Fabulous Faux Hair: The Top 6 Ways to Care For Your Tape-in Extensions
Flawless. That’s how you want to feel in your tape-in hair extensions.
And why shouldn’t you? Tape-in hair extensions are the best of both worlds: permanent enough that you don’t have to attach them every morning, yet temporary enough to allow you to switch up your look every 4-6 weeks. On top of that, they don’t put too much strain on your scalp, are easy to install and remove, and give a more natural look and feel because of how close they lie to the head. What’s not to love?!
If you’ve splurged on high quality tape extensions and parted with your hard-earned money to have a skilled professional install them, then you want to make sure that it’s all worth it. This means that you have to put in some effort to take care of your hair extensions because they require more TLC than your natural hair.
Follow these tips to find out how to care for your tape-in hair extensions.
#1. Hands Off For The First 24 Hours
Tape-in hair extensions have sticky panels at the top of each extension. A section of your hair is usually wedged between two of these extensions (think sandwich), though single-sided tape extensions can be used for those with thin hair.
Top Tip: Don’t wash or brush your hair extensions for at least 24 hours after they are attached. This is to allow the adhesive on the extensions to properly set before you start manipulating your hair through brushing and styling.
#2.No Mess When You Go To Bed
In a perfect world, you can fall asleep without putting your hair up, and you’ll wake up with sexy bedhead waves à la Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. But in reality, that’s not often the case, especially if you have hair extensions.
Top Tip: Before going to bed, put your hair in a loose ponytail or braid. This helps to reduce the occurrence of tangles and knots. Investing in a silk or satin pillowcase will also go a long way in reducing tangles as well as helping to maintain your extensions’ shine and lustre.
#3. Keep On Brushing
One of the key ways to care for your tape-in extensions is by brushing your hair throughout the day. I’m talking about morning, at some point during the day, and at night before you secure your hair in a bun or braid for the night. It’s all about reducing the likelihood of matting or tangling.
Top Tip: Invest in a quality hair extension brush whose bristles have been designed to easily glide through hair without pulling on your roots and snagging on your extensions. Always start brushing your extensions from the ends and work your way up to the roots, taking the time to be gentle and detangle as you go along.
#4. Products Matter
Your tape-in extensions don’t get oil from your scalp the way your natural hair does. That’s why it’s essential to invest in a shampoo and conditioner that won’t strip them of their coating, making them dry and unmanageable.
Top Tip: Choose a specially made shampoo for hair extensions that is sulfate- and paraben-free. Sulfates and parabens are good at cleansing your hair, but they also strip away its natural oils. Investing in the right hair care products that get rid of any buildup and keep your scalp healthy while nourishing it from root to tip is an investment worth making. If you’re going to spend the money on getting high quality hair extensions because you want them to look natural and fabulous for as long as possible, then choose high quality products that will ensure they stay that way.
A lightweight, leave-in conditioning serum that does not weigh the hair down is a great way to keep your extensions moisturized in between washes.
#5. Change Up Your Wash Day Routine
Before you got hair extensions installed, your wash day routine probably looked something like this: jump into the shower, run shampoo through the hair, give the scalp a good rub, rinse, slap on some conditioner, rinse, and you’re done. Now that you have tape-ins, you need to switch up how you wash your hair.
Top Tip: While in the shower, take the time to gently massage the shampoo in between each tape-in extension. Lift each section to make sure it gets plenty of water and product. Rinse the same way – by lifting each extension under running water to make sure the shampoo is rinsed out.
Apply the conditioner from the mid-shaft towards the ends and not on your roots.
Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your wet extensions, starting from the ends and stopping just before you reach the bonds. Take your hair extension brush and slowly work your way from the tips to the roots. Gentleness is the name of the game.
#6. Use Heat Wisely
Just like with your natural hair, excessive heat can damage your extensions. That’s why you should always reach for the heat protectant and apply it to your hair before using a hot styling tool.
Top Tip: Allow your extensions to air dry for as long as you can wait before styling using heat.
Use a blow-dryer held inches above your head and on a medium heat setting to dry your roots.
As much as possible, keep direct heat away from the adhesive part of the extensions; otherwise, you risk loosening the bonds.
The ideal temperature for styling your extensions with a flat iron or curling wand is 365 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After washing your hair, wrap it up in a towel turban style to remove the excess water. Scrubbing your extensions dry with a towel will only damage them.
- Don’t use oil- or alcohol-based products near the tape part of the extensions because they can loosen the adhesive.
- If you work out a lot or find that your scalp is starting to look a little greasy, an alcohol-free dry shampoo is your friend.
- If one of your tape extensions gets loose before your removal appointment, don’t just yank it out of your hair. Apply olive oil to the section and massage it in. Gently pry apart the panels, adding more oil if necessary. Comb out the glue from your natural hair once you’ve completely removed the extension.
What not to do with tape in extensions
Don’t install them on your own: It’s crucial to have tape-in extensions applied by a professional hairstylist. Proper installation is essential to ensure they look natural and don’t damage your hair.
Avoid applying them to damaged or fragile hair: If your natural hair is weak or severely damaged, adding extensions can further stress it. Make sure your hair is in good condition before getting tape-in extensions.
Don’t use oil-based or heavy products near the tape: Oil-based products can weaken the adhesive, causing the extensions to slip or fall out. Use lightweight, oil-free hair products near the tape attachment areas.
Avoid hot styling tools near the tape: High heat can melt the adhesive, so be cautious with curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers near the tape attachment areas. Use heat protectant sprays and keep the heat at a safe distance.
Don’t sleep with wet hair: Wet hair can weaken the adhesive and lead to extension slippage. Make sure your hair is completely dry before going to bed.
Don’t tug or pull on the extensions: Avoid pulling or tugging on your extensions, especially when brushing or styling your hair. Use a wide-tooth comb or a special extension brush to gently detangle the hair.
Avoid excessive hair products near the tape: Overusing products like hairspray, mousse, or hair oils near the attachment points can cause the tape to become sticky or gunky, making maintenance more challenging.
Don’t neglect maintenance appointments: Tape-in extensions require regular maintenance appointments to reposition and tighten the tape as your natural hair grows. Skipping these appointments can lead to damage or extension slippage.
Avoid harsh chemicals: Be cautious when using hair dyes, bleaches, or other chemical treatments. The chemicals can weaken the adhesive and damage the extensions. If you need to color your hair, consult with your stylist who can advise you on the best approach.
Don’t overuse extensions: Wearing tape-in extensions for extended periods can put stress on your natural hair. It’s essential to take breaks between installations to allow your hair to rest and recover.
Avoid extreme hairstyles: Extremely tight updos, ponytails, or hairstyles that pull on the extensions can lead to damage or hair loss. Opt for gentler hairstyles that distribute tension evenly.
Don’t skip on proper care: Proper care and maintenance are key to keeping your tape-in extensions looking their best. Follow the care instructions provided by your stylist and use sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.
Don’t ignore signs of trouble: If you notice any discomfort, itching, or if your extensions feel loose or uncomfortable, consult your stylist immediately. Early intervention can prevent further issues.
Tape-in extensions are a great way to get that desired length and volume, but you have to be willing to put in the effort to keep them looking gorgeous. Develop a good hair routine, and you can get a whole year’s use out of your extensions before you need to replace them