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How to Safely and Easily Remove Hair Extensions at Home
Hair extensions can provide length, volume, and style to your natural hair. However, they need to be removed properly to avoid damage to your locks. While salons can remove extensions for you, it is possible to take them out safely at home if you follow some key steps.
An Overview of Hair Extension Application Methods
There are several ways hair extensions are applied that require different removal techniques:
Bonded or Glued Extensions
These extensions have an adhesive bond or glue that attaches them to small sections of natural hair. A technician will prep hair by sectioning, then apply a keratin or polymer bond to attach the weft of extensions. These bonds must be dissolved to slide extensions off.
These use small strips of tape glue to sandwich extensions between layers of natural hair. Tape is applied on either side of the sectioned hair to hold the wefts in place. Gentle peeling is required to remove the tape adhesive.
These have small clips sewn into the weft to grip onto natural hair temporarily. No glues or bonds are used. Clips simply need to be unlatched to remove this extension type.
Why Properly Removing Extensions is Important
Taking out extensions properly helps avoid unnecessary damage to your natural hair. Pulling glued bonds without dissolving them first can rip out hair. Yanking tape-ins can also cause breakage if the tape is not gently peeled off.
Removing extensions yourself rather than going to a salon helps save time and money. But specific products and techniques for each application method are needed to dissolve bonds and adhesive while keeping natural hair intact.
Follow these key steps to safely remove different types of hair extensions at home:
1. Prep Hair for Removal
Before starting the removal process, detangle extensions thoroughly with a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush. Work in small sections from the bottom up. This prevents extensions and natural hair from tangling into knots, which makes removal much harder.
Next, section clean, dry hair into four quadrants – left and right sides of top and bottom sections. Use clips to keep sections separated as you work. This organization helps ensure all extension pieces are removed systematically.
Have your removal solution ready depending on the extension type. For bonded extensions, use a bond removal product, oil, or adhesive remover. For tape-ins, have oil and patience ready to gently peel tape. And for clip-ins, simply prepare a comb or brush.
2. Remove Bonded Extensions
Bonded extensions require a chemical solution to dissolve the bonds so hair is not ripped out. Be sure to purchase a high-quality remover made specifically for hair extensions, or use natural oil. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage hair.
Here’s the safest process for removing bonded extensions at home:
Apply Remover to Bonds
Section out a small portion of the bonded extensions. Spray or apply the removal solution directly onto the glue bonds, saturating them completely. Massage in to fully penetrate the area.
Let Remover Soak In
Allow the removal product to soak in for 1-2 minutes. This gives the active ingredients time to break down the bonds so extensions can slide off without pulling.
Gently Slide Off Extensions
After letting remover soak in, gently grip the extensions right above the bond and slide downwards. The extensions should detach easily from natural hair without tugging or ripping when bonds are dissolved.
Work in Small Sections
Repeat this process in small sections until all bonded extensions are removed. Apply remover, allow to penetrate, then gently slide off. Avoid tugging or quickly ripping off pieces.
Rinse and Condition Hair
Once bonds are fully removed, thoroughly rinse hair with lukewarm water to get rid of any remaining residue. Follow up with a hydrating deep conditioner to replenish moisture and nourish hair.
Patience and gentleness are key when removing bonded extensions. Let the chemical remover do the work of dissolving the bonds instead of forcefully ripping out hair.
3. Remove Tape-In Extensions
Tape-in extensions use a powerful double-sided adhesive tape to keep extension wefts secured to natural hair. Removing this tape carefully is crucial to avoid pulling out strands.
Follow these steps to safely peel off tape-in extensions:
Apply Oil to Tape
Section out the tape-in pieces you want to remove. Apply a few drops of natural oil like coconut or olive oil directly onto the adhesive tape strip. Massage in to saturate it.
Let Oil Soften Tape
Allow the oil to soak into the tape adhesive for 2-3 minutes. This helps soften the glue grip so the extensions can be gently peeled off.
Slowly Peel Tape Backwards
Once tape is softened, gently grip the very end of the weft near the tip. Slowly peel it off by pulling the tape backwards and downwards toward the roots.
Avoid Tugging Hair
Peel carefully straight back to avoid tugging natural hair still stuck under the tape. If needed, apply more oil to loosen any stubborn sections. The wefts should come off without pulling.
Remove Top Sections First
Start removing tape-ins from the top of your head first, near the part line. Work downwards in sections toward the nape of the neck. This helps avoid tangling.
Rinse Out Any Residue
After fully removing the tape wefts, rinse hair thoroughly with cool water to get rid of any leftover oil or adhesive residue.
Patience and a light grip are essential when peeling off tape extensions. Allow oil to fully soften and loosen the bonds before gently sliding wefts off section by section.
4. Remove Clip-In Extensions
Clip-in extensions are the easiest to remove since no glues or tapes are used. The clip wefts simply unlatch from natural hair. However, tangling can still happen if not removed properly.
Follow these tips for painless clip-in removal:
Start at the Bottom
Begin removing clip-in wefts from the bottom row first, near the nape of the neck. Gently unclip each one working upwards.
Use a Comb If Needed
If clips get tangled in natural hair, carefully use a wide-tooth comb to loosen and detangle as you unclip pieces.
Work in Sections
Unclip wefts one section at a time, using clips to keep hair organized. Avoid removing too many pieces at once to prevent tangling.
Don’t Pull Pieces Apart
If clips happen to tangle or snag in sections, gently unweave them apart. Avoid forcefully ripping clipped wefts away.
Remove Top Pieces Last
Finish by gently unclipping the crown and side top pieces last after removing bottom and mid-sections first.
Clip-ins provide temporary volume or length without glue bonds. But tangling is still possible if hair is not properly detangled and sectioned during the removal process.
Finishing Up the Removal Process
Once all extensions have been fully removed from each section of hair, a few final steps help ensure natural hair is restored to health:
Rinse Out Any Residue
Thoroughly rinse hair with cool water to remove any leftover oils, conditioners or removal solutions. Be sure to get rid of any glue or tape residue as well.
Deep Condition Hair
Since extensions can dry out natural hair over time, use a hydrating hair mask or deep conditioner after removal. Let it soak in fully, then rinse out.
Take a Break Before Reinstalling
Give your natural hair a few days off before putting in new extensions again. Even a short break helps hair recover.
Comb Through to Detangle
Use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle from roots to ends. Remove any shed hair and let your locks air dry or set in velcro rollers for bounce.
Pro Tips for Safe and Easy Removal
Follow these additional professional tips for painless, damage-free extension removal at home:
- Work in small sections for manageability
- Avoid forceful tugging or pulling at any point
- Only remove 1-2 rows of extensions at a time
- Use salon-quality removal products when needed
- Let removers fully penetrate bonds before sliding off
- Peel tape back slowly and gently to protect hair
- Prevent matting by regularly combing extensions
- Deep condition natural hair before and after removal
- Give your hair a break between extension sets
Benefits of Proper Extension Removal
Taking the time to safely remove various extension types at home provides huge benefits for your natural hair:
- Prevents painful pulling, breakage, and thinning when bonds stay glued in
- Minimizes unnecessary trips to the stylist for removal
- Saves money on salon removal services
- Allows hair to rest and recover between installments
- Restores moisture to dry, damaged hair
- Lets you fully wash and condition your own hair
- Keeps your locks healthy for the next application
With the right products, techniques and care, it is possible to remove hair extensions at home safely between appointments. Invest the time into doing it properly to maintain beautiful, strong natural hair for your next installment.