After all, there are just so many bad hair behaviours to choose from: “Hair was never meant to be coloured and or styled as much as we do nowadays,” celebrity hair colourist and
But like, what’s the worst? To find out, we consulted Rez and a few other top hair professionals in the business to put together this definitive ranking of the most damaging things you can do to your hair.
No one ever went bald from
Of course, everyone’s hair type and texture is different, so what constitutes “overwashing” will vary. But Streicher says that since shampoo can strip your hair of its natural oils and dry it out, you want to limit your washing to at least every other day. In between rinses, refresh your strands with a
To shampoo or not to shampoo? While all of the above is true, it’s a fine balance. Many think that skipping shampoo and just conditioning in the shower will be less damaging or better for damaged hair while it heals, but Rez says this absolutely not the case. “By not shampooing, only conditioner is building up on the hair shaft, and over time, it will lead to breakage,” he says. “Make sure to use proper shampoos and you are all good.”
By “proper,” Rez means shampoos that aren’t too crunchy granola that they won’t actually cleanse your hair. Try Hairstory’s
“I see a lot of breakage from tight elastics over time,” says Streicher. If you’re a ponytail or bun person, try chilling out a little and using a breakage-preventing hair tie, like an
If you’re a professional swimmer, this hair risk might be higher up on the list, but since most of us aren’t at the beach or pool every day, we only have to be mindful of these elements few times a year. The salty ocean and chemical-filled pool water can potentially remove the keratin in your hair, dry it out into straw, undo any in-salon repairing treatments you’ve had, and damage your colour if you dye it. No bueno.
The best thing you can do to keep your hair safe on swim days is to wet it in the shower and douse it in your favorite conditioner or mask (Try Davines’s lightweight
“Just as you need to protect your skin from the sun, you need to do the same with your scalp,” says celebrity hairstylist,
Brown recommends using a broad-spectrum, residue-free sun protector on days when you’ll be outside for more than a couple minutes. Try
If your hair is super sensitive and fine, then just wearing
No matter how you do it, blow
Perms and smoothing treatments (especially without the proper at-home care afterward) can cause your hair to lose its natural shape, says Cranford. If you can avoid getting one of these treatments, do—and if you’re hellbent on it, ask a lot of questions in the salon before committing to make sure these treatments will vibe okay with your particular
“Anyone not washing their hair and then adding heat every single day is in for a big surprise,” says Brown. This one personally shocked me. You figure if washing your hair too often is bad, then you should put it off as long as possible add a ton of dry shampoo, and just curl or straighten your (dirty) hair to keep it looking passable in the meantime. But apparently, this is a mistake.
“Most people don’t realise it, but flat ironing hair that isn’t properly cleansed can cause breakage,” says Brown. This is because, in addition to the already inevitable damage from heat styling, some
Hear that? That’s the sound of a thousand fairies slowly perishing, which happens to make the exact same noise as your hair frying between two 400-degree metal plates. “Without proper protection, high heat irons will just burn and break your hair off,” says Streicher.
Certainly, different hair types can handle varying levels of heat. For fine hair, straightening and curling should be kept to lower temperatures (like 300 degrees tops). Coarser-textured hair can handle a bit more heat. “When in doubt, bring your flat iron or curling iron to your next appointment and ask your stylist,” says Cranford.
And always, always use a heat protectant. “That poor hair—it needs a product to help it fight off the negative effects of heat at that moment,” says Rez. “Not using heat protection when using hot tools will take a major toll.” Try Redken’s
Also, most importantly, minimise the number of days a week you’re flat ironing and curling your hair. (Our experts actually couldn’t agree on whether everyday heat styling or the last point on this list was *the worst* for your hair). Streicher, for example, says, “Overusing heat on your hair consistently is the biggest way to damage your hair.”
Aaaaand, here we have it. The worst possible thing you can do to your hair is chemically overprocessing it with colour.
Of course, not all colour treatments will wreck your hair to the same extent. A demi-permanent process (aka, a gloss) will be the least invasive (“I gloss and colour hair with Redken
As is after-care at home. “It is so important to keep the hair constantly hydrated and use products that help repair hair from chemical damage,” says Brown, who recommends using a repairing mask, like
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