How to Care for Tape-In Extensions: A Comprehensive Guide

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If you want luscious, flowing locks that are natural-looking and long-lasting, tape-in extensions are one of your best go-to options.

These versatile and low-maintenance extensions provide instant length, volume, and glamor, but like any other beauty investment, they also require proper care to ensure their longevity and keep them looking flawless.

Natural hair extensions at salon, closeup hands in hair isolated on a white background

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the essential steps to ensure your tape-in extensions stay in pristine condition, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned extension enthusiast.

From pre-installation preparation to daily maintenance and long-term care, we’ve got you covered with expert tips and tricks that will make your extensions feel like a part of you!

But before you dive in and learn how to care for tape-in extensions like a pro, we’ll give you a quick refresher first on what tape-in extensions are.

What Are Tape-In Extensions?

Tape-in extensions are a popular type of permanent hair extensions that are designed to add length, volume, and thickness to natural hair.

As the name suggests, they are attached to the hair using adhesive tape, which makes for a seamless and discreet application.

The adhesive tape used is typically made of medical-grade adhesive that is safe for use on the scalp and hair and is strong enough to hold the extensions securely in place for several weeks.

The application technique used for tape-ins is called the “sandwich method.”

The hairstylist sandwiches a thin section of the natural tresses between two strips of the extensions, and uses the adhesive tape to hold everything together.

Because of this installation method, tape-ins offer a natural look and feel because it allows the extensions to lay flat against the scalp, creating a seamless blend with the natural hair.

Human Hair vs. Synthetic: Which Is Better for Tape-Ins?

Tape-in extensions are made from high-quality human hair or synthetic fibers that closely mimic the look and feel of natural tresses. 

But if you ask us which type of hair is best for tape in hair extensions, we always recommend those made from human hair. 

Why is that? Tape-ins are to be worn semi-permanently, so you need to choose a hair type that can withstand extended wear, repetitive styling, and washing.

Human hair tape-in extensions are sourced from real human hair, which provides a more realistic and natural-looking result. 

Also, human hair is stronger than synthetic ones because of its natural composition and structure, making it resistant to deformation. Hence, the human hair type is a more suitable choice for permanent extensions.

So how long do human hair tape-in extensions last? 

When properly cared for, human hair tape-ins can last anywhere from six to eight weeks before needing to be reapplied, depending on the rate of your natural hair growth

Prep Tips for Tape-In Extensions Installation

Preparing for tape-in extension installation is equally important as ensuring proper maintenance of tape-ins.

Here are some tips to guide you on how to prep for tape-in extension installation properly.

Wash Your Hair

We recommend washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo before doing the installation process.

Clarifying shampoos such as the Paul Mitchell Shampoo help to remove any residue or buildup from your hair, including oils, conditioner, and styling products, which can interfere with the adhesion of the tape-in extensions.

Also, make sure to thoroughly rinse your hair and scalp so they are clean and free from any product residue. 

Dry Your Hair

After washing your hair, make sure to dry it completely before the installation process. Tape-in extensions adhere better to clean, dry hair. 

Brush Your Hair

Closeup of a young woman smiling brushing her long hair isolated on a white background

Use a wide-toothed comb or a brush with soft bristles to gently detangle your hair and remove any knots. This is a vital step to ensure your hair is smooth and tangle-free before the installation. 

Avoid Using Conditioner or Styling Products Prior Installation

Avoid using any styling products, such as conditioners, styling products, oils, serums, leave-in conditioners, or hair treatments, as they can make your hair slippery and affect the adhesion of the tape-in extensions.

They can also weaken the adhesive bond and reduce the longevity of the extensions.

Plan Your Parting

In preparing to install tape-ins, you need to plan on the desired parting and sectioning for your extensions. This can help you achieve the desired placement and blend of the extensions with your natural hair. 

Use clips or hair ties to section off your hair, ensuring the sections are clean and well-defined. 

Wear a Button-Down or Loose-Fitting Shirt

It’s a good idea to wear a button-down shirt or a loose-fitting top to your appointment, as this will allow easy movement and will not cause any friction against newly installed extensions as friction might potentially cause damage or slippage. 

How to Install Tape-In Extensions Properly

One of the ways to care for tape-in extensions includes installing them to your natural tresses properly. 

Here are the steps on how to install tape-in extensions to ensure they look natural and stay in place for a long time:

  1. After you’ve washed, dried, detangled, and parted your hair, remove the adhesive tape from the extensions and lay them out on a clean surface. Make sure the wefts are organized and arranged in the order you’ll be installing them.
  2. Take a thin section of natural hair that is the same width as the tape-in hair extension.
  3. Apply the first tape-in hair extension to the top of your natural hair section, and make sure to place it close to the root.
  4. Take the second tape-in hair extension and place it underneath the natural hair section, sandwiching the natural hair between the two extensions. 
  5. Press the weft firmly into place, starting from the middle and working your way outward toward the edges.
  6. Continue adding wefts, working your way up the back of your head and then around the sides. Take caution in ensuring each weft is placed evenly and that there are no gaps between the extensions and your scalp.
  7. Once all the wefts have been installed, use sharp scissors to trim any excess tape or hair that may be sticking out. 
  8. Style your hair as desired, taking care to blend the extensions with your natural hair.

For a more in-depth guide, here’s a video tutorial showing a full head tape-in installation:

Proper Styling Tips for Hair With Tape-In Extensions

After getting tape-in extensions, you might be wondering how to style hair with tape-in extensions without damaging them or causing any discomfort.

Here are some pro tips to help you achieve beautiful styles while taking caution.

Be Mindful of the Extensions Placement

Show your tape-in extensions care by not tugging or pulling on them. Try to style your hair in a way that doesn’t put too much pressure on the extension bonds. 

Brush Gently

When brushing your hair with tape-in extensions, be sure to start at the ends and work your way up slowly to prevent tugging on the extensions. 

Best to use a wide-tooth comb or a brush designed for extensions such as the RemySoft One Twenty Three Loops.

Use a Low Heat Setting

When blow-drying or using other hot styling tools on your hair, we recommend using a low heat setting that is no higher than 300°F (150°C) to avoid damaging both your extensions and your natural tresses. 

High heat can cause the bonds to loosen or even melt. Yikes!

Avoid Using Heavy Styling Products

Heavy styling products like waxes and gels can cause the extensions to slip out or become loose. 

We recommend using lightweight products instead like mousses, sprays, and creams.  

Use Stretchy Hair Ties

When putting your hair up in a ponytail or bun, be careful not to pull too tightly on the extensions. Opt for soft, stretchy hair ties that won’t damage the hair or the tapes. 

How to Properly Wash and Dry Tape-In Extensions

Proper washing and drying while wearing tape-ins on your natural tresses should be considered if you want to know how to care for tape-in extensions.

Although they can be a bit tricky, the right steps and techniques will easily help you clean and dry your extensions without damaging or causing them to slip out.

Before you start, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and products such as the right shampoo and conditioner for tape-in extensions. 

You’ll need a gentle sulfate-free shampoo for tape-in extensions and a moisturizing conditioner such as the B3 Brazilian Bondbuilder Extension Trio Set.

You’ll also need a spray bottle with warm water, a wide-tooth comb, a microfiber towel, a heat protectant spray, and a blow dryer

Proper Steps for Washing Tape-ins

  1. To begin, wet your hair and extensions using the spray bottle filled with warm water. Make sure they are completely saturated but not dripping wet.
  2. Apply a small amount of shampoo to your fingertips and gently massage it into your scalp and hair. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously or pull on the extensions as this can cause them to loosen or slip out.
  3. Once you’ve worked the shampoo into your hair, rinse it out with warm water.
  4. Apply a generous amount of conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, avoiding the roots and tape attachments. You can use your wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner evenly throughout your hair. 
  5. After three to five minutes, rinse out the conditioner. 
  6. Gently squeeze out any excess water from your extensions, then use your microfiber towel to blot and pat them dry. Do not rub or twist the extensions, as this can damage and loosen the tape attachments.

Drying Tape-in Extensions Properly After Washing Them

  1. Wait until the extensions are completely dry before using a wide-tooth comb to detangle them. Remember to be gentle and start at the ends and work your way up. 
  2. Use a heat protectant spray to protect your extensions from heat damage. Spray the product throughout the hair, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends.
  3. Section your hair into manageable sections using clips or hair ties. This will make it easier to dry your hair evenly and prevent tangling.
  4. Use a low-heat setting on your blow dryer and start at the roots of your hair, working your way down to the ends. Be sure to move the blow dryer sideways to prevent overheating or burning the extensions.
  5. Finally, use a wide-tooth comb or a soft-bristle brush to gently detangle your extensions once more. Don’t forget to start at the ends and work your way up!

How To Sleep With Tape-In Extensions On

Sleeping with tape-in hair extensions can be a bit tricky, but with the right techniques and precautions, you can ensure that your extensions stay secure and comfortable throughout the night.

A young woman with long brown hair sleeping on a white bed.

Here are some tips to help you sleep while wearing tape-in extensions.

Detangle Your Hair

Brush your extensions gently and thoroughly before hitting the sack. This will help detangle any knots or tangles and prevent them from getting worsely knotted while you sleep.

Don’t Sleep With Wet Hair

Avoid sleeping with wet hair as this can cause damage and weaken the tape attachments. Be sure to have your hair air-dried or blow-dried before going to bed. 

Use a Silk or Satin Pillowcase

We recommend using a silk or satin pillowcase to help reduce friction and prevent tangling. These materials are also gentle on the hair and won’t cause any breakage.

Wear a Low Ponytail or a Satin Cap

If you tend to move around a lot in your sleep, we recommend you wear a low ponytail or bun to keep your extensions in place. This will help prevent them from shifting or tangling while you sleep. 

Also, wearing a silk or satin cap can be a great way to protect your extensions. Aside from preventing your extensions from getting tangled, a silk cap can also help retain moisture in the hair, which helps in keeping your extensions looking and feeling healthy. 

Sleep on Your Back or on Your Side

Be very careful not to sleep on your extensions as this can cause damage and loosen the tape attachments. To help reduce pressure on the scalp and hairline, try to sleep on your back or on your side with a pillow to support your head and neck. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Blow Dry Tape In Extensions?

Yes, you can blow-dry tape-in extensions, but it’s important to use a low heat setting to prevent damage to the tape and the hair. 

Specifically, it’s ideal to use between 250°F and 300°F. 

It’s important to avoid using high heat as that can damage the tapes and the hair. Using a lower heat setting is one of the most important ways to care for tape-in extensions. 

When blow-drying, avoid placing the hot air directly on the tape area. Instead, move the blow dryer sideways on the ends of the extensions to avoid direct contact. 

It’s also a good idea to use a diffuser to distribute the heat more evenly and reduce the risk of overheating the extensions.

Don’t forget to use a heat protectant spray on the extensions before blow-drying to further prevent damage!

How Often Should You Wash Tape-In Extensions?

Tape-in extensions should be washed every two to three days. However, the frequency of washing still depends on your hair type, your activity level, and the amount of oil your scalp produces.

Washing tape-in extensions too frequently can cause them to dry out and become brittle, while not washing them enough can lead to a buildup of oils and products on the scalp and hair.

Remember to use a gentle sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner and avoid rubbing or tangling the extensions while washing them. 

Why Is It Better To Wash Tape-In Extensions With Warm Water?

Warm water is recommended for washing tape-in extensions because it can help remove dirt, oil, and product buildup from the extensions more effectively than cold water.

Warm water can also help to open up the cuticles of the hair, which allows the shampoo and conditioner to penetrate the hair shaft more deeply and provide better nourishment.

However, it’s important to avoid washing your extensions with hot water as this can damage the tape and the hair extensions, causing them to dry out and become brittle.

Warm water is also more comfortable to use than hot water.

Follow These Hacks To Make Tape-In Extensions Last 

Caring for tape-in extensions is crucial to maintain their quality and longevity. 

By following the hacks we provided, you can ensure that your extensions stay in great condition before installation, as well as while styling, washing, drying, and sleeping. 

A tape in hair extension with a brown color on a white background

It’s vital to keep in mind that taking good care of your tape-ins is a continuous commitment, and incorporating these tips into your hair care routine will go a long way in keeping your extensions looking beautiful for as long as possible.

With a little bit of extra care and attention, you can enjoy the benefits of stunning and voluminous hair with tape-ins for longer. 

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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

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