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Master Sew in Hair Extensions Like a Pro With This Comprehensive Guide (2024)

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how to do sew in extensionsGirl, get the lowdown on installing dreamy sew-in extensions like a boss stylist!

Learn pro tips to prep your mane, techniques for flawlessly attaching luscious locks, and how to style your new bombshell look.

This comprehensive guide’s got all the insider tricks to help you master sew-ins and make those tresses slay.

Feel like a total glamazon with these simple steps to insert and care for fabulous faux hair!

Key Takeaways

  • Detangle natural hair thoroughly and create anchor braids where extensions will attach for a secure base.
  • Use a curved needle and thread to sew weft extensions to the anchor braids, knotting off each section.
  • Wash extensions every 7-10 days with products designed for extensions. Avoid excessive heat styling.
  • Get professional help for retightening every 4-6 weeks and removing extensions to prevent damage.

What Are Sew in Extensions?

What Are Sew in Extensions
When adding sew-in hair extensions, you’re literally sewing wefts of hair into your own natural hair.

This allows you to add beautiful length and volume in a very seamless way.

Let’s take a closer look at how sew-ins work their magic!

Types of Hair Used

Two types of hair are commonly used for sew-in extensions: human hair and synthetic hair.

Human hair blends most seamlessly with your natural hair, mimics its movement and texture, and allows for styling like curling or straightening.

Synthetic hair tends to be less expensive but can’t be heat-styled or colored. It provides volume yet won’t blend as flawlessly.

Consider your lifestyle and budget when selecting human versus synthetic hair for your sew-ins.

Adding Length and Volume

Although sew-in extensions can be constructed using your natural hair, you’ll generally add them to boost length and volume.

Sew-in extensions are a great way to achieve the long, voluminous hair of your dreams. With these extensions, you have endless styling options and can even change up your hair color without damaging your natural locks.

The longevity factors depend on how well you care for them with regular maintenance tips such as washing and moisturizing regularly.

Cost considerations vary depending on the quality of the extensions and where they’re installed professionally or done yourself at home.

How to Prepare Your Hair for Sew Ins

How to Prepare Your Hair for Sew Ins
Before we delve into the sewing process, it’s crucial to properly prep your natural hair.

Start by thoroughly detangling and parting your hair where you want the extensions placed.

Then, create anchor braids at the points where the wefts will be sewn down to give them a secure base.

Detangle and Part Hair

Before installing sew-in extensions:

  • Thoroughly detangle your natural hair.
  • Part it where you plan to attach the extensions.

Start by working in a moisturizing detangler.

Gently brush through knots using a wide-tooth comb, brush, or fingers.

Part hair horizontally or vertically depending on the sew-in style.

Create clean parts and sections to prep hair.

Proper detangling and parting set the foundation for a flawless sew-in installation that blends seamlessly with your natural locks.

Take your time with this step and don’t rush through detangling – it makes a big difference in the end result!

Create Anchor Braids

After detangling and parting your hair, start creating anchor braids where you want the extensions placed.

Make cornrow braids close to the hairline using a rat tail comb to section clean parts.

Keep braids tight to the scalp for a secure attachment.

Alternate braiding over and under when braiding down.

Finish with a two strand twist or knot at the ends to keep the hair in place.

Use edge control gel to slick down flyaways.

How to Sew in Extensions

How to Sew in Extensions
Time to get into the nitty-gritty details of attaching extensions to your braids.

We’ll go over the tools you need, how to prepare the hair, and step-by-step instructions for sewing extensions in place securely.

Follow along closely so you can master this hair extension technique like a pro.

Tools Needed

You’ll need a needle and thread to sew in the extensions.

Use a curved needle to easily weave through hair.

Match the thread color to your extensions for seamless blending.

Have rubbing alcohol and cotton balls on hand to disinfect the needle between sections.

Secure the thread tightly so stitches don’t unravel.

Make sure the thread can withstand heat from hot tools later on.

Stock up on extra needles and thread so you don’t run out halfway through the install.

Always start with clean tools and hands for optimal hygiene when sewing in extensions.

Attaching Extensions to Braids

How do you then attach the extensions securely to your anchor braids?

Get comfortable because this step takes focus.

Part your extension evenly.

Taking one thin section at a time, insert the curved needle under the braid, then bring it back through the weft opening right above the seam.

Make sure to securely knot off each attached section.

Your stylist will blend and customize the extensions to seamlessly integrate with your natural hair.

With proper installation, you’ll have unlimited styling options and long-lasting, natural-looking length and volume.

Caring for Sew in Extensions

Caring for Sew in Extensions
Now that you have your sew-in extensions installed, let’s discuss how to properly care for them to keep your hair looking fabulous.

Washing, styling, and preventing tangling are key ways to maintain your extensions and help them last longer.

Read on to learn pro tips for caring for your new locks:

  • Washing:
    • Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner designed for extensions.
    • Wash your hair every 7-10 days, or as needed.
    • Avoid washing your hair too often, as this can cause the extensions to become dry and brittle.
  • Styling:
    • Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair before styling.
    • Avoid using heat styling tools on your extensions, as this can damage them.
    • If you must use heat styling tools, use a heat protectant spray to protect your extensions.
  • Preventing Tangling:
    • Braid or wrap your hair before going to bed to prevent tangling.
    • Use a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray to help prevent tangles.
    • Avoid brushing your hair too often, as this can cause the extensions to become frizzy and tangled.
  • Washing

    Start washing extensions with shampoo and conditioner designed for synthetic or human hair, depending on your type.

    Massage shampoo into the scalp, avoiding tugging the extensions.

    Rinse thoroughly with cool water.

    Use a wide-tooth comb and gently detangle wet hair.

    Allow hair to air dry or gently pat dry with a towel.

    Avoid rubbing hair roughly with towels to prevent tangling and matting.


    Having styled your sew-in hair extensions, avoid excessive heat and pulling to maintain their integrity.

    When styling, use heat protection sprays or serums to shield hair from damage.

    Match the texture and style to your natural hair for a seamless blend.

    Try trendy hairstyles like braids, buns, ponytails, and waves to spice up your look.

    Carefully brush and style hair from bottom to top to prevent excessive tangling.

    Tangling Prevention

    When caring for your sew-ins:

    • Gently brush from the ends up using a wide-toothed comb.
    • Sleep with hair gathered in a loose style like a bun, braid, or ponytail.

    Implementing protective nighttime hairstyles and avoiding excessive rubbing of extensions against clothing helps maintain longevity and prevent frustrating tangles.

    How Long Do Sew Ins Last?

    How Long Do Sew Ins Last
    With proper care, your sew-ins can last 4 to 8 weeks before requiring removal or maintenance.

    The longevity of your extensions depends on hair type. Curly or coily hair textures tend to be less damaging to extensions.

    Avoid excessive heat styling and tight hairstyles that pull on the bonds attaching extensions to your natural hair.

    Use satin pillowcases, gentle brushing techniques, and moisturizing products to maintain the health of your natural hair and extensions.

    Getting professional help with installation, tightening, and removal ensures you get the most wear time possible out of your sew-ins.

    Tightening the braids anchoring extensions as your natural hair grows out underneath extends how long they last.

    Scheduling removal appointments on time prevents matting and breakage that shortens lifespan.

    With proper aftercare between salon visits, your stylish strands can make it to your next install looking fabulous.

    Sew in Extension Maintenance

    Sew in Extension Maintenance
    You’ll need to properly maintain your new sew-in extensions to keep them looking fresh.

    Schedule retightening appointments every 4-6 weeks to reinforce security and neatness.

    Don’t forget regular moisturizing to nourish both your natural hair and extensions, preventing dryness and breakage.


    As your natural hair grows out, you’ll need to have your stylist retighten the extensions so they remain secure.

    Here are some techniques and maintenance tips for keeping your sew-in extensions looking flawless:

    • It’s important to schedule regular appointments with your stylist every 4-6 weeks for retightening.
    • During this process, the stylist will move up the extensions by tightening them near the roots of your natural hair using a needle and thread.
    • This ensures that they stay securely attached and blend seamlessly with your own hair.
    Retightening Techniques Maintenance Tips Styling Options
    – Move up sew-in extensions near roots – Avoid using excessive heat on extension bonds – Experiment with different hairstyles
    – Tighten sewing thread – Use sulfate-free products – Curl or straighten as desired
    – Check for any loose or slipping extension tracks – Protect hair at night by wrapping it or wearing a satin bonnet – Create braided styles

    Remember to communicate openly with your stylist about any concerns regarding tightness or discomfort during retightening sessions. They can make adjustments accordingly to ensure both comfort and longevity of the sew-in extensions.

    Retightening is an essential part of maintaining sew-in hair extensions as it helps keep them secure, prevents damage, and ensures they continue blending seamlessly into one’s natural locks.

    During each appointment, other than moving up (tightening) individual wefts towards their root area on clients’ heads; professionals should also check if there are signs like shedding/weft slippage/pain caused due to too much tension placed onto one plait/braid/track over time & reattach those specific parts where necessary which may include applying new anchor stitches/reinforcing existing ones etc.

    Some common problems that can arise when not properly maintained:

    1. Itchiness: This can occur if the scalp isn’t properly cleansed and moisturized during washing or if there’s a buildup of product residue.
    2. Damage to Natural Hair: Tension from tight sew-ins, improper installation or removal, and lack of proper care can lead to hair breakage, thinning, and even bald patches.

    When it’s time for extension removal:

    • Avoid cutting your own hair as this may result in uneven lengths.
    • Seek professional help from a stylist who’s experienced in removing sew-in extensions safely without causing damage.

    By following these retightening techniques and maintenance tips while also being aware of common problems that may arise with sew-in extensions, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful long-lasting results with minimal damage to your natural hair.


    After retightening your extensions, moisturize both your natural hair and the extensions regularly to prevent dryness and breakage.

    Apply a daily leave-in conditioner containing hydrating oils like argan, coconut, or olive oil to keep hair supple.

    Focus moisture efforts on the parts of your hair most prone to dryness – the roots and ends.

    Allow hair to air dry instead of blow drying to retain moisture.

    When styling with heat tools, always prep with a thermal protectant.

    Getting into a regular deep conditioning routine will nourish extensions and help them better blend with your natural locks.

    Common Problems With Sew Ins

    Common Problems With Sew Ins
    When getting sew-in extensions, you must be mindful of potential issues like itchiness and damage to your natural hair.

    Improper installation and removal can cause excessive tension, leading to thinning and breakage over time.

    To prevent discomfort or harm, communicate closely with your stylist and adhere to best practices for maintenance between appointments.


    An itchy scalp plagues you when excess buildup or improper care irritates your skin.

    Try relief techniques like:

    • Massaging aloe vera gel into the scalp
    • Rinsing with apple cider vinegar

    Prevent itchiness by:

    • Regularly cleansing extensions
    • Lightly massaging shampoo into the scalp during washes
    • Using soothing products like tea tree oil to add moisture
    • Avoiding tight hairstyles pressing on the scalp

    Getting professional help with install and removal reduces irritation over time.

    Schedule trims to keep ends healthy.

    Damage to Natural Hair


    You should avoid overtightening the braids during installation as this can lead to traction alopecia and permanent hair loss over time.

    When caring for your natural hair with sew-in extensions, be gentle and patient. Use a wide-tooth comb, detangle strands from the bottom up, avoid excessive heat styling, and moisturize your scalp.

    Ask your stylist to show you safe installation techniques and provide tips to prevent damage.

    With thoughtful installation and proper care, your natural hair will remain healthy underneath the extensions.

    Removing Sew in Extensions

    Removing Sew in Extensions
    When your sew-ins are ready to come out, avoid trying to cut them out yourself.

    Removing extensions requires skill to avoid damaging your natural hair, so instead, make an appointment with your stylist.

    They have the proper tools and techniques to gently take out your sew-ins without compromise.

    Avoid Cutting Own Hair

    You shouldn’t cut out your own sew-in extensions.

    Attempting removal without professional help risks mistakes that damage your natural hair or leave uneven lengths.

    The angles and technique challenge DIY removal.

    Instead, seek an experienced stylist to safely snip each thread and gently slide out hair bundles without pulling, minimizing risk of breakage.

    They expertly remove every strand, assess your hair’s health, and advise on aftercare.

    Planning a salon trip for proper removal protects your tresses and extensions’ reuse.

    Invest in your locks’ longevity – avoid DIY risks and let professionals detach sewn-in bundles.

    Seeking Professional Help

    You should go to a professional stylist for removing sew-in extensions to avoid damaging your natural hair.

    I recommend returning to the original stylist that installed them, as they’ll be familiar with the application method and patterns.

    Ask for recommendations from friends, read online reviews, and ensure the stylist is experienced at gently removing extensions without breakage.

    Select someone patient and meticulous, as the process can be tedious.

    They can provide expert tips for transitioning your natural hair after extensions.

    Trust an experienced professional for safe, seamless removal.

    Sew in Extensions Vs Other Methods

    Sew in Extensions Vs Other Methods
    When it comes to hair extensions, sew ins aren’t your only option.

    You can also consider:

    • Clip-in extensions for temporary volume
    • Tape-in extensions for a semi-permanent look

    However, sew ins tend to be the most versatile and natural-looking long-term hair extension method.


    After removing your sew-in extensions, you can switch to clip-ins as another hair extension option.

    Clip-ins offer temporary glam with easy DIY installation. Just clip the wefts to your natural hair for instant length and fullness.

    Clip-ins allow affordable styling flexibility since you can pop them in and out.

    Use gentle motions when brushing and heating to avoid tangling.

    Clip-ins keep your natural hair protected underneath, making them a fun option between sew-in sets.

    With the right placement and blending, clip-ins create a seamless look.


    Tape-in hair extensions adhere to your natural hair using adhesive tape, providing semi-permanent volume and length.

    While tape-ins are easy to install at home, their adhesive can damage natural hair if not applied properly.

    Tape-ins typically last 4-8 weeks with proper maintenance.

    Compared to sew-ins, tape-ins allow for more styling versatility but require more frequent reapplication.

    To make tape-ins last, avoid excessive heat styling, gently wash every 5-7 days, and use moisturizing products.

    When ready for removal, see a stylist to properly dissolve the adhesive without pulling out your natural hair.

    Finding a Stylist for Sew Ins

    Finding a Stylist for Sew Ins
    Having compared sew-in extensions to tape-in and clip-in options, it’s time to find a stylist skilled at installing sew-ins properly.

    Opt for salons with stylists certified in sew-in extension application.

    Ask friends for referrals and read online reviews, looking for satisfied clients praising the stylist’s technique.

    Schedule a consultation to see the stylist’s portfolio and ask about training.

    Discuss hair type and desired look to ensure the stylist can deliver.

    Inquire about pricing for the hair and labor.

    Higher quality human hair and experienced stylists may cost more but are worthwhile investments for properly installed, natural-looking sew-ins.

    With some research into reputable salons and stylists, you’ll find the ideal pro to sew in extensions that enhance your locks beautifully.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    How much do sew in extensions typically cost?

    Sew-in extensions typically cost between $50 and $500 per head.

    Prices vary depending on factors such as:

    • Hair length
    • Number of bundles
    • Hair quality

    Consult with a professional stylist for an accurate quote.

    What is the best way to sleep with sew in extensions?

    To protect your sew-in extensions while sleeping:

    • Use a satin bonnet or pillowcase. This reduces friction and prevents the wefts from becoming tangled or matted.
    • Tie hair in a loose ponytail or braid first.
    • Avoid sleeping directly on top of your head as this can loosen the extensions over time.

    Can I color or highlight my natural hair while wearing sew in extensions?

    Yes, you can color or highlight your natural hair while wearing sew-in extensions.

    Just be sure to keep the chemicals off the extensions by covering them with a plastic cap.

    Otherwise, the chemicals may damage the quality and color of the extensions.

    How often should I get my sew in extensions tightened or redone?

    Get your sew-in extensions tightened or redone every 4 to 6 weeks.

    This helps maintain a natural look and prevents excessive shedding or matting.

    Avoid going longer than 8 weeks between tightenings.

    Will sew in extensions damage my natural hair over time?

    With proper care, sew-ins won’t damage natural hair.

    Avoid pulling too tight, moisturize often, and remove gently.

    Your stylist should install responsibly, not braiding too tight or using excessive glue.


    Like a brush seamlessly blending new and old paint, sewing in extensions is the perfect way to fuse your natural tresses with glamorous lengths.

    With the right prep and technique, sew-ins look totally natural – so natural, no one will guess your bombshell mane is partly store-bought.

    Take it from a beauty insider: follow these pro tips, and that faux hair will have everyone doing a fab double-take at your freshly fab ‘do.

    Go ahead, flip your flawless new locks – your extension-loving stylist approves!

    Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

    Mutasim Sweileh

    Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.