How to Avoid Hair Loss & Breakage When Wearing Weaves

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Many times women opt to wear weaves (sew ins and wig installs) because they want to give their natural hair a break from all of the manipulation and heat styling.  Also, wearing weaves provides much needed convenience for many women.  But what can you do when wearing weaves starts to do more damage than good?  We talked to Huntsville, AL stylist, Shannon McGlathery to get her recommendations.  Here’s what she said:
Lately I’ve noticed  that there are a lot of women coming into the salon 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 and 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.
  1. Relaxing Your Hair & Wearing Weaves: First, let’s discuss if you should relax your hair then receive extensions.  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. Once the relaxer is added to the equation it makes it really easy for  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.
  2. Relaxing Your Edges: 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. 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  can lead to  another form of breakage.  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 strength. 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 hair and that often causes breakage.
  3. Leaving Extensions in for Prolonged Periods: For those who are spending a lot of money getting your extensions, I would suggest  finding a stylist that you can afford to 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. The reason is because the weight of the hair and tension of the braids can result in thinning around your hairline and can sometimes cause “traction alopecia.” Alopecia is when the hair follicles die from damage and will never grow back. If you are wearing your hair all in (no leave-out) be careful that your braids (foundation) is not too tight and be sure to give your hair a break in between these styles.  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.

4. Allowing Inexperienced/Unqualified Stylists to Do Your Hair: 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 hair. The consult for extensions 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 should make you do a little more research.  Look for reviews online or check out the social media accounts for that stylist to see what his/her clients are saying.  This could be another reason you’re sitting in the salon all day why he or she is doing other clients.

I hope this can help.  Let us know if you have more questions by leaving a comment below.

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Brandelyn Green

Brandelyn Green

Brandelyn Green is the Founder of Voice of Hair, a platform to help women of color find the best hairstyles and hairstylists! After living in 8 cities and in Sweden within a 10 year span Brandelyn became frustrated after trying to find trusted hairstylists who could help her maintain her natural hair. Since starting VoiceOfHair in 2014 she has grown the social media platform to over 1MM+ on Instagram and Facebook. As a natural who is also a salon goer, she wanted to create a platform where people could find the best products, hairstylists, advice and trends. VoiceOfHair provides hairspiration (hair + inspiration) as well as styling tips for women with relaxed and natural hair!
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