Today I’m gonna be sharing with you ten habits that are ruining your hair.
1. A habit that can lead to increase hair breakage and fragility is shampooing the entire length of your hair. Instead, you should direct the shampoo just to your scalp. The main purpose of shampooing is scalp cleansing and then when you rinse the shampoo out, the lather will end up coating your strands anyway and then you can rinse it out. As opposed to rubbing your hair shaft with the shampoo. That can lead to a lot of frizz and breakage and problems.
2. Another bad habit that’s easy to get into when we’re pressed for time is not taking the time to condition your hair after shampooing. This is really important especially if you have long hair, because the act of shampooing deposits a negative charge on the hair shafts themselves.
This not only contributes to static, poor manageability but it also ends up causing more breakage and fragility of the hair shaft. Conditioning products neutralize that negative charge on the hair shaft and can reduce that issue of breakage.
Many people with short hair can get away without using conditioner. It’s more for people with long hair. They need a little bit more help from a conditioner to deal with the issues around shampooing.
3. Another bad habit related to your showering routine is when you get out of the shower. A lot of people will take a towel and towel dry their hair by rubbing the towel on hair. This is the worst thing you can do because when your hair is wet, it’s even more fragile. The outer cuticle is really hydrated, it’s just more susceptible to agitation.
Rather than using a heavy towel and rubbing it on the hair shafts, I instead recommend that you take an old t-shirt and just gently wrap your hair up in the t-shirt. This will help absorb some of the extra water and is much gentler on the hair.
Alternatively you can also use one of those dedicated Turbie twist hair towels and those work really well too. The nice thing about both the t-shirt or the Turbie twist towel is that they’re lightweight, so they don’t end up pulling a lot of weight on your hair that can further contribute to breakage.
4. This habit is something we all fall into from time to time in our life and that is letting yourself get run-down. Why does this take a toll on your hair?
What ends up happening is that when your body is in stress mode, you’re not getting good sleep, you’re not nourishing yourself while you are under a lot of stress and you have those stress hormones surging. Your body says “hey, this is not really the time to be growing hair”. So what ends up happening is that many of the hairs on your head will shift away from the growing phase into the resting phase and you will experience what’s called a telogen effluvium aka increased hair shedding.
This typically occurs about three months after you have gone through either an illness or maybe you’ve been crash dieting or just been under a period of time where you have been under a lot of stress. When we don’t manage our stress well, our sleep suffers, sometimes we make poor choices in terms of nourishing our body.
We reach for packaged foods out of stress that aren’t really going to fuel you properly and that leads to more stress hormones. All of this will just tell your hair cycle to go into sleep mode. You’ll get a lot more of that hair shedding.
Nutrition is really important for the health of your hair and for building the structural elements of the hair. When we go through periods of time where maybe we’re not eating as well, our hair will really suffer. So having some good habits in place to make sure that you have snacks and healthy meals around you can really help.
Getting sick, getting an illness is another reason to experience a telogen effluvium. If you have a cold, flu, you develop a fever, that too can lead telogen effluvium down the road.
Healthy habits go a long way not only in the health of your hair but also your nails and your skin.
5. Next bad habit is brushing your hair when it’s soaking wet. Never brush your hair or comb your hair while you’re in the shower and your hair is wet. If you have straight hair, always towel dry your hair and make sure that it is pretty much close to dry before you start combing it. You’ll find if you have straight hair that is relatively manageable. A lot of the tangles will actually work themselves out.
If you have curly hair, more textured hair, you already know that that’s not necessarily gonna work for you. People who have curly hair or textured hair, have better outcomes in terms of maintenance of their curls if they comb their hair while it’s down. So it’s okay to do that while it’s down. Just make sure it’s not soaking wet and when you comb the hair use a wide tooth comb.
6. Don’t underestimate how damaging a blow-dryer can be to your hair. The heat can damage the proteins in your hair, make it more susceptible to frizz and breakage and hair loss.
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If you use a blow-dryer, always use the lowest heat setting. I know that takes a lot longer and try not blow-dry your hair every time. Try and do an air dry as often as you can and balance it out that way.
Never hold the blow-dryer too close to your hair. Try and keep at about 10 centimeters away from your head. It actually has been shown to reduce the burden of damage. Always make sure that your hair dryer that you’re moving it in a continuous fashion.
7. Don’t underestimate the extent of damage to the hair that can come about from prolonged ultraviolet radiation exposure, like when you’re outdoors all day. What can happen is UV actually damages the protein structure in the hair, rendering it more vulnerable. The pigments in our hair protect to a certain extent from ultraviolet radiation but they can actually be damaged from UV.
If you’re somebody who has color treated hair or hair that has been processed chemically, like permed or straightened, it’s even more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation damage. UV also can generate free radical damage in the hair.
You have to remember that if you’re going to be outside for a prolonged period of time, I recommend putting your hair up and covering it with a cap to protect your hair. Especially if you have blond hair or red hair, it’s even more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation mediated damage.
In order to protect your hair from ultraviolet radiation beyond using a hat, the other thing is to be mindful of how long you are outside and also try and avoid being outside at least for a prolonged period of time when the Sun is at its peak. That typically occurs around midday.
8. Chlorine and pool water certainly can damage your hair even more. If you swim in a swimming pool, I encourage you to wear a swim cap to protect your hair from the chlorine. The other thing to do is as soon as you get out of the pool, rinse your hair immediately. After you rinse your hair and you rinse the pool water out, then use a special shampoo that is aimed at removing the excess chlorine from the hair. The swimmer’s shampoos can be helpful for that. After you rinse out the shampoo, definitely use a conditioner.
9. Wearing tight hairstyles, really tight ponytails, wearing your hair in a bun that’s pulled back really tight, it can cause something called traction alopecia. It’s hair loss related to chronic pulling on the hair from tight hairstyles. It most often happens on the temples, but really can happen anywhere.
If you use extensions, you can also get traction hair loss in the areas where the extension are weaved in or even in the case of being taped on, the weight from the extensions pulling on your hair can cause traction hair loss. That traction pulls at the hair and you get bald patches.
In the early stages, a treatment is essentially stop wearing your hair in tight hairstyles and the hair will slowly return to you baseline. But unfortunately if you put your hair under cronic traction, eventually the hair gives up on you and can scar down and that leads to permanent hair loss.
I recommend wearing loose hair styles and using ponytail holders if you have long hair that are wrapped in fabric, like a scrunchie. That definitely can help reduce the traction on your hair quite a bit. If you do wear your hair in braids, try and make sure that you’re not pulling them too tight. Basically if it gives you a headache, rethink it.
10. The last habit that people may not be aware of that can damage your hair is using long-wear styling products, like gels, pomades, mousses and sprays.
These weigh down the hair shaft and make it vulnerable to breakage. They also sometimes have alcohols in them which can be drying on the hair shaft and lead to even more breakage. Watch out for the long-wear hair styling products in those tight hairstyles.
Those are some everyday habits that people have, they may not even be aware of that can lead to increased breakage. Poor lifestyle habits can get you into bouts of hair shedding that can be really distressing and hard to navigate. Nobody wants to have their hair coming out in handfuls. That’s really a pain.
The healthy habits really really pay off!
Samantha is a hairstylist with over 12 years of color and stylist experience. She enjoys using her knowledge to create what her clients really want when they sit down in her chair. Her passion is creating unique looks that her clients feel great in.