I'm no angel when it comes to hair care. But in my 21 years of having long, thick, attention-vying locks, I've come to learn quite a few things you should never do to your hair. When it comes to hair, growing a drop-dead-gorgeous mane has more to do with what you are doing than what you aren't. And let me tell you, those things you always thought were going to help achieve that gorgeous mane? They may just be what's preventing you from getting it.
Ever brush your hair from the root to the tip? Or apply conditioner like you do shampoo? If so, then you're guilty of bad hair care. But don't stress — we're all guilty of a few hair sins, myself included. But the good thing is that it's never too late to start caring for your hair in a way that will prevent damage and promote natural oils, strength, and your own unique gorgeousness.
So, in order to maintain a healthy, shiny, stunning mane, here are 15 things you should never do to your hair. From not using heat protectant to brushing your hair way too often, avoid these hair don'ts to get the best mane you have ever had.
1. DON'T: Over-Wash Your Hair
Your hair has natural oils that it must maintain to keep healthy. Washing it more often than it truly needs will only do more harm than good. Washing your hair about three to four times a week is a good schedule for oily manes, while two to three times a week is better for thinner, dryer hair that is more exposed to hot tools, as celebrity hairstylist Kylee Heath told Birchbox magazine. If need be, freshen up with dry shampoo that'll decrease grease and give volume to your roots. No shampoo required!
2. DON'T: Use Tools While Your Hair Is Wet
Remember that video of the girl who curled her wet hair and it just fried itself off? Yeah, I cringe at the thought of it, too. Avoid letting that happen to you by allowing your hair to dry completely before bringing it to any kind of tools in the bathroom. Yes, even a hair brush, because Kelsey Osterman, senior stylist at New York City’s Cutler Salon, told InStyle that using a narrow brush on wet hair "can cause major breakage since dampness weakens the hair shaft." Invest in a wide-tooth comb, since those are less likely to cause damage. Trust me when I say you don't want to go through what that girl did for pretty hair.
3. DON'T: Forget To Use Heat Protectant
I can't tell you how many times I've gotten scolded at the salon for admitting that I don't use heat protector. Long story short, a heat protector hair product can help guard your hair against the damage those aforementioned hot tools can create by shielding and coating each follicle in your mane, as Folica Blog explained. So, if you must use hot tools, applying a simple spray before (like this one from Tresemme) will keep your strands from thinning, breaking, and splitting due to the excessive heat.
4. DON'T: Fry Your Hair With Hot Tools
And even if you do wait till your hair is completely dry and properly apply heat protectant, you still don't want to fry your hair. Edward Tricomi, co-founder and master stylist at Warren Tricomi Salons, told Today.com that you always want to keep your tool moving (never in one spot for too long), and put it on a moderate heat. Oh, and if you smell a weird, burning scent when doing your hair, you know you've got to adjust either of those things.
5. DON'T: Use Too Much Product
You know that "dime sized amount" measuring description? If you've ever read the back of a hair product bottle, you know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't, you're probably a culprit of this next bad hair care mistake. Most hair products only require a very small amount, from the size of a pea to a quarter, to effectively work. Using too much hair product can mess with your hair's natural makeup as well as create irritation and/or greasy hair faster than you'd like, as Real Simple magazine points out. As a rule of thumb it's best to stick to the recommended amount.
6. DON'T: Use Conditioner Like Shampoo
Attention: Shampoo is not conditioner. Thus, you shouldn't use them the same way. Shampoo is meant to clean your hair at the roots. Conditioner is meant to moisturize the part of your hair that needs it most, i.e. the ends. So, if you've been applying conditioner like you would shampoo, man, are you in for a wake-up call. Applying conditioner to your roots will leave a tacky film behind, make your scalp oily, and also grease up your hair according to Eve Scrivo, senior colorist and educator Meri Kate O'Connor, Good Housekeeping reports. Apply conditioner only to the ends of your hair, which is probably where it's most dry, broken, and damaged.
7. DON'T: Make A Too-Tight Ponytail
Have you ever put your hair in a tight ponytail and let out a sigh of relief after a long day of wearing it like that? Don't worry, you're not alone. I'm guilty of this hair-don't too. Wearing a tight ponytail for an extended amount of time can pull your strands at the scalp and damage follicles at the roots. Avoid this by relying on hairspray to make hair look sleek and only using soft, loose ties.
8. DON'T: Brush With A Dirty Hair Brush
How often do you clean your hair brush? Chances are you're going to want to clean your hairbrush when I tell you how many germs, bacteria, and dead skin cells it can collect. Thankfully, Melissa Maker of the popular YouTube channel and blog Clean My Space has a step-by-step procedure to ensure your brush is clean. Remove all the hair before going through your brush with a cleaning toothbrush and a baking soda and tea tree oil solution before letting it air dry.
9. DON'T: Over-Treat Your Hair
No matter how cool beauty chameleon Kylie Jenner makes changing your hair color on a day-to-day basis look, it will never be considered healthy. When treating your hair, whether it's for a new hair color, to straighten it, or a relaxer, your hair is going to be exposed to lots of chemicals. Let your hair repair itself before considering another treatment as to avoid over-stressing your mane.
10. DON'T: Keep Your Shampoo The Same After A Treatment
Chances are the selection of shampoos at your local drugstore is endless. Make use of the options every time you change your hair, whether you color it or change the texture, by using the right shampoo to help maintain that treatment. Since your hair has changed, your old shampoo won't benefit you the way a specialized formula can. Yes, it's overwhelming, as Refinery29 points out, but a shampoo catering to your hair type will be plenty worth it.
11. DON'T: Expose Your Hair To Too Much Sun
Yes, your hair can get damaged from the sun, just like your skin. The sun's warmth may feel great, but it can quickly dehydrate your hair, decrease its natural proteins, and cause damage, described by Pantene's Expert Access page. Avoid this by wearing a protective hat or by applying a moisturizing hair mask.
12. DON'T: Brush Your Hair From The Root
I admit it's very fulfilling to be able to brush your hair in one, sleek swoop from root to tip, but it's not exactly doing you any favors. Avoid extra damage by brushing your hair in intervals, starting at the tips. This way, if you do have a knot or toughness in your hair, you can fix it before involving the root, hairstylist Matt Fugate explained to Teen Vogue.
13. DON'T: Over-Relax Your Hair
Repeat after me: I will not over-relax my hair. It's important to consider the damages to your mane if you use this technique on a regular basis. You should only relax newly grown hair, Essence recommends, to avoid over-relaxing hair that has already gone through the process.
14. DON'T: Wash Your Hair With Hot Water
I know a hot shower in the winter is irresistible, but just as studies show that hot showers are bad for your skin, they're also bad for your hair. Hot water will strip your man of its natural oils and dry out your scalp, possibly causing dandruff. Plus, Megan Moore of The Beauty Snoop also points out that too hot showers will remove your hair's natural luster and shine. No one wants that! Instead, opt for a lukewarm temperature.
15. DON'T: Brush Your Hair Too Much
For someone who has gone a whole week without a hairbrush, I know how important this tip is. Brushing your hair excessively can cause more damage than you would think. As model Alana Zimmer told Into The Gloss, brushing your hair "destroys the waves" of your natural mane. That's the perfect excuse to step away from a hairbrush and let your mane do it's thing.
Images: Melodi Erdogan