Learn how to stop abusing your tresses and get the gorgeous hair you want.
If you want shiny, gorgeous hair—and, really, who doesn’t?—then you should pay close attention to how you treat your strands. How you wash, dry, and style can seriously affect the health and appearance of your locks. Are you making these hair care mistakes?
1. Not Brushing Before Washing
A damage double-whammy: Hair is weakest when it’s wet, and wet hair is more prone to tangling. To prevent shower-induced snarls, give your hair a brush before hopping in. If you like to comb in the shower, apply conditioner, untangle strands with your fingers, then use a wide-toothed comb before rinsing.
2. Brushing the Ends Only
You’ve heard that brushing too much causes breakage, but your scalp’s natural oils are one of the best conditioners out there. Massage your scalp with a wooden-bristle brush to stimulate circulation and hair growth and brush from roots to ends to add luster naturally.
3. Being a Clean Freak
Most heads of hair don’t benefit from daily washing. Chronic washing strips your scalp of healthy oils, leaving your hair lackluster and lifeless. By all means, shower daily, but if you don’t use a ton of styling products, try just rinsing hair with water or using a light, volumizing conditioner every other day.
4. Haphazard Conditioning
We’ve heard to condition only the ends to prevent flat, weighed-down tresses, but fine-haired girls should condition their roots as well since their hair is more susceptible to breakage. Over conditioning is another common snafu. Use just enough to untangle snags and save serious slathering for a once-a-week deep treatment or hair masque. No matter how you condition, be sure to rinse until the water runs clear and use a clarifying shampoo from time to time to prevent residue build-up.
5. Intense Towel Drying
Most styling products direct you to use them on towel-dried hair, but rubbing hair too much will roughen up the cuticle, leading to dull hair, frizz, and breakage. Blot hair with a towel and shake out the strands with your fingers. Your hair will take longer to dry, but it will be healthier in the long run.
6. Skipping Heat Protection
We all know that heat is one of the most damaging elements to hair. But if you don’t want to live without blow-drying, curling, or flattening, always, always use a heat-protective aid to shield strands and smooth cuticles. Before blow-drying, let hair air dry until just damp (use your fingers to shake out hair to speed the process) and opt for the warm setting instead of hot to avoid habitual heat damage.
7. Using Hot Irons on Damp Hair
Wet hair and hot tools don’t mix. Curling and flat irons can burn the follicles of damp strands, leading to weak and broken tresses. Hair should be completely dry before heat styling, period. Even when you’re in a rush.
8. Using Hairspray Before Styling
Ever hear a sizzle when curling or straightening hair that has hairspray in it? Alcohols in hairspray burn on contact with heat. Always use hairspray AFTER curling or ironing.
9. Teasing with Abandon
For the occasional va-va-voom, back-combing hair toward the root to amp up volume is a celebrated trick. But teasing regularly will damage hair cuticles and lead to breakage. To get the dimension without the damage and blow dry for natural, non-sticky volume.
10. Thinking You Can Mend Split Ends
Sorry ladies: Once hair has split at the ends, there’s no product that can mend it. The only solution for split ends is to prevent them in the first place (e.g. avoiding over-washing, rigorous towel drying, and abusing heat tools)—or to get a trim. For a temporary way to minimize visibly broken bottoms, try using a product with beeswax or a serum with argan oil on the ends to smooth splits.