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Clip-in Extensions: Keeping Hair Looking Strong, Healthy and Beautiful

Written by: Clare Weyers Date of published: . Posted in Hairdressing

Worried about the ‘shelf-life’ of your hair extensions? Concerned about the potential damage your extensions could do to your own hair? Stick to these top tips for styling and hair care to keep both your extensions and natural hair in beautiful condition from root (or clip) to tip!

Clip-in hair extensions are a relatively cheap and easy way to mix up your daily hair styling routine. They can be used to add length and volume to your existing hair with minimal effort; just clip in and away you go!

There are two types of hair extensions you can buy – human hair or synthetic. While synthetic hair extensions are cheaper, you are far more limited with what you can do with them as far as styling goes. Synthetic extensions will melt if exposed to heat, so straighteners and curling irons are out! You won’t be able to dye them either and some of the cheaper ones can have a nasty plastic shine to them. Add to this the fact that synthetic extensions will probably only last a maximum of 3 months, and you begin to understand why they are so cheap.

Human hair extensions are by far the better option, especially if you plan on using them on a regular basis. Yes, you will pay a higher premium for human hair, but as they say, you get what you pay for. Human hair extensions will blend much more seamlessly with your own hair and will look much more natural. You will also be able to style them and care for them as you would your own hair and, depending on how often they are worn and styled, can last from six months to a year or more.

Clip-in 101

Clip-in hair extensions can offer the same advantages as permanent hair extensions without the commitment. Permanent extensions require weaving, glueing or braiding which takes time (and money) and usually last between three to six months. With clip-in extensions, however, you can easily attach and remove the extensions yourself in a few minutes, leaving you free to change up your style whenever you feel like it.

Clip-in hair extensions won’t damage your own hair and, as you can remove them at any time, you are free to give your head and scalp a rest whenever you like. Most clip-in extensions are made up of multiple wefts (woven hair) that you attach to your own hair via small clips or combs that have been securely glued or sewn into the weft. Glam Time Hair Extensions offer more in depth ‘how-to’ instructions and insider tips in their ‘Clip-In Guide’ here.

Daily Styling

The beauty of clip-in extensions made from human hair is that you can style them with anything that you’d normally use on your own hair. But before you whip out your straighteners or curling tongs, remember to use a heat protector spray! Just like your own hair, your extensions can be damaged by too much heat so always protect before your style and remember, ‘the less heat the better’.

You are free to use hairspray, mousse and other styling products when you’re wearing your clip-in extensions too, but anything you put on will stay on until you next wash your extensions or brush them through (if you’re using brush out hairspray for example).

*Expert tip* You may find that your extensions respond quicker to heat styling tools than normal hair, so be extra cautious not to apply too much heat!

Extension Care

To keep your clip-in extensions looking as great as the day you bought them, it’s important to have a regular care routine in place, especially if you use a lot of hair products and heat styling appliances.

How to brush your clip-in hair extensions

You should always try to keep your clip-in hair extensions as tidy and tangle free as possible when not in use. After removing your extensions use a soft bristled brush to remove any knots, tangles or product build up. Hold your extensions by the weft or the clip and brush downward from the top weft to the ends. Never brush your hair extensions when they are wet!

How to wash your clip-in hair extensions

Unlike your own hair, your extensions won’t be getting lots of lovely natural oils and nutrients from your scalp to help keep them nourished. It’s for this reason that you should avoid washing your clip-in extensions too often, generally washing every four to six weeks should suffice.

Before washing your extensions, give them a quick brush to remove any big knots or tangles. If you have multiple clip-in extensions, it is best to wash them separately to avoid any unwanted tangle incidents! Fill a sink or bath with warm water and wet your extensions, holding them securely by the clip/weft. Depending on your preferences, you can either add the shampoo to the water and swirl your extensions in the soapy mixture, or massage a small amount of shampoo into your extensions in a downward motion and then rinse in the water.

*Expert tip* Use a shampoo with low or no sulphates to wash your extensions. Sulphates will dry out your hair extensions and could lead to a loss of colour. For more information about why sulphates and hair extensions don’t mix, check out this blog post by Babe Hair Extensions.

How to condition your clip-in hair extensions

To help lock in moisture give your extensions a second rinse under cold running water before conditioning. Squeeze out any excess water and apply conditioner to the hair. You can massage the conditioner into the hair using your fingers or gently comb through with a spacious wired comb – DON’T use a brush!

You can leave the conditioner to work for an hour if you wish or rinse out straight away. Squeeze out any excess water and lay your extensions out on a clean dry towel. Spray with some leave in conditioner or serum and allow them to dry naturally where possible.

How to dry & store your clip-in hair extensions

Allowing your hair extensions to dry naturally is always the best option, but if you’re strapped for time you can blow dry them, just remember to use a heat protector before you do! Once your extensions are completely dry, give them a brush to get rid of any knots or tangles from washing and store neatly away. Always make sure your hair extensions are bone dry before you store them to avoid any nasty musty smells or mildew incidents!

*Expert tip* Never store your extensions in plastic bags or packaging! If you want to pack them away use cotton or any breathable material. Alternatively just tie a couple of hairbands loosely around the extensions to keep them neat and store alongside your other hair styling products.


Elite School of Beauty offers a fully accredited level 3 course in hair extension services. To know more about this offer, visit our hairdressing course training page, the Facebook page or contact Clare Weyers directly by telephone on 01279 755077 or email your query to info@elitebeautyschool.co.uk.