Daily Shampoo Damage and the Other Biggest Hair Care Mistakes You Can Make
There are a lot of rumors out there about healthy hair care habits, and many of them might be doing your scalp and tresses much more harm than good. You may be following some of these habits yourself, or you may know somebody else who isn't properly caring for their hair.
We’ve tracked down some of the most common hair care mistakes that you might be making so you can avoid them altogether. Want to keep your locks looking their best? Here’s what you need to avoid — starting now.
Washing Your Hair Too Much
This is probably one of the most common hair care mistakes that you may be making. We all want hair that looks healthy and, of course, clean. However, washing your hair too much can do more damage than good. Frequent washings can dry out your hair and leave your strands looking dull and frizzy.
A good rule to live by when it comes to washing your hair is to try to stick to every other day — or every few days if your hair is very thick or curly. Washing your hair every day, or more than once a day, will damage it, no matter your hair type.
Dealing with tangles can be frustrating, especially if you have long hair that’s prone to knots. However, you can cause a whole lot of damage — like breakage and split ends — if you’re brushing too roughly. When it comes to those tough tangles, opt for a detangler spray instead of yanking on your hair.
While brushing your hair, hold onto the top of your strands near your scalp to avoid pulling out hair. Be as gentle as possible when brushing or combing your hair to avoid fallout and unnecessary damage. Start at the ends, and gradually move up the strands to detangle properly.
Wearing Your Hair Up Too Often — or Too Tightly
It can be tempting, especially on rough days, to just pull your hair up into a ponytail. However, those hair bands can cause breakage by stressing your strands. Instead of hair bands, try using a hair clip when you need to get hair away from your face.
If you absolutely have to do a ponytail, try your best to make it a looser one. The tighter the ponytail is, the more stress you're putting on your hair. Cut back on using hair ties, use clips and, if you must put it up, make it loose!
Combing Hair Roots to Ends
Always detangle your ends before heading up to the roots. This is a very common mistake that can not only lead to pulling your hair out but can also result in major breakage that leaves your locks looking less than ideal.
When combing your hair, particularly if it’s wet, make sure that you're getting those tangles out of the ends first. You don't want to start yanking at the roots and ripping the tangles out. Begin at the bottom, detangling in sections, and then work your way up. You’ll experience a lot less breakage this way.
Not Wetting Your Hair Before Hopping Into the Pool
This hair care mistake is especially important for those with blonde hair or highlights. Chlorine in pools can cause discoloration to hair, giving it a green hue if you don’t take a simple step beforehand. For everybody else, it's still important though — pool chemicals can damage hair of any color.
To avoid green hair or damage, always wet your hair with non-chlorinated water before taking a dip. It's a simple yet very effective step to take to ensure that you're not making it easy for your hair to absorb all those chemicals.
Neglecting Scalp Care
Your scalp is the base from which your hair grows, so you should give it just as much care as you do your hair itself. It's easy to understand how people can neglect this element of hair care, but it's just as important to have a healthy scalp so that your hair can look its best.
Ensure that your scalp is never overly dry; it means you’re not leaving enough sebum on your skin. That's the substance that keeps our hair growing and gives it shine. Also, engaging in a scalp massage at least once per week is an excellent way to keep your scalp healthy because it boosts circulation.
Using the Wrong Hairdryer
Using the wrong hairdryer can damage your hair in more ways than one. While it may seem quicker and easier to use a hairdryer at the highest temperature to get your hair dry quickly, that’s not a great idea unless you want to damage your hair.
Make sure your dryer isn’t set on the highest temperature level when you’re using it. Also, make sure that the hairdryer has different temperature settings, including a cool option. Ideally, you want warm hair, not hot hair, when it comes to giving yourself a blow-dry that won't damage those precious locks. Finishing off with a blast of cool air can make your hair smoother, too.
Setting the Heat High on Your Styling Tools
Hairstyling tools can also go up to high temperatures that aren't necessary for getting the style you want. A lot of people believed, at least in the past, that the higher the heat was, the longer the style would hold. That's not only untrue but can also really damage your hair.
When you buy a new styling tool like a curling wand or flat iron, always use it on the lowest setting first to see if it works for you. Slowly increase the temperature until the style is turning out the way you want it to. There's no need to use the highest heat setting right off the bat.
Not Protecting Your Hair From Heat
As you probably know by now, heat can be a big contributor to hair damage. Too much of it will cause breakage, fried ends and overall dryness. The best way to combat this, especially if you use hot styling tools often, is to invest in something that protects your hair from that heat.
There are all sorts of creams and sprays out there that do just that. If you want to avoid heat damage, protect those strands with a product that coats them. Most heat-protectant products aren't even that expensive. Try a few and find the one that best fits your needs and hair texture without sacrificing the style you want to achieve.
Teasing Too Much
Sometimes we just want big, voluminous hair, but that can come at a high cost. People have used teasing to achieve this look for generations, and it works well. However, doing this too much can harm your hair’s cuticles and cause the strands to break.
Do your best to only use this technique for those very special occasions. Try other methods to get a full look rather than teasing — the damage just isn't worth it! Stick with volumizing sprays and mousse instead.
Not Using Serum
Most of us use serums for our faces, right? Well, why not our hair? Many hairstylists recommend that we should all be using serums or oils on our hair. It not only keeps our scalps healthy but our hair as well.
To prevent damage before it happens and to repair what's already been done, go ahead and invest in hair serum in a formulation that works for your hair texture and thickness. If you have fine hair, look for something that won’t weigh it down or make it look greasy. Apply serums and oils to the lower sections of your strands, not near your scalp.
Another important part of your hair care routine is to make sure that you're taking the time to deep-condition your hair. There are lots of product options available, and many of them aren't too expensive. You can even buy little individual-use packets that have the right amount of product for one conditioning session.
Deep-conditioning your hair will keep it shiny and healthy-looking. Doing this every week or so will repair damage, decrease frizz and smooth out your hair, making it look shinier. Many deep conditioners target certain problem areas too, so look for a formulation that meets your specific needs.
Not Protecting Your Hair From the Sun
The sun can cause damage not only to your skin but also to your hair. We always hear about applying sunscreen, but it's not as common to protect your hair from UV damage. It’s totally understandable why this is one of the more commonly overlooked hair care mistakes.
Hair is also vulnerable to sun damage that can remove healthy oils. Pick up a UV-protection spray you can apply to hair, or wear a hat if you’ll be in the sun all day — a helpful solution for protecting your scalp, hair and face!
Using the Wrong Brush or Comb
When it comes to using a brush or a comb, make sure that you're using the right one for your hair’s length and texture. There are some dos and don'ts. Firstly, avoid plastic or metal combs; they can cause excessive pulling, breakage and static.
Use a paddle brush for hair that's prone to tangles, a wide-toothed comb for curly hair and round brushes for styling. You can avoid a lot of damage and actual headaches this way.
Not Getting Regular Trims
Getting a trim does a lot for hair health. It's important to schedule a trim once every six to eight weeks or so. It'll deal with those pesky split ends and also help promote hair growth. Some people neglect the trim, believing that it helps them retain their length, but that isn't the case.
Get trims and your hair will not only look better, but it will also grow better. Besides, split ends can be unsightly. Hair looks so much better when it has a fresh trim, and you’ll feel more put together.
Washing Hair With Hot Water
A lot of us love our hot showers, but when it comes to your hair, it's better to keep the heat down. As mentioned, heat causes damage — and that’s heat in just about any form. Hot water can strip natural oils from hair, leaving your scalp dry and your tresses looking stressed.
Instead of using hot water, try warm water — and, if you can stand it, give your hair a cold rinse at the end of your shower. This will keep the moisture locked into your strands and ensure that your scalp isn't dehydrated.
Not Shampooing Enough
There’s a flip side to the issue of washing your hair too much — you still need to wash it enough. This is particularly the case if you use a lot of styling products; you want to ensure that you're removing all the buildup that gels, sprays and other products leave behind.
Dead skin cells can also build up on your scalp, eventually slowing your hair’s growth. Once again, every other day is a good rule to live by when it comes to washing your hair if it’s fine. If your hair is naturally thick or dry, aim for every three days. Have super-curly hair? Once a week might be just fine. If you work out or sweat a lot, adjust as necessary to prevent buildup.
Being Too Rough With Your Towel
It's common to wrap hair up in a towel after a shower and leave it on for a time, allowing the towel to soak up the excess water in your hair. While that isn't a problem in itself, being rough on your hair when using the towel is a problem.
Don't rub the towel roughly over your hair to dry it faster. This can cause a lot of damage! Instead, gently dab and squeeze your hair with the towel. You don't want to deal with the breakage and damage later on.
Using Your Hairdryer on Dripping Wet Hair
You don't want to put any more heat on your hair than you have to. Attempting to dry your hair while it's still dripping wet will put unnecessary heat on it for a longer period of time. Gently towel-dry your hair before going at it with your blow-dryer.
Dripping wet hair can also just "drip dry." A good practice is to gently wring excess water from your hair while you’re still in the shower. Don't overheat your hair because you didn't take the time to let it dry a bit in other ways.
Not Cleaning Your Brushes and Combs
When you're in a hair salon, you’ve probably noticed the combs and brushes soaking in a bluish liquid. That's because hairstylists need to sanitize their tools between clients. While you don’t need to go to these lengths, it’s still important to keep your tools clean. After using your brushes and combs for a period, there’s bound to be some dirt and oil buildup.
You don't want to redeposit that on your clean hair. Make sure that you're cleaning those brushes and combs — and even replacing them annually or so. Clean hair and a clean scalp lead to good hair health.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your overall health — and when it comes to hair health, it's also true! Lots of people aren't drinking enough water. Their hair can suffer for it, and it's a common mistake.
If you don't drink enough water, your hair can become brittle, making it prone to breakage. Even if you follow every other hair care tip on this list and you aren't drinking enough water, your hair might still become brittle and dry. So, drink up.
Not Getting Enough Essential Vitamins
Beauty starts on the inside, right? Well, hair care has the same rule. If you aren't taking care of yourself properly by getting enough vitamins, your hair won’t look its best. Again, this mistake is a pretty common one — but an important one to correct as soon as possible.
Eat a healthy diet and make sure you're getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. Start with a good multi-vitamin and eventually add some biotin if you want an extra boost for your hair health. Talk to your doctor about adding supplements to your routine.
Choosing the Wrong Shampoo
We all have different hair types and hair concerns. If you have fine, straight hair, you certainly shouldn't be using a shampoo made for thick, curly hair — this shampoo can weigh it down. Ensuring that you're using the right shampoo for your hair type is essential for proper hair care.
There are nearly endless types of shampoos out there formulated for each hair type and concern. Narrow down your options and choose the right shampoo for your specific hair type. If you need assistance, ask your stylist for some recommendations.
Having Poor Sleeping Habits
Sleeping on the wrong pillow with your hair down can cause breakage in the long run. Luckily, there are solutions. Replacing your cotton pillowcase with a silk one is one of the best things you can do for your hair while you're sleeping.
Also, sleeping with wet hair can cause damage and isn't a good idea. Make sure your hair is dry, and replace that cotton pillowcase. You'll notice less frizz almost immediately and healthier hair overall eventually.
Shampoo and conditioner go together — think of them as a package deal. And there’s a good reason they make a perfect pair. When you shampoo your hair, you should also condition after.
Without regular conditioning, your hair can become more prone to damage and end up looking pretty lifeless. It's always better to use the duo together than just shampoo. Shampoo can strip your hair of moisture as it cleans your locks, and without conditioner, you're not regaining that lost moisture.
Using Cheap Styling Tools
There are times to save money, and there are times to choose quality — even if it costs more. Hairstyling tools fall into one of those areas where you shouldn't skimp too much. Cheap styling tools are going to do more harm to your wallet in the long run when you might need to pay more to fix your extremely damaged hair.
As with a lot of things, you get what you pay for. Cheap tools are made using cheap materials that are harsh on your hair. Invest in those that use higher-quality materials like tourmaline and ceramic. This is especially important when it comes to hot tools.
Using Products With Harsh Chemicals
A very common hair care mistake is not looking at the ingredients in the products you're purchasing for your hair. Sometimes, though, people don't know what's bad for hair and what's not.
A good rule to follow is to avoid any hair product that contains sulfates. A common one is sodium lauryl sulfate. They do wonders for cleaning, but they also strip away your natural oils and will dry your hair out. Always opt for products that are sulfate-free.
Using Hot Tools on Wet Hair
There was a trend a little while back when it came to hair styling that involved using tools that could supposedly style your hair while it was wet. We're talking about straightening or curling your hair from wet to dry. This is a very, very bad idea in terms of hair care.
While it may seem like you're skipping a step, you're also damaging your hair. Think of it this way: Applying super-hot tools to wet hair is essentially steaming it the same way you’d cook food. Frying your hair this way isn’t worth it.
Sleeping With Wet Hair
We mentioned this earlier, but it's worth some elaboration. Sleeping while your hair is wet is not only going to make your hair appear limp and lifeless, but it can also cause a lot more damage than sleeping on dry hair.
Most of us move while we sleep, and wet hair clings to fabric fibers a lot more than dry hair does. That clinging hair gets pulled on all night. This can lead to breakage and a whole lot of frizz, which you definitely want to avoid.
Overusing Dry Shampoo
Using dry shampoo every now and again isn't going to cause issues — it can be really handy during those times when you’re in a mad rush. But overusing it will cause issues. Dry shampoo leaves buildup that, over time, can block hair follicles and prevent new growth.
It can also prevent you from effectively shampooing away all the dirt that accumulates in day-to-day life. Use dry shampoo when you need to, but don't overdo it. More than two days in a row is a bad idea. As with anything, moderation is key.