Woman with hair extensions using Arey detox scalp scrub

Hair Extensions: How to Protect Your Scalp and Hair From Damage


With Proper Installation, Maintenance, and Removal, Hair Extensions Need Not Hurt Your Hair

Whether it’s thick or fine, curly or straight, your hair type depends on your ancestry.1 So if the genetic lottery didn’t deliver your dream mane, you might well find yourself considering hair extensions. 

Hair extensions are popular for a good reason – they offer instant, dramatic length and body for all hair types. You can also alter the color and texture of your hair without damaging your hair with dyes or heat styling. 

When my clients come to me for advice about hair extensions, they are often nervous about hurting their natural hair. There’s a lot of conflicting information about hair extensions and it can be hard to decide what’s right for you. The good news is that with professional installation, maintenance, and removal, hair extensions shouldn’t cause hair damage.

Woman with hair extensions and healthy hair

The most important things for your hair and scalp health with hair extensions are:

    • Use the right shampoo and conditioner: treat your natural hair and scalp with clean, gentle cleansing.

    • Avoid tugging on your roots: don’t pull your hair back in tight styles.

    • Don’t leave hair extensions too long: more than 6-8 weeks can cause stress to your roots. 

    • Support your hair with nutrients: a healthy diet and supplements help keep natural hair healthy.

At Arey, our philosophy is to create balanced products that support and strengthen all types of hair. Our haircare products offer gentle cleansing and nutritional support so your hair extension experience can be healthy and stress-free.


    Can Hair Extensions Cause Hair Loss?

    Like many of my clients, you may have heard about hair loss from hair extensions. Known as traction alopecia,2 this kind of shedding is triggered by repeated tugging on your hair. It can also be caused by tight ponytails. 

    Each of your hair follicles (your roots) has a tiny muscle called the arrector pili. If there is too much tugging and pressure from tight weaves or incorrectly applied extensions, the muscle can be damaged. Eventually, the repeated pulling causes your hair to fall out.3 

    Traction alopecia can be reversed by changing your hairstyle to remove pressure on your hair follicles – that’s why expert stylists recommend you remove hair extensions after 6-8 weeks.

    Fortunately, it’s possible to have hair extensions and healthy natural hair. Here’s what I recommend to protect your hair before, during, and after getting extensions.


    How to Prevent Hair Loss From Extensions

    Here’s what dermatologists3 recommend as the best ways to avoid hair damage from a weave or extensions:

    Get your hair and scalp into their best shape: a healthy scalp means healthy hair. Make sure to use clean, balanced hair products that won’t build up on your scalp and clog your hair follicles. Clogged follicles cause your hair to become thin and weak. 

    Go to a stylist experienced with hair extensions: If you feel pain or have a headache during the extension application, then your hairstyle is too tight. Ask your stylist to loosen the area so you can avoid traction alopecia.

    Keep your extensions clean: support your scalp and hair by gently cleansing as often as you need for your hair type. Avoid shampoos with sulfates – they can strip your strands, leaving them weak and prone to breakage. 

    Give your natural hair a break: after two or three months at most, switch out your hairstyle to give your roots a rest. 

    With the right hair care routine you can enjoy your new hair and look after your natural hair at the same time.

    Smiling woman looks at her hair extensions

    The Best Ways to Prepare Your Hair and Scalp for Extensions

    1. Get Your Scalp Healthy: 

    Before installing extensions, your scalp needs to be healthy enough to handle the added weight of your new hair. 

    Here’s how best to prepare your scalp for extensions:

      • Treat any scalp issues: you need to clear up any scalp irritation like dandruff or psoriasis before getting your extensions. 

      • Balance your scalp microbiome: your scalp has its own ecosystem that can be disrupted by harsh cleansing. An imbalance causes conditions like alopecia, dandruff, and skin irritation. Gentle shampoos and conditioners preserve your scalp’s natural balance.4

      • Boost your scalp health: use products and supplements that deliver peptides (hair-boosting proteins) and antioxidants (anti-aging molecules) to your scalp and roots. These ingredients nourish your scalp and promote stronger, healthier hair.

      For your best hair health with extensions, you need to start with a clean, healthy, and nourished scalp. This gives your natural hair the support it needs for your new, thicker, fuller hairstyle.

      Stylist applies hair extensions to woman in salon

      2. Boost Your Hair Strength: 

      Preparing for your hair extensions means increasing the strength of your hair strands. This helps your natural hair support the weight of your new hair.

      Your hair goes through a 4-stage growth5 cycle:

      1. Anagen phase: your hair’s main growth stage. A single hair can grow for up to 7 years. 90% of your hair is in this phase.

      2. Catagen phase: a transitional resting phase between Anagen and Telogen. Less than 5% of your hair is in this phase at any one time.

      3. Telogen phase: a 3-4 month resting period where your hair stops growing but doesn’t yet shed. 

      4. Exogen phase: when your old hair sheds. Losing 50-100 hairs a day is normal at this stage.

      Of all the phases, the Anagen phase is the most critical for supporting your healthiest hair growth. Rapid cell division occurs in the hair bulb and your hair strands are actively growing.

      Graphic shows stages in healthy hair growth

      You can boost the Anagen phase of your growth cycle by supplying your body with the right vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and peptides. Taking a specialized hair growth supplement like Arey Not Today, Grey strengthens your hair by delivering all the nutrients you need to grow thicker, fuller, and longer strands. 


      How to Maintain Your Best Scalp and Hair Health While Using Hair Extensions

      Now you have a beautiful new mane, you need a new haircare routine. Here’s how you can maintain your healthiest hair and scalp while wearing extensions:

      ✅ Detox With a Weekly Scalp Scrub:

      Balance your scalp and unclog your follicles with an exfoliating scrub like Arey Scrub. Scrub has a pointed tip that is especially helpful when you’re applying products near extensions. It’s packed with exfoliants that gently cleanse and detoxify your scalp. We recommend leaving it on for 3-5 minutes so our signature cocktail of clinically-effective peptides and antioxidants can work to increase the diameter and elasticity of individual hairs and encourage healthy growth.

      ✅ Boost Your Hair Strength With a Scalp Massage:

      A head massage increases blood circulation to your follicles. This delivers nutrients and oxygen to your hair strands to keep them healthy and strong. A self-massage technique called Tapotement is good to use around your hair extensions. You can use your fingertips to tap your scalp gently all over. Take care not to disrupt the areas near your extensions. 

      ✅ Keep Your Hair Moisturized:

      Some extensions – like braids – make it hard for moisture to reach your strands. Dry hair is more vulnerable to damage. Make sure to use a good balancing sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner like Shower Duo that contain peptides to increase the moisture content of your hair.  

      ✅ Nourish Your Roots With a Growth Serum:

      Serums are the best way to apply high-quality hair growth ingredients directly to your scalp. Choose an oil-free, fragrance-free product like Arey To The Root to help balance your scalp pH and supply your hair bulb with strength and shine-boosting amino acids. 

      Taking the best care of your new hairstyle means your natural hair benefits too. So when the time comes to remove your hair extensions, you can enjoy a happy reunion with your natural hair. 

      ✅ Protect Your Hair From Heat Styling: 

      Using hot tools without a heat protectant can damage your natural hair and your extensions. Mend leave-in conditioner is a nourishing heat protector that absorbs deeply into your hair. Science-backed ingredients smooth your strands and protect your hair from heat damage. Mend is the extra step your hair needs to reduce the appearance of split ends and prevent breakage.


      The Best Ways to Care For Your Hair After Removing Extensions

      When your hair extensions are removed, brushing, washing, and scalp massage are important to stimulate your blood circulation and promote cellular activity in your hair and scalp. 

      Here’s what I tell my clients to do immediately after removing hair extensions:

      • Use a bristle brush to encourage hair shedding: if you have a set of extensions in your hair for 6 weeks you should expect a significant hair shed when they’re removed. This is healthy and natural and makes way for new hair to grow.

      • Comb your hair near the scalp: you can use a wide-tooth comb like the Arey Comb to stimulate blood circulation.

      • Exfoliate your scalp: gently massage your scalp for up to 5 minutes with a gentle scrub. Move the tips of your fingers in small circles all over your scalp to stimulate blood flow and trigger lymphatic drainage

      • Cleanse and condition: use a gentle shampoo to rebalance your hair and scalp. 

      • Apply a treatment serum: apply a growth serum like To The Root to encourage and boost your Anagen growth stage.

      If you’re installing new extensions back into your hair, make sure your stylist moves them up or down by a quarter inch. This will allow the area that was just removed time to strengthen and grow. 


      At Arey, We Make Science-Backed Products for All Your Hair Needs

      At Arey, we care about your hair health. That’s why all Arey products are always vegan, free of gluten, sulfates, parabens, phthalates and artificial fragrances. 

      Our commitment to clean means that our products are gentle enough to use while you have hair extensions. Our patent-pending Mela9TM formula delivers everything you need for your strongest, healthiest, most balanced hair.

      Our clinically effective Mela9TM products – including Not Today, Grey supplement, To The Root serum, Wash & Smooth shampoo and conditioner and Wait A Sec dry shampoo – will support your scalp and natural hair. Regular use before, during and after hair extensions will boost your hair and scalp health and encourage your natural hair to grow fuller and thicker. 

      To keep you on track with your hair health goals we offer a 25% discount on all subscriptions. Because science+consistency = results. 

      We are here for you with science-based, effective solutions. We want you to feel happy and confident with your hair. Have questions? Say hey@areygrey.com.


      Jay Small, Stylist and co-founder of Arey, cuts a client’s hair

      AuthorJay SmallJay Small is a sought-after hair stylist and Trichologist in Los Angeles with over 22 years of experience. His clients consist of high-profile business and creative leaders. He trained as an apprentice to the owner of Paul Mitchell and worked in education and product development for Paul Mitchell Systems. Jay is incredibly passionate about the creative process both in terms of styling hair and developing effective products.


      1. https://www.science.org/content/article/thick-head-hair-genes
      2. https://www.healthline.com/health/traction-alopecia#treatment
      3. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/
      4. https://www.labskin.co.uk/scalp-microbiome-an-emerging-segment-in-the-microbiome-world/
      5. https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-of-hair-growth