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The Ultimate Guide to Sew-In Hair Extensions: Everything You Need to Know

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What Are Sew-In Hair Extensions?

Sew-in hair extensions are a popular and versatile method of adding length, volume, and style to your natural hair. They involve sewing wefts of hair extensions onto cornrow braids or a net, which is secured to your scalp. This technique creates a seamless, natural-looking result and is suitable for various hair types, textures, and densities.

Types of Sew-In Hair Extensions

Full Sew-In

A full sew-in covers your entire head with extensions, leaving no natural hair exposed. It’s ideal for those who want to protect their natural hair completely or achieve a dramatic transformation.

Partial Sew-In

A partial sew-in involves installing extensions on specific sections of your head, leaving some of your natural hair exposed. This method is perfect for adding volume, length, or highlights to your existing hairstyle.

Vixen Sew-In

A vixen sew-in is a versatile sew-in method that divides your hair into four sections. This technique allows for more styling options, such as ponytails, buns, and braids, while still providing the benefits of a sew-in.

Benefits of Sew-In Hair Extensions

  • Long-lasting: Sew-in hair extensions can last up to 12 weeks with proper care.
  • Protective: Sew-ins protect your natural hair from heat styling and environmental damage.
  • Versatile: Sew-ins accommodate various hair types and can be styled in countless ways.
  • Low maintenance: Sew-ins require minimal daily maintenance, saving you time and effort.
  • Natural appearance: When installed correctly, sew-ins blend seamlessly with your natural hair.

How to Install Sew-In Hair Extensions

  1. Preparation: Wash, condition, and detangle your natural hair. Allow it to air dry or use a blow dryer on a low heat setting.
  2. Cornrowing: Braid your hair into small, tight cornrows, leaving no loose strands. Make sure the braids are flat and even to ensure a smooth foundation for the sew-in.
  3. Net installation: Place a weaving net over your braids and secure it with hairpins. Sew the net onto the perimeter braids for added stability.
  4. Extension placement: Starting at the nape of your neck, measure and cut the hair wefts to fit the width of your head. Sew the wefts onto the net using a curved needle and weaving thread, working your way up to the crown.
  5. Closure installation: Attach a closure or leave-out: For a natural-looking finish, you can either sew in a closure piece or leave a small portion of your natural hair out to cover the tracks.
  6. Styling: Once all the wefts are sewn in, trim and style the extensions as desired. You can curl, straighten, or cut the hair to achieve your perfect look.

Caring for Your Sew-In Hair Extensions

  • Washing: Clean your sew-in extensions and scalp every 7-10 days using a gentle sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
  • Moisturizing: Keep your natural hair and extensions hydrated by applying a lightweight leave-in conditioner or hair oil.
  • Detangling: Gently detangle your extensions using a wide-tooth comb or a detangling brush, starting from the tips and working your way up to the roots.
  • Protective styling: When sleeping or exercising, wrap your hair in a silk or satin scarf to prevent friction and tangling.
  • Avoiding heat: Limit the use of heat styling tools on your extensions to prevent damage and prolong their lifespan.

When to Remove Sew-In Hair Extensions

It’s essential to remove sew-in hair extensions after 8-12 weeks to prevent damage to your natural hair and maintain scalp health. To remove the extensions:

  1. Carefully cut the thread holding the wefts to the net, ensuring not to snip your natural hair.
  2. Gently remove the wefts and the net from your head.
  3. Unravel the cornrows and thoroughly wash, condition, and moisturize your natural hair.

Pros and Cons of Sew-In Hair Extensions


  • Protective and low-maintenance
  • Versatile and customizable
  • Suitable for various hair types and textures
  • Long-lasting and natural-looking


  • Time-consuming installation process
  • Can be uncomfortable or cause tension if installed too tightly
  • Limited access to your natural hair and scalp

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I swim with sew-in hair extensions?

Yes, you can swim with sew-in extensions. However, it’s essential to wear a swim cap to protect the hair from chlorine or saltwater. After swimming, rinse and wash your extensions thoroughly to remove any residue.

How much do sew-in hair extensions cost?

The cost of sew-in hair extensions varies depending on factors such as the hair quality, length, and the professional’s experience. Prices can range from $150 to $1,000 or more.

Can I dye my sew-in hair extensions?

Yes, you can dye sew-in extensions, but it’s best to consult with a professional stylist to ensure the correct process and products are used. Always conduct a strand test before dyeing the entire set of extensions.

Can sew-in hair extensions damage my natural hair?

Sew-in hair extensions, when installed and maintained correctly, can protect and promote the growth of your natural hair. However, if installed too tightly or left in for too long, they can cause tension and damage. Always have your sew-in extensions installed and removed by a professional to minimize the risk of damage.

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