We put our hair through a lot. What with the braids, pinning in various accessories, and trying out the latest color trends, that stress turns into damage, which prevents your hair from being its healthiest. But even though you may think you're willing to try anything, there are certain things hair experts would never put on their hair, and if you knew why, you probably wouldn't either.
I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to the rules, and I don't think your locks would be totally ruined if you used some things that you maybe shouldn't. But if you have a sensitive scalp or hair that you want to stay healthy or become stronger, there are certain ingredients and elements that you should avoid. To find out what some of these things are, I emailed with a couple of hair experts. Diane C. Bailey, celebrity stylist, author, and SheaMoisture beauty ambassador, and Carlina Ortega, colorist at Rita Hazan Salon in New York City, both revealed what they would never put on their hair. So your own locks can be as healthy and strong as an expert's, here are eight things that they recommend you should never put or keep on your hair:
If you enjoy swimming, it's kind of unrealistic to just never get chlorine on your hair. However, Bailey explains that because chlorine strips not only hair color but also moisture from both the hair and scalp, it's best to wash it out ASAP. Try a chlorine-eliminating or clarifying shampoo to make sure all of the residue is gone, and don't forget to follow up with a good conditioner or hair mask to replenish some moisture.
2. Synthetic Fragrances
According to Bailey, if your hair products contain synthetic fragrances, that means they also likely contain phthalates, which could pose potential health risks. Instead, look for products that are scented naturally with essential oils or natural extracts.
3. Synthetic Colors
Synthetic colors are pretty widely used in hair products, whether in shampoos, styling aids, or dye. But Bailey explains that "some synthetic colors can be derived from petroleum or coal tar sources, so [it's] best to avoid [them] altogether." If you still want to change up your hair color though, John Masters recommended to Good Housekeeping that you opt for highlights or lowlights instead. He explained that these styles are safer because dye doesn't tend to come in direct contact with the scalp.
"Detergent-grade sulfates, like sodium laurel sulfate and laureth sulfate, should be avoided as they may zap [the] hair and scalp of moisture, while stripping hair color," says Bailey. If you can, she recommends searching instead for products with decyl glucoside, as this is a mild, plant-based, biodegradable surfactant that will clean your hair gently.
5. Propylene Glycol
If you see propylene glycol listed in the ingredients of your hair products, you may want to switch to something without it. Bailey explains that even though it is a popular humectant that gives products slip, it could also cause skin irritation. Look for products that have natural humectants such as shea butter, vegetable glycerin, and argan oil, especially if you have a sensitive scalp.
6. Hair Ties On Wet Hair
It's no secret that your hair is in its most fragile state when it's wet. Ortega therefore warns against using hair ties while your hair is still wet. It will only cause your hair to break, she says. Always make sure your hair is completely dry before throwing it into a ponytail.
7. Oil-Based Products On Scalps
Ortega also warns against using oil-based products on your scalp. "You'll have to wash more often which will cause more breakage and dull hair color," she explains. So when using hair oils, make sure to keep them limited to the ends of your hair. After all, oils are pretty great for keeping your tips healthy and moisturized as long as you use them correctly.
8. Black Hair Dye
If you like dabbling in hair dye, try to stay away from black dye especially. Ortega explains that because it is the hardest and harshest color to undo, should you want to change to a different color, "it will only cause damage and will cost you a lot of money to remove." So you don't put too much stress on your hair and yourself, she recommends not using any dyes deeper than a dark brown.
Just imagine how healthy your locks would be if you never put these things on your hair again.