Blog - Best & Worst Extension Styles for Healthy Natural Hair
July 27, 2018 by Swirly Curly
If you’re looking for protective styles that go beyond twists and bantu knots, you might be wondering about the best and worst extension styles for healthy natural hair.
Extensions and weaves get a bad rap in the natural hair community, and rightly so. Many extension styles are labeled as protective because they cover the ends and promote length retention.
However, some extensions are terrible for hair, because they can damage the root and cause follicle erosion. You may be able to recover from damage if you’re younger than 45 years old.
But cellular reproduction slows once you become middle-aged, and follicle cells that were abused when you were younger may completely shrink and no longer produce hair when you age.
If you’re already suffering from alopecia, you should think twice before installing extensions. You should also reconsider if you have scalp issues like fungus or psoriasis, as extensions can aggravate these conditions.
However, if you have a healthy scalp, you’ll may want to know which extension styles you can rock without damaging your scalp and hair. In this post, you’ll find the best extension styles for healthy natural hair.
Worst Extension Styles
Individual Braids, aka Singles, Microbraids, or Poetic Justice Braids.
Individual braids require you to install hundreds of tight braids on the scalp, creating tension on every millimeter of your head. This style can lead to permanent hair loss.
Choosing long extension hair increases the damage because it adds more weight on the follicles. To add to injury, most hair braiders want to do a good job, and make the styles tight.
Many wearers of this style believe that they’ll only have a tension headache for a few days. But the truth is that follicle damage can last a lifetime, long after the physical pain is felt.
Follicle damage can be permanent if the follicles are abused enough, or if your body simply does not want to regenerate the scalp.
It’s best to avoid this extension style. If you must wear Poetic Justice braids, try telling the braider to braid without applying tension.
Also, beware of the time you leave the braids on your natural hair. Leaving the extension hair in too long would give your natural hair the opportunity to intertwine and tangle with the extension hair.
Anything Using Glue or Tape. Gluing and taping hair onto your natural mane can give you alopecia. It may seem like the ideal solution, until you go to remove the glue or tape.
These types of extensions will make it very difficult to regrow edge hair. Edges are already tremendously difficult to regain if you regularly wear extensions or tight puffs and ponytails.
You’ll also find the glue technique being used with wigs. Wigs can be a great protective hairstyle if you don’t ruin it with glue or place the combs too tight along the scalp.
Best Extension Styles
Choose your extension styles carefully if you want to avoid long-term consequences. The best extension styles will protect your ends so that you can grow your hair to the desired length, without eroding the hair follicle.
Crochet Hair. Crocheting hair onto cornrows is one of the best extension styles. It allows you to place the extension hair onto natural braided hair instead of right at the follicle. This is a healthier process that will place less tension on your roots.
Be careful about which extension hair you buy. Marley hair and other rough synthetics will be too abrasive for your roots and scalp, leading to thinning after repetitive use.
Choose hair that is smooth and silky. You want to try and create the same protective effect as when you wear a silk scarf or satin bonnet at night, so be sure to place soft extensions on your natural hair.
Crochet hair needs to be removed after about four weeks. However, you can wash your scalps while you have the braids in, by strategically spraying shampoo in between the cornrows, massaging, and rinsing.
Goddess Braids. Goddess braids are helpful for naturals because they minimize damage. Goddess braids are like huge cornrows, but with extension hair. You can have only one goddess braid, or as many as ten. This style of braid is thick, making it the exact opposite of microbraids.
Avoid making the goddess braids too tight to preserve your scalp’s cellular function. Also, be sure and remove goddess braids after four weeks.
Clip-In Extensions. Clip-in extensions are a great alternative for people who want to go out in public with extensions but have their hair free the rest of the time.
You’ll have the opportunity to be extension-free each day. Using clip-ins means you can scrub your scalp as much as you like and take care of your hair underneath.
Leaving clip-ins in while you sleep can destroy your hair and create unnecessary wear and tear on the extensions. Always remove your clip-ins when you sleep.
Doing so will give your hair and scalp a nice recovery time. This extension-free time will give your scalp a much-needed rest from the weight and clips.
Your daily recovery period can last anywhere from 8-24 hours, depending on how many hours you wear the clips. Clip-in extensions tend to be less damaging, especially if you place the clips onto cornrows.
Extension styles can be good or bad for your natural hair, depending on which one you choose. Select your style wisely, don’t pull the hair too tight, and avoid rough synthetic textures to keep your own mane healthy and strong.
Do you have a favorite extension style you like to wear on your natural hair?