Movie and music celebrities, such as Cameron Diaz and Madonna, have worn hair extensions to create new hairstyles, according to the Hair Boutique website. The main advantage of hair extensions is that they can create a new look almost instantly without the hassles of wigs and hair pieces. However, wearing hair extensions can cause both temporary and long-term damage to your hair.
Hair extensions are individual hair strands that are created from real human hair, synthetic materials, animal hair or a combination of the three, according to the Hair Boutique website. Temporary, or clip-on, hair extensions are made up of hundreds of hairs woven into a holder that is clipped near the scalp. Long-term hair extensions are not woven into a clip; instead, they are designed to be attached to individual hair strands. Depending on the materials used, hair extensions may be dyed, permed or otherwise manipulated to match existing hair.
Temporary hair extensions simply clip onto the existing hair strands at the roots and can be attached and removed as desired. Long-term hair extensions are either braided into existing hair at the roots or attached to the ends of individual hair strands. Long-term hair extensions are painted with a chemical bonding solution at the point of attachment. The bonding solution is then melted with a heat clamp, sealing the extensions to the existing hair, according to the Hair Boutique website.
Make a Smooth Transition
In most cases, hair extensions should be removed by a hairstyling expert. If you decide to remove them at home, you can do so by unweaving the extension from your natural hair and bending the hair at the attachment point to snap the seal.
Temporary Strand Damage
The heat and chemical bonding solutions used to attach hair extensions can weaken the hair at the attachment point. This can cause split ends and dry, frizzy hair. If you have individual strand hair extensions, you should have the ends of your hair cut to remove split ends and damaged sections after the hair extensions are removed. If you have weave extensions that are braided into the hair at the roots, you may not be able to correct the damage.
Tend to Your Scalp
The weight of hair extensions may result in traction alopecia, which is hair loss caused by pulling on the hair at the roots. Some people who wear hair extensions may experience atrophy of the hair follicles, which can cause the follicles to produce thin, brittle hair. In some cases, the follicles may stop producing hair altogether. The follicles may not recover, depending on the duration and severity of the stress placed on them by the hair extensions.