Straight hair extensions can be made from either real hair or synthetic materials. The method of caring for the hair depends on the type of extensions a person has fitted. Some of the rules for keeping natural hair looking shiny and healthy are the same for straight hair extensions, although there are precautions that should be taken to protect extensions from everyday styling or other activities.
Hair extensions must be washed just like natural hair. A mild shampoo is the most suitable, and hair salons may be able to recommend a particular product. There may be a period of up to three days after the extensions are put in when washing is not recommended. Real hair extensions should be brushed and detangled before washing. Some synthetic extensions can be brushed, but it is best to avoid brushing them if possible.
A soft bristle brush is best for brushing. Begin brushing the hair gently out from the ends, and after the ends are detangled, brush from higher up. The hair can be wet gently to keep the water pressure from tangling up the hair. Conditioner should only be applied from the mid-length down and not to the roots.
Heat can affect the condition of even natural hair. It is best to let straight hair extensions dry naturally, or keep blow dryer use to a minimum and on the coolest setting. Synthetic hair should not be exposed to a lot of heat. Tying the extensions up in a ponytail can prevent the hair from tangling during sleep.
Swimming caps should be worn when swimming in pools or in seawater. The chemicals in pool water and the salt in seawater can cause tangles and mats. The bonds between the straight hair extensions and the natural hair can also become weaker with exposure to these types of water. The hair should be rinsed immediately after exposure to the water. When exercising, a ponytail will also prevent tangles.
Real hair extensions are more amenable to styling with curling irons or hair straighteners than synthetic hair. Different types of synthetic hair exist, so a hairdresser's advice should be sought before using styling aids. The heat from hot rollers and curling irons may also weaken the bonds holding the hair to the head. Hair products that contain the chemicals alcohol, acetone, or sulphur can also affect the condition of the hair. Hair extensions should not be colored or permed at home.