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How to Make Hair Extensions Last Longer

If you invest in hair extensions, you probably want to keep them looking good as long as possible. Whether your extensions are made from synthetic or real hair, you'll need special products to deal with them. For instance, Kimble Hair Care Systems makes a special shampoo, conditioner and itchy scalp relief product for hair extensions. Styling options include this Wood Flat Iron Brush ($34), a pure boar-bristle brush designed to create a smooth and frizz-free hairstyle without having to use a flat iron. (For those of you who just can't stay away from stick-straight hair, at least this Sedu Ionic Ceramic Flat Iron ($109) is a safer option.)

For essential tips for hair extension maintenance,

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  • Shampoo and conditioner: Gentle shampoos are best, and it's a good idea to wash your hair every other day. Stay away from dandruff shampoos and harsh shampoos that contain sulfates, since they can deteriorate the extension bonds. Keep conditioner away from from the bonds as much as possible; they can actually loosen the bonds and even slip off.
  • Brush your hair: It is recommended to brush your hair at least twice a day. Don't be afraid to pull the extensions out — it's not going to happen. If you don’t brush your hair, your natural hairs that you normally lose (about 100 a day) can get tangled in your extensions. Also, your hair will become matted and cause a painful removal process.
  • Keep your hair dry: Extensive periods of wetness can lead to bond breakdown and can also increase your changes of tangles and snarls.
  • Heat tools: If you are addicted to using heated tools, it's best to use ionic irons and hair dryers. Never place the heat directly on the bonds or you risk irreparable melting.
  • Bedtime care: Before bed, it's best to brush your hair and then braid or tie it back loosely to avoid tangling.
  • See your stylist: Checking in with your hair dresser every six to eight weeks is imperative. They will check your hair for product buildup and may even have to replace some of the bonds if you have extensive root growth. Maintenance appointments usually take anywhere from one to two hours, so plan accordingly.
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