Compared to the rest of the body, hair health doesn’t get very much attention – but did you know your daily routine could be damaging your hair? Sure, washing and brushing are expected, but common practices like using a hair dryer or straightener, dying your hair, or even wearing it in a ponytail can all cause hair loss. Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent this kind of hair damage. But first, you need to identify your harmful hair habits.
Every few weeks, there’s a new headline or commercial; women are shampooing their hair too much, or are they not shampooing it enough? In general, washing your hair too often is more harmful than not washing it enough because it washes away the natural oils that protect the hair and make it look healthy and shiny.
So how often should you wash your hair? Expert stylists recommend shampooing every two or three days and, if you can’t wait that long because you exercise a lot, consider just rinsing your hair and conditioning the ends. Additionally, when shampooing your hair, avoid applying product to the body of your hair. Instead, just massage the shampoo into your scalp and gently rinse it out. Handling the length of your hair too much can increase the risk of damage.
Fragile When Wet
If you shower in the morning, you may find you need to style your hair quickly to get out the door, but beware brushing your hair when wet. Right after you shower, your hair is at its weakest and so if you brush it when wet, you’re more likely to break or rip the strands. Wet hair also tends to snag and tangle in ways dry hair doesn’t, making it more difficult to brush.
If you have to brush your hair right after you shower, your best bet is to use a wide-toothed comb to gently separate the strands. This will minimize the chances of snagging and pulling. Once you’re done, leave your hair down or in a loose ponytail until it’s dry.
Mind Your Style
Though most don’t talk about it, a large percentage of women experience some degree of hair loss throughout their lives. This may be the result of medical conditions like lupus, hypothyroidism, or anemia, or due to hormonal changes, but in many cases, hair loss is caused by excessive styling, such as using too much shampoo, dying your hair, and wearing it pulled back in tight ponytails.
Rather than styling your hair in ways that pull on the root and cause trauma to the scalp, such as ponytails, buns, and cornrows, consider wearing your hair down or in looser styles for a period of time and give your hair a break from bleach, dye, and heat. If you continue to damage your scalp through excessive styling, you could suffer permanent hair loss and even require a hair transplant to restore coverage.
Skipping The Salon
There are two major schools of thought when it comes to haircuts – the people who think you need your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks, and the people who avoid haircuts until absolutely necessary. But what’s the right amount of time between haircuts? Though there’s no precise answer, you should generally head to the salon when you notice split ends. If you don’t trim off the damaged ends, it will continue to migrate up the hair and you’ll have to cut off more when you do finally get it styled.
Not Treating To Type
Finally, as any woman with curly hair, particularly women of color, can tell you, failing to treat your hair based on its type is a surefire way to damage your hair. In women with natural hair, for example, this means that you need to properly moisturize your hair, using the right type of comb, and using specialized products. Hair products aren’t one-size fits all and what works for one person’s hair may not work in another’s, especially if the two individuals have different hair types.
If you want to have healthy hair, a more hands-off approach may be what you need. Cut back on styling, don’t wash it too often, and don’t brush your hair too hard or too often. Instead, get regular haircuts and use mild, type-specific products to keep your hair clean and moisturized. Once you start handling your hair less, you may discover it looks healthier than ever before.