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How to care for curly, kinky, and coily hair extensions

how to care for curly and coily hair extensions

Curly hair is springy, sexy, and stylish. If you have natural curly, coily, or kinky hair, however, you’ll know that growing it out can take years. Because Type 3 and 4 curls are tight with a spiral or zigzag shape, your hair may be long, but it may not look as long as it is. Cue curly clip in hair extensions. They’re a fast, easy way to add length instantly to your curly mane without relaxing or straightening it. But just like curly hair needs TLC for hair strands to maintain their beautiful spirals, so do your curly hair extensions. 

curly hair extensions before and after

Can you have extensions with curly hair?

Yes! Curly girls can wear hair extensions too. In fact, curly hair extensions come in all curl types nowadays, including Type 3a-3b spirals, Type 3b-3c curls, Type 4a-4b coils, and Type 4b-4b kinks. All you have to do is match the correct type of curl pattern to your hair! In the market for curly hair extensions but not sure which ones to go with? Find out what your curl type is. 

How do you take care of curly hair extensions?

We’ll go through how to take care of your curly hair extensions so they last longer, look good as new, and maintain their shape throughout their lifespan.  

  1. Use moisturizing ingredients and avoid proteins
  2. Try co-washing your extensions
  3. Air dry your extensions 
  4. Avoid heat styling
  5. Avoid brushing 
  6. Use leave-in conditioning products
  7. Avoid touching your hair
  8. Store your curly hair extensions properly at night
  9. Take care in the rain

1. Use moisturizing ingredients and avoid proteins

The hair products you use on your curly hair extensions are just as important as the ones you used on your natural hair. Just like natural curly hair is prone to dryness and frizz, so are your hair extensions. Because curly hair extensions do not have the benefit of receiving natural oils from the scalp, they are prone to dryness, tangling, and frizzing. Using deeply moisturizing products with ingredients like shea butter is a good way to restore moisture, softness, and shine.

When choosing a shampoo and conditioner, opt for alcohol and sulfate-free products (these ingredients are super drying), and avoid products with proteins. 

Although protein-rich products can revive curl definition and restore balance to natural curly hair, these may make your curly hair extensions matted and tangled and are not recommended for use. By the way, you don’t need to wash your curly hair extensions very often either—every 5-7 wears will do, or unless they have a lot of product buildup and become unmanageable to style.

2. Try co-washing your extensions

Co-washing stands for “conditioner only washing”. When co washing, you literally only use a conditioner and no shampoo to wash your hair extensions. Co-washing is a great way to cleanse drier hair types, including curly hair extensions, to restore moisture and softness without stripping the hair using harsh soaps or lathering agents generally found in shampoos.

When co-washing your natural hair extensions, be sure to use a conditioner that is silicone-free, and that is moisture-based, not protein-based—similar to the hair product advice we’ve given above. If you already have this in your shower, great! Simply get the hair extensions sopping wet, apply a liberal amount of conditioner from root to tip, and gently cleanse the hair strands. If your hair extensions are feeling particularly dry, you can leave the conditioner on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off.

3. Air dry your extensions Avoid heat styling

Heat dries out hair extensions even further, ending up in a frizzy, tangled mess and can cause the beautiful kinks and curls to flatten and lose their shape. If you must blow dry your curly hair extensions, be sure to use a diffuser and to use the lowest heat setting on the blow dryer, however, the most ideal way to air dry curly hair extensions is to lay them flat on a microfibre towel overnight. You can also hang them on a hair extensions holder or by attaching them to a clothes hanger with clips.

air drying curly hair

4. Avoid heat styling 

Although you likely won’t be straightening your curly hair extensions (and if you’d like to wear your hair straight we recommend investing in a separate set of straight hair extensions), you may be tempted to curl them if they’ve lost their shape. Instead, try heatless methods of curling using flexi rods or perm rods to revive curls.

5. Finger brush only

Curly hair extensions require gentle love and attention to maintain their curl pattern and shape. Never brush your curly hair extensions while they are dry, as this could cause frizzing, breakage, shedding, and a loss of their curl pattern. If you find that your hair extensions are tangling, first try and finger comb any knots and tangles from the bottom of the wefts up. If they are still tangled, try co washing them, then use a wide tooth comb to gently remove tangles from bottom to top.

finger detangling curly hair extensions

6. Use leave-in conditioning products

Leave-in conditioners and serums can do wonders to maintain moisture, shine, and nourishment. As mentioned before, clip in hair extensions get dry easily because of the lack of natural oils from the scalp.Using a tiny bit of leave-in conditioner on the wefts can help ensure that the hair stays moisturized and prolong their lifespan. 

When choosing a leave-in conditioner for your curly hair extensions, it’s best to choose one that suits the type of hair they mimic. For example, if you have curly hair extensions for Type 3 hair, choose a lighter weight leave-in product like an argan oil, jojoba oil, or coconut-milk conditioner. For kinky or coily hair extensions similar to Type 4 curls, you can opt for something a little heavier like coconut oil or shea butter. Be sure to use atiny amount as using too much could weigh the hair down and lead to product buildup.

7. Avoid touching your hair

The more you play with your hair, the more you will suck the moisture out of them, break up the curls, and create frizz. Although running your fingers through silky soft long hair is tempting, leave your hair extensions be when in, especially if freshly washed. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste!

8. Store your curly hair extensions properly at night

First of all, never sleep with your hair extensions clipped in. The friction between your natural hair and the hair extensions at night will lead to tangling and matting, not to mention the excessive rubbing on pillowcases and sheets. Just like natural hair should be cared for while sleeping, so should your precious curly extensions! Before bed, unclip all the wefts, gently coil them loosely, and store in their original box or in a storage container like a shoe box in a cool, dry area. You can even go a step further and place them in their own silk bonnet or scarf before placing them in a box overnight, which will help maintain their shine and lock in moisture.

9. Take care in the rain

Have you ever stepped outside when it’s drizzling only for your natural hair to turn into a frizzball? The reason why curly hair and rain or damp weather don’t get along is because curly hair is naturally dry. When you go outside and the air is filled with moisture, curly hair sucks it all in, causing frizz. If your hair is moisturized enough with serums and leave-in products, you may be able to get away with a less harsh effect. If you’ll be stepping out in the rain, first apply a tiny bit of smoothening serum, or spritz a little bit of leave-in conditioner spray. If you can, wear a silk scarf over your hair and try to protect the hair strands from getting wet as much as possible!

How do you wash curly hair extensions?

Now that we’ve gone through care tips for your curly hair extensions, here is a crash course on how to wash them properly to maintain their curl shape and durability so they live a long life.

  1. Fill up a large bowl with water or place the stopper in the sink and fill it up
  2. Add some shampoo to the bowl or sink and swish it around until the water is soapy. 
  3. One by one, take each weft, place it in the bowl, and gently cleanse the hair with your fingers. Be careful not to scrub at them too much—just enough to get them nice and clean. 
  4. Have a microfiber towel nearby for you to place each shampooed weft on while you work on the rest. 
  5. Again, working with each weft one by one, apply a bit of conditioner to your fingertips and run the product all over the weft from root to tip.
  6. Let the conditioner sit for about 5-10 minutes if the hair is extremely dry. 
  7. Take each weft, one by one, and rinse off the conditioner. 
  8. Place each weft flat on a microfiber towel and run your fingers through each one from bottom to top to remove any knots or tangles. If you run into tangles, use a wide tooth comb to gently comb them out from bottom to top.
  9. Let the extensions air dry overnight
  10. Apply a light serum or hair oil to finish.

And there you have it! If you have curly hair extensions, follow these tips to ensure they stay healthy and maintain their shape throughout their lifetime. If taken care of properly, they should last you at least a year or more if worn less frequently.

Do you have any special care tips for curly hair extensions? Let us know in the comments below!


Related: 7 Tips To Sleep With Natural Hair Without Frizzing