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How To Safely Remove Hair Extensions

photo of women removing extensions

It’s been a few weeks since hair salons across the nation shuttered their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and for many salons, it’ll be quite a few more weeks before they even begin to think about reopening. Since salons are out of commission, many people have had to take their hair care into their own hands, relying on salon-quality products to hold them over. While we’ve made it clear we think it’s in your best interest to wait until salons are back open before making any drastic hair transformations, some things just can’t wait.

If you had hair extensions installed before salons closed, you might be wondering if it’s safe to remove them yourself, and how to do so. We tapped Ashley Lee, Mizani artist and stylist, to find out everything you need to know about hair extension remover and how to remove your hair extensions without damaging your hair.

Good hair day by @pekelariley.

How long can you safely leave extensions in your hair?

Before we talk about removing extensions, it’s important to identify when it’s time to remove them. As much as we’d love to wear our extensions every day, all year long, leaving them in too long can wreak havoc on your strands. While stylists generally assess your mane before beginning the removal process, chances are good you don’t have the same training and likely won’t notice everything they can. Because you can’t accurately assess your hair, Lee recommends relying on suggested time frames for removal.

“Not exceeding this period allows you to confidently know that your hair is being given time to breathe, and it’s getting the attention that is needed,” she explains.

So how long should you leave your extensions in? Well, Lee says it depends on the type of extensions you opted for.

Clip-ins I would take out within a few days. Sew-ins, bonded extensions, and micro links should be left in a max of eight weeks. Tape-in extensions I would give a max of one month. Anything longer than recommended can result in matting and breakage of the hair,” the stylist explains.

If you had your extensions installed just before the shutdown, chances are good it’s time to remove them.

How To Safely Remove Every Type Of Hair Extension

Whether you opted for sew-in, tape-in, or micro link extensions, below Lee shares how you can safely remove your extensions at home.

How to safely remove tape-in extensions:

“Tape-in extensions can be immersed in oils at the site of adhesion, or a remover can be purchased and applied. Allow to sit for a few minutes, and you should feel the extensions loosen so that you can remove them safely.”

How to safely remove sew-in extensions:

“Remove sew-in extensions by carefully cutting the thread. To avoid confusing thread with hair, add tension away from the braid and cut closely to the weft in order to find the thread accurately.”

How to safely remove micro link extensions:

“Micro link extensions should be removed by your salon professional. If you are not able to wait until salon re-openings, use pliers to gently press on the beads at the side, releasing them from the hair.”

How to safely remove pre-bonded fusion extensions:

“Pre-bonded extensions require specific remover solutions. Contact your salon professional to find out which remover is compatible with your extension brand. When purchased, apply the remover at the site of bonding, allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and extensions should slide off.”

If you can’t safely remove your extensions at home, how can you keep your hair healthy until you can return to the salon?

While leaving your extensions in too long may cause damage, if you don’t have the right tools on hand or would rather wait for your salon to reopen before removing them, there are a few things you can do to make sure your hair stays in tip-top shape. Lee recommends relying on low manipulation hairstyles that don’t require you to mess with your hair too much and making sure you mane remains detangled.

“Combing through hair and keeping it in big braids for a few days will lessen how often you manipulate your hair,” she says. “Refreshing and detangling your hair every few days will decrease the chances of hair becoming knotted within the style.”

Equipped with Lee’s expert recommendations, you’ll be ready to remove your extensions like an (almost) pro!

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