BY STEVEN MATHEW
Some of the most frequently asked questions during a consultation are, “Do hair extensions damage hair?” “How long do they last?” and, “How are extensions removed?” There is good reason for all of these questions… If you check out posts tagged #hairextensions, you’ll see a lot of content showing hair extensions being applied, but not much around how they’re removed. It makes perfect sense that both clients and stylists alike would be curious about this process! On my last Great Lengths Canada blog, I talked about how Great Lengths’ three hair extension systems are applied; now, it’s time to dive into how they are removed.
As with anything you do to your natural hair– colouring, perming, bleaching, highlighting, and YES even extending, damage can occur if not applied correctly by a trained professional, or if recommended at-home care instructions are not followed. Of course, we want to avoid damage at all costs! Thankfully when applied, cared for and removed CORRECTLY, Great Lengths’ hair extensions are absolutely NOT damaging to hair. Wearing your strands no longer than recommended wear time, and having a GL certified artist do a proper removal will ensure a healthy hair outcome. Always remember: it’s not just about the product, it’s about the PROCESS!
GL strands wear time and when they need to be removed is different for everyone; this is based on individual factors such as natural density, how fast one’s hair grows, frequency of shedding, and at-home care routine. Some of the ways in which Great Lengths stylists work to provide a healthy hair outcome begins with education. Taking the time to give our guests all the necessary information on caring for their new ‘do at home is paramount to worry-free wear. Brushing 2-3 times daily at the attachment sites will keep natural un-extended hairs free of the connections, will keep the connections themselves from getting tangled together, and ensure the natural shed hairs do not become dreadlocked. If the wearer is diligent with daily brushings and product recommendations, removal is a simple process!
Keratin bonded hair extensions from Great Lengths are removed by first applying a special removal solution on the bonds themselves. Using a pair of GL tweezers, this solution is compressed into the previously cured keratin, crystallizing the bond holding your strands in place and allowing the bond to crumble and fall away. The GL strand is then gently pulled away from the natural hair, leaving a small amount of naturally shed hair behind that is easily pulled apart and removed. Voila! Now you have yourself several inches of damage free new growth!
GL Tapes and Tapes+, Great Lengths’ reusable system, require an update (aka - a move up) approximately every 4-6 weeks, so with this system, removal is a more recurring activity. To take these hair extensions out before a potential re-application, your certified GL Artist will spray a GL removal solution into the polyurethane tape strip , dissolving and softening the tape adhesive holding the sandwich together; ultimately allowing it to gently slide out of the hair. Because this method is removed and reapplied every month or so, there is usually very little shed hair to contend with. Once your tapes are removed, we will shampoo and blow-dry your hair. Following the removal, your GL Tapes can be re-taped and re-used up to 3 times!
It’s extremely important that the wearer does not attempt to remove the strands at home by themselves. ALWAYS have a certified GL artist do so using only the recommended GL removal solutions. A great tip for stylists is to be sure to gently pull any shed or tangled hairs apart toward the scalp and away from the centre, rather than combing aggressively in a downward motion.
WHETHER YOU’RE A STYLIST OR A CLIENT, I HOPE YOU’LL REMEMBER TWO KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS ARTICLE.
The first is the importance of education surrounding proper home care and brushing (both for stylists and for their guests), and the second: how very important it is to have extensions professionally removed in-salon, by a trained extension artist, at the end of the recommended wear time. Keep these two things in mind to ensure the health and safety of natural hair. If all of these steps are followed, extension wearers will reap the rewards of healthy hair growth both during and after wearing Great Lengths hair extensions!
Interested in learning more about Great Lengths extensions?
If you’re a stylist itching to become Great Lengths certified, check out Great Lengths upcoming training dates here. And, if you’re ready to see what Great Lengths can do for your hair, use the GLC salon finder to find a stylist near you.