As many of us weave wearers know, a professional weave installment is not cheap. By the time you purchase hair, have it installed, and perhaps customize it with color and/or haircut, you could be in it for upwards of about $500 or more, depending on number of bundles (wefts of hair) being installed. In other words, this process is not cheap; therefore, sometimes all one can afford to do is have the installment and go on their merry way. It is unthinkable to first dish out $500 or more on purchasing the hair and installing the weave and then to come in every 2 or 3 weeks for an additional $50-$75 a visit for maintenance!
As unthinkable as that might be, there is hope. I am going to give you some basic advice on “how to manage your weave and extensions at home” in-between salon visits and a few tips that I personally practice and recommend for my clients.
On average most installments are good for about 3 months before the need to be completely removed and start the process over again. The exception is the strand method, which in my opinion should be completely removed and started over from scratch every 6 months. I will elaborate more on strand methods and other methods later.
Whether braided, braidless or strand, all methods need maintenance every 6-8-week for proper care. I will talk more about the 6-8-week maintenance period later. In addition to that mandatory 6-8-week grooming period, there is of course a weekly, bi-weekly or even tri-weekly grooming that needs to be done. With the information I am going to give you, the grooming can be done at home and save you money and time.
FIRST OF ALL, LET’S GO OVER THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INSTALLS, HOW LONG THEY LAST, AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR PROPER UPKEEP:
The most traditional and common method that I do is a braided weave method. There are 2 types of braided methods–rows in-between the natural hair and a full-braided foundation with or without a leave out of hair. This is the absolute best method of attachment for afro kinky hair as cornrows seem to hold best as a foundation, and when properly completed, there will be a minimal amount of pulling. The commercial hair is sewed onto the braid foundation using nylon (preferred) thread to attach the weave. Nylon thread is the best thread to use as it does not stretch like cotton thread and generally holds tight throughout the whole installment time.
When the braid foundation is in-between the natural hair, which are called rows, it is not as strong of a foundation as a full-braided foundation; and it may only last for about 2 to 3 months. I do not recommend having this method beyond 3 ½ months. After about 3 ½ months, afro kinky hair will begin to lock up, making the takeout sometimes painful and sometimes with more natural hair loss.
You should oil your scalp underneath the commercial hair at least 2-4 times a week. This depends on personal needs and the season (more in the winter and lesser in the summer). Everyone is different. A good rule of thumb is simply this–if your scalp feels dry, oil it. If it doesn’t, it is okay to leave it alone. Another thing to remember is that the more you maintain good scalp and hair care underneath your weave, the easier the take out will be. You don’t have to overdose on oil, but it is important to do so periodically. In addition to oiling your scalp, you should also shampoo weekly or bi-weekly. Again this depends on your individual needs. I will review how to shampoo later.
The braidless method is the next most common weave that I do; I mostly recommend this method for my naturally straight to wavy and softer texture hair that doesn’t hold a braid. I do this attachment using the microbeads, however; there are several methods for the braidless weave process. A secure foundation is made for the weft of hair to be sewn onto. The natural hair is left out in-between rows of commercial hair, therefore, this method cannot be a full unit only a partial. Generally I recommend this attachment for hair that does not hold well with braids. This method last about 3-4 months, but I usually opt for no longer than 3 ½ months.
Generally speaking, people with straight and wavier hair textures don’t need as much oil as the kinkier textured hair but remember the oil is what keeps the hair lubricated and manageable especially for the takeout process. I will explain how to lubricate the hair without having to weigh it down.
The last hair attachment is the strand method. Using this method, I take individual pre-sectioned strands of commercial hair and attach them to strands of natural hair. There are no foundations or wefts of hair for this method, just individual strands of hair to create an allover fullness and length. The natural hair is blended into the strands of commercial hair which are added. This process takes longer and last longer than any other method. The beads that connect the commercial hair together with the natural hair are moved up the hair shaft as the natural hair grows down. This natural growth makes it necessary to have maintenance every 6-8 weeks.
When hair shifts you want to reinforce back so that there is minimal pulling or hanging and maximum coverage with any process. I still recommend a total removal after about 6 months for the strand method.
WEEKLY CARE FOR YOUR SEW-IN OR EXTENSIONS AT HOME:
If you are wearing a traditional weave (with braids) be sure to have an oil bottle with a tip on it so that you can easily open the hair and apply oil to the scalp. The oil will travel to the hair on its own. This should be done as often as necessary. As I previously stated, everyone’s hair is different. If you feel tightness in your scalp, or its dry to the touch, or itchy, this may all be a sign that the scalp needs to be lubricated. Do not underestimate how much easier the taking out process will be with regular scalp lubrication as kinky hair naturally kinks and tangles when braided down for a long period of time.
- I find it best to oil your scalp or use most products at night so that you can wrap it up and allow the oils and products to settle into the hair.
- Be sure to use a nightly process, perhaps one of these–pin curl, separate your hair into 2 sections, wrap, or plait your hair and place it properly underneath your satiny, silky, or soft scarf. The gentler you are with your weave, the easier the maintenance.
- At least after the second week of installation, it will be time to shampoo.
- If you are wearing a method other than those with a braided foundation, for straighter/ wavier hair, the oil should be applied right before the shampoo process. This, of course, depends on how often you shampoo and your own individual needs. If you shampoo more than 2 times a week, you will probably only do this once. The oil is applied before the shampoo so that is can be removed but your scalp still gets the benefits. The oil makes for an easier, gentler take out with less pulling.
THE SHAMPOO PROCESS:
This is always done easiest in the shower. The most important tip I can give you about shampooing your weave install is to SECTION THE HAIR IN 2 before you start! This will take some of the weight off and makes it easier to control. Two secure ponytails or plaits will do. If you go with plaits, secure them with a rubber band at the ends. Holding your head under lukewarm water, rinse and saturate one side at a time. The most tedious part is the rinsing which should last for about 3-5 minutes on each side. This will insure that residues, oils, and dirt are being removed as much as possible before applying the shampoo.
Use the balls of your fingers to focus on the scalp, allowing your fingers to intertwine one side at a time. After the scalp has been attended to, squeeze the shampoo through the ends of your sectioned hair, one side at a time. Use more shampoo if you need to.
There should be no vigorous or circular motions–only squeezing the shampoo down the shaft of the hair. Rinse each section, repeat or move to the conditioner by squeezing it through. After the conditioner is squeezed through and rinsed out, proceed to take down your plaits or ponytails and brush out the hair from the ends up using your large wig brush.
Place your two ponytails back in and began the drying process. It is best to air dry, however, a hooded dryer would be the second-best options. I do not recommend blow drying unless it is just uses forced heat. Absolutely do not use comb attachments. You’re now ready to proceed to styling.
THINGS YOU NEED FOR STYLING:
You will need a large wig brush (round balls on the outside soft on the inside). Use this brush when hair is wet.
You will need a large detangling comb. Use the comb when the hair is dry for styling and detangling.
You will need a bottle of (light) oil with a tip on the end for easy distribution.
You will need whatever styling products you like to use (depending on desired style). Keep in mind to keep product use to a minimum; the more product build-up, the quicker the need to shampoo.
These are really the basics to maintaining your install in-between salon visits. Because there is so much information to provide, I did not want to touch on product brands only “how to’s”. Use the manufacturer’s instructions and your own good common sense.
If you guys feel that this information is helpful, please let me know! If you would like for me to elaborate more, let me know that as well! I love hearing from you, so please give me more feedback on how I can serve you!