Image of the back of a blonde girl's head with fresh hair extensions. Taken from Pexels

May 02, 2024

Are extensions as bad as the web says they are? Not if you avoid these mistakes 

You've finally taken the plunge and invested in those dreamy hair extensions you've been lusting after. As you begin on your journey to hair heaven, there's one question looming large in your mind—do hair extensions damage your hair? From horror stories of ripped-out locks to the allure of glamorous mane transformations, the world of hair extensions can be a confusing hair maze to navigate. But fear not! We're here to debunk these myths, uncover the truth, and arm you with the knowledge to rock your extensions like a pro, without sacrificing the health of your natural locks.

We've all heard the age-old warnings— “don't get extensions, it'll ruin your hair.” But is that really the case, or is it just an old wives' tale waiting to be proven wrong? The internet is rife with horror stories and cautionary tales, painting a grim picture of hair extension disasters waiting to happen. But are these tales truly reflective of reality, or is there more to the story? Let’s go on a journey to uncover the truth about hair extension damage and discover the 5 mistakes you must avoid at all costs.

Are extensions really as bad as the big bad web says they are? Not if you arm yourself with the right knowledge and know-how. So, grab a seat, buckle up, and get ready to separate fact from fiction. After this, we know you'll be equipped with the tools you need to steer through the world of hair extensions (and the haters) with confidence and grace. Because really, if you’re doing it right, then you can’t go wrong. 


The types of hair extensions

In order to get the full overview of extensions, you need to know what you’re dealing with. From clip-ins to tape-ins and everything in between, there's a wide array of options to choose from. But with each type of extension comes a unique set of pros and cons, as well as potential effects on your natural locks. Let’s take a walk down the hall of extensions and see the most common types of hair extensions and how they can impact the health of your hair. 


Clip-in extensions

What they are: Clip-in extensions are the most versatile option, allowing you to easily add length and volume to your hair in minutes.

How they work: These extensions feature clips that attach to your natural hair, providing a temporary boost in length and volume.

Impact on hair health: Clip-in extensions are generally considered to be the least damaging option since they can be easily removed and don't require any adhesive or heat. It's like adding a sprinkle of magic to your mane without the fuss!


Tape-in extensions

What they are: Tape-in extensions are semi-permanent extensions that are pre-taped and then sandwiched between sections of your natural hair.

How they work: A hairstylist applies the extensions using a special adhesive, creating a seamless blend with your natural hair.

Impact on hair health: While tape-in extensions can offer a more natural look and feel, improper application or removal can lead to damage, including breakage and thinning. It's like finding the perfect balance between glam and grace—just make sure to tread carefully!


Weave extensions

What they are: Sew-in or weave extensions involve braiding sections of your natural hair and then sewing the extensions onto the braids.

How they work: This method provides a secure attachment but can put tension on the hair follicles, potentially leading to breakage and hair loss.

Impact on hair health: Sew-in extensions can be damaging if not installed and maintained properly, as the weight of the extensions can pull on the roots of your natural hair. Think of it as a tightrope walk—balance is key to keeping your tresses in tiptop shape!


Microbead or micro loop extensions

What they are: Microbead or micro loop extensions involve attaching small sections of hair using tiny beads or loops that are virtually seamless. 

How they work: A hairstylist uses a special tool to thread the natural hair through the bead or loop and then secures the extension in place.

Impact on hair health: While microbead extensions offer a more natural look and feel, improper installation or tightening can cause breakage and damage to the natural hair. It's like threading delicate pearls through your strands—precision is key to maintaining your hair's integrity!


Fusion or bonded extensions

What they are: Fusion or bonded extensions involve attaching small sections of hair using a keratin bond or adhesive.

How they work: A hairstylist uses heat to melt the keratin bond and attach the extension to the natural hair.

Impact on hair health: Fusion extensions can be damaging if not applied or removed correctly, as the heat and chemicals involved can weaken the natural hair. It's like a delicate dance between science and art—only with the right moves can you ensure your hair stays strong and healthy!

Each type of hair extension has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so it's really important to weigh your options carefully and choose the method that best suits your hair type, lifestyle, and desired look. In addition to that, proper installation, maintenance, and removal are the main kicker to minimizing damage and keeping your natural hair healthy and strong.


The risks and pitfalls of hair extensions—5 mistakes to avoid

So, you've decided to level up your mane game with some killer hair extensions—major hair flip moment, right? But hold up, before you dive headfirst into that pool of luscious locks, let's talk about the potential pitfalls that could turn your dreamy hair journey into a living nightmare.


1) Skipping a consultation with a professional

The mistake: Picture this: you're scrolling through Instagram, swooning over those envy-inducing hair transformations, and you think, "I want that!" But before you rush to order extensions online, pause for a sec. Skipping a chat with a pro stylist could lead to a hair horror story instead of a fairytale ending.

Why it's a no-no: Every head of hair is as unique as you are. What works for your BFF may not work for you. A pro stylist can assess your hair's vibe—think texture, thickness, and overall health—and recommend the extension method that'll slay without causing a hair-raising disaster.


2) Choosing the wrong extension type

The mistake: We get it—those silky, mermaid-like locks on Pinterest are straight-up goals. But before you hit "buy now" on the first extensions that catch your eye, let's talk reality check.

Why it's a no-no: Your natural hair has its vibe, and extensions should vibe with it, not fight it. Opting for extensions solely based on looks without considering factors like length, texture, and thickness is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Spoiler alert: it won't end well.


3) Neglecting proper maintenance and care

The mistake: Life's busy, and who has time for a full-on hair care routine, right? Wrong. Ignoring the TLC your extensions need is a recipe for disaster. If you’re going to invest in extensions, you NEED to do it right, and it all starts with maintenance. 

Why it's a no-no: Your extensions might not grow from your scalp, but they still need love to stay fabulous. Skipping out on maintenance like regular brushing, using the wrong products, or forgetting to show them some hydration love can turn those luscious locks into a tangled mess faster than you can say "bad hair day."


4) Overdoing heat styling

The mistake: We all love a good hair straightening or curling sesh, but there's a fine line between fabulous and fried. Just like your natural hair doesn’t like the heat, your new extended ones are far less partial. Trust us.

Why it's a no-no: Excessive heat styling isn't just a mood killer—it's a hair killer, too. Your extensions might be made of high-quality hair, but too much heat can turn them from runway-ready to straw-like in no time. Remember, less is more when it comes to heat styling, babe.


5) Ignoring signs of damage or discomfort

The mistake: So, your scalp's feeling a little itchy, or you're shedding more hair than a cat in summer. No biggie, right? Wrong again.

Why it's a no-no: Your hair and scalp are like the canaries in the coal mine—they're your early warning system for hair extension disasters. Ignoring signs of damage or discomfort is like driving with the "check engine" light on—it's only a matter of time before things go downhill fast.

And hey, let's not forget about tape-in extensions. These babies can be a game-changer, but washing your hair too soon after installation or neglecting aftercare instructions is a one-way ticket to extension meltdown town. So, play it cool, follow the rules, and keep those extensions free from the negative press of the internet. You can do it. 

Hair extension maintenance is your new best friend

So, you did it! You've taken the dive and adorned yourself with the mane of your dreams. But as any savvy hair enthusiast knows, the key to long-lasting hair extension love lies in the art of maintenance. Buckle up, because we're about to spill the tea on how to keep those locks looking flawless and your natural hair thriving from the inside out.


Regular brushing and detangling

Why it matters: Just like your natural locks, extensions can get tangled and unruly if left unattended. Incorporate regular brushing into your routine using a specialized extension-friendly brush to gently detangle knots and prevent matting.

Pro tip: Start from the ends and work your way up to the roots to minimize breakage and tension on the bonds.


Gentle washing and conditioning

Why it matters: Clean hair is happy hair, but when it comes to extensions, less is more. Opt for sulfate-free shampoos and lightweight conditioners to cleanse and hydrate without weighing down your locks.

Pro tip: Avoid rubbing or scrubbing vigorously. Instead, gently massage the products into your hair and rinse thoroughly to remove any residue.


Mindful styling techniques

Why it matters: Heat styling can be a double-edged sword, offering endless styling possibilities while posing the risk of damage. Keep your heat tools on a low to medium heat setting and always use a heat protectant spray to shield your extensions from heat damage.

Pro tip: Experiment with heatless styling methods like braids, twists, or air-drying to give your extensions a break from the heat.


Protective hairstyles during sleep

Why it matters: Tossing and turning in your sleep can lead to tangling and friction, potentially causing damage to your extensions and natural hair. Opt for silk or satin pillowcases and consider tying your hair in a loose braid or bun to minimize friction while you catch those Zs.

Pro tip: Invest in a silk or satin sleep cap or bonnet for added protection, especially if you're a restless sleeper.


Regular maintenance appointments

Why it matters: Just like your car needs regular tune-ups, your extensions require occasional maintenance to keep them in top shape. Schedule regular appointments with your stylist for adjustments, repositioning, or removal as needed.

Pro tip: Don't skip those maintenance appointments, even if your extensions are still looking fabulous. Prevention is key to avoiding potential issues down the road.

By adding these maintenance tips into your hair care routine, you can ensure that your extensions stay fabulously flawless and your natural hair remains healthy and happy. Just remember, a little TLC goes a long way when it comes to keeping those locks looking runway-ready. So, grab your brush and get self-caring your night away. Girls’ night pamper session? It’s on. 


Hair care is self care—and your extensions need it 

It's clear that while the allure of long, luscious locks is irresistible, you’ve got to tread carefully to avoid potential pitfalls. Hopefully with some handy tips on caring for your mane, along with our 5 mistakes you must avoid at all costs, you've gained valuable insights that will guide you on your hair transformation journey.

Hair extensions are not just about enhancing your outer beauty, though—they're about boosting your confidence, expressing your individuality, and embracing your unique style. By prioritizing the health and integrity of your natural hair, you can ensure that your extensions enhance your look without causing harm. Talk about high maintenance?

So, whether you're a clip-in connoisseur or a tape-in trailblazer, take the time to care for your extensions with love and attention that it really needs. Do hair extensions damage your hair? Not on our watch! Stick to the rules, and you’ll be a walking myth buster just by looking at your luscious locks. Go girl!