Summer: the season we all look forward to. Beach days, vacations, and sunshine… what’s not to love? One downside: the fun of summer can be hard on hair, with or without extensions. Salt water, sweat, swimming and sunbathing can turn your extension-enhanced beach waves into a faded, frizzy and tangled disaster. It’s very important to prioritize caring for your extensions as you enjoy the summer months. Extension hair can be treated just like your natural hair, and just like your natural hair, extensions should be handled gently, no matter the season. Be sure to use sulfate-free products and go to your stylist for extension checkups as scheduled. What does require a little extra care is your extension bonds or tapes, each of which present different challenges during the summer. BONDED EXTENSIONS ARE MOST FRAGILE WHEN WET. THIS DOESN’T RULE OUT SWIMMING HOWEVER! Go ahead and go for that dip, but don’t allow your extensions to soak for too long. Before diving in to salt or chlorinated water, soak your hair with fresh water. If hair has already absorbed fresh water, the chlorine or salt will not absorb as deeply, and your hair will receive less damage. For extra protection, applying conditioner is also recommended. Wearing your hair in a low bun, in a braid or under a swimming cap is a must, to ensure tangle-free results. As soon as you get out of the water apply a leave-in conditioning product to your hair, while being mindful of the roots and keeping the product away from the bonds or tapes. After, be sure to dry the bonds or tapes immediately; the rest of your hair can be left to air-dry. WHEN IT COMES TO TAPE-IN EXTENSIONS, YOUR SUN AND SKIN-CARE PRODUCTS CAN POSE A THREAT. Any kind of lotion on the face, like sunscreen, can get in the hairline and interfere with the tapes, causing them to loosen. TIP: Always wash or rinse your hands after applying lotions to avoid getting any residue from your products in your hair, and be sure to let any lotion on your face thoroughly absorb into your skin before heading out into the sunshine or diving into the pool. BRUSHING OFTEN, USING AN EXTENSION-FRIENDLY BRUSH IN THE VICINITY OF THE BONDS OR TAPE, WILL HELP AVOID TANGLES WHILE OUTSIDE. Extension brushes have looped bristles that are specifically designed to glide through hair, where the teeth on regular brushes can yank at extensions. You can use a regular brush to untangle the ends but be sure to hold the bond or tapeline while brushing to avoid excess tugging at the root. EMBRACE THE NATURAL, LOW-MAINTENANCE LOOK AND GIVE HEAT AND STYLING TOOLS A REST; THE HEAT OF SUMMER IS TAXING ENOUGH ON YOUR LOCKS. Add a sun hat to your wardrobe as well. Like your skin, your hair needs protection from the sun’s UV rays. Wearing a hat can help to protect your hair and prevent added dryness. BECAUSE EXTENSIONS DON’T RECEIVE THE NATURAL OILS FROM YOUR SCALP TO KEEP THEM MOISTURIZED, IT’S IMPORTANT, ESPECIALLY IN THE SUMMER, TO ONLY WASH YOUR HAIR WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Two to three shampoos a week is more than enough. Use a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo and only wash the roots. You don’t need to worry about lathering the ends, the water and shampoo that runs over them is enough. Be sure to invest in quality hydrating shampoos, conditioning products and serums to make your summer haircare that much easier. Additional monthly, or weekly conditioning treatments may be necessary to inject some much-needed moisture back into the hair. FOLLOW THESE TIPS AND KEEP YOUR EXTENSIONS HEALTHY AND FABULOUS THIS SUMMER! Great Lengths offers a full line of products made especially for extensions to help counter the negative effects of sun, sweat and water. Great Lengths Daily Moisture shampoo, Anti-Tap Water, Deep Conditioning Mask and more are available through a Great Lengths Certified stylist near you.