How Long Do Sew-Ins Last + How To Care For Them

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For women who struggle with hair volume, sparse hairline, and even hair loss, sew-in hair extensions work for a quick fix. 

Sew-ins don’t just fix hair woes; they also cure lost confidence.

A hairdresser is sewing dark brown hair extension on a woman's hair

If you think sew-ins are your best bet for creating your dream hair and boosting your self-confidence, you should know what to expect before getting them. 

As first-timers, having questions about sew-in extensions is normal. And among those questions could be matters regarding the longevity and maintenance of sew-in extensions.

Do you have questions? Want to know how long sewn-in extensions last? Want to know how to properly care for them?

We have the answers! We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about sew-ins, including how long they last and how you can make them last longer.

About Sew-In Hair Extensions

Let’s clearly define what sew-ins are and what sets them apart from other hair extensions.

Sew-ins are among the most excellent types of semi-permanent hair extensions. 

The typical installation process involves braiding your natural hair into cornrows and sewing hair wefts onto the braids using a thread and a needle. 

The best part about sew-ins is that they don’t need adhesives that can be irritating, clips, or headbands to keep them on your head. 

While other hair extension types can damage your natural tresses, sew-ins are a safer alternative if installed correctly. 

Why is that? Because with your natural hair tucked away, your tresses are better protected from environmental triggers that can damage your hair, like the sun, pollution, and more.

They also protect your hair from daily styling, including brushing, heat styling, dyeing, and product buildup. 

What are Closure Sew-Ins?

Although sew-ins are primarily ideal for women with thick and textured hair, they also work well for those who suffer from bald spots and hair thinning. 

Sew-ins are a great way to address these hair issues, but they aren’t the only extensions that can help. Another type of extension is “closure sew-ins” or “lace closures.”

A sew-in with closure is hair strands hand-tied to a lace piece. While the hair replaces your natural locks, the lace patch is what you actually attach to your head so you can sew the extensions onto the braids.

Full-closure sew-ins usually extend from temple to temple and from the front hairline to a few inches before the nape. 

But since we all have different head measurements, one size doesn’t not necessarily fit all. You can customize the measurements of your closure sew-ins with the help of a reputable stylist to ensure a better fit.

When done right, a full-closure sew in does a magical job of covering bald spots or creating a new hairline.

How long does a sew in with closure last? Depending on how well you maintain them, they can last anywhere from 6-12 weeks.

How to Put On Sew-In Extensions?

Can’t visualize how to put install sew-ins?

Let’s look at the step-by-step procedure so you’ll have an idea!

1. Part Your Hair

Most people get sew ins for extra length and volume, so we suggest following these easy steps:

  • Part your hair from temple to temple or from the top of the left ear to the right ear.
  • Make sure to part your hair evenly and comb up the hair on the upper part. Then, clip it in place after.
  • Before proceeding to the next step, part your hair again. This time just a little underneath your first part. The thin line you’ve created is what you’ll use to create a “cornrow.”

2. Create a Cornrow

Why do we need to create cornrows when installing sew-in extensions? Cornrows work as “anchors” where the extensions will be sewn-in. Here’s how to make them:

  • Using the thin part of hair reserved for creating a cornrow, start doing a tight french braid at one side of your head. 
  • If you want to customize your hairstyle freely while wearing extensions, best to start at about 0.5 inches in. Don’t start at the end if you don’t want your extensions to show while wearing your hair up. 
  • When you reach the center part, tie it closely to the head with a rubber band. Remember to keep your cornrow tight without being painful.
  • Do the same thing on the other side of your head until you reach the center part. Then, tie it.

3. Attach the Weft by Sewing It In

When sewing in hair extensions, we recommend using a curved needle like the Young Hair Curl Needles, which are easy to use.

To install sew-ins, follow these steps:

  • First, you may need to trim the weft to match the length of your cornrow. Also, you will have to use a double thread when sewing in a weft to ensure it’s secure. 
  • Take your hair weft and cover the cornrows you’ve made.
  • Slowly insert the needle through the weft’s seam, then underneath the cornrow, and bring the needle back up. The motion is the same as sewing.
  • Insert the needle again into the front of the hair extension below the seam. Then pull it out again from underneath the cornrow.
  • This time, insert the needle through the loop you’ve just created and pull the thread through.
  • Continue doing this until you reach the other side of the cornrow. 
  • When you reach the other end, make a knot.

For a more in-depth guide, check this video on installing sew-in extensions.

You can also have the sew-in extensions done at the salon if you’re not confident about doing it yourself.

How long Do Sew In Extensions Last?

A photo of a woman's hair with long straight blonde sew in hair extension

Before investing in something, one of the first few questions that come to mind is, “how long will this product last?” or “how long can you keep a sew-in in?”

Such a question is inevitable, especially about matters concerning hair products like perms, dyes, or, in this case, extensions.

So getting straight to the point – how long do sew in hair extensions last? There are two answers.

The first answer to this question is — sew-ins tend to last anywhere between six to twelve weeks if you maintain them and care for them.

If you keep them in longer than the ideal or recommended time frame, you may risk hair breakage, excess oil buildup, and scalp irritation.

The long answer to how long do sew-in extensions last, the answer is — it varies.

It depends on the quality of your hair extension wefts, how fast your hair grows, how religiously you follow care guidelines, how diligently you visit your stylist for needed adjustments, and the products you use for upkeep.

Want to know the telltale signs that it’s time to say goodbye to your sew-in extensions? Keep reading to find out more.

Signs It’s Time to Let The Sew-Ins Go

Nothing lasts forever. Not in life and not with hair extensions.

How long does a sew-in weave last? Usually anywhere between six to twelve weeks. 

But sometimes, it’s sooner. There are some telltale signs that you should look for that tell you when your extensions need to go.

Excessively Itchy Head

Are you constantly patting and scratching your head to relieve itchiness?

Itchiness is a regular complaint among ladies wearing sew-in hair extensions. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean you should endure it.

If your head has been itching for two straight weeks and doesn’t get better with all the right hair products, it’s time to let your sew-ins go.

Want to know the reasons behind an uncomfortable itch? Any one or combination of these factors may be the culprit.

  • Dry Scalp
    A dry scalp could result from insufficient moisture, which causes skin flaking and itching. We have a remedy tip for this which we will discuss in the next section.
  • Tensions
    Braids are a perfect foundation for sew-in extensions. 

    However, if you or your stylist braided your hair too tightly or sewed your extensions into the braids too rigidly, this may cause tension on the scalp.

    When your hair is pulled too tightly, it can result in inflamed hair follicles, which can lead to itching. 
  • Overdoing or Underdoing Hair Treatment
    When you shampoo your hair more often than required, it strips the scalp of its natural oils, making it dry and itchy.

    Inversely, if you don’t shampoo your hair too often or use the wrong shampoo, irritation or, worse, bacteria can breed, which can also lead to itching.

Oil Buildup and Smell

How long can you wear a sew-in? Theoretically, the entire recommended time frame. 

However, if your hair starts to smell weird and your scalp excessively oils up, this is a sign that it may be time to remove the extensions.

Over-moisturizing your scalp to the point of having excess oil buildup around or under your extension attachment is highly discouraged. 

When this happens, accumulated dirt, debris, and other styling products can result in skin infection, leading to a smelly scalp. 

The moment you notice this, remove your extensions.

Unruly Hair Growth

Have you begun to notice how your sew-in extensions no longer blend seamlessly with your natural tresses, no matter how much you brush, tease, or style?

The unruly growth of new hairs is the reason.

You cannot stop your natural hairs from growing, but when the growth reaches an unruly length, the new hair will no longer cooperate and blend flawlessly with sewn-in extensions. 

When this happens, it’s time to remove the wefts and start over!

Inclined Weaves

This is one of the worst signs you should look out for when wearing sewn-in extensions. 

If your hair appears bulky and won’t lay flat no matter how much hair serum or leave-in conditioner you apply, it’s time to let the sew-ins go. This is known as inclined weaves.

What causes inclined weaves? The main culprit is the loose braids. 

It’s only natural for braids to loosen up over time. And when they are no longer attached to the scalp, it causes the sew-in extensions to lay on an incline. 

If this happens, book an appointment at your trusted salon ASAP. 

Intense Shedding of Weaves

The daily shedding of sew-in hair extensions is a natural occurrence, and you can expect some to fall out regularly, just like your natural hair.

However, if the shedding is excessive or in chunks, it’s a telling sign to let the sew-ins go and be replaced them with newer ones. 

The Amella Hair Lace Closure Human Hair Extensions is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a replacement that will shed less. It is made with 100% human hair and is tangle and shedding-free!

How to Make your Sewn In Extensions last?

So, now we know that when sew-ins aren’t cared for, they can get itchy, oily, dirty, and can loosen their hold. 

All of these problems, though, can be mitigated with proper care. If you want to help make your sew-ins last longer, follow these simple tips:

Detangle Your Hair Before Sleeping and Washing Them 

One of the simplest tricks to keep your sew-ins for a long time is removing tangles using a wide-toothed brush or a special looper brush like the Sinspirationette Small Super Looper Wig Brush

This brush has looped bristles specially designed for wigs or hair extensions.

When combing sew-in hair extensions, start from the ends and slowly work your way up in small sections.

Be very gentle without causing too much tension, and avoid getting too close to the joint.

Wrap Your Hair Before Going to Bed

How long can you keep a weave in? Quite a while if you are diligent about extension care, like wrapping your hair before going to bed.

Leaving your natural locks exposed while you sleep causes them to tangle, knot, and lose moisture. And the same could happen to your sew-ins too.

Before going to bed, cover your hair with a hair wrap, scarf, or a protective hair bonnet so the hair strands don’t get tangled while you’re asleep.

Also, we recommend upgrading your regular pillowcases into satin ones because sleeping on satin minimizes friction and helps smoothen frizzy hair.

Wash Your Hair

You should wash your sew-in extensions as often as you would wash your natural locks.

A photo of a woman washing her long hair in the shower with shampoo

Ideally, you should wash your hair using a gentle shampoo (more on this in the next section!) twice a week to keep its sheen and texture.

Gently lather your hair and work your way down from the scalp to the ends while avoiding the sewn parts.

Remember not to over-shampoo, as this results in a dry scalp and brittle strands.

Deep Condition Your Hair Extensions

It’s also beneficial to deep condition your hair extensions once a week.

Add a generous amount of conditioner to lukewarm water, then soak your extensions. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, and rinse it thoroughly afterward. 

Then, allow the sew-ins to dry naturally. If you are in a rush and opt to use a hair dryer to hasten the process, it should be in its cool setting.

Use Correct Hair Care Products

Choosing the correct hair care products for your sew-ins is how to give them proper care. These premium products designed for sew-ins and extensions will leave your hair feeling soft and manageable.

Remember only to use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioning products. 

Also, it is essential to use moisturizing products such as hair serums to give enough moisture to the extensions since the strands aren’t naturally growing from the scalp.

Apply Heat-Protecting Products

If you like styling your hair with blow driers, curlers, flat irons, and tongs, the bad news is that using these too often without applying heat-protecting products damages your hair. 

However, if heat is necessary for styling, you can apply heat-protecting products such as the Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant that feels weightless on the hair while protecting it from damage.

Choose High-Quality Hair Extensions

The lifespan of your sew-ins depends heavily on the quality of the hair extensions you’re getting.

If you ask us, we strongly recommend getting premium, high-quality virgin hair extensions as they tend to last longer than their synthetic alternatives.

High-quality extensions are the best choice since they allow for versatility, such as curling or straightening your hair, without leading to permanent damage. 

Although the best ones come with a higher price tag, you are assured that you can wear them for a long time. 

Don’t Braid or Sew the Hair in Too Tightly

If you braid your hair is braided too tightly or sew the hair extensions in too rigidly, they might pull on your natural tresses.

As explained earlier, when there’s too much tension on the scalp, this could result in inflamed follicles or medically known as folliculitis, which can escalate to other serious problems like headaches or wounding your scalp from excessive itching. 

Visit the Salon Regularly for Maintenance (If You Need Extra Help!)

Sew-in weaves generally need to be maintained every 4 to 8 weeks.

The extensions may need to be moisturized often, re-tightened, or touched up.

Hair normally sheds, so sew-in extensions will eventually start to look thin and may require a touch-up or removal earlier than expected. 

As mentioned, just because they can last 4 to 8 weeks doesn’t mean they will last the whole time or won’t need upkeep to continue looking good.

It’s best to have regular appointments at the salon to keep your sew-ins in check.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Sew-Ins High Maintenance?

Yes, they are. But they are worth the effort if you do it right.

Regular maintenance is essential for them to last throughout the estimated duration. 

Deep conditioning treatments should be done routinely, and you should moisturize your scalp often to keep the sew-in lasting longer.

You should also avoid hair-damaging styling tools and visit the salon regularly so your stylist can check on the status of your sew-ins.

Do Sew-Ins Hurt Your hair?

Since this style involves pulling and stretching the hair, there is a risk of breakage and thinning of the natural strands over time. 

However, you can minimize any damage from sewing in hair by selecting high-quality strands and seeking help from a professional stylist who knows exactly how to apply the weave without causing harm to your locks.

What Happens If You Leave a Sew-In Too Long?

Leaving a sew-in for too long can damage your natural hair. 

If left in for longer than 6 to 8 weeks, the braids underneath may become matted and tangled, resulting in breakage when you take them out. 

Additionally, if the installed weave does not receive proper maintenance, such as regular washes and weekly moisturizing, bacteria can accumulate and cause scalp irritation or infection. 

This is why it’s so important not to leave your sew-in for too long and to keep up with at-home hair care.

Avoiding tight tugging while brushing or combing out the weave and using gentle products is also crucial. 

If you notice excessive shedding while wearing a sew-in, get it taken out immediately!

Proper Maintenance is Key to Keeping your Sew Ins For a Long Time!

Wearing sew-in hair extensions can be a great way to add volume and length to your hair, but you must remember how to care for them and know when to let them go.

The back of a woman with long straight blonde hair extension

Although they can be high-maintenance, their benefits are so worth the effort if you do it right.

So don’t be afraid to take the plunge and try hair extensions to help you get the full-bodied look. You may be pleasantly surprised by how they can change and elevate your style.

Interested About Hair Extensions?

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  • Janille Gultiano

    Jan, a distinguished freelance makeup artist, also boasts a BA in Mass Communication, laying the foundation for her diverse talents. For over four years, she's carved a niche as a captivating content writer, with her articles resonating in various spheres. Beyond writing, her expertise extends to crafting robust Public Relations and Corporate Communications strategies. Each endeavor reflects Jan's unique blend of creativity and precision

One Comment

  1. Olivia Smart says:

    Thank you for explaining that you need to choose the right products to take care of it. My sister is thinking about getting a weave and has been wondering how to care for it. I’ll have to pass this on so that she can be a bit more prepared for this change.

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