We grow up taking care of our hair a certain way without ever giving it a second thought as to whether it is the correct way or not. And so the habits form. We all want great hair, but are we willing to change some habits in order to ensure that happens? The thing about hair habits is that they are usually hard to break, but on the other hand, your hair is very easily broken! So what’s a girl to do? The first step is to see if there are better ways to handle that delicate mane of yours. From simple up-dos to your regular shower routine, check out these seven damaging hair habits you need to change as soon as possible.
#1: Brushing Tangled Locks From Roots to Ends
The obvious way to brush hair may seem to move from top to bottom: right? Wrong. If you’re prone to tangly hair, you’ll want to work from the bottom up to ensure each knot is brushed out with the least amount of damage possible, as opposed to pushing each knot onto each other. Grab a wide-toothed comb and begin with the lower sections to avoid unnecessary hair loss.
#2: Trying to Dry Soppy Wet Hair
There are two ways in which you shouldn’t try to dry super wet hair: with your towel or with a hairdryer. Yes, we’re all guilty of it sometimes but it’s best to quit rubbing your towel over your tresses like you’re trying to light a fire with two twigs. It causes unnecessary friction. Try using a cotton T-shirt or something less abrasive to blot your hair dry if you must. As for hairdryers, avoid reaching for it until your hair is 50-60% dry before applying the heat tool to finish it off.
#3: Brushing Your Hair Too Often
Is brushing your hair too much of a good thing? Perhaps. It’s time to say goodbye to the 100 strokes before bedtime habit that our mothers instilled in us. Constant brushing, especially if done vigorously, can lead to extra damage for both the scalp and your tresses. Take extra caution if you have curly hair, as brushing too often unfolds those curly-Qs of yours. And to top it all off, if you’ve heard that you need to brush to distribute the natural oils you can toss the theory to the wind. Dry hair is a result of lack of moisture, not oils.
#4: Overusing Hot Tools
Even worse: without protective serums! I love an at-home blowout as much as the next girl, but applying heat to the hair is something that should be done sparingly. Back in my high school days, we would have pin-straight hair using a flat iron on the daily. Talk about damaging! Luckily, the natural look is in like sin and your hair is loving it. Keep the hot tool use to two or three times per week maximum and always use a heat protectant to coat the strands and save your hair some damage.
#5: Washing Too Often (and Roughly)
Very few people actually need to shampoo daily so if you find yourself lather-rinse-repeating every day then it’s time to cut it out. Shampoo is needed to remove excess sebum, oil, dirt and daily pollutants from your hair but if you are constantly stripping these things from your hair you also take away the natural oils which protect your scalp and strands. That leads directly to dry scalp and dry hair. Try skipping a couple of your normal washes and see how your hair begins to thank you.
#6: Not Getting Regular Trims
We’ve all met at least one girl in our life with long, shiny hair who says “I haven’t cut it in over three years!” And while getting regular trims may seem counterproductive to achieving long, luscious locks it’s actually the key ingredient. While it may not equate to longer hair, getting trims every 8-12 weeks helps keep the hair strong and healthy by eliminating split ends which could eventually otherwise creep up the strand and lead to breakage. So, take better care of your hair by making those regular check-ups.
#7: Sporting Tight Hairstyles
I had a friend who would always tie her hair up around the house in a little ballerina bun and even wear it to bed. Me, on the other hand? I love having it down. So if you happen to be the type who wants your hair out of your face at all times, just know it could be damaging your lovely locks. Elastic hair bands can be too tight which crease and break the strands meanwhile high ponytails pull at your scalp and hairline which can even lead to headaches. If you can’t let go of your favorite updo, try scrunchies which are less rough on the hair and sport a loose bun.
#8: Showering with Hot Water
You may have heard this one before but that’s because it is one of the most common hair habits we have that can easily be changed. Hot water dehydrates both the hair and the skin so every time you shower with hot water you are damaging your hair. When the hair is wet, it is most vulnerable. This leads us to extra breakage-ville. What you can do is try luke-warm to warm water while rinsing your hair at the very least and, if you can, have a final rinse of cool to cold water to close the hair follicles before exiting the shower and beginning your brushing.
#9: Ignoring Your Scalp
So, we take care of ourselves from head-to-toe… or so we think. While you may give TLC to your hair from root to ends, people often forget the scalp treatment. This can mean anything from using too much dry shampoo and creating excess buildup on the scalp to excessively scrubbing the scalp while shampooing. What can you do? Give your scalp a gentle rub using your fingertips (not your fingernails!) when shampooing to remove hair care products and stimulate the hair follicles. You can also look into purchasing shampoos made for your scalp and hair type in mind, from dry to oily to irritated. Shampoo doesn’t always have to be about the strands (that’s what conditioner is for!).
#10: Brushing Your Hair When Wet
Brushing your hair when it’s wet can be very damaging. Wet hair is weak hair, making it extremely vulnerable to breakage and tangles. So instead of picking up your hairbrush directly after the shower and running it through your hair, use a fine-tooth comb instead. Start from the ends and work your way up to be softer on tangles. A regular hair brush is too abrasive and can tear hair straight out or leave you with split ends. Better yet – comb your hair before you enter the shower to shampoo and condition so there is less brushing needed on the way out.
Ditch your lackluster routine of hot water, aggressive brushes, and hot tools to bring the strength and shine back to your hair. Your fragile hair deserves some brand new habits in your routine and maybe some brand new products to boot. The easiest way to make or break habits is by adding or extracting one at a time, until you’ve created a routine full of healthy hair habits that bring you good hair days that just don’t quit.