Written by Melanie Yvette

Over the years, weaves have transformed from a taboo topic rarely spoken about to a style staple among women of all races.Think about it, head to your local Sally Beauty or beauty supply store any weekend and—you’ll hear at least a dozen conversations among women offering suggestions to their fellow weave (and even wig) wearers.

Social media has also entered the conversation in a big way with vloggers like Peakmill and even Tiarra Monet sharing secrets to wig and frontal success. Then, of course, you have up and coming stylists such as Kahh Spence, who are not only leading their careers by creating customized wigs, but setting trends with them too.  

Yet while we’re rocking, flipping, and slaying our protective styles, how many of us can actually say we know how to take care of them? Yep, that’s what we thought.

We tapped Indique’s Marketing Coordinator, Joyce Koomson, to share her upgraded advice on properly caring for your weave and wigs.

Q: What are your standard rules  for caring for protective styles?

JK: Protective styles are designed to create an environment where hair growth can thrive. With protective styles, you should be able to moisturize, treat and cleanse your scalp without creating any excessive tension on your natural hair. Most protective styles allow your natural hair to rest without excessive manipulation, which [can] often leads to breakage.

Q: What are the proper steps to washing and conditioning weaves?

JK:  A lot of clients believe that once they have their extensions in, that’s it. They don’t need to see their stylist until it’s time to remove them. Honestly, it’s the total opposite. Ideally clients should have routine maintenance appointments every 2-3 weeks. A shampoo and style service at the salon offers important elements that a client may not have access to at home.

Remember, extensions add layers—think braids, weft, and threads—that must be shampooed and dried properly. Damp hair leads to mildew and an unpleasant odor. In turn, the client can experience breakage and hair loss.

Q: Can you recommend a unique routine for women who wear weaves they may not know of?

JK: I recommend a pre-poo for all extension clients. A pre-poo includes a mix of essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, and tea tree. The combination of oils alleviate dandruff, sooth the scalp and promote healthy hair growth. Start with dampened hair before massaging the mixture into the scalp.

(Editor’s note: if you’re looking for a good in-store pre-poo, try your luck with Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Dandruff Control Pre-Poo Rinse.)

Next, dilute shampoo —Madame CJ Walker Beauty’s Black Castor shampoo is Need a better word than amazing. What does it contain that is special? Waht does it do?— in an applicator bottle with warm water. This should be applied directly onto the client’s scalp and massaged as well. Rinse and repeat.

Follow with an instant conditioner and rinse thoroughly. Apply a lightweight hair serum, like Girl and Hair’s Restoring Hair Balm, throughout extensions. You should then sit under a hooded dryer. The extensions should be separated in sections and secured with a plastic clip so that air from the dryer can reach the roots and properly dry.

Q: What would you say is an issue women have with maintaining their weaves and wigs?

JK: Commutation between the client and her stylist. Many extension services occur without a consultation. The right questions aren’t being asked and regimens and product recommendations aren’t given. The client may not understand what is required to maintain a particular look—not all textures are created equal.

Some styles may be better for certain lifestyles than others. For example, knowing how to define curly hair without it looking frizzy. Or, getting a closure or frontal because it looks good on social media but not understanding it requires visits to the salon for retightening.

Overall, extension services are usually the most expensive service your stylist can offer. This look is an investment. Do your homework and really figure out what’s for you and your lifestyle.

Q: When is it time to get rid of extension hair and wigs?

JK:  It really depends on the quality of the hair and how it has been treated over time.  With Indique Hair, I’ve had hair for years! I’ve never thrown hair away. It is 100% virgin human hair so I treat it like my own. I shampoo, condition and treat it with professional products.

Also extensions tend to have a longer lifespan when the wefts are not cut. That is why a majority of stylists prefer to fold tracks as much as possible.

The same goes for wigs. Maintenance depends on how it was crafted. Stitched wigs should be repaired when need. Lace wigs, closure and frontals are delicate and may need to be re-ventilated by a specialist.

Q: How long is too long to leave in a weave or even braid extensions?

Joyce: 2-3 months. Any longer than that and hair can begin to mat and loc.  

Q: We’re seeing the loc extension trend gain more relevancy with celebs like Rihanna rocking them. What’s a rule of thumb for safely wearing loc extensions?

JK:  A style like this requires two layers of application. First, a foundation must be created by either braiding or twisting with braiding hair. Then the braid or twist is wrapped with Marley hair. This can be a lot of weight and tension on your natural hair. It’s important that the ratio of hair used on each section matches the size of the parting and density of one’s hair.

Images via IndiqueHair.com