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 giving your hair extensions a proper wash, the following time-saving tips will help to make this process a lot less daunting. Whether you have Clip-Ins, Tapes, Nanos, or a Hair weft, you should know how to wash hair extensions 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 shampoos for hair extensions, how to wash clip in hair extensions, and answered some other common questions such as: how do you wash your hair with extensions?

How To Wash Hair Extensions?

Washing hair extensions may sound more complicated than it actually is. First of all – what type of extensions are you wearing? Washing professional hair extensions and washing clip ins follow two quite different procedures. Although I’ll cover how to wash clip in hair extensions briefly in this blog, if you’d like to read more in detail about it I recommend checking out this post: How-To Wash Clip In Hair Extensions – Step By Step


Washing permanent hair extensions starts in a different way. Obviously, as you can’t detach the extensions from your hair, you will have to wash them together with your natural tresses. Over-washing your extensions could lead to dryness, dullness, and weakened attachments – which could lead to premature slip-offs.

Can You Wash Your Hair With Hair Extensions?

Absolutely, wearing professional hair extensions won’t stop you from washing your hair – can you imagine if that was the case? After all, some of these solutions such as flat tip hair extensions can stay in your hair for up to three months before being refitted. And nobody would ever expect you to skip your washing day for that long… Here’s how to hair with extensions, step by step.

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 it's 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 beads, tapes, and attachments with no damage.

Step 2. Wet Your Hair And Extensions

Time to step in the shower – get your hair thoroughly wet. I personally recommend using a water filter to avoid drying your hair extensions out, as hard water can be very damaging to human hair. I have talked more in detail about this in our dedicated post: How Does Water Affect Your Hair & Hair Extensions?.

Step 3. Shampoo Your Hair Extensions

We recommend using only sulfate-free and alcohol-free shampoos on hair extensions for the best results. Sulfates and alcohol are great at cleansing the hair but they also strip the natural oils and nutrients which can leave your tresses feeling dry and brittle. After the hair is thoroughly wet, gently smooth the shampoo over your hair and extensions, using your fingers to softly lather. Don’t rub too vigorously as this can lead to knotting, and could possibly damage the attachments of your hair extensions. And absolutely no pulling or tugging!

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, gently pat and squeeze your hair and extensions, removing any excess water that can dilute the strength of the conditioner. Follow up with your conditioner, applying it on the mid-lenghts and roots. Never apply conditioners or hair masks on your roots to avoid any hair extensions prematurely slipping off – and to avoid greasy, weighed-down hair. Leave your conditioner on for as long as recommended on the bottle!

Step 6. Rinse Out The Conditioner

Once again, rinse the conditioner out using lukewarm water directed downwards towards the ends of the hair. Rinse thoroughly to get rid of any potential residues: we advise doing this for at least 2 minutes to ensure the conditioner 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. Apply A Deep Conditioning Mask

This is recommended only once every one or two weeks – depending on how parched your hair is. A deep conditioning mask can help maintain your hair and Remy hair extensions soft and manageable, moisturised, and healthy. Just like conditioner, a hair mask is applied on mid-lengths and ends on your tresses (unless specified differently on the packaging) although most hair masks will require a longer leave-in timing (usually around 15-20 minutes).

Step 8. Let Your Extensions Dry Naturally

The best way to dry Remy hair extensions is to allow them to air dry - if you have the time. Squeeze the excess water out and let them air-dry during the day. If you’re washing your hair before going to bed, however, keep in mind that you should never sleep with wet hair extensions – it could lead to knots, matting, or worse: mould! 


Before going to bed, make sure your hair and extensions are completely dry, and secure your tresses in a protective hairstyle to avoid tangling, tugging and pulling during your sleep. You can find some inspiration for your protective hairdos in this blog: 10 Protective Hairstyles For Sleeping (Straight To Loose Curls Edition).


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 or a wide-toothed comb 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.

How To Wash Tape In Hair Extensions?

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, following the steps described above - 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.


Just like for every other type of human hair extensions, 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.

How To Wash Nano Hair Extensions?

You can follow the same instructions for Nano Ring Hair Extensions and Nano Bond Hair Extensions as for Tape-Ins above. 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.

Best Way To Wash Hair Extensions 

Finding the best way to wash hair extensions starts by identifying what type of extensions you’re wearing. Tape in hair extensions for example, can’t be washed upside down – you’re going to have to step into your shower fully.


Nano ring hair extensions, (the updated technology of micro-ring hair extensions) and weaves, can be washed just like you would do with your natural hair.

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, it's 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 it's 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. You can use a leave-in conditioner to ease this process, helping your detangling brush or wide-toothed comb to seamlessly glide through your strands. 


If the hair dries with matting, brushing it with the wrong type of brush (i.e. round brush or paddle brush) can make it even worse and harder to remove which can cause further damage or even discomfort, especially in the case of permanent hair 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.


To combat greasiness in between washes, you can use dry shampoo to give your mane that freshened-up, voluminous look. Not sure about how to use dry shampoo? Check out this post: How To Use Dry Shampoo: A Beginners Guide.

Can I Wash My Hair Extensions Just Water?

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

Best Shampoo For Hair Extensions

If you’re looking for a shampoo for hair extensions, here’s some of my personal favourites:

Olaplex N*4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Olaplex Bond Perfector's patented formula works to repair and maintain the disulfide bonds in your hair, for tresses that always feel elastic, healthy, and manageable. Ensuring shine and softness from the first use, this deluxe product works wonders on hair and hair extensions that feel dry, brittle, and in need of some good old TLC. I personally used it when my hair had undergone a serious bleach job, and Olaplex saved my mane restoring its former glory!

Ouai Shampoo For Medium Hair

A gentle, detoxifying hair recipe that kindly cleanses your scalp whilst taking care of your tresses: Ouai Shampoo For Medium Hair! Perfect for keeping frizz at bay, this shampoo is my all-time favourite. Using a fusion of hydrolyzed keratin to replenish the proteic balance of your hair, and enriched with kumquat extracts and coconut oils for moisture and softness, Ouai’s signature shampoo is the gift that keeps on giving. Also available in different recipes for fine and thick hair.

Kérastase’s Specifique Dermo-Calm Bain Vital Shampoo

Again, for those whose hair feels a little dry and in need of a revitalising pick-me-up, Kerastase is the place to go. This premium salon-quality shampoo works to repair your hair while creating a protective film without silicones. Enriched with glycerin, this formula is hypoallergenic – this one’s for you, sensitive-skinned beauties! – and infused with Calophyllum oil and menthol extracts, providing a freshening, invigorating and soothing sensation to irritated and itchy scalps.

Conclusion:

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Thank you for reading our blog! We hope you enjoyed this article – if you liked what you’ve read, share this with your friends and follow us on our Social Media channels to keep up with the latest trends, tips, guides, and more!

Interested In Hair Extensions? Shop The Best Sellers…

For our full range of Hair Extensions including Clip-Ins, Ponytails, Permanent and Many more with over 60 shades to choose from head to our main page. Including our best selling Seamless, Tape In Hair Extensions, and One Piece Hair Extensions.