Washing and drying our hair can be a chore at the best of times; add hair extensions to the mix, and it becomes a military operation. When dry shampoo has done all it can do, and the only option left is washing, the following time-saving tips will help to make this process a lot less daunting. Whether you have Clip-Ins, Tapes, Nanos, Micro-Rings, or a Hair weft, you should know how to wash them correctly which in turn will reward you with happy, healthy hair that will last its full life span, and maybe even longer! In today's blog, we have explained the best products, methods, and tools to perfectly clean and dry your hair extensions, and all the things to avoid too.

1. How To Wash Clip In Hair Extensions? (back to index)

Clip-In human hair extensions include Multi-Piece Sets, One Piece Extensions, Ponytails and Fringe Clip-Ins. These types of temporary hair extensions should not be washed more than every 12-15 uses unless they have a lot of product build-up or have become very tangled. Over-washing your extensions could lead to dryness, dullness, and weakened seams which could mean you may need to replace them sooner. Never wash your Clip Ins whilst they are attached to your head, they should be fully removed beforehand.

Step 1. Brush Your Hair Extensions Before Washing

Every time you wash your extensions give them a good brush through first with an extensions-friendly hairbrush. This will prevent the hair from knotting whilst its being washed, and make it much easier to style and comb afterward. We recommend using the Cliphair Detangling Brush as the teeth glide smoothly over the seams of Clip-Ins without tugging at the threads or clips.

Step 2. Separate And Wet Your Hair Extensions

We advise against washing multi-piece sets all in one go, as the water and product may not penetrate through the thickness of the hair. Separate the hair into sections of 2-3 pieces before wetting down, this will ensure the water evenly coats the entire piece.

Step 3. Shampoo Your Hair Extensions

We recommend using only Sulfate & Alcohol-free shampoos on hair extensions for the best results. Sulfate & Alcohol are great at cleansing the hair but they also remove natural oils and nutrients which can leave the hair feeling dry and brittle. After the hair is thoroughly wet, gently smooth the shampoo over the pieces using your fingers to softly lather the hair, taking care not to vigorously rub as this can create knots.

Step 4. Rinse Your Hair Extensions Thoroughly

Rinse the shampoo off with warm water directed downwards towards the ends of the hair. Again, use smoothing actions to encourage the rinse instead of harsh rubbing movements that will tangle the hair.

Step 5. Condition Your Hair Extensions

When all the residue from the shampoo has been removed, lay the hair extensions on a clean, dry towel. Use the towel to lightly pat and squeeze the extensions removing any excess water that can dilute the strength of the conditioner. Apply your choice of a deep conditioning hair mask (we recommend Moroccan oil hydration mask) to the mid-lengths and ends and leave to absorb for 15-30 minutes.

Step 6. Rinse Out the Conditioner

Once again, rinse the conditioner out using lukewarm water directed downwards towards the ends of the hair. It’s especially important at this stage to rinse each piece separately; we advise doing this for at least 2 minutes to ensure the mask is fully removed, or it could leave the hair feeling greasy and heavy. Once the hair is clean, you can apply a final rinse of cold water to the hair which will close the cuticles and lock in the shine!

Step 7. Let Your Extensions Dry Naturally

The best way to dry clip-in extensions is to allow them to air dry - if you have the time. Squeeze the excess water out and either lay them on a clean, dry towel overnight or use a hair extension hanger. Brushing wet hair or hair extensions is a controversial subject as many professionals will advise not to, however, if the hair does feel tangled when wet, we would advise making an exception and gently brushing it through with your detangling brush in order to remove the knots before the hair dries. You can use a spritz of our Silky Moisture Spray which will act as a detangling product to aid in the brushing.

2. How To Wash Tape In Hair Extensions? (back to index)

Just like with Clip-Ins you should avoid over washing your Tape In Hair Extensions, 1-2 times per week is plenty to keep them hydrated and strong. Of course, if you feel the hair is becoming hard to manage or has product build-up, then you can make an exception and wash them sooner. However, your Tapes will last much longer the less you wash them. To keep your hair looking fresh in between washes, you can use dry shampoo to combat greasiness at the roots. To know more, check out our blog: “How to get rid of greasy hair last minute with 5 hair hacks”.

As Tape-In hair extensions are made of real human hair, and they are attached to your head, you can treat them almost like your own hair when it comes to washing - but there are a couple of changes that should be made.

  • Never wash your hair upside down over a bath or sink. This will cause major matting in the hair extensions, which could lead to damage to your own hair.
  • Only use Sulfate-free and alcohol-free products to wash. These ingredients are harmful to hair extensions, as they remove natural oils and dry the hair out.
  • Use a conditioner with every wash, and apply to the mid-lengths and ends of the hair. Avoid using it at the roots of your hair as this can loosen the tabs of your tapes, causing them to slip out or lose their adherence.
  • Always brush your hair thoroughly before washing, to avoid knots and matting.
  • Every 2-3 washes, you should use a deep conditioning hair mask on the ends of your hair to restore moisture and hydration. Leave the mask on for 20-30 minutes for maximum effect and rinse fully.

3. How To Wash Nano Hair Extensions? (back to index)

You can follow the same instructions for Nano Ring Hair Extensions as for Tape-Ins above, and these rules also apply to micro-rings and weaves. Don’t be afraid to wash around the bonds of your extensions with shampoo. It's vital to clean and rinse the roots properly to avoid any residue build-up, which could cause irritation or loose extensions.

If you have a full head of hair extensions applied, you may find it tricky to thoroughly rinse or clean your hair, especially if you are only washing once per week. Sulphate-free shampoos can sometimes take a while to produce a lather.

  • If you only wash once per week, make sure you are doing two shampoos to properly clean the hair.
  • If you struggle to create a lather (bubbles) during the shampoo, you can add a splash of water to the hair. This helps the shampoo to lather and spread around the hair.
  • Separate the hair when rinsing, to ensure you thoroughly remove all residue from the shampoo. You can do this by clipping the top section up whilst you rinse the underneath section around the nape.

4. FAQS: Best Way To Wash Hair Extensions (back to index)

Is It Better To Wash Hair Extensions With Hot Or Cold Water?

With both hair extensions and your own natural hair, it's always best to start with warm water, as this helps to open the hair cuticles, allowing the products to penetrate deeper into the hair. Once the shampoo and conditioning element of the wash is complete you can use cool water in the final rinse to close the cuticles, locking in moisture and shine.

Do Extensions Get Thicker After Washing?

As most hair extensions are coated with a special smoothing solution during manufacturing to prolong their shine and silkiness, after the first wash the hair does tend to feel thicker as this solution has been partially removed helping the hair to expand. Interestingly, its not uncommon for people to wash and dry their hair extensions before applying to remove this outer layer as they believe the hair is easier to manage and style. 

Should You Brush Hair Extensions When Wet?

Technically,all hair and hair extensions are more fragile when wet so its often advised to avoid brushing them until they are dry. However, if after you have washed the hair it feels extremely knotty or matted, we would recommend gently brushing the hair to remove the tangles. If the hair dries with matting it can make it even worse and harder to remove which can cause further damage or even discomfort if they are permanent extensions. Always use an extensions friendly detangling brush and hold the hair above the knots to reduce the tension on the extensions.

Can You Shower Everyday With Hair Extensions?

Yes! You don’t need to wash your hair each time you have a shower so you can shower as much as you like, simply clip your hair up securely and cover with a shower cap to protect it from steam and water. We recommend washing the hair 1-2 times per week unless it really needs doing in between, then 3 times maximum.

Can I Wash My Hair Extensions Just Water?

No, this will not clean the hair it as you have not used any shampoo or product to remove impurities. You should wash clip-ins with hair extensions friendly shampoo and conditioner every 12-15 uses for the best results.

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