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Ways We All Ruin Our Hair

Having great hair can make a huge difference in your appearance. It can highlight your best features and give you a boost of confidence. However, it takes a lot of effort to keep it looking good.

Many of the things we do to achieve hair perfection are actually ruining our hair. We asked experts to find out which everyday habits are causing damage. Here are some popular hair care practices that might be ruining your chances at healthy tresses.

Skipping regular haircuts

If you’ve ever grown your hair out, then you know how easy it can be to become attached to it. So attached, in fact, many of us skip out on regular trims just to let our hair getting a teensy bit longer. And while there’s nothing wrong with channeling our inner Rapunzel, waiting too long between trims can actually be damaging to those beautiful, long locks.

De Leon explains that sulfates and salts in shampoo can strip hair and cause split ends. She says that haircuts help maintain healthy hair, and recommends getting a haircut every two to three months.

Using too much conditioner

Most of us want to have soft, silky hair - it’s the Holy Grail of beautiful hair. We often think that using more conditioner will make our hair softer, but that’s not quite right. De Leon says that conditioners are mainly for adding moisture, not for making hair soft. She also says that many people don’t understand the proper way to condition their hair. You shouldn’t put conditioner on your scalp - it should just be used for the ends of your hair.

De Leo points out that many shampoos and conditioners contain sulfates, which actually strip hair of its natural nutrients, rather than preserve them. She recommends using a hair mask once or twice a week to add protein and nutrients back into processed hair. Vernon Francois, celebrity hairstylist to stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Ruth Negga, recommends using moisturizing oils to keep hair healthy. His favorite oil is Moroccan argan oil because it is easily absorbed and extremely hydrating.

Making hair extensions your BFF

Although extensions might make you feel more glamorous, they can actually damage your hair if they are not applied or maintained correctly. “Extensions can cause tears and balding if the hair is being pulled,” De Leon warns. The best type of extension, according to De Leon, is the tape-in extension because it is gentle on the hair. To avoid hair damage, it is best to find a reputable hairdresser who specializes in extensions.

Thinking one brush fits all

Sticking to any old drug store hair brush is not the best way to keep your locks healthy, according to De Leon. The best tool for your hair are soft bristles, like the Wet Brush, Teaser, or Mason Pearson, that are gentle enough to pull through. Using a comb is always the safest bet, but make sure you’re taking the right amount of sections before tearing that hair, she advises.

Wearing too-tight updos

Wearing your hair in braids or a ponytail can be a quick and easy way to style it, especially on days when the humidity is making it frizzy. However, you should be careful not to make the ponytail or braid too tight, as this can damage your hair. It’s better to have a ponytail that is loose, especially near the nape of your neck, or a braid that is not pulled too tight so that your hair can “breath.”

Over-using dry shampoo

Just like a quick ponytail can be a great option when we’re in a pinch, dry shampoo can be too. You probably don’t want to switch out too many regular hair washes with a dry shampoo spritz. “More recently, I’m seeing more patients losing hair by using dry shampoos too frequently,” NYC dermatologist Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, told us. “By doing this, you allow for a build-up on the hair shaft that can weigh down the hair, and cause increased inflammation. This can lead to increased susceptibility to damage as well.”

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