industry would’ve caught up; it would be doing more to look after the clients hair – it hasn’t. I went on two courses last year, neither mentioned how to prevent damage to natural hair. And while this blog won’t guarantee a good application, it might help you avoid a bad one.
How Do Hair Extensions Damage Hair?
There are lots of ways hair extensions could damage your hair but they fall into 4 categories –
- Applied too tight
- Too heavy
- Incorrect sections
- Not demonstrated
- Not followed up
- Not following aftercare
- Rough handling
- Wrong products/tools
- Too much tension
- Wrong products
- Time before safety
Go to a specialist salon. Did you know that most hair extensions courses are taught in a day? Or, even online? Students don’t need any previous hairdressing experience and they’ll never be checked up on again. Even the most amazing hairdressers can get hair extensions wrong, it’s a different skill. If you go to a specialist salon, at least you’ll have experience on your side.
Your consultation should be carried out by your extensionist, not a salesperson. Do they give off a positive vibe? The hair extensions industry is just like any other – heroes and zeros. Ask about training, look for their certificates. Just because someone does a job for decades, doesn’t mean they care about it. If they don’t build on their knowledge, your hair will suffer. You need an extensionist who loves their work, who looks for ways to improve their service and produces work they’re proud of.
A professional extensionist will ask about your health and lifestyle, not just about your hair aspirations. They’ll examine your hair and scalp to make sure hair extensions are safe for you. And, they’ll tell you about changes you need to make to your routine – you need to put effort into caring for hair extensions. If you’ve got very short/fine hair, they’ll be realistic. It’s easy to put lots of hair in but will you be able to cope? Will
This client didn’t know about the horrible damage to her hair. The specialist hair extensions salon she’d been visiting didn’t tell her. Her hair was in various stages of loss and regrowth. When her current set of extensions pulled her hair out, her extensionist would just move the new set to a recovering area. If this continued it could lead to permanent hair loss.
the hair extensions be too heavy for your natural hair? Will you be able to make it look good when you’re styling it yourself? A good extensionist won’t shy away from this.
Don’t be pressured into making an appointment. You need to think about what’s been discussed. You’ll be excited but take time to cool off, process what you’ve been told. Before you book in, a decent salon will encourage you to think about the changes you might need to make to your lifestyle. It’s better to be realistic and honest with yourself than to rush into an expensive mistake.
Being honest – nobody wants to hear they’ve got to put effort into something, but the truth is you’ll need to work at looking after your hair extensions. They take effort to maintain and you will need to develop new habits. If this isn’t made clear, it’s because the extensionist is more interested in the sale, or they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Looking after your hair extensions – you might need to change how often, and how you wash and style your hair, the products, and tools you use. The advice you get should be individual to you. Yes, some aftercare will apply to everyone but how often you wash your hair, how much product you use changes from person to person.
This client had been having regular curly blows at the salon that put her hair extensions in. She had no idea that her natural hair was being damaged, it wasn’t mentioned to her. The photo on the right shows her hair 6 months later. Her hair made a complete recovery while wearing our hair extensions. The photo was taken immediately after having a set removed.
Looking after your own hair – how do hair extensions damage natural hair? In one word, stress. It isn’t difficult to avoid, if you know what to do. You should be talked through the aftercare and have it demonstrated to you. You’ll never get it right if you’re only given a leaflet. If the aftercare is vague, it won’t stop you from making mistakes that could pull your hair out.
Did you know wearing micro rings in a high ponytail will damage your hair, but micro bonds won’t? Or that having your hair blown by a hairdresser just once could damage your hair? Your extensionist should know this, and be able to explain why.
It’s clear that hair extensions take effort but following the aftercare isn’t rocket science. The trick is to be mindful whenever you do ANYTHING with your hair. If you take a moment to think about what you’re doing whenever you handle your hair, over time it will become normal. This sounds easy enough but when you’re in the shower at 6am (or getting in at 6am), it’s easy to forget. You need to be consistent, follow the aftercare 100% of the time, not just when you remember.
If you’re being too rough, you’ll see your hair coming out right? Wrong.
You won’t notice you hair shed as much when you wear hair extensions. It’s still falling out but it’s caught in the bond/ring/weave. It’s the same for hair being pulled out by poor aftercare. You won’t know how damaged your hair is until your hair extensions are taken out. Be vigilant from the start. Don’t damage your hair before you make aftercare a priority.
Nicole couldn’t grow her own hair, she tried for years. She wore our hair extensions for 21 months and followed our aftercare advice. This helped her natural hair grown long and healthy.
Nicole had to remove her own hair extensions during lock down.
A good removal is just as important as a good application. It’s a skill that takes time to master. Extensions aren’t difficult to remove, but teasing out any knots or matted hair can be. An aggressive removal could break your hair, or worse still, pull it out by the roots. Your removal shouldn’t be painful. I’m not saying you won’t feel the occasional twinge, you will but the overall procedure shouldn’t be uncomfortable.
Good, well maintained hair extensions are easy to remove. If they aren’t, it could be that you need to be more attentive, your extensionist should point out what you need to change. They’re not tackling the problem if they don’t, either they don’t care, or they don’t know how.
Don’t remove your own hair extensions. I know it can be tempting when you’re on a budget, but you’ll end up paying with your hair in the long run. Maybe you take your own extensions out and haven’t been told there’s a problem? This doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Or perhaps your hair type makes the removal easy. There’s always the exception to the rule, just like not everyone who smokes gets ill….
Duty Of Care
A bad application and/or poor aftercare will damage your hair. They can even cause permanent hair loss. We think extensionists have a duty of care to look after your natural hair, not just your hair extensions. It’s outrageous but there are irresponsible salons who build up a loyal clientele because of how damaging their hair extensions are. That’s right. They damage their clients hair so badly they then need hair extensions to make their hair look presentable!
Don’t Ignore The Warning Signs
When you have your hair extensions applied, do they hurt your scalp? They shouldn’t, it means there’s too much tension. This tension will pull your hair out by the roots. If this goes on for a prolonged length of time, it can lead to permanent hair loss.
If your removal is painful, ask why? Your extensionist should be bringing any problems up first.
After having her hair extensions removed, this client was so delighted with the condition of her natural hair that she surprised us with a video on her YouTube channel.
When you have your hair extensions removed, ask your extensionist about the condition of your own hair, ask to see photographs of your scalp. Don’t feel awkward, a good extensionist will be happy to show you.
Want to learn more about what makes our hair extensions different from any other salons?
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What Next? Call Us On 01612582015 To Arrange Your Free Consultation.
We can discuss your concerns and the options available. We can apply a few free test hair extensions so you can make sure they’re right for you before booking an appointment.