Everyday should be a good hair day, but if you have damaged hair, with frizz and breakage, it can be hard to determine where you’re going wrong in your hair care routine. We’ve rounded up eight ways you’re unknowingly damaging your hair so you can start getting your locks back to optimal health.
1. Overdoing it With Shampoo
Shampoo is one of the biggest causes of hair damage, yet it’s one of the least obvious. That’s probably because we’ve been taught to shampoo and condition our hair daily for our entire lives. Shampoo strips our hair of it’s natural oils which can cause frizziness short-term and damage and breakage long-term. The less you wash your hair the less you need to, so if you’re someone who is used to washing their hair daily, start by washing every other day, then every 3 days, and begin decreasing the amount of times you shampoo your hair over the course of a couple of months. Your hair will become used to the process and not build up so much of those natural oils. Shampoos are also riddled with chemicals that can cause even more damage to your hair and can even cause health problems, especially when used regularly.
2. Colour Treating
It’s no secret that colour treating your hair is not the best thing to do when it comes to its health, but let’s get down to the science of it. Hair dye is only able to penetrate the shaft when it can get underneath the cuticle which is what protects the hair. When it’s lifted to allow the hair dye to penetrate, it causes damage to our hair, as the cuticle shouldn’t be disturbed. Once the peroxide penetrates the hair, it breaks down the natural pigment of it, which is very drying. The longer the peroxide sits and develops into your desired colour, the more damage is being done to your hair. Instead of using hair dye, consider a hair health alternative like colouring your hair with coffee grounds or lemon!
3. The Use of Heat Styling Tools
If you wouldn’t touch a 365 degree curling iron to the skin on your arm, why would you subject your hair to that sort of heat? Now, I’m not suggesting getting rid of heat styling tools all together, but using them sparingly is the key to having healthy hair. When using heat styling tools, always using a heat protectant to assist in preventing damage. Use heat protectant (I love the ‘Not Your Mother’s’ Beat the Heat Thermal Styling Spray) before exposing your hair to heat the same way you would apply sunscreen before exposing your skin to the sun.
4. Using Products Filled With Chemicals
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) is found in many hair products and is one of the worst things you can put in your hair. SLS is also commonly found in industrial and cleaning products, so it’s no surprise that this chemical is going to severely dry out your hair, causing breakage. Isopropyl Alcohol is another ingredient found in a lot of hairsprays, gels, and other styling products. This alcohol can also be found in shellac and antifreeze. While the purpose of the chemical is to dissolve oil, it’s definitely too strong to be applied to our gorgeous locks without some sort of consequence. Other chemicals to avoid are parabens, sulfates, perfumes, silicone, phthalates, etc. Instead of chemicals, look for products that contain seeds, oils, butters, and vitamins. My favorite brand for this is HASK.
5. Brushing When Wet
When your hair is wet, it’s more susceptible to breakage because it’s at its most fragile state. While breakage obviously isn’t good for your hair in terms of growth, it’s also the main cause of frizz – which no one wants! The safest way to brush your wet hair (to avoid a tangled mess when it’s dry) is to use a wide toothed comb and work slowly from the bottom up. Never tug at your hair or try to pull out a knot; work it out slowly.
6. Sleeping on Cotton
As a girl who used to have severely damaged hair, I think this is one tip that has helped my hair immensely, but wasn’t super obvious to me. Sleeping on cotton pulls at your hair when you move around, which makes perfect sense when you really think about it. Switching to a silk pillowcase allows your head and your hair to slide across the fabric rather than causing friction and therefore, breakage. BONUS: sleeping on a silk pillowcase also prevents the signs of aging as your face can glide across the fabric (preventing wrinkles and creases.) Another quick fabric switch that can also benefit the health of your hair is switching from a regular towel to a microfiber towel.
7. Using Hair Elastics
There are a number of ways you’re damaging your hair simply by using an elastic to style it. Up-do’s and elastics can pull your hair too tight causing hair fall-out. The elastics are also generally wrapped around the same place each time you wear your hair up which causes severe breakage. Lastly, the metal pieces that hold the elastic together can actually cut the strands of hair, causing further hair loss and breakage.
8. Avoiding Hair Cuts
While it may seem counterproductive to cut your hair when you’re trying to grow it out, that’s actually the best thing for it. A lot of the time, especially with long hair, you’ll find plenty of split ends, most commonly at the ends of your hair. Split ends are no good for our hair (even though they do provide that extra length temporarily) because they’ll just continue splitting. The best course of action is to cut off the split ends regularly so they won’t end up doing more damage and causing your hair to be shorter than it would have been had you committed to regular haircuts. Healthy hair is best!