Even though no one gets in the shower with the goal of ruining their hair, that's exactly what's happening in a lot of cases. Whether it's due to super hot water, hard water, or a dirty tub, there are plenty of ways your shower can affect your hair.
Are your strands sticky, dried out, or full of split ends? Then, sorry to say, but this might be what's going on. "Although showers can be a relaxing and sometimes soothing space for our minds and bodies, it may not be the best place when washing your hair," Kiyah Wright, two time Emmy Award-winning celebrity stylist and CEO of Muze|Hair, tells Bustle.
So, what exactly might you be doing wrong? Well, it seems half of the issues have to do with habits and technique, while the other half have everything to do with the shower itself. The good news, though, is that all of it can be changed. Once you're aware of how your shower might be messing with your strands, it's pretty easy to remedy the situation. (Hint, you're probably going to want to buy a shower filter.) Here are some ways your shower, and your showering habits, might be ruining your hair — as well as what to do about it.
1. Your Tap Water Is Too Hard
If your hair never feels clean, it may be all thanks to the quality of your water. "Most water in the USA is hard, which means that it leaves deposits on the hair that cause extreme dryness and breakage," licensed master barber Erma Williams-Nurse tells Bustle. "You can rectify this issue by getting a water filter and using a chelating shampoo to remove the mineral deposits." Doing so will make a big difference.
2. Your Shower Is Way Too Hot
Yes, I know. Nothing's better than a hot shower. But is it really worth ruining your hair? "Hot water dries out the scalp skin and promotes flaky conditions like dandruff," says Dr. Soman Yadav, a medical director at JUVERNE. "It also promotes rebound oiliness of the scalp." To solve the issue, Yadav suggests wearing a shower cap so you can take a steamy shower without ruining your hair.
3. You're Staying In There For Forever
If your hair is suffering from breakage, it could be due to the length of your showers. "Too much water causes the hair to swell, which is bad for your hair's cuticles," says Williams-Nurse. "If your hair (and ultimately your cuticles) are swelling due to too much water and water that is too hot, you will suffer with weak strands that are littered with split ends."
4. You Aren't Removing Buildup
Has your hair been looking lifeless as of late? If so, it could be that you're not removing buildup — from dirt, oil, and hair products — which can make hair appear dull, natural health expert and author Demetria Clark tells me. To remedy the situation, you can rinse your hair with something natural, like apple cider vinegar. Or, you can try a clarifying shampoo.
5. You're Washing Your Strands Far Too Often
While it may be tempting, try not to wash your hair every single day — even if you get sweaty. "Try a cool water rinse, if you must, and a spritz of very diluted white vinegar in water on roots as the penultimate thing when washing," Yadav says. This'll stretch out your shampoo, without the need for another shower.
6. Your Shower Is All Kinds Of Dirty
If it's been a minute since the last time you scrubbed your tub, think about how it could be affecting your hair. "A dirty shower can ... be the culprit for some not-so-nice hair," says Wright. "The dirt and grime from your shower walls can cause bacteria to transfer to your hair, not making it so squeaky clean after washing." Time to haul out the cleaning supplies, don't you think?
7. You're Rinsing With Hot Water
OK, so we already know that a hot shower isn't great for your hair. But this is especially true when it comes to rinsing. "When rinsing conditioner out of your hair after shampooing, use cool water instead of hot," Wright suggests. "The cooler water locks the conditioner into your strands, which leads to more moisturized and easier-to-tame tresses when it's time to style."
8. You Aren't Using The Right Products
If you're just scrubbing away with any old product, it may be time to up your game a little. "If you shampoo your hair in the shower, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo," Wright says. "When shampoos with sulfate and hard water mix, the sulfate can actually make the water even more harder, damaging and weaking your hair." Not good.
9. You're Using Too Much Shampoo
Depending on the texture of your hair, you might not even want to use shampo at all. "If you have textured or coarse hair, ditch your shampoo and co-wash, washing with just conditioner," Wright says. "Using just conditioner will leave your curls ... healthier and easier to maintain when you hop out of the shower."
10. You're Over-Scrubbing Your Scalp
When it comes to showering, being as gentle with your hair as possible. "It’s not necessary to over-scrub the scalp as the product you are using should do the work for you," says Dr. William Yates, a premier hair loss doctor and hair replacement surgeon. And, while you're at it, avoiding aggressively combing or brushing wet hair. It only leads to breakage.
11. You're Drying Too Dramatically
Post shower, be sure not to dry too dramatically, as it can seriously mess up your hair. "When towel drying the hair, blot the moisture out of it as too much friction can damage strands and scrub off any conditioner or positive benefits from products you’ve used," says Yates. It may not feel as satisfying, but it'll certainly save your hair.
As will avoiding these other mistakes above. If your shower is ruining the health of your hair, a few quick changes should get things back on track.
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