The quest for healthy, beautiful hair often leads us to do things to our hair that can actually be quite damaging. Who hasn’t tried the latest hair fad “guaranteed” to give us the results we dream of? And who hasn’t rushed off to their kitchen to whip up the perfect homemade recipe that promises long, lush locks full of shine and bounce?
The truth is, many of the everyday things we do – and don’t do – to our hair can actually hurt more than help. To keep your strands in optimum shape and avoid unintended damage, read on to find out what you might be doing wrong without even knowing it.
Washing it Wrong
Who knew that lathering up in the shower could actually wreak havoc on your tender tresses? When applying shampoo, resist the urge to rub the shampoo down the entire length of your hair. Instead, gently lather only at the scalp and let the shampoo cleanse the ends of your hair as you rinse with warm – not hot – water.
By avoiding vigorous rubbing of your locks when wet, you avoid unnecessary tangles that can lead to breakage.
Skipping the Conditioner
When you’re in a hurry, skipping the daily conditioner can seem like an easy way to trim a few minutes off your beauty routine. Unfortunately, keeping your hair in tip top shape means you need to protect it from tangles and damage on a daily basis. The best way to do this is by applying conditioner every single day. If you are prone to greasy strands, opt for conditioners specially designed for this hair type.
Also, don’t forget a weekly or bi-weekly deep conditioning treatment. Over time your locks need an extra boost of moisture to stay in good shape. By treating your strands to a regular boost of extra moisture, you can keep dryness and breakage at bay.
Rubbing Your Wet Hair with a Towel
It seems like a huge time saving step to remove as much moisture as possible by vigorously towel drying your wet hair. After all, the more moisture you remove, the less time you’ll need to dry and style your hair, right? Wrong. Excessive rubbing of your hair at any time – but especially when it is wet and at its weakest – virtually guarantees that you will inflict unnecessary damage on your strands.
Instead, gently blot out the excess wetness and trade in your regular cotton towels for microfiber ones that absorb more moisture.
Use of Heat Without Protection
In a perfect world, you would always allow your hair to air dry naturally every single time you wash it. Well, we don’t live in a perfect world and some days just require you to get out of the house as fast as possible.
So how best to avoid unnecessary heat damage? Before you reach for your blow dryer, straight iron or curling wand, be sure to first coat your locks with a good thermal protection treatment or conditioning product designed to insulate your hair from heat damage.
And while we are talking about heat styling, remember that the less heat you use on your hair, the better. Daily use of hot blow dryers, flat irons or curling tools virtually guarantees unavoidable damage to your tresses. Whenever possible, skip the heat and let nature take its course.
Applying Damaging Hair Products
When you spend a lot of time styling your hair, you naturally want to keep it looking great for as long as possible. Often times this means you will use ‘maximum hold’ hair styling products. Unfortunately, these products work by upping the alcohol content, which in turn dries out your strands. Over time your hair will lose its luster and moisture. Breakage will eventually occur.
The next time you spritz to preserve a really good hair day, opt for light hold hair sprays and treatments with lower alcohol contents. Your hair will thank you.
Brushing your hair while it’s wet, wearing your locks in tight ponytails or braids, wearing a weave or hair extensions and over-brushing your dry hair are just a few of the ways that you can stress your hair into the damage zone. To ensure your hair’s optimum health, avoid any handling that will potentially break or weaken your locks.
Wet hair should only be detangled with a wide-tooth, plastic comb, ponytails and braids should be loose, and skip the weaves or hair extensions altogether.
Coloring, perming or relaxing your hair is a sure-fire way to achieve a totally new look overnight. However, the chemicals found in these processes can wreak havoc on your hair over time. While it is best to avoid chemical processes as much as possible, if you do decide to color, perm or straighten your strands, try and extend the time between treatments to 8-10 weeks or longer.
If you choose to do more than once chemical process on your hair, be sure to wait at least two weeks between each treatment to give your hair a chance to recover.