All we want from our lives is soft, smooth hair that's manageable yet versatile. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so. It almost seems like everything we do to style, shape and tame our hair into submission is damaging it in some way. Whether it's a session with the curling iron or getting our monthly highlights, our favorite styling techniques can be seriously ruinous to our strands But what about the other things we do that we don't quite realize could be hurting our locks? What should we be staying away from other than the obvious?
For those of you who want to treat your hair with a little more r-e-s-p-e-c-t, be mindful of these few things: They could be killing your hair's vibe without you even knowing it.
1. Wearing Ponytails or Braids
We all love experimenting with the latest Pinterest-inspired braid trend or throwing our hair up in a ponytail just to keep it back, but your favorite out-of-the-face style could be wounding your strands. Putting your hair in a pony or tight braid regularly causes hair to break. Web MD
also notes that if you're doing this when it's wet, your hair is particularly vulnerable and will split even more easily. Be especially weary if you like putting your hair up at night; Maurice Meade
says that frequently tying hair back with rubber bands or elastic bands that have metal will also increase your chances of breakage. Not to mention how much your hair will tangle and break when you try to take the band out.
The solution? Don't opt for the braided/pony look every day. And if you're going to tie your hair back, do it with a cloth hair tie and keep it loose.
2. Brushing Your Hair too Much
Don't be like Marsha brushing your hair 100 strokes every day. While brushing your hair is essential, brushing too much can also cause hair to break while adding too much friction for your hair to handle. Using a cheap brush can be even worse because it's more likely to catch on tangles and make hair split.
When brushing your hair out, work with a wide-toothed comb or brush that has plastic bristles. And be sure to be gentle! Pulling at a knot until it untangles will only break your hair more, so do it slowly and softly to minimize splits.
3. Shampooing too Often
A lot of people seem to be catching on to this one, but it's important to note. The point of shampooing your hair is to cleanse it of excess oils and dirt, making it look healthy and fresh. But if you're shampooing too often, you could be stripping your hair of its natural, essential oils like sebum which causes your hair to dry out.
Because everyone's hair is different, only you can tell when you're shampooing too much. If your hair starts becoming drier, try skipping a day or two. This will help lock good moisture in but keep extra oil from building up.
4. Not Using the Right Conditioner
Yeah, turns out we're doing this one wrong too ladies. Stylecaster
suggests that you read your conditioner's label before washing it through your locks. If you're a fan of strengthening formulas that come packed with proteins, don't use this conditioner more than once a week. Protein is important to keeping hair healthy, but adding too much will make hair rough in texture. And that's kinda the opposite of what you want conditioner to do.
5. Not Giving Hair Time to Air-dry
Using heated styling tools is almost inevitable, but you can try to be smart about it when you do use them. Take, for example, your hair dryer: Adding a heat protector before blow drying your strands is a good way to prevent damage. An even better way? Let your hair air dry a bit before you go to blow it out. Blow drying your hair as soon as you get out of the shower prevents any of the moisture you just gave your hair from locking in.
Also be careful to not put your dryer directly on your strands. This can cause serious heat damage which is totally not worth it in the end.
6. Forgetting SPF
Believe it or not, your hair needs SPF protection just like your skin. Constant exposure to UV rays will damage and dry out hair unless you use products to counter it. Look for styling products with SPF built in and your hair can be effortlessly sun-kissed without the risk of damage.