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The 7 Best Shampoos for Extensions & Buying Guide

The 7 Best Shampoos for Extensions & Buying Guide

Hair extensions need attention and nurturing to last long and maintain a shiny, glowy look. The best shampoo for extensions keeps them moisturized, soft, and silky while preventing breakage and frizz. We’ll show you our top products picks and why we love each.

What’s the Best Shampoo for Extensions?

Hair extensions are just as delicate as natural hair hence the need for proper care. The best shampoo for extensions removes dirt buildup while maintaining the hair’s critical features.

Our Top 7 Picks for the Best Shampoo for Extensions
  1. Best Overall: Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo
  2. Best for Color-Treated Extensions: BIOLAGE Color Last Shampoo
  3. Best for All Extension Types: Matrix Total Length Goals Shampoo
  4. Best for Curly Extensions: OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Shampoo
  5. Best Hydrating Shampoo: Keratese Nutritive Nutrition Shampoo
  6. Best for Tape-in Extensions: Big Kizzy Volumizing Shampoo
  7. Best for Quick Fixes: SexyHair Luxe Dry Shampoo

Why You Need a Shampoo for Extensions

Woman getting hair extensions in a salon

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A hair extension is one accessory that takes your hair to a new level. Not only does your hair look longer, but it also appears full and lively. Hair extensions need washing to keep them looking healthy and shiny because they develop product buildup, which reduces their vibrance and shine.

Washing not only removes dirt but also prolongs the hair’s life. A good rule of thumb is to wash the extensions whenever they develop product buildup, or after 15-20 wears.

Best Shampoos for Extensions

Here’s a detailed overview of our best picks:

1. Best Overall: Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo

Best Overall
Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo
Pros:
  • Reduces breakage
  • Lasts long
  • Provides color protection
Cons:
  • Overpowering scent
  • Leaves a greasy feel on the hair
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The Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo is our best pick due to its unique formula and generous volume. To begin with, it has a volume of 8.5 ounces, enough to last four to five weeks.

Then it boasts a unique formula that strengthens the hair’s strands while preventing breakage. It contains ceramide, a conditioning agent that repairs dry and damaged hair and locks in essential nutrients in the hair shafts leaving your hair extensions healthier.

If you’ve been coloring your extensions, the shampoo reduces damage. It contains arginine, which protects hair extensions from damage caused by hair dyes.

2. Best for Color-Treated Extensions: BIOLAGE Color Last Shampoo

Finding a shampoo for color-treated hair extensions is no easy feat. Most shampoos contain ingredients that make the color fade away.  However, with BIOLAGE’s Color Last Shampoo, you never have to worry about your extensions fading.

It has a low pH that prevents it from stripping off colors from your extensions for up to 9 weeks. The shampoo is also free from harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens.

This means your extensions won’t get damaged after regular washes, leaving them moisturized and free from split ends – what’s more, the shampoo lathers pretty well, albeit being sulfate-free.

3. Best for All Extension Types: Matrix Total Length Goals Shampoo

Best for All Extension Types
Matrix Total Length Goals Shampoo
Pros:
  • Long-lasting effects
  • Hair becomes soft and silky
  • Works on color-treated extensions
Cons:
  • Doesn’t lather easily
  • The smell can be off-putting
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Matrix has vast experience producing the best shampoos for natural hair, and the Matrix Total Length Goals Shampoo is one of them. Naturally, it’s formulated to promote hair growth, but you can use it on all types of extensions too.

It’s sulfate-free, so it won’t dry out hair, leaving your extensions smoother and more conditioned. The shampoo contains Phyto-peptides that enhance the hair’s longevity and overall appearance. At the end of the treatment, the hair develops a soft, silky feel, free of knots and tangles.

4. Best for Curly Extensions: OGX Nourishing & Coconut Milk Shampoo

Best for Curly Extensions
OGX Nourishing & Coconut Milk Shampoo
Pros:
  • Adds shine
  • Great moisturizing properties
  • Creamy texture that lathers quickly
Cons:
  • Leaves a greasy feel on the hair
  • Weighs down the curls
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Curly extensions are prone to drying, tangling, and frizzing like natural hair. But with OGX’s nourishing shampoo, such problems have become a thing of the past.

The shampoo is infused with coconut milk, nourishing the hair and restoring its strength. The coconut milk also provides a thick, creamy feel that ensures the shampoo lathers easily on wet hair.

OGX also loads the shampoo with proteins sourced from egg whites which reduce breakage and restore the hair’s elasticity. At the end of the treatment, the extensions have fuller, shinier, and more defined curls.

5. Best Hydrating Shampoo: Keratese Nutritive Nutrition Shampoo

Best Hydrating Shampoo
Keratese Nutritive Nutrition Shampoo
Pros:
  • Lathers quickly
  • Reduces tangling
  • Great for 4C hair extensions
Cons:
  • Contains oils
  • Dries out color-treated extensions
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Since hair extensions are not attached to the scalp, they don’t receive sebum, which keeps the hair soft and nourished. As a result, the extensions become dry and frizzy.

A hydrating shampoo like the Kerastase Nutrition Shampoo provides the much-needed oil that nourishes hair as it’s enriched with Rhizome extract, proteins, glucose, and lipid blends.

The shampoo penetrates the driest parts, locking in moisture without weighing down the hair. After treatment, hair becomes soft, light, and glowy. Follow it up with a Kerastase conditioner for the best results.

6. Best for Tape-in Extensions: Big Kizzy Volumizing Shampoo

Tape-in extensions need mild shampoos that leave the tape in place for the next application. With Big Kizzy’s volumizing shampoo, you never have to worry about the extensions coming loose.

It’s free of oils that cause hair extensions to slip out easily and doesn’t contain harsh sulfates, parabens, and silicones which strip off adhesives when washing. 

It’s also fortified with ProVitamin B5 and Biotin to nourish and strengthen the hair locks and is lightly scented, leaving the extensions smelling fresh. The shampoo also has a conditioner to moisturize and soften the hair, keeping it frizz-free.

7. Best for Quick Fixes: SexyHair Luxe Dry Shampoo

Best for Quick Fixes
SexyHair Luxe Dry Shampoo
Pros:
  • Enhances volume
  • No residue
  • Gentle formula
Cons:
  • Overpowering smell
  • Not too absorbent
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Sometimes you don’t have the time to wash hair extensions properly and need a quick fix. This dry shampoo from SexyHair provides an excellent solution for such quick fixes.

Dry shampoos also extend the hair’s life by minimizing the number of times you wash extensions. Washing extensions frequently causes them to dry out and become fragile. The SexyHair Luxe Dry Shampoo absorbs grease, dirt, and excess oil, bringing your hair to life.

It adds shine to the hair without leaving residue and is enriched with moringa oil that prevents product buildup. This liquid-based shampoo also prolongs the time between hair washes, reduces dryness, and prevents moisture loss.

Hair Extension Shampoo Buying Guide

Woman shopping for the best shampoo for hair extensions in the store

BearFotos/Shutterstock

Finding the best shampoo for extensions is a delicate balance between buying a product that removes dirt and oil buildup while nourishing the hair strands.

The shampoos shouldn’t be too harsh to strip off essential oils and features and not too mild not to clean the extension. Here are the critical features you must consider when buying shampoo.

Extension Type

Different types of extensions and their application styles determine the shampoo you should buy. Tape-in extensions, for example, need mild shampoos to ensure the glue sticks to your hair after washing them.

Some extensions use adhesive strips to stay put on your hair, while others need to be braided or clipped in so you can’t use a shampoo that leaves them tangled or coarse for the next use.

Ingredients

Check the ingredients used because they make or break your hair extension. The best shampoo for extensions should contain hydrating ingredients like sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil.

If you’re buying extensions with 4a, 4b, and 4c textures, look for shampoos with nourishing products like cocoa butter, shea butter, and Jamaican castor oil. You should avoid products with toxic ingredients that shorten the hair’s life and cause it to become frizzy.

Sulfates

Sulfates are used in body washes, detergents, and shampoos to provide the characteristic foam. However, they strip off hair’s natural oils and water, causing hair to dry. 

The effect is worse on hair extensions because they’re not attached to the scalp, which produces natural oils. The sulfates break down the keratin bond, causing hair to fall out. Consequently, the extension tangles break and become frizzy.

Look out for shampoos that contain sodium lauryl Sulphate (SLS), the most common surfactant in shampoos, and buy those using ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS). ALS is an excellent alternative to SLS because it’s gentle on hair and still provides the foaming ability.

Alcohol

Alcohol is an essential ingredient in shampoo production due to its evaporative qualities. However, not all alcohols are suitable for hair extensions. Alcohols like ethanol, propyl, isopropyl, ethyl alcohol, and propanol strip them off essential oils, leaving the extension dry and brittle.

Instead, look out for shampoos that contain fatty alcohols like cetyl, stearyl, lauryl, and oleyl alcohol, which lock in moisture and produce a thick, creamy consistency.  

Dimethicone

This type of silicone is used in shampoos, serums, and conditioners to soften hair and make it smooth. However, dimethicone produces a thick layer that prevents water and other nutrients from penetrating the hair. As a result, the extension becomes dehydrated and undernourished over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Image of a woman with hair extensions in a studio for a piece on the best shampoo for hair extensions

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Here are some of the frequently asked questions about shampoos for extensions.

Which shampoos are safe for washing extensions?

The best shampoo for extensions must be free of sulfates, parabens, and dimethicone. Also, check the alcohol ingredients to ensure they aren’t too harsh to dry out the extension. Shampoos that contain fatty alcohol are the best.

How many times should I wash a hair extension?

It’s best to wash an extension two or three times a week. Washing it frequently damages the bonds and dries them out. If you must wash it daily, use a dry shampoo to remove excess oils.

How long must I wait to shampoo after installing hair extensions?

Avoid washing the extension two days after application to allow the extension to grip onto the hair firmly. Washing it too soon weakens the bonds between the hair and the extensions, causing it to come loose.

Can I use regular shampoo to wash my extensions?

You can use regular shampoo as long as it doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens, and harmful alcohols. The ingredients compromise the integrity of your hair extensions, drying out hair and causing breakage.

Should I apply a conditioner on hair extensions?

Conditioning is a critical step after washing a hair extension. The product adds longevity and prevents tangling, giving hair a smooth, lasting shine. Be sure to apply a conditioner when wearing hair extensions too.

So, What’s the Best Shampoo for Extensions?

The Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo is one of the best shampoos for extensions. Not only does it contain ingredients that prevent breakage and reduce dryness, but it also eliminates frizz and tangles.

Best Overall
Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo
Pros:
  • Reduces breakage
  • Lasts long
  • Provides color protection
Cons:
  • Overpowering scent
  • Leaves a greasy feel on the hair
Check Latest Price
We may earn a commission when you click this link, at no extra cost to you.

The 8.5-ounce package is also economical for those who don’t frequent washes. And since it lathers easily, you only need to squirt a small amount of liquid to wash your clip-in, tape-in, or other extensions.

Also, check out the other products to find one that suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for formulas for color-treated extensions or curly ones, this guide should help you find one easily. Happy styling!