Have you ever experienced a client who has been fitted with beautiful blonde hair extensions, only to return to you weeks later complaining that they have turned orange? For many years hairdressers have been baffled as to how this can happen. However, with more attention focused on the ingredients we put in and on our bodies to reduce the number of chemicals we are exposed to, the answer to this question is finally clear(er).
We can be sure that hair extensions do not turn orange on their own. They do so due to being exposed to something that causes this reaction, and many things can cause blonde hair extensions to change colour. However, the number 1 causes are:
1) Exposure to sun cream (in particular Avebenzone, sometimes called Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, and Octocrylene)
2) Hard Water
3) Sun exposure
Hair extensions typically start as a dark brown due to their country of origin, and they will be processed to blonde by lightening naturally warm pigments with violet. If you expose your hair extensions to sun cream, hard water, excessive sun, or chlorine, it will strip the hair of the vital violet pigments, revealing the naturally warmer tones and giving the appearance of brassy/orange hair.
The best solution to these problems is to avoid any of the above, however if you have a client displaying signs of discolouration, having not followed the aftercare guidance correctly, the impact of the above can be reversed, but it will take time and patience.
To reverse the process, the hair extensions will need to be treated with a hard water treatment such as Malibu C Hard Water Crystals. Through the use of this treatment, the appearance of brassy/orange hair can be dramatically reduced, so that your client can continue wearing their hair extensions. However, for the treatment to be effective, it should be done by a hairdresser to ensure complete coverage and to reduce the impact of the treatment on the lifespan of the hair and bonds. As this is a time-intensive process, this should be considered a chargeable service.
Follow our step by step process below on your client’s hair to remove any unwanted brassy tones resulting from improper care.
Step 1: Detangle the hair and wash with shampoo only.
Step 2: Section the hair. You want to part the hair into sections around the size of the bundle in our video. This is the amount of hair that should be treated at a time to ensure full coverage of the hair. If you were to attempt to do all of the hair in one go, you would not get full coverage.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of product onto a damp hand, and add a few drops of water. Slowly stroke the treatment into your first section of hair. You will need to be very firm when applying the treatment, scrubbing against the hair gently but firmly, as this will ensure the treatment works on every cuticle of hair. We would recommend scrubbing each section gently for around 3-5 minutes for best results.
Step 4: Before moving onto your next section, use foil to keep the hair scrunched together as the product soaks in.
Step 5: Work your way throughout the entire head, section by section, until you have covered every piece.
Step 6: From around the 30-minute mark, start checking your first sections to see how they are progressing. You should notice a significant colour difference; however if you would like a more dramatic effect, you can apply more treatment at this point, rubbing in again, and leaving to sit for longer.
Step 7: Once you are happy with how each section has developed, slowly remove the foils. The hair will feel tangled, as it has undergone an intensive process; however, this will be dealt with in the following stages.
Step 8: Run your fingers through each section to remove any significant tangles, and then rinse with shampoo.
Step 9: (optional) If your client originally had a more icy tone, you can apply purple shampoo at this stage to further neutralise any brassy undertones.
Step 10: Condition. As with the treatment, this needs to be done thoroughly and in sections. Apply a generous amount of conditioner and gently stroke this through the hair. Use a wide-tooth comb or detangler to comb through the hair, removing any tangles slowly. This will need to be done with two hands to support your clients’ bonds at the roots and cause minimal tension.
Step 11: Once you have conditioned the full head of hair, you can now rinse the conditioner out and follow with another intensive conditioner. Leave this on the head for as long as possible before rinsing.
Step 12: Apply a heat protector, and blow-dry the hair. The hair should now have returned to its original colour.
Step 13: The hair will have gone through a very intense process to correct the discolouring; therefore it is essential that your client is reminded of their aftercare routine and is urged to treat their hair to regular intensive conditioning treatments moving forward.
Why You Should Be Charged Clients For This Service
Discoloured hair extensions are a sign of poor aftercare practises, and as fixing the issue is a time-consuming process, this should be something you charge for. The discolouration of hair extensions is entirely avoidable. If you have provided your clients with the correct aftercare advice, then correcting an issue such as this should be considered no different to a maintenance appointment.
Human Hair Extensions Should Not Be Considered Disposable
Human hair extensions take years to grow, and due to that, they should be cared for to maintain their quality. If hair extensions become damaged by discolouration, it is vital for the industry’s sustainability that the proper procedures are followed in terms of correcting them. By following the guidance above when faced with discoloured hair extensions, you are also ensuring the future of the industry, by treating hair with the care and attention it needs, and ensuring each and every set lasts as long as possible.