One of the most common questions that I get asked during a hair extensions consultation is 'when should I remove my hair extensions?'.
The answer to this is very dependant on the speed of natural hair growth of the person wearing them, but there is a general rule that I go by.
First you need to understand that natural hair sheds between 50-100 hair a day on average. This happens whether you are wearing hair extensions or not.
When you aren't wearing hair extensions it's not as noticeable as it will happen throughout the day a bit at a time when you wash you hair, brush your hair, tie it up etc.
When you wear hair extensions, although some natural hair will shed normally, the sections of natural hair that the extensions are connected to cannot shed out normally. The root is shed from the scalp, but because the hair is still attached to the extension bond it stays put. Usually wrapping itself around the root above the bond.
The above also means that as natural hairs shed from the hair that the extension is attached to, the attachment becomes weaker and the weight on the existing hair becomes disproportionate. Removing before this becomes a problem avoids damage.
For the above reasons I give a maximum wear time of 3 months to my clients, after which time they should be completely removed and reapplied if required. This is ample time to wear them without the natural shed hair tangling too much around the root area, and avoids damage. When they are removed, the stylist will comb out the natural shed hair that has been trapped there. It always looks scary as it is months worth of 50-100 a day naturally shed hair all being released at once. This is the reason that many people confuse it with damage, thinking the hair has been pulled out.
There is a simple test for this... if you are concerned that extensions are pulling too much on your hair, look at the roots of the shed hair. If the root is white, it has naturally shed and is nothing to worry about. If the root bulb is black or dark in colour, then the hair has most likely been pulled out either by improper application or removal.
The 3 month rule won't apply to everyone however. Those with extremely fine hair may find that it is prone to shedding and becoming more tightly tangled at the roots, therefore it is a good idea to remove sooner. Also if you are someone whose hair grows fast, you may find that the extensions grow down a lot and show through.
If you are concerned, then I suggest regular 'check up' appointments with your stylist, especially at first when you are new to extensions. They can assess your bonds and how well they are being looked after. The important thing to remember is to wash them regularly with a clarifying shampoo to remove any grease. Dry the bonds first, and don't brush when wet.
Run you fingers between the bonds to keep them separated each day, as this will also help to minimise the shed hair tangling. You'll find that you instinctively know when to have them removed, and often you'll find the hair underneath is healthier and longer than before.
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