Pro Logic: How to Detangle and Blow Dry Hair Extensions Wednesday 13 June, 2012
When you’re born with follicles that dare to produce hair that never grows longer than two inches shy of your bust area, there’s no amount of praying to the tress gods that will change your circumstances (and genes). I’ve learned this, and finally come to terms with it. But over the years, I’ve been privy […]
When you’re born with follicles that dare to produce hair that never grows longer than two inches shy of your bust area, there’s no amount of praying to the tress gods that will change your circumstances (and genes). I’ve learned this, and finally come to terms with it. But over the years, I’ve been privy to a few sets of hair extensions—some taped in, some bonded strand-by-strand, some clamped in with beads. Each time, my hair becomes the lion’s mane it’s meant to be. (I’m a Leo, after all.) And each time, I train my brain to remember that I now have double the hair I had moments before, and therefore how I care for it will have to change accordingly. But sometimes, no matter how disciplined you are, you run into some hiccups.
(The always dapper Sean Gallagher dares to work the kinked knots out of my hair.)
Such was the situation I found myself in not too long ago: What can only be described as a rat’s nest formed at my neck, and no amount of brushing, washing, detangling or swearing helped to remedy it. I found myself in hairstylist Sean Gallagher‘s chair (who recently joined Sally Hershberger‘s salon in NYC—congrats!) with a bag full of products and brushes in my lap. My thought: Bring the items that I’d been using on my hair, explain how I used them, and see where I’d gone painfully wrong. Sean sorted through my bag o’ tricks and we both agreed I hadn’t veered too far off the correct track, but, truth be told, I had much to learn. Here’s what Sean taught me:
(Wrap a small towel around your hair and then wring it to gently remove excess moisture from hair without causing added friction.)
+ Rather than traditionally towel-drying your hair, which can cause friction and further exasperate the knot, Sean suggests wrapping a smaller towel around hair and gently wringing it to help remove excess moisture.
+ I brought Johnson’s No More Tangles Detangler Spray with me, but you can mist on any type of conditioning detangling spray that will add more “slip” to strands to allow your comb to slide more easily through hair.
+ To detangle hair while it’s wet, use a wide tooth comb (try Ricky’s NYC ArganPlus Jumbo Detangler). Steer clear of brushes featuring hard bristles situated close together; they can cause issues with texture when used on wet hair.
+ Avoid applying tension at the root of the hair where the extension is bonded, taped or beaded to the natural hair. Pulling too hard around this area can cause your extensions to loosen or slip, or can cause your natural hair to break.
(Sean shows off his detangling weapon: a wide tooth comb. Check out that tat, too!)
+ Instead, Sean suggests using positioning your hand near where the extensions meet the natural hair and gripping the section tightly, allowing your hand to act as an anchor as you detangle the length of the section. This allows you to apply more tension without worry of effecting the extension adhesion.
+ Always start detangling from the ends up. Sean uses the analogy of forever-entangled earphones: When you try to untwist the tangled web, you wouldn’t pull really hard at the root of the knot; you’d start untangling it at the ends and work your way to the root knot. Otherwise, you just keep creating more knots. Am I right? This happens to me all the time…so annoying. But good analogy.
+ Once you’re detangled, rough-dry hair using your hands and blow-dryer until its 60-70% dry. If you have extensions that are bonded, glued or taped, you may want to concentrate on drying the adhesion until it’s 100% dry to increase the life of the bond.
+ Now, for the blow out: Sean prefers using a ceramic round brush with vents to help speed drying time and create fullness.
+ When hair is 100% dry, Sean recommends running a Mason Pearson Brush (or a less expensive equivalent, like Kashuk Tools Bristle Hair Brush) through the hair, not being shy about going over the extensions’ bonds. The rubber cushion and boar bristles will help keep your extensions tangle-free.
(Me, post-detangle, feeling like I just got a 50-pound rat’s nest off my neck…because I did!)
And there you have it: knot-free extensions! Now, as to why knots form…that’s another story, best saved for a rainy day…
How do you detangle your knots?