The 5 Worst Things You Can Do to Extensions

Female take care of hair. Young woman brush long hair with comb style and take care of hairstyle.

Getting tape-in hair extensions is a commitment. You invest in the hair itself and in the installation. Why would you not invest your time and energy into how you treat them once they’re installed? There are a lot of ways you can go wrong with the way you care for your extensions. Luckily, once you learn and get used to the right ways to do things it’s very easy to do a great job caring for your extensions. Here, we’ll let you know five of the worst things you can do to your extensions and teach you what you should be doing instead.

Mistake #1

Washing your hair too soon, too often, too vigorously, or not soon enough after exposure to salt or chlorine. 

Instead: Wait 48 hours after install, only wash twice a week, avoid wefts when washing, wash gently, and wash immediately after exposure to salt or chlorine.

When washing your extensions you need to take extra care to ensure you don’t damage the extensions or make the tape slip. Always wait at least 48 hours after install to wash your hair. This allows time for the tape to cure and become as strong as it needs to be to get the hold times you’re looking for. After those 48 hours, it’s still ideal to wash your hair no more than two times a week. This will help to increase your hold times and retain moisture. When washing, do not scrub the wefts, avoid them. Wash your hair gently by working shampoo into your scalp while avoiding the tape and then working the shampoo from the middle to the ends of your hair. When conditioning, skip the scalp and condition below the wefts. If you’ve exposed your hair to chlorine or the ocean, wash it immediately to ensure the chemicals or salt don’t have time to mess with the adhesive. Better still, wear a swim cap or avoid getting your hair wet when swimming.

Mistake #2

Using a towel improperly to dry your hair or drying your hair with heat.

Instead: Gently pat your hair dry with a towel and let your hair air dry.

With proper care, the hair on our heads is constantly rejuvenating itself. Our hair extensions don’t have the same abilities, meaning we need to take extra care of them to ensure they last as long as possible. Using heat to dry extensions removes excess moisture and causes the hair to become dry and brittle much faster. To dry your extensions, do not wrap your head in a towel and do not flip your hair upside down. You’ll also want to avoid squeezing or pulling your hair. Instead, use a towel to gently pat your hair dry from the bottom up and work with your fingers to gently reduce tangles and allow your hair to air dry.

Mistake #3

Brushing your hair like you did before extensions.

Instead: Use a wide toothed comb, hold your hair just under the tape, and brush from the bottom up.

When you have extensions you can’t just brush your hair the same way you have in the past. You need to take extra care to avoid pulling on your tape. To brush your hair with tape-ins, make sure your hair is completely dry. Your hair is the weakest when it’s wet so pulling on it or pulling a brush through it can do the most damage when it’s wet. We suggest using a wide toothed comb to brush your hair. Hold your hair just under the tape to ensure that you’re not pulling on the tape itself. Then, start brushing at the bottom of your hair and work your way up.

Mistake #4

Not protecting your extensions.

Instead: Protect them when swimming, sleeping, exercising, and storing. See below to find out how.

Because your extensions can’t bounce back like the hair on your head, you need to take extra care to protect them beyond even what we’ve discussed so far. When swimming, a swim cap is your best option for protecting your extensions. When exercising, a higher ponytail will do the best job of protecting your hair from sweat and oils. When sleeping, a low braid or ponytail will protect your hair from excess friction. When your extensions are not on your head, protect them by storing them correctly. To store your extensions after they’re removed, gently wash, air dry and detangle them. Then, store them flat in an airtight container in which the extensions don’t need to be bent or crumpled.

Mistake #5

Leaving your extensions in longer than you should.

Instead: Always see your stylist within six weeks of install.

No extensions can last forever. As your hair grows, the tape stays in the same place on the hair, meaning it slowly moves down from your scalp. By the time your extensions have been in for six weeks, the tape starts to breakdown, making it harder to remove. If they’ve stayed in for eight weeks or longer, the tape no longer sticks to the hair, but sticks to the other piece of tape. That means that after you remove the extension the tape will be left in the hair and will take much longer to remove. If you’re thinking that leaving your extensions in longer will save you time or money, you are very wrong. In fact, it will most likely do the opposite. You will end up spending more time in the chair to fix the problem. That also means you’ll be paying your stylist extra money for the all of the time they’re spending solving the problem while trying to keep your hair and extensions in good shape.

Bonus Tip: Most importantly, listen to your stylist!

This is the MOST important advice you will ever hear for your hair extensions. Remember, your stylist is a professional. They know what products they’re working with and have experience with the specific products they use. This means they are the most qualified to let you know how your specific extensions with the specific adhesive and preparation products they used should be taken care of.

Check out the rest of our blog to get even more in-depth information, product spotlights, and tips for your business.

Are you a stylist? What tips and tricks do you make sure your clients know before they head off with their freshly installed extensions? Let us know on our Facebook page.


  1. Ann brubaker on July 2, 2020 at 6:51 am

    I like the beachy natural wave of my hair and tape in extensions. First week having them in. What I’ve read says to brush them daily or twice daily. This totally messes up the look I like. Is it really necessary to brush that often?

    • Emily Nikolaisen on July 2, 2020 at 8:57 am

      Hi Ann! We recommend consulting your stylist about a brushing regimen. They can help you decide the best approach for keeping your natural wave, as well as keeping your extensions neat and tangle free. If you need help finding a stylist, try our Find A Salon/Distributor resource. Thank you!

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