How to prevent tangles in hair extensions

Fusion hair extensions by Marlin B.

Hair extensions are an ideal way to add additional length and volume to the hair in a short amount of time. There are many types and varieties of hair extensions made from human hair. Some extensions, such as fusion extensions, are designed to be worn for several months. Other types of extensions, such as tape-in extensions, are designed to be worn for a few weeks. Whether the extensions are designed for short-term or long-term wear, however, one common problem with extensions made from human hair is tangling.

In order to prevent knots and tangles in hair extensions, it is a good idea to understand why extensions are prone to knotting and tangling in the first place. The main reason is because hair growing naturally from the scalp is coated with an extremely thin layer of natural oil. This oil is known as sebum, and is produced by the sebaceous glands in the scalp. This oil is what gives hair its shine and it also helps protect the hair from tangling and knotting. Hair extensions, on the other hand, do not have this thin layer of oil on the surface of the hair. 

Another reason why extensions are prone to knots and tangles is because the hair used to make extensions has been chemically processed at the manufacturing facility. Since most hair used in extensions originates in India and China, this hair was most likely coarse in texture and very dark in color at one time. At the factory, this Indian and Chinese hair undergoes extensive processing to make it into a variety of textures and colors. Hair that has been chemically processed is always more likely to knot or tangle.

The best way to prevent knots in hair extensions is by regular brushing. Big knots always start out as small knots, and regular brushing ensures that the extensions will be knot-free. Begin brushing at the ends of the hair, working up to the mid-strand area and then finally the root area. If you really want to protect your extensions, invest in a high-quality loop brush specially designed for extensions.

Knotting and tangling can also be prevented by putting the hair in a loose braid or ponytail before going to bed. Most tangling occurs during sleep, as a result of the friction between the head and the pillow. Having the hair in a braid or ponytail will help prevent this friction. Some people with extensions also prefer to use a silk or satin pillowcase because this will also help reduce friction-related tangling.

Finally, proper maintenance is important to keep extensions free of knots and tangles. A good conditioner is a must, and a leave-in conditioning spray or detangler is also highly recommended.  These are dozens of home maintenance products which are designed for extensions, and these products can be found in most beauty supply stores.