Our expert, Dafina Nya Smith of Sunny’s Hair & Wigs in Atlanta is back to answer another reader’s question.
Question: I’ve been told that human hair can last up to 16 months if taken care of properly. Do you have any tips on how to extend the life of your weave or wig?
Good hair on average can last 16 months and even longer, but it really requires thinking of your hair as something fragile and delicate. I notice a lot of women feel that because they paid a lot of money for their extensions, that gives them license to abuse the hair daily with heat, cheap products and a heavy hand.
Here are my top tips to long-lasting hair extensions:
- Purchase Virgin Hair when you can. If you want to color the hair use Low Ammonia or Ammonia Free hair dyes and take the time to delicately process the color over time if you want to go lighter. This will ensure that the hair was not comprised while being processed overseas with harsher dyes and chemicals than we use here in the U.S.
- DO NOT CUT THE TRACK! This is the most important step in being able to reuse your hair. If you can, ask your stylist to fold over the tracks of the hair when the hair is being sewn in. When the stylist reaches the crown area they can cut the final tracks so your weave appears to be flat. This will prevent shedding from the seams where the stylist cuts the track. Imagine having a silk dress with a lot of loose seams… overtime it will look a mess!
- IF you must cut the track, use a weft re-enforcer which is essentially a flexible lightweight adhesive that you can apply to the weft only. Allow the hair to air dry overnight. This will ensure that there will be absolutely no shedding. Most brands including Sunny’s Indian Hair already comes reinforced at the weft but you should still reinforce the edges where you cut each track.
- Use a sulfate-free shampoo to wash your extensions. This will ensure that the detergents from the shampoo don’t strip the hair of the natural humectants it requires for longevity.
- Use a lightweight conditioner and skip using oil or heavy leave-in conditioners on your hair extensions. The hair is naturally balanced for moisture and often times when you use products designed for natural or dry hair it overwhelms and weighs down Indian Hair.
- Use a heat protectant when using heat. Try to embrace the hair’s natural texture and wear it wavy or curly occasionally to put less heat damage on the hair.
- At night style your hair so that you don’t need heat the following day. If you like straight hair, wrap it! If you like curly hair, twist it or pineapple your curls. If you are like me and like effortless natural wavy hair, invest in flexi rods and wrap your extensions around one or two of them. Sleep on satin pillowcase every night!
Sunny’s Hair & Wigs has provided hair extensions and wigs for feature film productions such as Flight, The Hunger Games, Drop Dead Diva and a whole bevy of television and reality TV projects.