Your hair's health and appearance depend on many factors, including good health, adequate care, and genetics. But even if you have all of these things working in your favor, there are still some surprisingly common habits that could be damaging your hair.
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That’s why we're making an urgent public service announcement and revealing 12 things that could be secretly sabotaging your hair. These sneaky culprits may be causing damage to your gorgeous locks without you even knowing! Let's get into them.
1. Not Having a Water Filter
You probably know that your daily shower plays a role in the health and appearance of your hair. But did you know that smoother, softer, and healthier hair might be just as dependent on the water you shower in?
If your water quality is bad, it can cause all sorts of issues for your hair, including making it more likely to break, tangle, and become dull and lifeless.
One easy and affordable way to improve your water quality is to install a shower head filter, which can help remove impurities from the water, such as chlorine, dissolved minerals, and other contaminants, and make your hair look and feel better.
You can also try using distilled water for your final rinse after shampooing and conditioning. This will help remove any buildup from your hair products and make your strands extra shiny.
2. Rinsing Your Hair with Hot Water
If there’s one thing most hairstylists can agree on, it’s that a cold rinse at the end of the shower can do wonders for your hair. It’s said to leave hair stronger, shinier, bouncier, and healthier by laying your hair cuticle flat.
Cold water closes the cuticle and seals in all the moisture from your conditioner.
However, we all know that showering with cold water is probably one of the most uncomfortable experiences to put yourself through. You don't need to take your entire shower in cold water, but you should at least do a cold rinse at the very end. This will help close the cuticle after the wash, seal in all the moisture from your conditioner, and prevent your hair from getting frizzy, dry, and damaged.
3. Shampooing Too Often
There isn't an exact number of times you should wash your hair a week, as it all depends on your hair texture and natural oil production, as well as your lifestyle. For example, if you lead an active lifestyle and regularly participate in activities such as jogging, hiking, swimming, or even just hitting the gym, you’re bound to need more frequent washes than someone who doesn't do these things.
But that's not to say that you should ignore the little signs your hair is giving you when it's overwashed or over-shampooed. For example, over-shampooing your hair can lead to a total lack of moisture from stripping your natural oils, which can cause a dry, flaky scalp, as well as frizzy and unruly hair. This is why you should reserve the shampooing part for 2-3 times a week while regularly rinsing your hair with plain water.
Additionally, when shampooing your hair, make sure to only shampoo the scalp and not the entire length, as the hair rarely needs this kind of treatment and can only become drier and more brittle due to being stripped of its natural oils.
Product To Try: Briogeo – Don't Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo for Damaged Hair ($38)
4. Not Using Nourishing Hair Masks
Hair masks are a great way to give your hair an extra boost of hydration, nourishment, and shine, especially if it's looking dry, dull, and lifeless. There are all kinds of hair masks that cater to different needs, hair textures, and, most importantly, hair fragility (or strength), so you can definitely find one (or a few) that will work for you.
It's important not to neglect this part of your weekly hair care routine, as hair masks can make a world of difference when it comes to the overall health and appearance of your strands.
Product To Try: Moroccan Oil – Weightless Hydrating Mask ($44)
5. Not Using a Detangling Spray
Brushing through your hair without a detangling product can cause split ends and breakage from repeated tugging and snagging, especially if you have the habit of brushing your hair while it's wet. These products are specifically designed to make the hair easier to detangle by softening it and smoothing the cuticles down, making them better able to glide past other strands.
These products are specifically designed to make the hair easier to detangle by smoothing the cuticles down.
But besides removing tangles and knots within seconds and without ripping half your hair out in the process, detangling products are often formulated with hair-loving ingredients such as moisturizing silicones, nourishing oils, and protective emollients that improve the overall condition and appearance of your hair.
Product To Try: Drunk Elephant – Wild Marula™ Tangle Spray ($25)
6. Using an Old Hairbrush
Just like your makeup brushes, your hairbrush needs to be regularly cleaned and replaced as well. Think about it, your hairbrush is constantly coated in sebum, sweat, dirt, dust, product buildup, and even dead skin cells. So if you're not cleaning it regularly, all of these things can end up being transferred back to your hair, which can lead to an oily scalp, clogged pores, and even infections.
Additionally, an old hairbrush is more likely to cause breakage and split ends because the bristles are bent out of shape and can no longer effectively detangle and smooth the hair. So if you want to keep your scalp and hair healthy and free of tangles, invest in a good quality hairbrush.
As a rule of thumb, you should change your hairbrush at least once a year; however, if this is not within your budget, try to wash it every few weeks with shampoo and warm water to remove buildup.
Product To Try: Dae Hair – Vegan Detangle + Style Brush ($22)
7. Not Using a Heat Protecting Spray
If you're using any kind of heat styling tool regularly, then you need to use a heat-protecting spray. These products are designed to create a barrier between your hair and the heat from styling tools, which can prevent damage such as split ends, frizz, and flyaways.
Just like detangling products, most heat protectant products also contain conditioning and smoothing ingredients that can help improve the overall texture and appearance of your hair. So if you want to keep your hair looking healthy and shiny, make sure to use a heat-protecting spray before you start styling.
Product To Try: Bumble and Bumble – Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat & UV Protective Primer ($29)
8. Using Your Styling Tools on High Heat
Using your styling tools on high heat is one of the quickest ways to damage your hair. Not only does it dry out your strands, but it also causes breakage, split ends, and moisture loss that leads to frizz. So if you want to avoid all of that, make sure to use the lowest heat setting possible that will still give you the results you're looking for. Also, always give your hair a cool blast with your blow dryer at the end, as this will help seal the cuticle and prevent further damage.
Product To Try: Enbuty – Water Ionic Hairdryer ($189)
9. Frequently Putting Your Hair in a Tight Ponytail or Bun
Putting your hair up in a tight ponytail or bun is definitely among the sneakier ways we lose hair without even realizing it. Not only do tight hairstyles put unnecessary stress and tension on the strands, but they can also lead to breakage, split ends, a receding hairline, and bald patches.
Tight hairstyles put unnecessary stress and tension on the strands that can lead to breakage.
Avoid wearing your hair in a ponytail or bun too often or in the same spot, as, although these hairstyles are classy and timeless, they're not the best option for maintaining healthy, thick, and full hair. If you want to avoid damage and hair loss, make sure to loosen up your ponytails, switch to soft scrunchies, and opt for styles that are gentler on the strands.
Product To Try: Kitsch – Blush Satin Scrunchies ($8)
10. Not Trimming Your Hair Regularly
Although it might seem counterproductive, trimming your hair regularly can improve its quality and make it grow faster. On the other hand, not trimming your hair regularly can actually lead to slower hair growth. When those ends split, they'll eventually travel up your hair and break it off higher, leaving your hair shorter than before.
This is why trimming your hair once every two to three months is essential to maintaining healthy, strong, and long hair. Additionally, regular trims can help improve your hair's overall appearance, as split ends can make it look dry, frizzy, and unhealthy.
11. Unbalanced Hormones
Unbalanced hormones such as high testosterone, high cortisol, and high or low thyroid hormones can lead to hair thinning, hair loss, and even more serious conditions such as androgenic alopecia. Additionally, mineral deficiency during pregnancy, postpartum, and the lowering of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can also cause hormonal imbalances that result in hair loss. So if you're experiencing hair loss, it's important to get your hormones checked by an endocrinologist to see if that's the root cause.
12. Poor Diet
Eating a poor diet is one of the quickest ways to sabotage your hair health. This is because your hair needs certain nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and biotin to grow properly, and a lack of these nutrients can lead to dryness, brittleness, and breakage.
So if you want to keep your hair looking its best, make sure to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Taking supplements is another good idea to balance any deficiencies you may have. However, make sure to do thorough research and consult with a doctor, as taking supplements while not knowing what exactly you need can lead to other issues such as supplement poisoning, inflammation, intolerance, and health issues.
Having dry, brittle, and damaged hair is usually the working of multiple factors, not just one or two. However, we’re hoping that this list of 12 things that could be secretly sabotaging your hair will help you identify some habits or areas in your life that may need improvement. By making even small changes such as adding a cold rinse at the end of your shower or cutting down on heat styling, you'll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make for the overall health of your strands.
Also, remember to pay attention to any early warning signs such as excessive hair shedding, as this can indicate a more serious issue that might require professional help.
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