Styling your hair can complete your look, but it could also be damaging your locks depending on your technique. Put your self-care routine to the test and see if you're harming your hair without even knowing it with this list of 12 common hair care mistakes. If you recognize some of your own habits, have no fear, it's never too late to cultivate a healthy hair regimen.
1. Washing your hair too often (or not enough)
Washing your hair too often will result in dry, dull hair. When we over-wash, we strip our hair of all of the essential oils that keep it healthy and beautiful. The same goes for our skin. Similarly, when we rarely wash our hair we can experience serious negative effects. The build-up of dirt, dust, and added oils in our hair will cause the pores of the scalp to clog which, in some cases, can cause hair loss or stunted hair growth. Our scalp and hair are worthy of the same due-diligence as our faces and bodies, so make sure to consult a hair specialist to establish a wash schedule that works for you.
2. Rinsing with steaming hot water
Even though we all love hot showers after a long day, our hair doesn't. Unfortunately, extra warm showers have the same effect that hot tools do on our hair. The excessive heat and steam easily strips our hair of its essential oils and leaves it vulnerable and susceptible to added damage. Hair specialists recommend taking mildly hot showers which will allow your hair follicles to open and clean themselves. However, after conditioning, it is crucial that you switch the water to cold so that the follicles close again and avoid the risk of developing ingrown hairs or experiencing irritation.
3. Conditioning from the roots
When conditioning your hair it is important to avoid your roots. Conditioners, which are typically thick and heavy, cause blockages in the pores of the scalp. This means you will be prone to ingrown hairs, damaged follicles, and excess oil. The hair at the top of your head is your newest and consequently the most hydrated. The hair closer to your ends is older and dryer, so it is essential to target those areas while conditioning. A good rule to follow is that conditioner should never come above your ears.
4. Rough drying with a bath towel
It easy not to think twice about towel drying your hair. We all adore that fresh out of the shower feeling when your hair is tied up and you are lounging in your favorite bathrobe. However, in reality, towel drying your hair is extremely harmful. The rough motion of running the terrycloth fabric through your hair results in breakage, hair loss, and overall damage. When your hair is wet the strands are especially elastic which means they are pliable enough to break when mishandled. Next time you shower, try out using a cotton T-shirt or a microfiber hair wrap. The T-shirt method works exceptionally for people with curly hair and for hair plopping. Simply place your hair inside of the shirt and tie it up as you would in a bath towel. However, if you have the time and patience, try out air drying and your hair will thank you.
5. Using the wrong type of hairbrush
Every hair type requires a different hairbrush. Most of us opt out of hairbrush research and grab the prettiest one at the drug store, but being deliberate about what you use to style your hair will make a noticeable difference. People with curly hair should use a boar bristle paddle brush. This type of brush does not cause curls to lose their shape or frizz up, instead it leaves the strands moisturized and smooth without inflicting any pain. Those with straight hair should get their hand of a brush that combines boar and nylon bristles. This type of brush is especially good for people with thinner hair, as the bristles seamlessly glide through the hair without irritating your scalp or pulling on your follicles. Consult your hairstylist to find out what brush is best for you.
6. Forgetting a heat shield when using hot tools
When using hot tools on your hair it is imperative that you apply a sufficient heat protectant. Without one, your hair will endure long-lasting damage and noticeable dullness. High temperatures automatically cause strands to split and dry out. A protectant will create a barrier that prevents the heat from attacking the substance of your hair altogether. Not all heat protectants are created equal, though, so do your research and find out if a blow dry balm, primer spray, or other option is the best fit for your hair type.
7. Sleeping on cotton pillowcases
Cotton pillowcases are known to absorb the essential oils in your hair that promote hydration. Without these oils, your hair is prone to breakage due to dryness and your skin can be similarly affected. Luckily, this issue has an easy fix. Simply swap out your cotton pillowcase for a silk one, and you will wake up with lustrous locks.
8. Styling your hair in tight updos too often
Slicked-back updos and ponytails are all the rage at the moment. Fan-favorites like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, and Selena Gomez have all been spotted in their signature skin-tight top knots. However, the bad news is that these skull-hugging styles actively contribute to the development of receding hairlines and excessive breakage. In order to ensure the health of your hair, try to stay away from rocking these looks every day.
9. Forgetting to eat breakfast
Eating a high-protein breakfast promotes strong hair growth and fuels your body with the nutrients it needs to start your day. Eggs and mixed berries are two popular breakfast foods that facilitate hair growth, and wellness in general. Always remember that healthy hair starts in the kitchen.
10. Overheating your hair
Excessive use of hot tools is the easiest way to damage your hair. The heat contributes to split ends, breakage, and dryness. In addition to using a powerful heat protectant, hair specialists recommend that you limit your use of hot tools to two times a week, and try not to crank them up too high. If you can cut them out altogether, props to you! Your hair is as healthy as can be.
11. Brushing wet hair (especially from the roots)
When your hair is wet it is especially susceptible to breakage due to its shower-induced elasticity. As a result, it is crucial to wait until your hair is almost completely dry before running a brush through it. Alternatively, you can take a wide-tooth comb to detangle the bottom half of your hair while being careful to avoid the roots. Brushing through your hair when it is entirely wet will cause intense breakage and unnecessary hair loss. This is especially true for the roots, which are connected to your newest strands of hair.
12. Spending too much time in the sun
Our skin is very similar to our hair. Both entities are deeply affected by the sun's harmful rays. When our skin is exposed to excessive sun our bodies become covered with burns that have potentially cancer-causing repercussions. Similarly, the sun causes our hair to become dry and dull. Even though this damage is sometimes disguised as natural highlights, our hair becomes subject to serious breakage. In order to avoid these negative effects remember to apply amble sunscreen (especially to your scalp) and invest in a chic floppy hat for the summer season.