Choosing The Right Shampoo
It's very important to use the recommended products. Because hair extensions are no longer attached to a head, they do not receive the nutrients, natural oils, or immune system that your actual hair has. If you replenish the hair extensions with moisture from a product with acceptable ingredients, you’ll notice your hair will last much longer.
Currently the FDA has no regulations on what goes on the front of a cosmetics bottle. The only thing they regulate is the ingredient list, and many “FDA approved” ingredients are very harmful to the extensions and your natural hair. You can learn more about FDA cosmetics laws at www.SafeCosmetics.org or by checking out that awesome short YouTube video above. Because the FDA is so busy with the food and drug industry, it’s important that we take our hair’s health into our own hands. Even if a bottle says “Sulfate Free” on the front, it may actually have sulfates in the ingredient list.
Ingredients to avoid
Sulfate: Used as a cheap cleansing agent for cleaning off dirt on the hair and scalp. This ingredient is extremely drying for the extensions. If you use a shampoo or products with sulfates in it, your extensions will start feeling brittle very quickly as it strips the hair of good and bad oils. Because it strips the good and bad oils of your hair, your body will start to overproduce scalp oils with extended use. If your hair seems to get oily in one day or less, sulfates in your shampoo may be why.
Types of sulfates to avoid: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate, TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Sulfur (in dandruff shampoos), Selenium Sulfide (in dandruff shampoos), Magnesium Sulfate, Sodium Thiosulfate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Alkyl Sodium Sulfate, Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate, TEA-Dodecylbenzene, Sodium C12-15 Alkyl Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Sulfonate
Alcohol: Alcohol is usually added in these products as a swelling agent. It opens up the cuticle of the hair in order to penetrate the product throughout the hair. The only problem is that once your cuticle is open, it never fully closes again. And the more you open it, the more it dries out. Alcohol is another very drying ingredient for the hair extensions. You’ll want to try to stay away from products with alcohol.
There are some plant based alcohols that are okay to use on the extensions.
Some conditioners contain plant based alcohols that are actually beneficial. These larger alcohols are typically derived from natural sources, and have 12 or more carbons per molecule (typically 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20). This higher amount of carbon content makes these molecules oilier (also referred to as ‘fatty’). For this reason, they are often used as an emollient in skin and hair care products. They give a smooth, soft feeling to the hair shaft by helping the cuticle to lie flat on the surface of the hair, unlike other alcohols that blow open the cuticle and dry it out. However, if used in excess, fatty alcohols can combine with the natural sebum found on the scalp and form a sticky substance that makes the hair look greasy.
Plant based, approved alcohols: Lauryl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol and Behenyl alcohol
Types of alcohol to avoid: Ethyl Alcohol, Isopropanol or Isopropyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Propanol or Propyl Alcohol, SD Alcohol 40, SD Alcohol, and Propylene Glycol
Sodium Chloride & Sodium Hydroxide: Sodium Chloride aka table salt, is very drying on the extensions. Not only will it dry out your extensions, it can make your color fade very fast. Salt is an irritant and can damage the hair and scalp when used repeatedly over time. Just as eating salty foods can make us feel dehydrated, sodium chloride dries out the skin and hair. Lack of moisture makes the skin of the scalp more prone to cracking, and can cause dandruff and psoriasis. The hair itself becomes dry and brittle, and will break easily. Sodium Hydroxide is created via electrolysis of sodium chloride, and there fore should be avoided as well. This is another extremely drying ingredient. Ironically, many lotion companies put it in their lotions so your hands will never get fully moisturized, and you’ll keep coming back for more. Bath and Body works is famous for using this deceiving trick.