How to use extensions to grow your hair
Hair extensions, including weaves, are loved and hated in equal measure. I know of men who will never date a woman who wears weaves. However, some women wear extensions to grow their hair.
I also know of women who angrily swear that they would never wear hair extensions because it is the reason they don't have hair on their heads.
Indeed hair extensions, if installed well and properly maintained, serve both as a style and also to grow hair. What’s more, with extensions, we give hair rest from heat, combing and pulling. Otherwise, your hair will definitely get damaged.
If you want to use hair extensions to grow long and healthy hair, here is what to do:
• Your extension whether it's a weave or braids must be installed by a professional who knows how to keep your hair health underneath the install. They may charge you more for labour but remember cheap can be very costly.
• Ensure your braids or weave is not installed too tightly. Your hairdresser should ensure the area where the extension touches the scalp is secure and that you don’t feel any pain once the session is over. Tight braids are the beginning of hair loss because your follicles get damaged leading to traction alopecia (hair loss).
• Using glue to place weave tracks on the scalp is an alluring option. It makes your weave look like it’s growing from your scalp. However, glue has a tendency of sticking to your hair and scalp and it may end up ripping out your hair and even the weave.
If you must use glue for your weave, use it for the shortest period, like for a special occasion such as a wedding. Have it also removed by a professional.
• Do not assume that your hair is covered under the weave or braids hence, safe. You must continue moisturising it with a deep conditioner to stop it from becoming brittle.
The best time to deep condition is before the installation to ensure your hair is at its healthiest and strongest state. Moisturise your hair regularly even when you wear extension. Protect it at night with silk scarves.
• If your hair is prone to dryness, you could apply hair pomade or hair food before the extension is installed to minimize friction and ensure your hair is not tangled with the extension. Ensure, however, that you don’t over-apply.
• If you have weak and damaged hair, do not install an extension until you improve its condition. Never wear your extensions for longer than three months as this may result in breakage, matting and tangling. If you have thin hair, do not stay with hair extension for longer than one month.
• Ensure you use the best quality extension you can afford. Some people react to cheap synthetic extensions due to allergy.
• It is advisable to fix a weave as a full closure. If you must leave some hair, leave a small portion so that you won’t always have to heat straighten or manipulate hair so that it looks like the weave. Ensure also that the weave looks closest to your hair.