Mane maintenance: hair extension aftercare
27th Mar 2023
The right hair extension aftercare is crucial following an extension service to keep clients coming back. Here’s the long and short of it...
Not giving your clients a hair extension
aftercare routine is the equivalent of giving someone a car, but not providing the key. “When it comes to a technical product like hair extensions, stylists need to be fully educated in delivering a thorough consultation, booking in maintenance appointments and giving them the correct extension aftercare routine,” stresses Simon Stainton, Zen UK Lead Trainer. It’s time to educate yourself so you can confidently answer any questions they may have about their new locks, and ensure they leave the salon feeling satisfied.
Understanding Your Client
Carrying out a consultation prior to extensions being fitted is key to making sure a client’s experience is a positive one, particularly when they are getting extensions for the first time. “Yes, hair extensions are a great way of adding volume, colour, creating texture and adding length, however what professionals must consider is, are extensions suitable for the client? Can you match their colour and texture, and will they be able to maintain them at home?” says Fay Flanagan, Balmain Hair Couture Educator. Simon adds: “At Zen the consultation covers areas from the client’s commitments to their haircare routines, strand and tensile testing and hair analysis, to their hair colour history, lifestyle and previous extension wearing experience. From there, extensionists should outline the importance of maintenance appointments, covering how often they should be performed and exactly how much they will cost.” Without an understanding of the long-term cost of hair extensions, clients can end up biting off more than they can chew – and have a negative experience with extensions.
It’s essential to know the difference between the maintenance requirements for tape extensions and bonds. Kirby Blythe, Great Lengths Educator explains: “I advise that bonds themselves are brushed over twice a day to avoid hair becoming wrapped, which can lead to knotting. I also encourage clients to run their fingers through the bonds to ensure there are no tangles.” When it comes to tapes, Kirby advises regular appointments. “All tapes must be removed and re-applied by a technician every six to eight weeks, depending on the client’s hair,” she says. “However, if the tapes are properly cared for, they can be re-used up to three times, meaning that you’ll get the same length of wear as with bonds.” Kirby adds that recommending extension clients visit the salon for cuts and colours also gives her the opportunity to offer advice as needed.
Always maintain contact with your client in-between extensions fittings. Asya Cannur, Remi Cachet Super Stylist goes the extra mile by putting her aftercare and maintenance recommendations online where her clients can easily access them: “I like putting advice on my Instagram because it’s a good reminder for my clients. I have built up a relationship with them, so they trust my recommendations and the brands I am passionate about.” Ceira Lambert, Extension Specialist and Head of Education at Gold Fever, explains that regular appointments every five to six weeks after initial application are key. “Review proper aftercare techniques with your client, and ensure they’re using the correct hair extension brush,” Ceira explains. Look for a specially designed brush made for hair extensions that will prevent tugging - Ceira recommends using the Gold Fever Hair Extension Brush to maintain the health and longevity of your extensions. Most hair extensions can be re-used so it pays to keep them in good shape, and this also extends to a client’s night-time routine. “I would tell clients to sleep in a silk or satin bonnet/ scarf or try tying their hair in a loose ponytail before bedtime to ensure the hair is free from getting tangled and knotted,” says Samelle Atakorah, founder at Palais Beauty, an extensions and lace wigs range stocked at Pak Cosmetics. Emily Bowden, Brand Manager for Rapture Hair Extensions, adds: “The hair itself can last up to nine months so you can retape and use the hair again and again.” All this ensures clients get the most out of their investment.
Paying attention to the products clients use on their extensions is an essential part of the extension aftercare process. “Clients should always use a sulphate and silicone free shampoo and conditioner and avoid chlorine and saltwater as well as products containing alcohol,” advises
Charlotte Quinn, Co-Founder of North Professional Hair. Conditioners or conditioning treatments should be applied to the mid-lengths and ends of clients’ hair and not the bond itself. Inanch Emir, at Inanch London explains: “Applying any treatment on the bonds themselves will cause them to deteriorate.” This also provides an added benefit for clients who want to achieve voluminous tresses. “The excess oils will put strain on your client’s hair and cause it to look limp and flat, not to mention the risk of extensions slipping from the bonds,” says Ola Goldsmith, Entrepreneur and Owner of the Hair Extension Group.
The Nuneaton-based salon owner also recommends keeping hair washing to a minimum, and washing just once or twice a week using suitable products. Beyond recommending what products clients use on their extensions, it is also important to consider styling tools and how clients are using them. Ceira explains that clients can style their hair as they normally would with heat tools, so long as they avoid the bonds, adding, “Their extensionist should show them how to use these tools correctly during their aftercare appointment.” Fay Flanagan goes on to say: “When using any heated tool on extensions, using heat protection is a must!”
A Good Goodbye
Using the correct products and styling tools is fundamental, but equally important is the use of professional tools for application, maintenance and removal. Chris King, Managing Director at Hair Made Easi, explains: “Using the correct tools will not only prolong the lifespan of the client’s hair extensions, but also protects the integrity of their natural hair. As tool designers and manufacturers, we understand and focus on the needs of extensionists and their clients.
Poor application and removal using inferior quality tools and products can damage the attachment area of extensions, shorten the wear time, and put undue stress on the client’s hair and result in damage.”
When it comes to removing extensions, it's not just about how they look or whether the tapes or rings are visible, and you should keep a close eye on your client. “Extensions that have been left in too long can cause, knotting, breakage and weakness, as well as being visible in the hair,” says Fay. “The frequency at which clients should have their hair extensions removed depends on their natural hair shedding rate as well as the growth rate. Some people shed more hair than others, and some people’s hair may grow faster or slower than others,” advises Ceira, explaining that the benefit of regular maintenance appointments is the opportunity to assess the client’s natural shedding and growth rate. This also allows the extentionist to provide guidance on when to remove the client's extensions, she adds: “Some people may be able to go as little as three months before needing removal, while others can wear them as long as six months.”
“As long as clients are adhering to aftercare guidelines and maintenance appointments they can enjoy the full benefit of having extensions fitted and refitted again and again,” says Lawrence Taylor, Head of Education at Racoon International. Although hair extensions do require regular maintenance and aftercare, arming your clients with the right information will lead to satisfied clients who will return again and again.