How To Care For Your Tapes: Using The Correct Products And Tools

How To Care For Your Tapes: Using The Correct Products And Tools

Maybe you’re new to offering tape extensions in your salon, or perhaps you’ve been in the industry so long that all the information you know has just blended into a routine. Wherever you’re at in your tape extension journey, keeping your clients happy and being at the top of your game is paramount to running a successful tape extension service. 

When it comes to caring for tape extensions, you know that aftercare is essential to ensure their condition and longevity. But do you know the specifics when it comes to what products and tools are safe to use and how?

North Professional Hair isn’t just your trusted tape extension brand; we’re also a team of industry-experienced educators, dedicated to providing our customers with up-to-date information. 

We know that formulas change, new products and tools come onto the market and your salon will be excited to try them out. But are they right for all your clients?

In this article, you will learn why using the correct products and tools is so important, which the best ones are to use and how, along with what to do if you use something incorrectly. By the end, you will feel confident in your knowledge to correctly care for your clients’ tapes and the information you share with them, so that they can do so at home too!


Why is it important to use the correct products and tools on tape extensions?

Using the correct products and tools is paramount for ensuring the condition and longevity of your clients’ tape extensions. As with any salon service, you know that one wrong move and you could end up paying out of pocket to fix a small mistake that suddenly becomes a major hair disaster. 

But it’s not just knowing which products and tools to use, but also how to use them properly. Some products and tools, as you will read further down this article, are crucial to keeping your clients’ tapes looking perfect. However, if used in the wrong place, they can undo every single thing you’ve done and taught your client.  


Best products to use on tape extensions

The key thing to remember when working with tape extensions is that they’re made of human hair. As such, they should be treated as though they were the client’s natural hair. This means they need to be moisturised and protected, because they’re susceptible to the same damage and breakage as natural hair is. 

Here are the fundamental products you should have in your kit when working with tapes, along with our recommended brands, and how to use them safely: 

Hard water remover

Wherever you are, unless you have a filtered tap, you are going to be washing your hair with hard water. Hard water is water with a high mineral content, which builds up on the hair causing a variety of issues. When you have tape extensions, the extensions get a build-up on them too. 

To remove the mineral build-up, we recommend booking your clients in for a treatment. Malibu C Crystal Gel is a great product, specifically designed as a salon treatment to do just that. This product is safe all over the hair and scalp, including tape extensions and their adhesive. 

For best results, we recommend offering the ‘Malibu C Makeover’, which combines Malibu C Crystal GelMalibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo and Malibu C Miracle Repair. You can read more on the service, here

Colour-protect shampoo and conditioner

Colour -protect shampoo and conditioner is incredibly important in ensuring the vibrancy and longevity of your clients’ tape extension colour, as well as the colour added to their natural hair.  

The shampoo should be used all over the roots, scalp and mid-section and is safe to use around the tape extension adhesives. The conditioner, on the other hand, should be used sparingly from mid-section to ends - avoiding the tape tabs. 

We recommend using Kevin Murphy Everlasting Colour Wash and Kevin Murphy Everlasting Colour Rinse, for a salon-friendly, protecting colour shampoo and conditioner. 

Hair mask

Hair masks are a great way to pump moisture back into your clients’ hair and tape extensions. Like with conditioner, hair masks should be focused on the mid-section and ends - avoiding the root and tape tabs. 

We recommend using Malibu C Miracle Repair, ideal for weak, damaged or tangled hair (which tape extensions can often become). 

Hair oil

Hair oil is another way to pump moisture back into your clients’ hair and extensions. It should be used in small amounts, focused on the mid-sections to ends, after hair styling (as remember, oil can burn). 

Whilst oils are great for adding moisture back into tape extensions, you need to make sure you completely avoid the actual tape tabs. 

We recommend Moroccanoil Treatment Original, a multi-use, salon-favourite product. 

Heat protectant 

Heat protectant, whether you fit tape extensions or not, should always be an essential part of your kit. Heat protectant creates a protective barrier on the hair against heat damage, which is very common with tape extension clients. 

Heat protectant is safe to go all over your client’s hair, as it shouldn’t have any effect on the adhesive of the tape tabs. Just remember that you need to mist a fine layer over the hair - no need to fully soak and saturate it. 

We recommend using Kevin Murphy Heated Defense, for a salon-friendly, super protective heat protectant spray. 

Styling products

Styling products are essential to getting the perfect end result. They should always be used sparingly - just enough to get the desired effect. 

Most styling products contain alcohol, such as hairsprays and mousse. Whilst this is perfect for slightly dehydrating the hair and giving it that ‘crisp’ effect, it can affect the tape extension adhesive - hence less is more when it comes to styling tapes. 

We recommend Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural SprayL'Oreal Professionnel

Tecni Art Volume Lift Spray MousseL'Oreal Professionnel Tecni Art Fix Anti-Frizz Spray and Nine Yards Hands-on Texturising Spray - the ultimate styling kit!


What to do if you use a product incorrectly on tape extensions

Sometimes, mistakes happen. You can have all the knowledge in the world but with a slight slip of hand, you’ve applied a product exactly where you know it shouldn’t go. 

The products we’ve mentioned above are fantastic at caring for tape extensions, ensuring they’re moisturised and protected. However, they can still be used incorrectly and could drastically affect the condition and longevity of the tapes. 

Conditioners and Hair Masks

Heavy amounts of conditioner or hair mask near the root can cause product build-up. This product build-up can then lead to oily roots, or the product seeping into the tape extension adhesive. If this happens, the oils from the scalp or product could result in the tape extensions starting to slip. 

If this happens, you need to make sure that all the product is fully rinsed out of the hair and away from the scalp. If you’re struggling to simply rinse it out, notice product build-up or excessively oily roots on your client, we recommend washing the hair with a clarifying shampoo, such as Malibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo

Hair oils

Like conditioners and hair masks, oils shouldn’t be used anywhere near your client’s root or the adhesive on their tape extensions. Oils can break down the adhesive in the tape extension tabs, hence why we sometimes need to use an oil-based adhesive remover, causing the extensions to slip out of the hair. 

If this happens, your first step should be to rinse the oil out of the hair and wash with a clarifying shampoo, such as Malibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo. However, as oil can break down the adhesive quickly, if you’re noticing the extensions starting to slip, we recommend removing, retaping and refitting the extensions. 

Styling products

Whilst styling products are a necessity for keeping your client’s post-salon look in place, when on your tape adhesive, which often contains alcohol, they can deactivate the adhesive and cause the tape extensions to slip out of the hair (hence why we use an alcohol-based remover). 

When styling your client, you should always use a sparing amount of styling products. Small amounts near the adhesive tab should not cause the tapes to slip, however, if you use too much, it can be a risk. If you feel the extensions slipping once the products have dried, you may need to remove, retape and refit the extensions. 


Best tools to use on your tape extensions 

Tools are a hairdresser’s weapon from taking the perfect balayage to an Instagram-able sensation, but sometimes they’re also a must-use item when working with tape extension clients. From brushes to heat, you need to know what is fundamental to your tape service kit. 

Here are the essential tools you need to correctly care for and style your clients’ tape extensions, along with how to use them correctly:

Brushes and combs 

Brushes and combs are the bread and butter of hairdressing. With different functions for different needs and styles, there is an incredible amount to choose from. 

We recommend the Denman Be-Bop Brights Detangling Brushes for detangling in the backwash and Label.m Detangling Brush for detangling at the chair. When detangling, you should start brushing gently from the bottom upwards, holding the tapes to ensure they do not pull. 

We also recommend the GHD The All Rounder - Paddle Brush for brushing and styling the hair and the Only Curls Black Speckle Comb for dressing out curls. Again, this should be done gently, from the bottom upwards, holding the tapes to ensure they don’t pull. 

Hair Dryer 

A quality hair dryer is non-negotiable when it comes to styling tape extensions. Tape extensions should always be dried, and in the salon, we simply do not have the time to wait for them to dry naturally. And really, drying tape naturally is often a recipe for disaster, as they can tangle very easily. 

When drying tapes, you should always use a low setting and work slowly around the hair, avoiding excess heat on both the adhesive tabs and the extension hair. We recommend Dyson Supersonic™ professional hair dryer for a salon-friendly finish, designed to be ultra-safe on all hair types. 

Hair straightener 

Hair straighteners are such a versatile tool, whether you use them to reduce texture, straighten or add curls or waves. Some clients in your salon will have textured hair, which often doesn’t match the texture of the tape hair, so it will need to be straightened to blend and match. 

Like with a hair dryer, hair straighteners are safe to be used on tape extension clients. They should, however, be used at a low setting, avoiding high heat on the extension hair and especially the adhesive. You should never straighten over the tape tabs. 

We recommend using GHD Gold® Hair Straightener - a salon favourite with a set lower temperature of 185℃ to reduce heat damage and curved sides for smoother and more optionable usage. 

Curling wand 

As most clients will agree, the post-salon look they strive for often ends with a bouncy blowdry or salon waves. Curling wands, especially those available on the market these days, can achieve any curled or wavy look, without needing achy elbows and a firm grip on a barrel brush. 

Like with the other heated tools on this list, curling wands are safe to use on hair extensions, but should be done so on a low setting - avoiding any high heat on the extension hair and tape tabs. You should never attempt to curl the actual tape adhesive tabs. 

We recommend using Beauty Works Professional Styler. This curling wand was designed by a well-known hair extension brand, designed specifically for long hair and hair extensions. 


What to do if you use a tool incorrectly on tape extensions

We know that sometimes you can get lost in the moment, admiring the handy work of the tapes you’ve so lovingly and professionally fitted and then suddenly… your detangler is tangled in your client’s hair or you hear a sizzle from your straighteners. 

The tools we’ve mentioned above are fantastic for your tape service kit, but there are still ways you can incorrectly use them and cause damage to your client’s extensions. 

Brushes and combs

Like with any brush or comb, and even detangling brushes, they can get wrapped up and tangled in the hair. 

If this happens, step away and assess how badly the tool is tangled up. Then, with your fingers and nails, start slowly pulling loose hairs from the tangle. Once you have all the loose hairs out, if not all of the hair, use a tail comb to gently pick at the remaining tangled hair. Try to release as much hair as possible, though you may need to slightly snip some out.

Hot tools 

One risk you have when using any hot tools is creating heat damage to your client’s natural hair or extension hair. Sometimes, if the hair is already dry and a little damaged, it is almost unavoidable. 

If you believe that your client’s hair is heat damaged, we recommend booking them in for a moisturising, repairing hair treatment. We’ve found that Malibu C Miracle Repair is a fantastic product to use as a hair treatment, specifically designed to repair damaged hair. 

Another risk you may face, if you’re not careful, is melting the tape extension adhesive with your hot tools. This is more common if you have accidentally run your straightener over the tape tab or wrapped it into the curling wand. 

If this has happened, wait for the tab to cool and assess the damage. If the adhesive has melted into the hair, you may need to remove, retape and refit the extensions. To remove the leftover, melted residue from the hair, we recommend using C-22 Solvent Spray Tape Remover and then washing twice with Malibu C Un-Do-Goo Shampoo.


Top tips to look after tape extensions

To recap, here are our top tips for using products and tools correctly when working with tape extensions:

  • Be careful and gentle with any products or tools that you use 
  • Read the instructions carefully before using any product
  • Be knowledgeable on what products can and cannot go near the tape adhesive 
  • Keep all heated tools on a low-temperature setting 


Get caring for your clients’ tape extensions

You came to this article keen to learn how to care for tape extensions by learning how to use the correct products and tools. Since reading, you have learnt why using the correct products and tools is important, how to use them correctly and what to do if something goes wrong, along with a recap of our top tips!

But what now?

North Professional Hair was built on industry experience. Our team at North is a group of industry professionals and experts, with all the knowledge and education to help you become the next leading tape extension specialist. 

Whether you’re brand new at tapes or have been doing them for years, we know you can never gain enough insights and experience - especially in a market that is constantly developing and expanding. 

Invest in North training 

North training days aren’t just for budding hairdressers. The unique techniques and invaluable insights we provide on our training days, run by industry-led educators, are suitable for fresh-out-of-college and seasoned stylists alike. 

Learn more about our training days and book onto our next available slot, now!

Found this article helpful? 

Read more educational and information articles on the North Blog

If you found this article helpful, you may also like ‘Should You Be Charging To Fix Your Clients' Mistakes? Solving Common Tape Extension Problems’, ‘Why Are My Tape Extensions Changing Colour?’, ‘Common Tape Extension Problems’ and ‘Tape in Hair Extension Aftercare: How To Care for Your Tapes’. 

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