Hair extensions and hair pieces have made a massive breakout in the last 10 years, increasing sales in exotic and expensive hair bundles and filling up weaving salons across the nation and perhaps even the world. Women of many age ranges have chosen to adorn their crowns with flowing tresses to mimic the dramatic looks of some of their favorite celebrities, but many do so at the expense of damaging their natural hair.
It’s completely healthy and okay to rock a weave when one feels like it, however, it becomes unhealthy for the natural hairline and the strength of the hair when one does not properly care for it while a weave is in place. Weaves are often worn as protective hairstyles, but when you don’t know how to properly care for the hair underneath things can become problematic, causing matting of the hair that could lead to hair loss.
If you are one of thousands of women choosing to wear hair extensions, here are a few tips on how to care for your natural hair in while it’s tucked away.
Oil your scalp
Oiling the scalp is essential for promoting healthy hair growth for African American women because unlike Caucasian women, our scalps are a lot more dry, producing only small amounts of natural oils. When weaves are worn, it is easy for the scalp to become suffocated because of the continuous layers of woven bundles that sit on top of the braids that hold them into place. To make sure the scalp is getting the moisture it needs, use a bottle with a long nose to oil the scalp with a light oil. Argan oil is a great oil to use, as it is light yet moisturizing and has a pleasant smell. Oils that have a heavy consistency will weigh down the extensions, causing tangling and a greasy head of hair that will have to be washed more frequently. The long nozzle on the bottle will help you get into those tight cracks in between the wefts and braided hair. Oiling the scalp at least twice a week is ideal, but once a week is sufficient.
Choose modest length
Extremely long extensions aren’t the healthiest option to use for protecting your natural hair. Like everything else on this earth, hair extensions hold weight and aren’t impervious to the laws of gravity. The longer the extension, the more weight it puts on the natural hair with a constant downward pull on the roots of the hair. By now, everyone has seen the horrifying photos of supermodel Naomi Campbell and the damage that wearing her signature waist length extensions have done to her natural hair line. The hair is already pulled into tight braids and further pulled by the attachment of the extensions. Combing and styling these long tresses will also add further stress on the roots of the hair, so to avoid this from happening, choose a manageable length that will put less stress on your hair.
Take down and redo every 6 weeks
Hair goes through a growing cycle every 3-4 weeks, and with the constant washing that is necessary to keep the hair underneath the weave clean and clear of bacteria, matting can occur as new growth appears. To avoid massive tangling that can lead to hair loss when the extensions are removed, take down the hairstyle to wash the natural hair and give it a week’s rest every 4-6 weeks. It can become expensive to reapply extensions this often, but it is an expense worth paying to protect the integrity of your natural hair.
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Comb hair from tip to root to avoid pulling
Extensions are known to get tangled and often need to be combed to keep the head looking neat and well put together. To avoid putting stress on the roots of the hair, use a wide tooth or detangling comb to begin detangling from the end of the hair working your way towards the roots. Hold the hair with your free hand in order to further aid in preventing stress on your natural hair.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Hair Care center for more articles.