How to Remove Hair Extensions at Home — Stylist Tips
If you’re doing this alone, you can’t really see your entire head, so you risk clamping down onto your own hair and causing breakage, which is why both Lee and stylist Sabrina Porshe suggest waiting for a professional, if possible. This goes for individual micro link extensions that utilize plastic or metal tips as well.
“While you are waiting for quarantine to be over, I would suggest very low manipulation to your hair,” says Porsche. “Try not to pull on the hair too much especially if you feel the links are grown out more than you’re used to, because that can cause more tension. Washing is okay but just be mindful of the new growth.”
Unlike tape-ins, Lee says your hair should definitely be dry if you’re going to attempt to remove individual bonds. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh if I get my hair wet and put a ton of conditioner on it and then put the solution, it will slide right out.’ No. For whatever reason, when it’s wet, it makes the bond harder and it doesn’t break up as easily. And remember too when hair is wet, it’s elastic, so it stretches. If you’re trying to pull that bond down, you have a greater chance of it snapping.”
Porsche specializes in several extension techniques, including sew-ins with full and partial braid downs, where the weft of hair is literally sewn through the braid.
“If you live alone and don’t have help, you are going to have to use your sense of feeling very well [to remove sew-ins],” says Porsche. “If you have a full or partial sew-in and your hair has grown out, some of the things you would need are small scissors, a mirror, clips to hold back the hair and a trash bin.”
She suggests clipping all of your natural hair out of the way to avoid cutting any of it. Then, slowly take your scissors to cut the thread that’s attached to the weft of hair — not the weft itself.
“Once you get to the back, you will need to either use a mirror if you need to see or you can use your sense of feeling to feel along the weft to ensure you are only cutting the thread,” says Porsche. “Once you have completely taken out the extensions, you will be left with the braid down. Depending on your hairstylist’s technique, it is possible that she may have sewn your hanging braids together with thread or she could have fed your hair into the next braid, or they could have crocheted the braids into each other. Either way you would need to find where the end braid is and start unbraiding.”
Colorist and extensions expert Kacey Welch specializes in silk weft sew-in extensions. The Kacey Welch Method works two-fold by utilizing a track of silicone-filled metal beads which are clamped to the natural hair. The silk wefts are sewn into those.
“I would never in a million years advise a client to take out their own extensions. That’s not advisable as a professional. But we are in very extreme circumstances and it is something that is coming up with my own clients,” says Welch, whose clientele includes Goldie Hawn. Welch advised Hawn’s housekeeper on how to remove the extensions over the phone after sending her an at-home removal kit, which includes a small pair of scissors to cut the thread, pliers to remove and unclamp the beads and a bag to store the hair, which is reusable and lasts for up to a year. She is offering at-home removal kits on her website for $55.