Whether you’re new to hair extensions and want to see how long they will last you, or just got a set of hair extensions applied and are curious about how long it will be before you need a replacement, estimates on the longevity of hair extensions can be difficult to obtain.
With so many variables making it difficult to interpret how long each extension application will last, the most you can do is take into account your desired type of extensions and their material in order to make an educated guess about their longevity.
In this article, we will be discussing the average longevity of the most popular hair extension types, in addition to giving you tips on extending the life of your extensions and which signs to look out for that indicate your extensions need replacing.
- The Average Time You Can Wear Hair Extensions
- Synthetic vs Real Human Hair Extensions
- Types of Hair Extensions and Their Longevity
- What About Wigs?
- Is It Possible to Wear Hair Extensions for Too Long?
- Achieving Long-Lasting, Luscious Locks
The Average Time You Can Wear Hair Extensions
Depending on the type of extensions you have and how well you take care of them (we’ll talk about this more in-depth later), you can expect your hair extensions to last you anywhere between 3 and 6 months. With extremely attentive care and a quality professional application, some human hair extensions may even last up to a year before you need to purchase new ones.
Keep in mind that while you can wear some extensions for up to a year, it may not be the most recommended, as hair extensions can damage your hair over time.
Synthetic vs Real Human Hair Extensions
The material of your hair extensions has a lot to do with how long they will last.
As a general rule, extensions that are created from human hair will last longer than synthetic hair extensions; this is due to human hair being more hardy and able to withstand heat styling, washing, and the environment more readily than the machine-made synthetic extensions.
While synthetic extensions can be cheaper, you may find yourself replacing them a lot more often. If you are a major fan of extensions and know that you want to wear your extensions for an extended period time or even reuse them, it might be worth investing in the human hair material, as it can save you money in the long run.
Types of Hair Extensions and Their Longevity
The way extensions are applied can go a long way into determining their longevity in your hair. Below, we have a list of the most popular hair extension types and the expected time that you can use them before they need to be replaced by a new product.
Clip-in hair extensions are an affordable option for many people that give the chance to experience commitment-free extensions. Clip-ins feature a fabric or silicone clip at the top of the extension along the cuticle area that allows them to be easily placed into or removed from your hair.
With proper care and careful storage when not in use, you can expect your clip-in extensions to last for between 3 and 6 months before they need to be replaced.
Generally regarded as the next level up from clip-in extensions, both in terms of price and appearance, tape-in extensions are applied to the hair via an adhesive tape strip that is found at the top of the extension. A hot tool, like a flat iron, is used to attach the extension to the top of the hair near the root, where it stays put.
These extensions can last between 6 and 12 weeks before they need to be repositioned due to hair growth, and you can reuse the extensions several times before they need to be completely replaced.
Sew-in extensions are also commonly called weaves; this type of extension is sewn into the braids of the wearer’s hair, making it very hard to even tell that the extensions are not real hair. They are also fairly durable because of this application method.
Your sew-in extensions will likely last you 6 to 8 weeks, and can stay put for up to 4 months, but you should try not to wear your sew-in for longer than 2 months at a time, as doing so could damage the integrity of your hair.
With a similar durability as sew-in extensions, microlink extensions are applied using a bead that fastens the extension onto the natural hair piece by piece. They are a very secure type of extension and will grow out with your natural hair.
Because these extensions are so durable and applied in a very secure fashion, they will last between 10 to 12 weeks with proper care and maintenance. After the 12 weeks, you will likely need to get them repositioned, but you can reuse them one or two times before you have to completely replace the hair product.
One of the longest-lasting types of extensions, fusion extensions can stay put in your hair for between 3 and 6 months.
These extensions are bonded very close to the root of the hair using glue adhesives and a specialized tool; they will grow out with your hair and can be a very natural-looking extension option. However, they are one of the more expensive types of extensions.
What About Wigs?
Though they aren’t technically hair extensions, many people will use wigs to extend the length of their hair or change up their style in the same way. Human hair wigs can last you between 1 and 3 years with proper care, with synthetic wigs lasting between 1 and 2 years on average.
If you would like to know more about selecting the best wig for you, check out this video.
Is It Possible to Wear Hair Extensions for Too Long?
It is possible to wear your hair extensions for too long. If you are ignoring the recommended timelines for exchanging out your extensions, you could be doing your hair serious damage.
Wearing hair extensions too often and for too long of a time can led to gradual weakening of the hair, hair loss or breakage, and poor growth of the natural hair. You can read more about these risk factors here.
You should be taking breaks of at least 2 to 4 weeks before extension applications, and should be using strengthening treatments and hair nourishing products during this time, as this will build up your hair’s integrity and prevent any potential damage.
Signs It Is Time to Replace Your Extensions
If it’s been a while since you had your extensions installed, but you aren’t quite sure if it is time for an extension replacement just yet, you can look for these signs that can indicate it is time to take out your extensions and give your hair a break before reinstalling.
The most noticeable sign that your extensions are in trouble is if they start becoming frizzy and unmanageable. When first applied, your extensions will be smooth and silky soft; as they start feeling more coarse, crunchy, or becoming easily knotted, it is likely a sign that the extensions are near the end of their life.
If you notice that it is becoming harder to style your extensions or that there is a large amount of product buildup, it is time to change your extensions. You may also notice the extensions starting to take on a bad odor due to this excess product or that the areas holding your extensions in place are beginning to become loose, leading to a less than natural extension appearance and a need for removal.
Extending the Life of Your Extensions
There are many different tips and tricks for extending the life of your hair extensions. Many of these are dependent on the type of extensions you have. Make sure that whenever you have a set of hair extensions installed you speak to the stylist about the best way to care for them and how to make them last as long as possible.
You should be washing your clip-in extensions with sulfate-free shampoo products after every 30 wears of them. Be sure to follow up with a conditioner and dry them thoroughly before brushing them out, as brushing when wet can cause considerable damage.
When washing your hair, try to use shampoo and conditioners that are sulfate-free and very gentle, as harsh products can wear out the adhesive on your extensions, causing them to slip out.
You don’t want to wash your extensions too often, maybe just once or twice a week, and you should never brush the extensions while they are wet.
With sew-in extensions, you need to make sure that your scalp is always conditioned and moisturized to prevent damage to it or the roots of your hair.
Wash your hair as infrequently as possible, maybe once a week, and only detangle and brush your hair when it is completely dry. You should also sleep in a cap to protect your hair overnight.
You can treat microlink extensions very similarly to your own hair in terms of washing and styling.
Just remember that less washing is better and that you should not be heat styling with tools too hot, especially if you have synthetic extensions, as this can lead to extension damage over time.
Similar to microlink extensions, you can treat fusion extensions much like your own hair, thanks to the secure way they are applied.
Make sure to wash your hair with gentle products, detangle the extensions only when they are dry, and keep heat styling tool use down to a minimum.
Achieving Long-Lasting, Luscious Locks
Hair extensions can be a great way to change up your look and try out new unique styles. However, how long you can wear each set of hair extensions depends heavily on the application method and type of material used in your extension.
As long as you aren’t too rough with your hair and pay attention to the correct care methods for your particular extensions, you’re sure to achieve long-lasting, luscious locks that always look their best.