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Least Damaging Hair Extensions

by Gabbi

Hair extensions can completely transform your hair from root to tip. Whether you want to boost your confidence or add extra density to your strands, you can do so easily with extensions. They’re a popular hair enhancement that solves various hair concerns.

You can get temporary extensions or permanent extensions. Temporary ones can be removed from the hair at the end of each day, and permanent ones are fused into the hair with glue or sewing techniques at a hair salon.

However, many people fear extensions because they can potentially damage your hair. As long as you install your extensions with a licensed and trained professional and maintain them properly, hair extensions likely won’t damage the hair, but you’ll need to find the right type for you.

What are the least damaging hair extensions? The least damaging hair extensions don’t cause tension at the root and fit your hair type and texture. Temporary extensions like clip-ins don’t snag and can easily be removed.

While your extensions must suit your hair type and texture, it’s also important to consider your lifestyle. Hair extensions can be a high-maintenance service, and you’ll need to maintain them regularly to avoid damage or breakage.

Best Non-Damaging Hair Extensions 

Hair extensions should always be installed in a salon setting by a licensed hairstylist. However, this may feel overwhelming if you’re new to the whole process.

Extensions don’t have to cause havoc on your hair. As stated earlier, as long as the extensions are properly installed and you maintain them with care, extensions shouldn’t damage your natural hair. However, there are lower maintenance options.

These lower maintenance options are not only easy to install and care for, but they are also ideal for people who are new to extensions.

It’s surprising how many factors you should consider before choosing hair extensions. 

Once you start with an easy-to-use extension like clip-ins, you’re more likely to understand extensions and try other types. So what are the least damaging extensions? 


Clip-ins are the most accessible type of hair extension, and they are easy to apply or remove. 

Clip-ins work exactly as they sound. The strip of hair will be attached to a clip that you can secure anywhere around the head to add length, density, and volume. 

Clip-ins are known as temporary hair extensions. Clip-ins are ideal for anyone looking to change their hair without committing. However, they can still cause damage if you wear them incorrectly.

If you want to avoid any mishaps with clip-ins, make sure you pick the right weight. 

For example, if your clip-ins are too heavy for your head or hair, they can cause tension, tenderness, or breakage. Clip-ins should feel comfortable and weightless.

Always read the brand’s instructions or seek help from a licensed stylist to avoid snagging or pulling. Clip-ins can be snapped to the hair easily within minutes, and all you have to do is unclip them at night to remove the extensions seamlessly. 

You can also get a clip-in for every occasion. For example, if you want to rock a high ponytail, you can opt for a ponytail clip-in extension. Or, maybe you want to try bangs. There are clip-in bangs available on the market too.


Tape-ins are a permanent extension. This means tape-ins are installed by a professional stylist in a hair salon. You don’t remove tape-ins nightly like you would with clip-ins. Instead, you get them touched up at a salon every few weeks.

Permanent hair extensions also incorporate some adhesive to ensure the extensions will stay put. This is why most people fear extensions because incorrect installation can cause tension or tenderness and can’t be removed at home.

Tape-ins are installed with a double-sided adhesive, so they stick together around the strand of hair. Now, glues, tapes, and sealants can cause damage and are very intimating. However, the adhesive for tape-in extensions works a little differently.

Tape-in adhesive is designed to work around the hair and can be easily removed with a tape remover that won’t cause unnecessary breakage. The adhesive is flexible enough so the tape-ins can eventually mold with your head and natural hair.

Also, tape-ins can work for all hair types, textures, and densities. However, just like any other type of extension, improper adhesive removal, not caring for your extensions, and incorrect installation can hinder the state of your natural hair.

This is why it’s crucial always to get permanent extensions installed and removed by a trained professional. 

Another thing to note about tape-ins is that they should be measured and fitted to your hair type and density, so they don’t cause tension or feel heavy.


Wefts are another non-damaging hair extension option.

Wefts are versatile because they can be transformed into any extension. So they are highly customizable, and so you can turn them into clip-ins, or you can make them into a permanent enhancement.

Wefts are generally larger and heavier than clip-ins, so one of the best ways to install a weft is with the sew-in technique. For sew-ins, a braid is created where the extensions will lay, and then the hair weft is sewn into the braid.

Overall, this causes less tension because the weft is sewn into your natural hair. Wefts are ideal for medium, thick, coarse, textured, and natural hair types that can withstand having a braid to hold the weft into place. 

As with every type of extension, the installation and removal process and maintenance in between appointments will determine how damaging the extension will be. For example, the braid that’s created for the base can feel too tight.

How To Pick The Right Extensions 

Before installing hair extensions into your strands, it’s crucial to analyze what kind of extension will fit you the best. 

There are multiple reasons why you need to choose the right extension. For example, the correct fit and type of extension will reduce the chances of damage.

Other things you should consider before installing hair extensions is your desired outcome, lifestyle, and hair density/texture. 

Your hair should match your lifestyle. For example, if you don’t want to spend time taking care of your hair or are always on the go, opt for clip-ins. Clip-ins can pop in and out without much thought, and you don’t have to get touch-ups at the salon.

Lastly, you should analyze the current state of your hair. It’s essential to pick an extension that will match your hair texture and density. For example, if you have thin, fine hair, you don’t want a heavy weft sewn in if you have very little hair. 

So how do you know which extensions are right for you? You can choose based on your texture and density as a general rule of thumb. However, going to a salon and getting fitted by a licensed stylist will always give you the best result.

The stylist may be able to customize extensions to fit your needs better. Remember, a proper extension installation won’t cause damage or breakage, but you’ll have to take care of them properly before your next appointment.

Fine Hair 

Fine hair can be tricky to work with when it’s time to install extensions. Some people with fine hair lack density, or their hair is thin. It will be difficult to hide some of the extensions at the root because there is already little to work with. 

However, fine hair can also be thick in density. So if your strands are fine but you have a lot of hair, it may be easier to conceal extensions. Regardless, fine hair can sometimes struggle with holding shape, so extensions can add depth, volume, and length.

Clip-ins are great for a temporary solution because you can customize them to match your hair and remove them in a snap. It’s also a great way to see if you want to explore permanent options. Tape-ins are fantastic because they don’t add extra tension.

Medium Hair 

If you have medium density or texture, you can explore installing many extensions. This type of hair can support almost any kind of extension, and you can play around to see what works best for you.

For example, medium hair can be suitable for sew-ins or work with a denser/longer weft. Tape-ins will flatter almost any hair type and add extra length or volume to the areas you need it the most.

As always, clip-ins are an easy, temporary solution that allows you to get creative with your extensions without the commitment or breakage. 

Thick Hair 

Thick hair that’s coarse, coily, or curly can benefit from using a weft. Wefts are also customizable, so you can turn them into clip-ins or go to your stylist for a permanent installation.

Wefts can also create a sharp contrast with thick hair, and it’s fantastic for adding length to your strands. 

Consult With Your Stylist 

There are many other types of extensions that you can opt for besides the ones listed above. So, if you’re unsure what will suit your needs, always consult with a stylist. A stylist can recommend other options that fit your hair and lifestyle.

Also, you’ll get the correct extension and the exact fit for your hair, so it doesn’t lead to breakage, damage, or tension.

However, there is one thing you can do at home that will prevent extensions from damaging your hair, and that’s maintenance. 

How To Maintain Your Extensions To Prevent Damage 

How you care for your extensions and hair can also determine if extensions will cause breakage. Without a proper hair care routine, you risk shortening the lifetime of your hair extensions. It can also affect your natural hair with removal. 

If you get your permanent extensions installed at a salon, the stylist will provide some general guidelines on how to care for your extensions. The instructions will vary by which type of extensions you choose and your hair’s unique characteristics. 


Clip-ins are the least damaging for a reason, and it’s because they are removable. Yes, clip-ins can still tug at your roots if they aren’t clipped in the right way, but gently snapping them in and out can reduce breakage. 

You’ll want to avoid heavy wefts of hair, so it doesn’t cause tension. Finally, what type of hair the extensions are made of will help determine how to clean them.

You don’t want to neglect your natural hair either. Washing, nourishing, and detangling your hair regularly and gently will ensure your hair is healthy enough to support clip-ins. 

We’ve found a great video below from Luxy Hair on YouTube all about how to wash your clip-in hair extensions.


We mentioned earlier that wefts are a highly versatile and customizable hair enhancement. 

Because wefts have many uses or ways to install them, it will be up to you and your hairdresser to create a maintenance routine that involves touch-up appointments.

According to True Weave Spa’s FAQ section, “a sew in can last six to ten weeks, we recommend you come to the salon for maintenance service every 2 weeks for a shampoo, and four to six weeks after install for tightening.”

This is one example of how salons will set up maintenance services for sew-ins, and it can vary by salon, stylist, and client. 

Here’s a great video from Taylor Ramirez all about how to wash your hair with extensions.


Tape-ins are easy to maintain, but they also involve frequent visits to the salon. Similar to sew-ins, tape-ins can last a few months but require upkeep every couple of weeks. Regular salon visits will prevent damage and breakage.

Like most hair enhancements, you’ll want to avoid doing anything to your extensions while wet for at-home care. Brushing, heat styling, or sleeping with wet tape-ins can potentially reduce the longevity of your extensions. 

Below, we’ve linked a video by Kirstie Roche explaining all there is to know about washing tape-in extensions.

Hair Loss

Most people fear that extensions can cause hair loss. Unfortunately, this is true if you don’t install, remove, or upkeep your extensions as required.

Clip-ins can create sparse patches if you snap them incorrectly or in the same spot daily. If your clip-ins are too heavy, it can lead to breakage by creating tension at the root.

For permanent extensions, it’s normal to shed hair. This is because permanent extensions hold onto the hair that we would have shed daily if it wasn’t for an adhesive keeping the strands in place. 

However, if you have chunks falling out during removal, it could signify something is wrong. If your hair is feeling too thin after extension removal, we recommend you check out our article all about how to get your volume back.

The Takeaway 

Overall, the least damaging hair extensions are clip-ins, tape-ins, and wefts/sew-ins. However, it’s crucial to remember that any hair extensions won’t damage your hair as long as they are installed, removed, and maintained properly.

Temporary extensions like clip-ins are the easiest to work with and usually don’t require going to a salon unless you want them cut. They are the least damaging and can easily pop in and out of the hair when you need them. 

Permanent hair extensions are installed with glue, tape, or adhesive. However, if you opt for a sew-in, the weft will be sewn into a braid made from your natural hair. Permanent hair extensions will need regular maintenance at the salon.

Regardless of what type of extension you have, maintenance is crucial. It will ensure your natural hair is intact and that you don’t have unnecessary tension at the roots.

Creating an effective hair routine and going in for touch-ups will avoid damage.

Hair extensions are a fantastic hair enhancement that can be customized to fit your needs. Hair extensions can do it all, whether you need to add length, volume, thickness, or depth.

Up Next: Do Hand Tied Extensions Cause Damage?

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