The Sun, sweat, salt water, & chlorine mixed with products can damage your natural head of hair, and for those of us with hair extensions, the summer conditions, can turn those locks into a tangled mess if not properly cared for.
The hair of the extensions can be treated just like your regular hair. It's the bonds, tape, beads etc.. that are delicate and require extra attention and care. Each have different challenges during the summer. For bonded (Fusion) extensions, the biggest threat is water. The bonds are most fragile when wet. When salt water is added, it can become a disaster.
It is actually suggested to not swim in salt water with extensions but lets be serious here, some of us just want to dive, explore and refresh ourselves in the ocean or pool. As long as you are responsible, It's OK to go swimming, but don't allow extensions to soak in the water for too long. Make sure to dry them as soon as you get out of the pool or ocean. Rough-drying the bonded areas every time they get wet will help the extensions last longer. You can let the rest of the hair air-dry.
As for styling your bonded extensions, it is recommend to keep hair braided or in a bun while swimming to help avoid tangles. No ponytails, this only adds extra tension on the keratin bonds which can cause them to detach.
When it comes to tape-in extensions, it's actually your sun-and skin-care products that pose the biggest threat. "Any kind of lotion on the face, like sunscreen, tends to get in the hairline and can cause the tape in the corners to become loose. Make sure to wash or rinse your hands after applying lotions to avoid depositing any residue from your products on your hair, which may cause the tape to slip.
Just like your natural hair, extensions should be handled gently, no matter the season. Always be sure you're using sulfate-free products, brushing regularly, and going to your stylist for treatments if needed. With tape-in extensions, avoid using conditioner and also heat like a blow dryer directly on the roots. Keep the applied conditioner one to two inches away from the tape to avoid adding any additional moisture to the tape that may cause them to loosen or slip. Most important, be gentle while washing. Do not rub, scrub, or bunch hair as that can rough up the bonds as well. it is also recommended just two or three shampoos a week—even once a week if you can get away with it.
Brush your hair extensions every single day. At bedtime, put your hair in a loose braid so it doesn't get matted or tangled while you sleep. Especially in the summertime. Just make sure you are using a extension-friendly brush in the vicinity of the bonds or tape. The teeth on other brushes will yank at the extensions. However, you can use a regular brush to untangle the ends. Extension brushes typically have looped bristles that are specifically designed to glide through hair. You should be drying your hair completely with your fingers before using a brush to style. Avoid tugging or yanking at the extensions while brushing. Instead, hold hair at the root, and begin detangling starting at the ends. Detanglers (also targeted towards the lengths and ends of your hair) are a lifesaver, as extensions tend to tangle more easily than natural hair.
When it comes to summer product picks, leave-in conditioners are a great choice. As hair extensions can dry out faster than our own hair this will help keep your extensions from getting tangled and dried out. The key is to be mindful of your roots and keep all products away from the tape or bonds.
Love your hair, take care of it!