We all love a good before & after, especially when we’re talking about our own hair extension transformations. But how do you keep your “after” hair looking as chic and styled as the day you got it? The name of the game is “aftercare,” or what other beauty junkies might call “hair care.” There’s a whole category of beauty products designated for this purpose, and a wide range of end results to pick from. We’ve written countless blogs about aftercare over the years, mainly because it’s such an important part of the hair extension process! But it really can’t be stated enough: you need to practice aftercare to preserve extension quality. Think you can get away with skimping on good hair maintenance? Here are the reasons why you may want to think again.

Hair care is important even for your natural hair.
Let’s forget about the extensions for a minute and examine your ordinary hair care routine. We’re guessing you don’t just let your hair “do its thing” all the time, because otherwise it’d turn into a bird’s nest. At the very least, you shampoo, condition, and brush your hair with some regularity. Maybe you even pre-shampoo, deep-condition, blow dry, or style your hair with styling products. Why do you do these things? So you can keep your hair looking its best. It’s the same thing for hair extensions, but with a few extra rules.

Hair extensions require their own specific hair care.
That’s why we differentiate between “aftercare” and typical “hair care”—aftercare is the specific hair care regimen you use for hair installed with extensions. Even if your natural hair does well with a common shampoo, a weekly condition, and minimal brushing, your hair extensions are a different story. They’re different from your natural hair, so they’ll need custom treatment. This usually involves scarce washing, frequent conditioning (always below the bonds), mindful product selection (NO sulfates!), and gentle, daily brushing with a hair extension-friendly brush. Yes, there might be a slight learning curve at the beginning, but it’ll all be worth it because…

You have the power to perfect or destroy your extensions.
Aftercare is the longest part of the hair extension process. You spend maybe a day preparing for a hair extension appointment, then a couple of hours sitting in the seat to have the hair installed. But the process doesn’t end when you step out of the salon—it proceeds throughout the duration of your hair extension wear. That’s anywhere from a couple of weeks to 3+ months, depending on your intentions. Needless to say, the aftercare portion of your hair extension experience easily overshadows the consultation and installation parts, so the damage you do (or prevent) during this period can make or break that initial work. Don’t believe us? Read it and weep.

Do you have questions about the aftercare process? Leave them in the comments below. And check back in next week for more aftercare tips!