Washing Beaded Hair Extensions
Beaded hair extensions are our most requested service. Whether a first-time wearer or an old-school extension veteran, one question we get all the time is “How the heck does washing beaded hair extensions work?” While a simple subject, there are things you need to know. Things like washing pregame, which products to use, the all-important detangling process, and even the proper way to stand in the shower. Let’s talk about it.
Beaded Wefts Are Called Lots of Things
You may know beaded wefts by one of several names. Other common names are micro ring, micro link, nano ring, or just beaded hair. We use these names interchangeably with beaded wefts being the most common in our Las Vegas based hair salon.
Let’s break it down even more. Wefts are rows of hair bound together, then cut to match the circumference of your head. We attach them by combining hair from the weft and hair from your head through a bead and clamping down to seal them together.
Long Lasting Hair Starts with Good Quality Extensions
It doesn’t matter how good you are at washing beaded hair extensions if its not good hair. Poor quality hair won’t last but a couple months before falling apart.
Good extensions are real human hair with the cuticle intact. Every extension brand markets their hair as real human Remy (meaning virgin) hair, but that’s rarely true. Extensions are big business with a lot of demanding heads to fill. Most hair out there is cheap and you get what you pay for.
Every brand markets their hair as Remy, but that’s rarely true
I don’t even want to tell you where this cheap hair comes from. It’s gross. But I will. Cheap hair is taken from the cutting room floor of overseas salons and swept into barrels. The hair is then run through a silicone coating to simulate a cuticle. They do this so it feels shiny and new out of the package. However, after a few washes, the silicone wears off and the hair tangles.
This is the bottom line, find a brand that offers quality human hair with the cuticle intact and treat it right. You can treat it right by using the good products with a proper washing regimen. Do that, and your extensions can last six months to a year.
Before Getting Your Hair Wet
If you want your hair extensions to last, there are a couple steps before washing. Most people treat their hair extensions like their normal hair, which is to say, savage. You know who you are. I don’t have to tell you how expensive an investment your extensions are. Baby them.
Brush Your Hair to Get the Tangles Out
Before your hair even gets wet, loosely brush it and get the tangles out. Use one hand to hold a wet brush and use the other to hold your beads. Brush from mid-shaft to end and be gentle.
Pay special attention to the beads. Brush until your hair falls naturally without any tangles. Make sure each section of hair attached to the beads is loose and separated.
Pre-Shampoo Masques Help Extensions Act Like Natural Hair
Put on your Mrs. Science hat for a second. We are about to get sciencey.
Your pores naturally emit sebum into your natural hair. Sebum is the oil that hydrates and prevents your hair from dying out. Hair extensions don’t grow from your pores and therefore don’t get the natural benefits of sebum. That’s ok, we will fake it with a pre-shampoo masque.
We are Bumble and bumble junkies. Bumble and bumble created Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque. It’s the perfect product to maintain moisture in your hair extensions. HIO masque is a highly concentrated, silicone-free balm that locks in moisture similar to sebum.
Once a week you apply the masque from mid-shaft to end, wait 20 minutes, and wash it out. You want to saturate your hair heavily but always do your best to avoid the beads in your wefts. This is true for all products. Chemicals build up and cause your beads to slip or itch.
Long Lasting Hair Extensions Require the Right Products
Ok, the time has come. It’s time to get our extensions wet. Breathe. The products you use, how you apply them, and the actual washing technique are all important.
Hair Extensions Demand the Right Shampoo
It’s absolutely critical you use the right shampoo and conditioner. The best shampoos for hair extensions are sulfate free and gentle. Avoid shampoos with heavy protein, silicone, or shampoos designed for damaged hair. These are too heavy and can cause oil build up on your beads.
In the same line as the pre-shampoo masque above, Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo is also excellent for extensions. It’s a blend of six super light oils perfect for beaded weft hair extensions. It’s hydrating but still lightweight.
Deep Condition Every Other Time
Conditioner needs to be light-weight yet hydrating enough to maintain the moisture level of your hair extensions. Alternate every second wash with a deep conditioner. To keep with the HIO theme, you can’t go wrong with Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Conditioner. Their curl line is great too, even for people without curls. It’s super hydrating.
Use Dry Shampoos and Try Not to Wash Extensions Often
Washing beaded hair extensions as little as possible is the key to prolonging their life. Try to only wash two or three times a week. Max.
To get through the week with as little washes as possible, pick up a great dry shampoo. Bumble has Prêt-à-powder Très Invisible (Nourishing) Dry Shampoo. It’s the perfect dry shampoo for extensions because it’s nourishing and has a heat protectant.
Technique for Washing Beaded Hair Extensions
When you do wash your hair, do the pre-wash regimen above. Then, with tangle-free hair, stand in the shower and let your hair fall naturally. Avoid tipping your head forward or backward as the weight of your hair will stress your beads. If the water isn’t running straight down your back, adjust.
Be Careful of the Beads When Washing
Washing beaded hair extensions is a careful balance of getting the beads thoroughly clean without disturbing them. Avoid circular or vigorous movement. Any excess movement wears on the bead’s seal and stresses your hair.
Be as gentle as possible while massaging shampoo into your scalp while avoiding the beads
Once wet, apply shampoo. You have more hair than before and will need more product too. After applying a bit of shampoo, wet your hair again and apply more.The water will help lather and spread shampoo easier. Be as gentle as possible while massaging shampoo into your scalp. Again, avoid circular motions.
You will feel the weight of your hair extensions. Do what you can to alleviate tension. Using your hand as a comb, stroke through shampoo from the mid to ends. This is why detangling before is important.
When conditioning, only condition mid-shaft to ends. Avoid the beads. The oil in conditioners will cause your beads to slip or cause build up that’s hard to wash out. Be generous with conditioner and let it sit three to five minutes so your extensions soak in all the precious moisture before rinsing it out.
Wash Out Residue Thoroughly
After shampoo and conditioning, spend extra time rinsing around the beads. Carefully raise your hair at each row and let water gently rinse each weft. Leftover residue in the silicone beads molds causing irritation and itching. Slipping too.
Drying and Brushing Beaded Weft Hair Extensions
Have you noticed a theme so far? You have to be sensitive with your extensions and where they attach to your natural hair. Drying and brushing are no different. There is a technique to dry your hair while putting minimal tension on your extensions.
Pat Dry Excess Water and Never Rub
After you finish washing, use a towel to pat dry your hair. Sandwich your hair in the towel and press to absorb excess water.
Make sure to avoid any harsh movements. Always attempt to have your hair fall naturally. Touseling with a towel will cause beaded wefts to tangle and knot.
Detangle Again After Washing
Whether you blow dry or air dry, detangle again first. Use a wet brush and be gentle. Again, hair falling from each bead should be natural and separate. Check out Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer. HIO Primer is the perfect product to help infuse oil and detangle after washing.
Oil lets your wet brush glide smoothly without pulling the extensions. However, only apply oil to the mid-shaft and ends.
Dry Your Hair as Naturally as Possible
When blow drying, point your blow dryer downward. You want water to naturally dry and move through your extensions going the same direction as the cuticle, prolonging its life.
Blow dry your hair as normal, just pay extra attention the beads. Don’t tousle your hair. Touseling causes your beaded weft hair extensions to tangle, knot, and slip.
Follow These Steps and Your Extensions Will Last
Lasting extensions start with getting great hair. After you find truly great hair, follow the steps above and your extensions will last six months to a year. Even longer if you’re diligent. A few extra thoughts. If you go swimming, wash your hair immediately. Also, never go to bed with wet hair. The pressure and movement combined with wet hair will cause tangles and slipping.
Do you have any extra tips for washing beaded hair extensions? Please let us know in the comments below!