Updated: Apr 23, 2021
I get asked the question often.
"I'm about to be in the Virgin Islands... Is it okay to wear my hair extensions on vacation?"
Extension lovers - don't panic!
The short answer is, YES Sis! While it's true that sun, salt water, chlorine, & hard water can all have negative effects on hair extensions, with the right products and with a little extra love, you won't need to take a "Spring Break" from living your best hair life, just because you are about to spend a week at the beach... OR a summer at the cabin.
But, there are certain products you can use, and things you can do to help protect your investment, & continue to keep your hair extensions looking and feeling their best during your vacay, and/or all summer long at the lake!
This blog post is all about setting you up for a successful warm-weather season with your dream hair. So ladies, add these products to your beach bags & beauty arsenals, grab your scrunchies + sunnies, & let's dive into SUMMER with confidence, utilizing these tips & tricks:
This is me. On vacation. 10 days in. Wearing a blend of icy 18's. Proof that the mermaid waves we buy in-salon can, in fact exist with us in sunny, watery climates.
The title of this first section is in bold. Because seriously, it matters. The type of sunscreen you stock up on can make or break your vacation, because there are many tubes on those shelves at Target that contain an ingredient called avobenzone. Avobenzone is our worst nightmare, ladies, because if you get it on your blonde hair extensions (& I assure you, if it's rubbed into your shoulders, it will inevitably get on your hair), the areas of your extensions that come in contact with this lovely ingredient will become a flaming peach, or flamingo pink color. While intentional, tipped out kool-aid ends, were cool when I was in elementary school, the thought of our hundreds of dollars worth of hair becoming a pink we didn't plan on, is very, very uncool. This, "ingredient that shall not be named" is a huge NO-NO, and should be avoided at all costs, when picking out SPF. **Spray-on sunscreens should also be avoided.
Lucky for you, I've done all of the research (see me on the front lines, in exhibit A above, risking all of my wefts & vanity to be absolutely sure I could say this sunscreen would cause no issues for my clients), and I am providing a list of sunscreen lotions that are Avobenzone-Free, and therefore, extension safe.
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Lotion is my #1 pick, because it's been tried & tested, by yours truly. I had absolutely no issues, & most importantly, zero hints of pink! Pick this up at your local Target for $14.99.
Others that are Avobenzone Free:
- Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, $14.99
- Supergoop Mineral Sheerscreen, SPF 30, $38
MAXI.WASH CLARIFYING SHAMPOO TO COMBAT THE ELEMENTS
That's the thing about summer & vacations: there's elements.
Pool water, salt water, hard water, hard seltzer water... you get my drift.
The reality is, most cabins & hotels have hard water, and most summers/vacays involve time at the ocean or the pool.
It's no secret that minerals, salts, iron, & pool chemicals are not our hair's BFF. That is why Kevin Murphy's MAXI.WASH is the perfect weekly or bi-weekly addition to your summer hair product line up.
This gentle, detoxifying shampoo will help you ditch mineral build-up & discoloration from chlorine, lakes, and hard water. It will eliminate impurities, & brighten your strands. The ultimate weapon for extension lovers, to combat summer. (I'm sorry, we love you, summer!) Purchase the full size for your shower, or 1.4 oz Maxi.Wash Mini's to throw in your travel bag!
The trick to Maxi.Wash is to make sure you are using it correctly. This should not replace your regular hydrating shampoo + conditioner. It is merely a once-a-week or once-every-two-weeks addition to your regular routine, depending on how often you wash your hair, & how often you are exposed to lake life. Think of it as a pre-shampoo detoxifying treatment.
To use, wet hair, and gently massage Maxi.Wash through natural hair + extensions. Do not scrub. Let sit, while the magic happens - about 1 minute. Rinse thoroughly. Your hair will feel squeaky clean. ... Like.... squeaky clean. Follow up with a quick purple shampoo rinse, and/or a hydrating shampoo + deep condition. It is super important to add moisture & hydration back into the hair, after any detox!
Get it shipped direct to your home, just in time for the warmer weather, using the links below!
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
It is ALWAYS so important to use high quality, nourishing, and moisturizing hair products on your hair extensions, & summer is no time to skimp.
For hand tied wefts, The Kevin Murphy UN.TANGLED leave-in conditioner, & the Kevin Murphy YOUNG.AGAIN OIL (currently on back order, but will update this link as soon as I receive my next shipment) are an absolute must. They will keep your strands from getting dry & parched, will help protect your hair if you absolutely can't avoid submerging your head under water, & provide protection from harsh & drying UV rays.
For Keratin Bonds, UN.TANGLED is a great product to protect your mids & ends, in the same ways as listed above, but be careful of getting it too close to the bonds/scalp, as heavy oils & conditioners aren't recommended so close to the bond.
IF YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR HAIR WET
I mean, if you don't have too, then don't. I spent two weeks on vacay, swimming every day with my kids, and managed to get by only getting my hair wet one day, out of 14 days at the beach. So I know it's possible to live a life by the water, and keep your hair investment mostly dry. The truth is, keeping your extensions dry is the best thing for them. It prevents them from getting tangled, fading prematurely from exposure to harsh chlorine & salts, & prevents unwanted discoloration from lake water.
The "water"s are where the biggest threat lies - but if it can't be avoided, because you are water skiing one day, or about to go on a snorkeling adventure, here's the best way to protect your hair:
Wet it down in the shower, with clean, fresh water, so the cuticle absorbs as much fresh water as possible. (Bone dry hair will absorb chlorine & salts a heck of a lot more. So the more fresh water you can get soaked up into that hair cuticle before your day of swimming, the better). Once you are out of the shower, ring the excess water out, and liberally apply a generous amount of Kevin Murphy's UN.TANGLED leave-in conditioner & the YOUNG.AGAIN oil from mids-to ends. Gently detangle all of your hair with your Wet Brush. Braid your extensions into a secure braid, and tie it off with a scrunchie. Swim like this, to prevent your extensions from free-floating around in the water, at the risk of tangling &/or matting.
As soon as possible after swimming, shampoo, deep-condition, & rinse your hair in fresh water, and dry your hair extensions.
KEEP IT SECURE
Let's hope the scrunch never goes out of style.
The best beach + boating hair styles are braids that will keep your extensions secure, and out of the way, and will prevent them from tangling in the wind. The braid & scrunchie combo will literally be the answer to your hair prayers.
Scrunchie Top Knots are PERFECT for days at the pool or for floating in the lake! You have all the benefits of swimming & sipping fruity drinks out of your yeti, while still keeping your hair extension investment, out of the way, dry, & protected.
This is basically the summer hair bible, and will live right here on my website to be referred back to on any 80 degree day. Your hair extensions are a lifestyle, babe, & it's my mission to set you up for complete success, and life where every day can be a damn good hair day... no matter the season! Questions? DM me. Always happy to help!
Only 65 days until summer ... but who's counting?