Assessing the damage after hair extensions

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I took my hair extensions out today! Micro-ring extensions are easy to remove yourself with a pair of pliers, you just squeeze open the metal clasps and pull them out. There was a bit of resistance with a couple of them, I’m not sure why. I think it was because the stylist threaded too much hair through a few of the rings, so it was kind of jammed onto my hair whether the ring was open or not and I had to put some brute force into loosening it.

The mass of hair that ensued

The giant mass of hair that ensued

A photo of Daniel trying on my extensions

Very pretty, Daniel

I felt bald afterwards! Going from having so much hair that I couldn’t wrap my fist around my ponytail, to having so little hair that I can grasp it all between my thumb and forefinger is quite a change. My natural hair is really thin.

A photo showing how fine my hair is

See? Pretty fine.

When I washed my hair for the first time, the bath was full of hair. I was just pulling it out in massive clumps, even my husband was freaking out. My hair felt so thin and sparse. We thought the extensions had caused some sort of damage that would render me bald. I eventually realized that…

1) Having hair extensions in for three months meant that my hair (which was clamped to the extensions) was not being shed normally. On average, you lose up to 100 strands of hair per day. I don’t know if that translates to me having 9000 strands of hair trapped in the microrings waiting to fall out, but it totally looked that way in the bathroom.

2) It’s all perception. Since December, I’ve been carrying around a full head of human hair attached to my head, hair which was much thicker than my natural hair Obviously the loss of that hair would be a significantly noticeable loss in terms of volume.

So, I’m not really going bald. Phew. But where the extensions had grown out, my hair had become quite matted and tangled. I’m actually glad I took them out now, because if I didn’t, I probably would have had some irreparable damage to my hair due to the matting. So I used Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo followed by the Kerastase Resistance Bain de Force shampoo and conditioner to get rid of all the gross build-up at my roots that could never be washed out properly with the extensions in. Now my hair feels healthy and clean as a whistle for the first time in months!

Two photos of my hair after hair extension removal

Fresh and clean! Aaaah, my real hair again!

It’s funny, I’d wanted hair extensions for such a long time but now I’m pretty relieved that they’re out. Next time around, I would try European hair instead of Indian hair, or at least source the Indian hair from a different place. The hair that was used for me was too thick and heavy for my natural hair (which I think contributed to the huge amount of hair loss) and I found it quite wiry and difficult to maintain. I actually have a feeling that I was sold Chinese hair and not genuine “Remy Indian” hair at all, because “thick and wiry” are not qualities that should describe Indian hair. It looked like trash if it wasn’t blowdried and styled every day. Please note that I am not implying that natural Chinese hair is thick/wiry/”trash”…it’s not! But Chinese hair extensions are known for being highly processed and once the silicone layer is gone, you’re left with wiry, tangly hair that has been chemically stripped of cuticle layers. I would also only get a half-head (or even a 1/4 head) of extensions because I really do not need a full head. I’d give the same advice to anyone with particularly fine hair. A full head was just too much hair for me to deal with!

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  • Donna

    I have mine in still in thinking about taking them out I’ve had them in about 3 month I can tell already when brushing them and washing how tangled they get I’m pulling them out from the routes. i have to leave it up all time can’t enjoy them and wear them down like u wanted to cuts too much hassle! so scared of taking them out in case I am bald. I have really thin short curly hair naturally doesn’t grow much. wish I hadn’t bothered with micro loops. in between push ups they all go different lengths any way ha can’t win. are glued in ones any better?

  • Millie

    how long did it take you for your hair to feel normal again? I got mine taken out today and massive clumps of hair keep falling out, and my hair feels a lot thinner than it was before I had micro ring extensions x

    • Emmalina

      Not too long, maybe 2-3 weeks? What you’re experiencing is totally normal by the way! We normally shed over 100 strands of hair a day, but when we have microring extensions in, the hair cannot easily come free so it stays attached under the microring. So when we take them out, it seems like we’re losing a TON of hair – but really it’s just our natural daily loss. Your hair will feel thin for a while just because you got used to the added volume with the extensions :)

  • iwonder

    when i took mine out, the silicone has bonded my natural hair (Afro hair) together and the more i tried to pull it apart, the more clumps kept falling off. I’m put off micro rings at the moment but do you think this is normal and is there any prducts available for taking out the silicone x

  • AnneShi

    I already suffered that kinds of the problem but now I’m fine with my new extension and I really going to used your tips to be better results.

  • Odri

    My hair is wayyyy thinner and finer that yours, I just took out my extensions after 1 month because the hair was crap, but I’m getting awesome great quality hair extensions back in my hair next week. But now that I took it out, I’m freaking out how thin my hair is. I’m pretty much convinced that its thinner now…and Im affraid to put hair back in…I’m thinking about taking hair vitamins supplements to get my hair stronger…I love extensions sooo much because my hair is so thin that I cant wear it loose…But now I dont know what to do! Did your hair feel way thinner for a while? Do ou think it can actually get thinner for real?

  • Alien7220

    awesome advice!! i freaked out too and the experience the same things you did! did you ever get extensions again?  My hair is super fine… just wondering is track hair the way to go or should I go to individuals for volume?

  • jenny

    I have a problem with my microrings. The hairdresser has pushed the microrings so much I cannot remove them. I went to another hairdresser yesterday and she cannot too. They seem so squeezed. Does anyone know what can I do? They are not like the typical small microrings and the hairs seem to have silicone inside.

    • Reecy

      Pliers are usualy the best way to remove the extentions but go to a specialist hairdresser it may cost you but its alot more worth it that being bald. And if possible go back to the lady who did it for you the first time

    • Abby T

      How did you remove them. Is it possible they were to squashed. My daughter went to a hair ext. Class to learn how to put them on and they haf another student put 10 on her and i took most off but one stubourn one my daughter end off bald bead was stuck

  • Jasmine Santa Maria

    As a child my hair was very baby thin, to many tangles, greasy, and didn’t really want to grow. I found the Shielo Volumizing Shampoo and within a week my hair wasn’t near as greasy and the tangles started to get better. Within a few months the best part about the shampoo was noticed. My hair started at my shoulders and when I went to get a trim (not even a year later) it was over halfway down my back. Sol, I got 2 inches cut off and within the next year it grew to my butt. I got it cut till about halfway down my back again and within 4 months it’s getting to my butt again. My hair is also thicker and stronger than ever before. It also seems to have more body and volume to it as well.

    My daughter turned 7 and instead of the no tear shampoo I started using Shielo Volume on her as well. Her hair was starting to be just like mine used to be so I caught this early and just within a few months her hair is already improving especially in the tangles department as well as how greasy it was.  

  • Brittany

    I am so glad to have finally found someone who has given honest an useful advice! I have European blonde hair in and I am at the point where I miss washing my hair and letting it dry natural and curly! I shall be removing my micro loops this week! Xx

  • Sally

    Can I get micro bonding extensions if I have short hair? Will it look natural or does it depend on who’s placing my extensions in ??

    • reecy

      I just got micro ring extentions put in my hair 5 days ago. My natural hair is short and in a graduated bob. Firstly I’ll start with colour it is cheaper to get darker extentions. I paid £400 for my extentions and the work to be carried out. If you have blonde hair or light hair you will have to pay more. you are looking at £500 pounds.

    • Reecy

      Also another tip ladies with longer hair like shoulder length hair usully only take hair extentions up to their ear but for ladies with shorter hair it is recommented that you take the hair extentions right up to the crown of your head that way you have more of a blended look for maximum natural look. Also you will ve to have the back of your hair and top of your hair glued in as the hair is very short and may need extra support but dont let that scare you because the next time you go back you will be able to use the micro rings becuase your hair would have grown. Hopethat helps good luck xx

  • azra mustafa

    Just taken mine out Ive had them for 9 months, like you I have fine hair and had full head ones fitted. I would say my natural hair is now 75% thinner. I wish I had never had them put in, however thin my hair was before its better than what I am left with now, just not worth it… to find a hat :(

    • leelee

      Did you go in for touch ups and such?

      • Az

        Hi, sorry I missed your question. Yes I used to get regular maintenance done to move the rings back up after the hair had grown – every 6 weeks or so

    • Laura

      Hi could you tell me has your hair improved in thickness since your posting this message? I got my extensions taken out today and I have lost half my head of hair. I am depressed and.very sad and I’m worrying incase it never grows back. I hope you respond! Please I’m freaking out

      • Az

        Hi Laura, some grew back but not all. I would say I grew about 50% back but it took a long time – over a year. Hope yours grows back soon.

  • Jennifershaw

    i had my exstentions in for 5 weeks and took them out because the beads were onlyholding on my minimal hair im glad i took them out as i know have seriously thin hair the hairdresser told me the exstentions would help my natural hair grow id like to know how cause my hair is now ruined $400 down the drain ill never get exstentions again

  • Fffff

    Oh please you dont have thin hair
    Mine IS thin yours not stop whining id trade mine everyday with yours.

  • Michellemarina32

    I will be 54 yrs old next month (April 2013) i had my own beautiful hair (especially exceptional for my age) long hair down to my waist. I made a very stupid mistake and had hair extensions put in just a few to start which lead to more then more eventually I had over 6 full bundles of hair extensions in. The weight of the extensions started pulling my own hair out right from the roots. I asked several times if I should take all the extensions out before more damage was done and all i ever heard was no you lose x amount of hair a day don’t worry about it..well today i have probably max 700 strands of my own hair left , severe bald spots all over my head and I am a complete mess what is left is very thin and there is so little left there is nothing i can do except go get a wig but what wig one that is glued on? one that i put on and take off ? …all have different ideas depending on what they sell seems like i cannot get just an honest straight answer, i am so embarrassed and upset I don’t know what to do. The worst part besides being bald now which is just awful is this was out of my own stupid idea to ever add any extensions at all when I was lucky enough to not need anything added to my hair ! I would like for anyone to tell me who I can go see to find out if my own hair will ever grow back (my own hair grows very very slow ) or if I am now left to live with a bald head due to how bad it is damaged. I am being told so many things now I do not know what to believe . If anyone has experienced this and has any advise besides telling me how stupid I was in the first place I would really appreciate your help. I am or was a very active person but now I do not even want to go outside for fear someone will see me its bad enough my husband has to see me like this and I am at a loss as to who to go to that will actually tell me the truth and help me. Please if you are even thinking of extensions and have your own hair that looks just fine do not add extensions .if you saw what i looked like before and what i look like now you would run screaming..has anyone lost all their hair from extensions and used any shampoos or creams or scalp treatments and their hair grew back ? can anyone recommend who i can see that will help me or am I left to just give up and never go out again.. stupid stupid me.

    • Rsanders1928

      I’m so sorry for what you are going through. Severe hair loss can be traumatic. I do not have experience with loss due to extensions, however I have gone through the awful process of losing much of a beautiful head of long healthy hair. I am 42; over the past ten years I have been taking enormous amounts of trial medications for refractory chronic daily migraine. Many of the meds unfortunately caused hair loss. I lost approximately 50% of my hair two years ago and it is now finally filling back in nicely. My hair grows very fast, so I am lucky there. If I were you I would consult your primary care physician or even a dermatologist. Temporary use of rogaine or a similar medication might help jump start regrowth for you. As I said, my hair loss was due to meds, not from pulling at the root, so I think you should see doctor ASAP to see if medicated topical treatment might be needed in your case. But if it makes you feel any better, my hair is finally looking like it used to. Don’t let this get you down too much! Stress hormones can inhibit hair regrowth, so stay active and find a temporary solution (wigs, silk scarves) to make you feel more attractive. But definitely see a doctor. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Nina Simone

      It broke my heart to hear your experience with hair extensions and I’m so very sorry that this happened. It’s unfortunate, that your stylist did not give you the proper advice concerning the removal of the extensions. I know this post is 7 months old and I’m not sure if you’ve found a remedy to your problem. Please try biotin and folic acid. Be patient, it will take several months for you to see any difference. I hope this helps!

    • trace

      Same thing happened to me..and I’m a stylist Salon owner. Don’t let anyone tell you your hair won’t be damaged from extensions (long term use) especially fine hair like I have. I’ve taken mine out and my hair is so thin ..I wore them pretty much 8 yrs straight. I made myself a custom hair piece that works perfect way better than a wig. I used the same hair but left it in wefts cut it to fit and made a halo (there are utube videos showing how) You can take it off at night and it blends really well with your own hair no damage. I’m wearing it until my own hair thickens up. I wish I had thought of this sooner. it even looks 100 % better than the hair extensions. Good luck!

  • Dee Cournoyer

    Hi I just want to say that when you have hair extensions your hair extensionist should do a free consultation, to discuss your needs, to colour match hair and to explain how to look after your extensions, these are not as easy as looking after your hair and the extensionist should explain how to look after them and also about proper maintainence, between 1 month and 6 weeks they should move your micro rings up as they move with your own natural hair as it grows and also about running your fingers through your hair regularly so this will aid in keeping hair from joining together and also what kind of hair brush, shampoo, conditioner, and also not to wear hair in tight pony tails or french plaits (braids), they should be on hand for you if you need advice, not just put the hair in and leave you to it, maintainence is very important as is making sure you have chose the correct shampoo conditioner, that it contains no salt base as this can break down the bonds, hope this helps even if you are just thinking about getting them, if someone asks you for a photo of your hair to match your colour, ask them if they will be doing a face to face consultation as hair in photos can look totally different to real life, i:e because of lighting etc, they should be happy to see you face to face x

  • afm

    Ive read a lot of these comments about thinking a lower standard of haor has bern used – it will be the quality your extensionist told you ot was, the diffrence is with extension hair is that ot doesnt get the natural oils and nutrients that your scalp provides for your natural hair. Extensions will go dull and wirey if a maintenance spray or vitamin spray is not used as they will dry out.
    Hope this helps!

  • Ebony Scarlett

    I’ve had micro ring extension in for about a 3 months now, apparently the first night you sleep on them it should cause some pain, yet I didn’t have any. Although after I use a lot of hairspray my scalp is very ichy around where the extensions are fitted.. I think it’s depends on what kinda of hair you have. I have European Remy Hair and my friend has Indian Remy Hair, personally mine seems to have had a “better life” I don’t know if this is because it hasn’t been through as much chemical changes etc or if I just take care of mine more, but I haven’t had any problems with it what so ever! Although after reading this it has kind of made me worry about what state my hair is going to look like when I have the extensions out?

  • KJO

    I had tons of amazing hair before getting my extensions 6 months ago, but got the extensions so I could have the fun of red ombré against my naturally dark brown hair without going through the damage of bleaching and coloring. I had the initial install in Dec, and then reused them twice (they stayed in great shape) with about 2 months in between each appointment. There was considerable hair loss each appointment, but not horrible. Yesterday I removed the extensions completely, as I was having trouble getting ahold of my stylist and they were now 4-5 weeks past due to come out and hanging maybe 1-1.5 inches and getting raggedy above the links… I knew I was in trouble when the first link came off – with almost all of the hair it was attached to. The links released easily with pliers and slid right off, except for maybe 6 which were a little tougher. With each link half or more of my own hair went with it. I thought maybe I was just so used to the extensions I was… I don’t know. I washed my hair, more clumps came out. I dried and style my once thick lustrous hair and was shocked – it looked terrible and felt like i was missing half. Literally half. I did the only test I could think of to see if I had really lost as much as I thought – I’ve used the same hair ties for 15 years. I grabbed a new one from the drawer. I’ve always been able to twist them twice around a pony tail, but not more. My hair was too thick. I can now twist he hair tie 3 times – and it’s still loose. I am just so sad. In my effor protect my hair, I’ve ruined it.

  • mary

    let me tell you something , from experience.. indian hair is the worst quality on the market. every , EVERY time I had indian hair for extensions, five or six before I got smart and started ordering russian/european, i had indian, and it ALWAYS looked like crap after the first wash even.

  • Maisie Alice

    I had my micro ring extensions take out yesterday and my hair feels so thin and has gotten so short! balled my eyes out all night, before the extensions my hair was already quite thick and long and it takes ages to grow :( any ideas on how long it will take to get back to normal please? :(

  • Abby T

    How do you remove a metal bead that is so flat and won’t open

  • dawn

    Natu remy is the best hair :) I have used it for just over a month. No tangles or shedding even after washing it 18 times already. Ebay has it for $40

  • Odri

     Did your hair got back to nomal? If yes, how long did it take? Thanks!! IM freaking out too, but planning on getting extensions again next week because my hair is just naturally too thin!

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