Friday, July 2, 2010

Caring for your Extensions

Wouldn't it be nice if we all had hair like Rapunzel?  I don't know that I would have some man using it to climb up a tower, but yeah.  We don't and neither did she.  Granted, there are those people who are genetically gifted with thick, long and strong hair.  The rest of us?  Duh!  We buy it! There used to be a lot of shame and embarrassment surrounding "fake hair" but we got over it, and now, like false nails, hair is no exception.  Sure, there are many, many naysayers, but that's their opinion and sure their entitled but likewise you don't have to listen to them. 
Many people don't really know what their doing when they buy hair from what I've observed.  I'd like to give some suggestions and then follow up with some advice on caring for the hair.
First, make sure you have researched the type of hair you want to purchase.  Synthetic? Cheap, but looks like doll hair.  It's made from synthetic fibers, and isn't heat resistant *unless specified*  Synthetic hair holds its shape well, but there aren't many options, and don't expect to get months of wear from them, even with the best of care you will eventually have a tumbleweed.  It will matt, tangle and frizz up no matter how expensive the products you use are.  This leads me to the next point.  Do not waste money on expensive products if you have synthetic hair!  There was a lady bragging about how much she spent on her "synthetic wefts."  Sometimes you just have to let people feel they are all knowing.  I've been there so, I didn't fault her.  Too bad that Pureology had no chance of doing anything to that synthetic fiber.  She would have been better if she had washed her "purse dog" with that shit stuff.
Now, when you get to the human hair, you become a small fish in a huge pond. There are so many types of hair but the most common are: Indian Remi, Yaki, Virgin and Virgin Cuticle.  Depending on your own hair's texture it will determine what's most natural in terms of blending.  The good thing about human hair, is that you can customize it.  It can be permed, colored, relaxed, and flat ironed.  The best hair, in my opinion, is virgin cuticle.  This is hair that has not been treated at all.  You know when you donate hair and they don't want processed hair.  That's an example of virgin hair.  The cuticle intact helps to prevent frizz.  The unattached hair is good, but because it isn't aligned (same direction) it's more susceptible to tangling, which means shedding. 
How you care for your extensions should mirror how you take care of your healthy hair.  You will wash, condition, deep condition (microwave+plastic bag+deep conditioner+essential oil) and seal the hair shaft. 

(you too can have this hair)
Tips and Tricks:
  • Detangle the hair with a large tooth comb prior to washing.
  • Wash the hair ONLY when necessary (product buildup, dirt, sweat). 
  • Don't manipulate the hair when you wash it.  Use a basin and swish the hair around. 
  • Baking soda is a good method of cleaning extensions due to product buildup.
  • Never put the hair in the microwave longer than 30 second intervals.  Check before adding more time, and don't leave unattended (uh-oh!)
  • Use cold water to rinse your "hair" and let the water run in the same direction of the hair.  If possible, don't use hard water.
  • Moisture, Moisture, Moisture!  The hair is not attached to a scalp, so it won't get any oils, so whatever products you use, make sure there is adequate moisture or you will see the demarcation where your hair and the dry hot mess attached separates.  Not a pretty look, but it happens.
  • Air dry whenever possible.  Use a hanger, some clips or a hanger for slips/skirts and let the hair air dry.  If you plan to curl or straighten, this will be beneficial in ensuring less damage and split ends.
  • Don't buy hair just because the store clerk said "Everyone in Hollywood..." Secret?  It all from China, India, etc.  Some hair isn't even what it's sold as.  Try going to this forum.  This is grad school for extensions.  There isn't a trick, technique, brand of hair that they don't know about.  *Warning* Civilians must have thick skin here.  Lurk, learn, log off.
Remember, it's just hair, it doesn't define you, you wear the hair not the other way around.  Life is too short to think your hair is all you have.  Sure it sucks having alopecia, baby fine hair or just stagnant growth, but there's help and alternatives. Confidence is always beautiful!  

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