I have always loved my long hair. But it can be a real pain when it doesn’t want to grow, or I’m constantly shedding. It turns out there are a bunch of shower mistakes that ruin hair — so people who pride themselves on their long hair have even more reason to study up on the rules of good hair care.
I decided it was time for these mistakes to stop (I also really wanted to know how to get healthy hair), so I reached out to Donna Tripodi, the Master Stylist at Eva Scrivo Salons in NYC. We had a chat about the most common shower mistakes that cause long hair damage. Tripodi said, “Longer hair has been through far more with you, so make sure to take the proper steps to keep it nourished and healthy.”
Apparently I’m not the only person who has trouble keeping long hair from shedding, either. Tripodi said, “We typically lose about 50-100 strands of hair per day." The cause can often be from breakage (a lot of which actually occurs in the shower, while washing hair) among other factors. She told me, “On a healthy head of hair, some (hairs) fall out and new ones grow in, as the new hair pushes the old strand out of the follicle…The healthier you are, the better your body works to extend your natural growth cycle.”
So, it’s time to stop making these common mistakes in the shower and to start listening to your stylist. You can make a few easy fixes that will go a long way in helping promote a healthy head of long, beautiful hair.
1. Stop Skipping A Pre-Shampoo Treatment. Before You Shower, Use An Oil To Break Down Products.
Tripodi told me that you should apply an essential oil to your hair before you shower to loosen up product. "The oil helps break down the product, so that I can get my brush through more easily. Apply a few drops and gently comb through the hair, starting at the ends and working your way up. Leave on for up to 20 minutes, and then shampoo and condition as you normally would." This one detangles, softens, and protects hair. It's perfect for people with dry, over-processed hair, as it will gently dissolve away product buildup for more volume at the hair's root.
2. Stop Brushing Hair In The Shower. But If You Must, Use A Wide Tooth Comb.
"Hair, while wet, is 20 percent more vulnerable to breakage," said Tripodi. Its vulnerable state will not respond well to your regular brush — but if you know you'll do it anyway, invest in a waterproof wide tooth comb. Make sure you're starting from the bottom of hair and working your way up, so you aren't pulling at knots. "Also adding a drop or two of conditioner...helps relieve that tension on the hair."
3. Stop Using Products That Aren't Made For Your Hair Type. Instead, Use Salon Quality Shampoo And Conditioner.
Klorane Shampoo with Flax Fiber , $15, Amazon; Klorane Conditioning Balm with Flax Fiber, $16, Amazon
Your stylist knows best, so take their advice and actually use the products that they use on your hair at the salon. Or, if you weren't a fan of the product that they used, speak up and ask them what shampoo and conditioner combo would be best for your hair. A silicone-free shampoo with flax fiber adds volume to hair, while the conditioner instantly detangles hair, which means minimal breakage.
4. Don't Shampoo Every Day. But If You Must, Use One With Low Detergent.
"Most people can get away with washing their hair 1-2 times per week," Tripodi told me. "If you must wash your hair daily, opt for a shampoo that is very low in detergent, and leave it on the scalp for an extra 3-5 minutes so that it can works its magic." This formula is paraben- and sulfate-free. It's also super lightweight, and its formula works to smooth your hair's cuticle.
(And Find A Great Dry Shampoo For In Between)
If you can wait a few days in between washes, instead of using an aerosol dry shampoo, find one that's powder based. This one won't feel as heavy on the hair, as arrowroot powder and kaolin clay get to work quickly absorbing excess oils.
5. Don't Forget About Your Scalp. Use A Gentle Shampoo That Removes Build Up Once A Week.
It's important to take care of your scalp, too. And that means that you have to keep it free of build up. Build up can come from product, natural oils, or dandruff. So, once a week, use a shampoo that is gentle enough to wash away all of the build-up without stripping hair of the moisture it needs to promote growth. A good product will have keratin, which will smooth damaged cuticles (meaning less frizz!).
6. Don't Leave Your Hair Wrapped Tightly In A Regular Towel. Use A Microfiber Towel, So Hair Doesn't Pull.
"At a certain point, the hair can start to attach itself to the towel, creating friction when pulled away, which causes frizz and damage," said Tripodi. If you're like me, and your hair just takes too long to dry, find a microfiber towel that is super gentle on hair. Because the towel fibers are finer than a regular towel and are woven super tightly, your hair won't get caught and pulled out. Plus, it'll dry much faster, so that means less time the towel is even on your head.
7. Don't Use The Same Cleansing Techniques For All Hair Types. Long Hair Benefits From 'Reverse Care.'
Condition first and then shampoo. "This allows you to get all the knots and tangles out of the hair first, without weighing it down again with conditioner," said Tripodi. The whole idea is that the conditioner not only detangles hair first, but it also adds a protective layer to hair fibers. The layer is meant to create a shield from further damage that washing may cause. After you condition, you use a shampoo that wraps itself around the whole fiber to reduce friction that happens during cleansing.
Images: Fotolia (1); Amazon (10)
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