6 Hairstyles That Are Actually Really Terrible For Long Hair, According To Experts

Having long hair can be awesome, but IMO, it should come with a set of rules so long haired ladies can keep their tresses in tip-top condition. If you have a majestic mane, you’ll likely be interested to know about hairstyles that are terrible for long hair, so you know what styles to steer clear of.

If you were into gymnastics or attended dance class as a child, you’ll probably remember the painstaking hairstyles your mom made you wear for special events, exams, and dance shows. If you also had long hair, you may still have nightmares about the eye-wateringly tight hairstyles you had to endure while performing a round-off triple back handspring, or the longest ballet dance known to the human race. Of course, these are the kind of styles you’re best off avoiding, but they’re certainly not the only ones.

Just like the rules for keeping Mogwais — laid out very clearly in the Gremlins movies — long locks would benefit from having guidelines on how to care for them. You’ll be glad to know you can still eat after midnight (thank goodness) but for gals who are in need of a little more guidance on how to treat their long hair, I spoke to some experts to discover what styles wreak havoc on long tresses.

1. Ponytails

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"A ponytail everyday can cause breakage at the ponytail holder if pulled too tight." Max Gierl, Senior Stylist at Mizu New York informs me via email, which doesn't bode well for folks who are fans of the super sleek Ariana Grande ponytail.

Judy McGuinness, Senior Stylist at Mizu New York tells me over email, "I think a lot of people that get into a rut with their long hair tend to pull their hair back constantly. While that is a convenient way to style your hair, it can be damaging the finer hairs around the hairline, and on the crown of the head where the ponytail sits." As a solution, McGuinness advises, "If you find you're always pulling your hair back, I suggest going to see your stylist who can recommend different ways to do it more gently, or for a haircut that will make it easier for you to wear down!"

Honey Artist Hairstylist, Corey Tuttle, adds, "Extremely tight ponytails with a hard elastic can cause breakage and damage to your hair." So if you're going to occasionally rock a tight ponytail, make sure your hair elastic isn't too severe.

2. Styles Created With Heated Tools

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"With today's hair trends, curling and straightening irons are as popular as ever to create those beautiful waves, but they are not good for your long hair as they can create damage if used daily." Dan Islava, Senior Stylist at Antonio Prieto Salon, tells me over email. He says, "If you have hair down to the middle of your back, the ends of your hair are at least a few years old and have been put through more heat, stress, and environmental damage than the newer part of your hair that's above the shoulders. That's why it is particularly important to protect and nurture the ends of your hair."

However, Islava advises on what to do in times when using heated tools is unavoidable. He says, "If curling irons or straightening irons are going to be used, it is extremely important to use a good protectant such as L'incroyable Blowdry lotion by Kerastase. With just one application of this lotion before blow-drying, your hair is protected from heat damage, for days, even when you re-style your hair with heat tools on the second and third day between washes."

Kerastase L'incroyable Blowdry Lotion, $34, Amazon

In addition to this, Tuttle tells me, "Excessive heat such as over blowdrying, using flat irons, or curling irons left on the strands of the hair too long, can also cause major damage to the hair."

While Gierl says, "Ironing without heat protectant can cause blisters in the cuticle making the hair very porous and drab looking." The moral of the story? Try not to use heated tools, but if you can't avoid them, make sure to use a heat protectant — or suffer the consequences!

3. Braids

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Caron Brown, a hair stylist at Haven Spa and Tuttle both inform me that tight braids are damaging to long hair. Tuttle tells me, "Very tight cornrows or braids closest to the scalp can also cause damage." So make sure your braids aren't super tight the next time you try out this style.

4. Wearing Your Hair Up While It’s Still Wet

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"Putting your hair up tightly while it is still wet, can cause breakage, and also be unhealthy for your hair." Says Tuttle. Thus, you might want to think twice about sporting up 'dos with wet hair.

5. Hairstyles That Involve Tons Of Teasing

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Brown says, "Lots of teasing damages on comb out." On a personal note, I can vouch for this: Being a part of a vintage girlband, I frequently have my hair backcombed and put into victory rolls. Although they look fantastic, it takes a ridiculously long time for me to comb out the tangles and, even when I'm being really careful, I still feel the odd strand being ripped out. So try to avoid teasing whenever possible.

6. Bleached Blonde Hair

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"Bleaching and over-processing of your hair color can also cause extreme damage, and breakage to your hair, especially if you are trying to keep your hair long and healthy." Tuttle tells me, "Try using semi-permanent colors, free of peroxide and ammonia for a healthy alternative for color."

If you want healthy, strong, Rapunzel hair IRL, commit these hairstyles to memory so as not to damage your lovely locks!