Straight hair can be a blessing and a curse. Yes, you’ve been genetically handed the type of hair 95 percent of girls covet, but according to NYC hairstylist Adam Maclay, “Straight hair tends to break easier than a curly or medium texture hair type.” The key to managing it, he says, is to always be gentle. And avoid all of the following mistakes:
Putting Your Hair In A Ponytail While Wet
“Hair has 50 percent less elasticity when wet, so imagine your hair like a rubber band,” Maclay says. “If you stretch it and then let it dry while pulled tight… damage is going to inevitably occur.” Let your hair dry naturally and freely.
Brushing Your Hair While Wet
Same theory, same outcome. Running a heavy brush through your wet strands stretches them, resulting in breakage and frizzy ends. “Gently brush from ends to roots, working your way up in small sections to avoid over pulling your hair.”
Overusing Hair Tools
Straight hair most often comes with fine hair territory, and using all of your heat styling tools on this hair type is a huge contributor to damage. Maclay says that if you want to flat iron your hair, wash the night before and air dry so you are only using one heat source. That should be all you need, though: “Thankfully straight hair tends to dry straight!” he says.
Using The Wrong Products
While those with straight, fine hair can get away with using lighter products than those with thick or curly hair types, Maclay says that one of the big traps is overusing alcohol-based products. “These can dry out straight, fine hair over time and cause massive damage.” Try natural or alcohol-free lines instead, like L’Oreal Paris EverStyle products.
Over-Coloring Your Hair
Yep, this'll damage your strands too. “If you do want to go lighter, talk with your colorist about mapping this process out, and gradually take yourself lighter to avoid major damage,” says Maclay. Plus, he recommends always using a color-conserving product alongside your color change, “to add in moisturizing qualities that help to conserve the health of your hair.” Try the Aveda Color Conserve line.
Not Protecting Your Hair From The Elements
Even things that are out of your control can be tough on straight hair. “The elements – like pollution, wind, chlorine and salt water – can be drying and damaging on this hair type,” Maclay explains. Protect your strands by coating them in a hydrating masque once a week.