Removing bead method hair extensions

Updated April 17, 2017

The bead method of hair extension is often known as "cold fusion" or by proprietary names such as Euro Locs and is one of the most popular strand-by-strand extension methods that utilise I-tip hair strands. Removing beaded hair extensions is often simple, though with time and improper care, your natural hair can become quite entangles in the beads and extensions, so it's important to remove the extensions within four months of wear.

Removal Tools

The attachment beads used for hair extensions are made of a metal, most often copper or aluminium that has been coated in enamel for colour matching. The interior of the connector bead is sometimes cushioned with silicone or threaded like a screw for grip.

The tool that is needed to remove the connector rings is the same tool that was used to attach them. Often called a pro-release or connector clamp, the tool is similar in shape and function to pliers, but has flat interior edges interspersed with curved areas to fit many the many extension bead sizes. If you are planning to remove the beads at home, a pair of needle-nose pliers will suffice. Be sure to have a fine tooth comb available to work out any bits of beading and to condition and comb through your hair once all extensions have been removed.

Removing Each Strand

Begin at the top of your hairstyle and select a beaded strand to remove. Hold the strand away from the head so that you have a clear view of the bead. Note which way the bead has been flattened. Grip the strand of the extension hair firmly, placing your thumb and forefinger approximately 1/2 inch away from the bead. Place the bead between the prongs of the release tool and carefully apply pressure to the widest ends of the bead. Keep in mind that you don't want to apply so much pressure that you cause the bead to close in the opposite direction.

The bead will usually open easily, allowing the strand of hair to be removed, and the bead itself to be slid off of your existing hair. Occasionally, the bead will bend or twist, which requires repeated squeezing and changing directions with the removal tool until the bead breaks or crumbles. Then the bits of the bead must be removed from your existing hair before combing.

After removing each strand, comb the length of the existing hair to remove any of the aforementioned bits of bead or pieces of the extension tip, which may have crumbled during bead application. At this time, do not comb hair at the scalp, as new growth and shedding may have caused tangles, which will have to be worked out after all beaded extensions have been removed.

Detangling and Finishing

Once all the extensions have been removed, you may notice cushioned areas of your hair, which are matted sections of new growth and shed hair that have tangled. Don't simply try to brush through the tangles but instead work on them gently.

Wet the hair and apply a thick conditioner, kneading conditioner into the matted areas with your fingers. Allow the conditioner to sit for as long as you like. Select a section of hair that is matted and use a fine tooth comb to work through the tangle from length to scalp. Do not be alarmed at the amount of hair that may show up on your comb. At least 100 strands of hair are shed each day, and what you are seeing is all of the shed hair that has been held in place by the extensions.

Once all of the tangles are combed out, rinse, wash and recondition the hair. Allow hair to relax for at least two weeks before applying another set of beaded extensions.

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About the Author

Jennifer Van Leigh began writing short pieces in 2007. With over five years in the hair industry, Van Leigh has contributed articles at Atlanta Salon & Spa and is certified as an extensions stylist. She studied scriptwriting and creative nonfiction in Gallery 37, a Chicago youth arts program.