For the last two years, I have worn clip-in extensions. Originally, I got them to hold me over until my pixie cut grew out. It had hit that awkward length that is anything but flattering. I didn’t want the full commitment of sewn-ins, but wanted the length.
For some time, my hair grew like a weed. When it hit an acceptable length I decided I still didn’t want to stop wearing the extensions. In the end, I liked having a perfect glam look every day.
Clip ins aren’t damaging, IF you are maintaining the health of your own hair. I was not doing that. I basically did everything you could do wrong.
I slept in them often because honestly clipping them in every morning was super annoying. I wasn’t do deep conditioners nearly as often as I should because it was time consuming. I used heat basically on a daily basis so that my own hair would match the extensions. I also was not getting trims and that was the biggest hair faux pas I committed. I would dust the ends myself, but the reality is that the only person that can give you a good trim is a hair stylist. So unless you are a stylist yourself, put the shears down and leave it to the professionals.
Over the course of a year I went from having extremely healthy hair that could stand on its own to damaged broken off hair that was now dependent on extensions to look good. I knew that I had two alternatives: keep the extensions and continue down the slippery slope or stop wearing them and get a big chop. I chose the latter.
I found a picture of a cute (very short) bob. I showed it to my coworkers. I sent it to my friends in our group chat. I made sure my boyfriend was okay with me losing 12 inches (even if it’s not all mine) of hair. My final stamp of approval was from my mother and very bluntly honest sister. After that, I was ready and so excited to do it!
I scheduled an appointment at Blow-Out Hair Bar in Jersey City where my friend Leya is a stylist. I knew for the cut I was going for I needed a very specific type of stylist and Leya was just it. After what felt like months (two weeks), the day of my appointment was here!
Leya was great and really discussed my needs before we even went to the wash bowl. The whole time she talked me through it and I left the salon with a chic blunt bob that was better than I imagined. I kept telling people I felt french!
Now I am about three weeks into extension free life and I couldn’t be happier! It’s an adjustment I will admit that, but worth it. I feel so liberated. It is kind of sad that these days wearing your own relaxed hair is a bold move, but for the foreseeable future that appears to be the case. It’s so much easier to manage so I really cannot complain.
My tips on transitioning away from extensions:
- Get a haircut and maintain it. No not a trim, but a bold stylish haircut that you know will garner compliments. If you are losing the glam of a weave you are really going to need a good hairstyle to fall back on. Find a good stylist that really understands what you want. Keep going back to that stylist regularly to maintain the shape so that you do not head into boring hair territory.
- Keep your hair healthy! There is nothing to hide it anymore. So, get regular trims, be light with the heat styling, and deep condition often. Damaged hair will just lead you back into the extension rabbit hole.
- Be okay with your hair not always being perfect. With extensions bad hair days are few and fair in between. When you are just wearing your own hair it is easy for bad days to pop up especially if you are reducing the amount of heat you use. The reality is a headband and or a carefully placed bobby pin can do wonders and you can weather the bad hair day storm.
Most relaxed girls will wash their hair every seven days while some push it out even longer. My hair is too oily for that and honestly it prevents hair growth if you let oil build up for too long (clogs pores in scalp). So I wash my hair every 5-6 days. To prevent putting too much heat on it I have come up with a blowout routine that keeps heat to a minimum.
Lex’s Blowout Routine:
- In the shower, I shampoo my hair with Loreal EverCreme Intense Nourishing Shampoo and condition with Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask*. Both are super hydrating and leave my hair feeling super soft. I do my detangling in the shower when conditioner is in my hair to prevent breakage.
- After I get out of the shower I wrap my hair in a Turbie Twist to wick out the excess moisture. It is a microfiber turban that is better that using a towel as they tend to dry out your hair. I leave it on for just a few minutes as I still want to retain some moisture for the next step.
- When I take off the Turbie Twist, I spray on Carol’s Daughter Monoi Anti-Breakage Spray*. Then I spray Hask Placenta Leave-in Conditioning Treatment. Finally I will pump a dime size amount of Carol’s Daughter Sacred Strengthening Serum* into my palm and distribute it through my hair evenly.
- Next I do a wet wrap. It is the same motion that you would take when you are wrapping your hair dry. I spray on a little more of the Hask Placenta Leave-in to maintain the shape and add the tiniest amount the Sacred Strengthening Serum to lock in moisture. Then I wrap my hair in a silk scarf to smooth it out and reduce frizz. I leave the scarf on for about 30 minutes and let it air dry. Then I take off the scarf and let it air dry for another 30 minutes. When it is about 80% dry I get ready to blowout.
- I brush out the wet wrap, spray on small amount of OGX Weightless Oil Mist, and divide my hair into four sections. With a round ceramic brush, I blow out one inch pieces of each section until my whole head is completed. Before I blow each sections I spray on Biolage by Matrix Thermal-Active Setting Spray to protect it from the heat.
- Once my hair is blown out I will spray on a heat protectant for flat-ironing. I brush it through and wait a few minutes so that the product is dry and I am not singeing my hair. I again divide my hair into four sections. Then I pull out very small sections and go over them with the flat-iron. I try to limit myself to two swipes per piece to limit heat exposure. I do this until all sections are complete and voilà I’m done!
- I like to finish with an anti-frizz serum and pomade to smooth out my edges. Recommended, but not required!
Note: In between washes I do not use the flat iron unless it is bad (like really bad!)
If you have recently stopped wearing extensions or are considering doing it I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comment section below!
*All Carol’s Daughter products mentioned were courtesy of Carol’s Daughter