How to Avoid Hair Loss & Breakage When Wearing Weaves

Hair Extensions by Bridgett H
Lately I’ve noticed between my salon and conversations with other hair artists, that there are a lot of women coming into the salons with damaged hair, after taking out their extensions. I wanted to discuss a few things to help you decide if a certain hair artist or hairstyle is right for you. I hope that this advice will teach you how to  avoid hair loss & breakage when wearing weaves.  Now, as a disclaimer, these are all my opinions and what I actually do with my clients who wear hair extensions.

First, let’s discuss if you should relax your hair then receive extensions. About seven years ago, not knowing any better, I started to see breakage within my client’s hair. Once I realized what was going on I immediately stopped relaxing their hair, and that was the best thing I could have ever done! Now, my extension clients have healthy hair that has grown and continues to grow down their backs. Therefore, I don’t advise wearing a relaxer and getting extensions. Why is that, you ask? Installing a sew-in automatically adds some tension to your hair because the hair is being pulled as it is being braided. You’re already putting tension on your hair when pulling it as it’s being braided. Once the relaxer is added to the equation it makes it really easy for a lot of breakage between the braids and when sewing in the tracks.  If you have three or more inches of new growth it’s ok to get the extensions. However, if you plan on wearing the extensions repeatedly don’t relax the hair until you completely stop wearing extensions.

Hair Extensions Installed by Bridgett H.

Hair styled by #DallasStylist @BridgetHairMUA

Now, another caution to take while wearing extensions and is relaxing your edges! Just be aware that when your stylist is rinsing the relaxer out, it is seeping down into your braided hair under the tracks. Now granted, they are washing your edges but they are not able to get into the hair and scalp under the braids like they may need to. Think about it, the relaxer is just sitting on your hair and this is another form of breakage. So, if you are doing this I challenge you and your stylist to go nine months without relaxing your hair or relaxing the edges and you will see a tremendous difference in your hair. The next thing we need to discuss is the length of time you should leave your extensions in; 8-10 weeks, 3 months at the longest!!! The reasoning is after 3 months your natural hair starts to matte and tangle together. Once this occurs and you take your extensions out, it is hard to detangle the had and that causes breakage as well.

For those who are spending a lot of money getting your extensions, I would suggest you find a stylist so you can afford go see every 2 -3 months.
If you are wearing ALL of your hair braided up (no leave-out), it can also be  unhealthy for your edges. What happens is the weight of the hair and tension of the braids can result in really bad breakage and can sometimes cause “traction alopecia.” Alopecia is when the hair follicles die from the damage and will never grow back. So if you are wearing your hair all in (no leave-out) be really cautious when getting ALL of your hair braided into the extensions. Make sure your stylist isn’t pulling on those edges.   Now, for my ladies who continuously wear extensions, take it down, put it back up, etc. you need to continue to get your ends trimmed and also deep condition your before putting your extensions back in.

Traction Alopecia

Super Model, Naomi Campbell has experienced traction alopecia.

Also, let’s discuss who you allow to do your extensions install. If the stylist that you’re looking to go to doesn’t do a consultation before doing your hair that is a red flag! Just making an appointment then showing up and getting your hair done can be risky.  If you don’t get a consultation, when will you and the stylist discuss any issues you’re having, breakage from an old issue, the last time you relaxed or colored your hair and the goals for your hair? Plus, you need to discuss if you’re even a candidate for the extensions and style you’re wanting. There’s so much a stylist should know before doing your extensions. The consult is normally 15-30 minutes. Also, look at the price you’re paying. If extensions are costing about $250 in your area and you’re paying anything under $175 that’s another red flag! This could be another reason you’re sitting in the salon all day why he or she is doing other clients.

If you have experienced hair loss due to traction alopecia, Youtuber, AlopeciaFreeWithJass shares some strategies she used to regrow her hair.

I hope this can help, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me.

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Voice of Hair is a platform to help women of color find the best hairstyles and hairstylists! We provide hairspiration (hair + inspiration) as well as styling tips for women with relaxed and natural hair!

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