When it comes to visual art, handmade kawaii accessories, and weave, Natasha Lillipore is a master crafter. If you’re anything like us, you’ve been cyber stalking her Tumblr and Instagram for ages, if not only to catch glimpses of her long, ever-changing locks. Natasha tells us she’s been rocking home-dyed extensions since the tender age of 14, making her more than qualified to teach us a thing or two about coloring ours. Read on for everything you need to know to achieve the Technicolor mermaid hair of your dreams!
If you plan on dyeing your extensions, you should always make sure the weave you purchase is 100 percent human hair. I always buy the highest quality I can afford, but I’ve also had pretty good results dyeing cheaper extensions—though they don’t hold up as well. My favorite brand of hair extensions is Head Kandy. They’re a little pricey, but they dye the best.
I generally use Pravana when I dye extensions because it lasts the longest, but most colored hair dyes will work. If you plan on going ashy or white-blonde, I would tone the platinum blonde extensions to take some of the yellow out. However, I’ve never toned mine—even before dyeing them a pastel shade. I just buy the lightest color blonde weave and put the color right over it. If I’m doing a pastel tint, I dilute my dye with conditioner.
It’s easier to dye weave when it's already sewn onto clips. I paint on the dye and then comb it through from top to bottom. Once the dye is distributed evenly, I lay the tracks flat on a towel to set. I leave the dye in the extensions for the same amount of time I’m planning on leaving it in my own hair.
I wash my extensions every time I wash my own hair so it fades the same way. Because I use Pravana I only have to re-dye the extensions every two months. Even though I’m caring for them as I would for my hair, they tend to fade a bit slower.
I never blow-dry my weave. I just comb it out and lay it flat on a towel overnight to dry. If they’re laid out nicely, they’ll dry straight which eliminates the need for heat styling. Blow-dryers and irons will fade the dye, as well as damage the hair causing it to wear out faster. If I want the hair to dry curly, I wrap the tracks up in foam curlers at night.
I use a product called Moroccanoil. I use it on both my real hair and my extensions. They also make shampoo, conditioner, and a really great deep conditioning mask. In a pinch though, the little cheapie hot oil treatments you get at the grocery store work really well—especially if you’ve fried your hair, which coloring can easily do. I usually wet and condition the weave, rinse it, and then apply the hot oil by rubbing it in my hands and running it through the hair. I let it sit on a towel or in a bowl for five to ten minutes before rinsing it back out and letting it air dry.
I brush my extensions pretty often when I’m wearing them—usually every couple hours to keep them from tangling. At night I lay them in a silk scarf so in the morning I can just clip them in and go. If you take good care of your extensions they can last you up to a year—even with regular dyeing.