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Preparing Different Hair Types for Extension Services

How to prepare specific hair types for installation…

  • For healthy hair, all that needs to be done pre-installation is simply clarifying the roots, conditioning mid-lengths and ends, detangling hair, and drying it thoroughly and naturally. During extension wear, supplement existing hair care regimen with a dry shampoo in order to reduce shower frequency.
  • For greasy (but otherwise healthy) hair, thoroughly clarify hair prior to the hair extension installation. It may be best to perform the clarification right before the appointment, so as to prevent the hair from getting greasy after an at-home wash. No conditioner should be necessary for this hair type. During extension wear, encourage the client to make liberal use of dry shampoo, and consider spacing the move-up appointments closer together so as to catch any signs of slippage early on.
  • Treat dry (but otherwise healthy) hair as you would ordinary healthy hair–that is, clarify a day before the installation. Conditioner will be an important step for this client, and they should apply it from mid-lengths to ends, then detangle their hair in the shower. If any flakes are present in the hair prior to the hair extension installation, brush them out with a boar hair bristle brush, and consider doing this for each layer of hair during the parting/sectioning process. In general, dry hair needs less washing, and these clients may be able to maintain their hair extensions without the use of dry shampoo. However, if they do struggle with dandruff or flakiness, they should consult
  • Thin (but otherwise healthy) hair should be prepared by clarifying but not conditioning the hair, due to the tendency of fine/thin hair to be more slick and oily than thicker strands. For this hair type, selecting a complementary installation method, appropriate hair extension quantity, and ideal spacing are of greater concern than specific aftercare suggestions, but closer move-up appointments could help reduce the likeliness of slippage.
  • Bleached, coloured, and/or porous hair should be treated with caution. If the hair is reasonably healthy still, advise the client to undertake a deep-conditioning regimen for the week prior to installation (washing hair in cold water only). They should then clarify the roots and condition the mid-lengths and ends of the hair on the day before installation. Following installation on bleached, coloured, and/or porous/damaged hair, clients should continue to use deep-conditioning treatments and/or masks below the bond area to keep natural and extension hair supple and moisturized.

Finally, natural hair that is actively (or currently) thinning should also be treated with caution. If the cause of thinning is readily understood as a natural, unavoidable, or ongoing process with a regular pace, then extensions may be installed with little risk–though the client should be informed that shedding/loss of strands will be more likely, and move-up appointments may need to be more frequent. If the cause of thinning is unknown, the thinning has come about suddenly, or it is occurring sporadically/at rapid or irregular intervals, then installation should be delayed until the client has consulted a health care professional to ascertain the cause and nature of the problem. Hair extensions may be a visual aid to clients experiencing hair loss, but they are no substitute for correcting underlying health problems (of which hair loss may only be a symptom).

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