So you took the plunge and you’re rocking a gorgeous set of hair extensions. Here’s a list of tips on how to care for them along with the best extension-safe products that will keep your new locks healthy and beautiful.

One of the most important things to know about maintaining extensions with keratin bonds is that you can only use products that do not contain sulfates or PABAs because those ingredients can damage the integrity of the bonds. Here’s my list of the best extension-safe hair products along with expert-approved care and styling tips.

Shower Necessities

When I got my extensions at RPZL I was given their signature “Keep Your Gorgeous Thing Going” fact sheet filled with all the dos and don’ts of hair extensions.  The one that stood out to me the most was that you are not supposed to put conditioner anywhere near your extension’s bonds. You can absolutely condition the ends of your hair, but stay away from the keratin bonds!

According to RPZL, when it comes to shampoo, “Tresses are a lather-free zone”. Once you have shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates or PABAs, you should give your scalp and bonds a nice massage to cleanse hair of all dirt or product residue before conditioning. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly before you hop out of the shower to ensure your hair, scalp, and bonds are squeaky clean.

Best Extension-Safe Hair Styling

1. R+Co Moon Shine Shampoo, $24

There’s nothing better than long, shiny locks and since R+Cos products are formulated without sulfates or PABAs you can give your extensions a nice gentle scrub with their Moon Shine shampoo to remove impurities and lock in shine. I’m continually impressed each time I use it because frankly — I didn’t know my real hair or extensions could be so shiny. Well done, R+Co!

2. Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque, $62

This luxe Gold Masque by Oribe provides hair with a high dose of nourishment. I like to use it at least once a week to repair any damage styling may have caused. As mentioned above when it comes to conditioner, only apply to the ends of your hair and delicately to your real hair at the top of your head. If I’m planning on leaving the masque in for awhile, I like to take the top section and separate it into a bun to keep the conditioner away from my bonds. Once you’ve done this, leave the mask on as long as you’d like before washing it out to reveal healthy, restored hair.

3+4. ColorProof Baobab Heal & Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, salon locator

When I have extensions I tend to curl and straighten my hair more often and indulge in more blowouts. To combat the effects of any damage this may cause, my go-to in the shower is ColorProof’s Baobab Heal & Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. Not only are they sulfate and PABA-free, but they harness the power of the Baobab super fruit and a powerful complex filled with rare essential oils. This combination repairs damage, heals hair, and keeps extensions vibrant. Plus, they deliver heat protection that stays with you after your shower. Since I started using both, my hair has never felt softer or looked healthier. Both products get two thumbs up from me. Just remember — keep conditioner away from your bonds, only smooth it on the ends of your hair.

Before You Style

When it comes to styling your extensions the important thing to remember is to treat them like your own hair. Would you pull, tug or get aggressive with your hair? Nope! So follow the same rules with your adopted locks and love them like you do your own!

Best Extension-Safe Hair Styling

1. Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash, $14.39

Tangle Teezer is the perfect post-shower brush to use on extensions because it delicately eliminates tangles without snagging extensions and disrupting their bonds. Just be sure to hold you hair firmly in one hand at the top before brushing your ends so there’s zero risk of pulling the bonds.

2+3. Alterna Caviar CC Cream, $39 and Alterna Caviar Multi-Vitamin Heat Protectant Spray, $32

Alterna’s Caviar CC Cream is a leave-in product that provides your hair with 10 benefits. Here’s a list of everything it offers: moisture, shine, smoothness, softness, UV protection, manageability, strength, anti-breakage, heat protection and light hold. This is the first thing I put on my hair once I’ve detangled it with my Tangle Teezer. I use it as a base foundation before layering other products including Alterna’s Caviar Multi-Vitamin Heat Protectant Spray.

Alterna’s Caviar Heat Protectant Spray is is packed with vitamins like A and C to protect against free radicals. It also has biotin, B6 and B12 to restore strength, shine and body. Finally, vitamin E is used to nourish, condition and smooth hair. It also has UV and heat protectants to guard hair from temperatures up to 450 º F.

4. Phyto Phytodéfrisant Botanical Straightening Balm, $28

Just like with natural tresses, extensions can get frizzy depending on the weather and hair health. Phyto’s Botanical Straightening Balm does wonders to smooth frizz and give blow-dried hair manageability. If you’re not seeing the results you want after the first use, be patient — the straightening and smoothing effects increase with continued use.

Styling Tools

Styling extensions is one of the most fun things about having them. There are countless looks and tools you can try, but it’s important to remember that there a few practices you need to follow to keep your extensions in ship shape even with all that styling. One of the most important rules is to never curl or flat iron your bonds because the heat can damage them. With that in mind, try to use a cooler setting when you blow dry near your roots.Best Extension-Safe Hair Styling

1. For Styler Hair Dryer, $159

For Styler’s 1875 watt Hair Professional dryer saves me so much time when it comes to styling my extensions. You’re not supposed to blow out your extensions until they’re 80% dry so after I hop out of the shower I brush my hair, put in my styling products of choice, and go about the rest of my morning while I wait for my hair to dry. Once I’m at 80% I grab my ForStyler and my hair is completely dry within minutes. It has multiple heat settings and you can opt to use it on cool, which I highly recommend when you dry your roots and bonds.

2. Kardashian Beauty 1″ Hairstyling Iron, $113

I have a few styling tools in my arsenal when it comes to my extensions and when I want my hair to be straight, I reach for my 1″ Kardashian Beauty Iron. This lovely tool heats quickly and gives you the option to choose the heat level. Styling extensions can take time and effort, but straightening my hair is a breeze with this Kardashian-approved tool.

3. José Eber 19mm Clipless Curling Iron, $125

Creating sexy, tousled curls has never been easier than with this José Eber Clipless Curling Iron. I hadn’t used a heat-resistant glove before so I never realized what a difference it makes. With this tool, my curls are frizz-free and there’s no longer a risk that the ends will have crimps or creases. Traditional curling irons are pretty much dead to me now. RIP.

4. Sarahpotempa Beach Waver S1, $129

In keeping with my last sentiment, this non-traditional styling tool takes all the work out of creating beautiful beach waves. Simply clamp the a small section of hair into the little clip and with the push of a button the Beach Waber S1 rotates, curling the hair for you. Just release, hit the home button to reset the clip, and repeat.

 

Finishing Touches

Best Extension-Safe Hair Styling

1. Kardashian Beauty Pure Glitz Hair Spray, $16

I’m not going to lie, before giving the brand a try, I figured Kardashian Beauty was just a line of hair care and styling products the famous family slapped their name on to make a quick back. After using their flat iron and Pure Glitz Hair Spray, I’ve totally changed my mind. This hairspray is amazing! It gives my hair a gorgeous hit of shine and keeps my hair in place all day long. Just remember, spray on after using your curling wand or flat iron, not before.

2. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $42

I never leave the house without a travel-sized version of this Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. Not only does it extend the life of my style by absorbing oil, but its invisible formula can be used to build sexy texture and amped up volume no matter what look I’m working with.

3. Style Edit Invisible Dry Shampoo, $12

Style Edit’s Invisible Dry Shampoo is a godsend for brunettes. Never again do I have to fear looking like I got antiqued or I’m going gray after using dry shampoo. Just shake, spritz, and let this hair refresher instantly cleanse by absorbing excess oil. Better yet, its formula mimics hair’s own keratin so it continually repairs breakage and split ends over time. Two more perks: It can also be used to add volume and it doesn’t leave a powdery residue.

Catching Zs

Best Extension-Safe Hair Styling

 

1+2. Slip Pillowcase, $79.90 and Slip Eye Mask, $39 

There are a few cardinal rules when it comes to sleeping with extensions. The first is to never go to bed with wet hair. This puts stress on the extensions, creating unnecessary tension. As RPZL so puts it in their rule book, “No wetting the bed”. That being said, the proper way to sleep in your extensions is to wait unto they’re completely dry and then braid hair loosely. You can also rock pigtail braids if you prefer.

If you really want to give your hair the star treatment, and keep your gorgeous thing going (as RPZL would say), invest in a nice silk pillowcase. Cotton pillowcases are very absorbent so they draw moisture away from your hair, drying it out and damaging hair follicles. This can lead to thinner, less healthy hair over time. Slip silk pillowcases are my absolute favorite. They’re made from the highest grade mulberry silk and they’ll leave your hair looking healthy and renewed in the morning because they allow hair to breathe and they don’t tug. Goodbye, bed head!

Silk pillowcases aren’t just great for your hair, they also help fight the signs of aging. Do you constantly wake up with creases on your face from your bedding in the morning? Sure, it goes away relatively quickly, but this is a sign of damage to delicate facial skin and over time it can lead to increased fine lines and wrinkles.

You’ll never wake up with creases or indents again once you switch to Slip’s natural, hypoallergic silk pillowcases. For some extra pampering, I also suggest investing in one of their eye masks too. Sweet dreams!

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