14 Common Shower Mistakes Women Make That Damage Their Hair

By Emily Estep

Ah, the shower — revitalizing in the morning, relaxing in the evening, and all-around pleasant any time of day. But, if you're a repeat offender of one of many common shower mistakes, you could be causing your hair more harm than good.

If you're not careful, your rejuvenating shower can quickly turn into a nightmare for sensitive hair follicles and finicky scalps. Harsh shampoos, hot water, and even the wrong kind of towel can all cause problems and seriously damage your hair. And even if you think your hair is healthy, you could still benefit from some scalp care or shampoo that's made for color-treated hair. For instance, as soft as my hair was, I knew I was guilty of washing my hair too much, and I even used bar soap when I was in a pinch. Soon enough, my hair became super dry — and while I could reverse the damage, I wish I had taken better care of my hair in the first place.

If you're looking for a way to enjoy your shower time and still come out with strong, healthy hair, here are some mistakes you might not even know you're making — and how to fix them, of course.

Using Shampoo Loaded With Sulfates On Already Damaged Hair

Maple Holistics Argan Oil Shampoo, $9, Amazon

Shampoos packed with sulfates can be too harsh on sensitive skin and can even ruin your chosen hair color, which is why this sulfate-free argan oil shampoo can make a huge difference. This argan and keratin hair treatment is packed with a long list of vitamins that increase strand strength and give you bouncy hair, while avocado, jojoba, and peach kernel oil nourish the scalp.

Washing Your Hair In Hard Water

Aquasana AQ-4105 Showerhead Filter System, $84, Amazon

Hard water can really reek havoc on your hair and scalp, and if you live in an area where the tap is particularly mineral-heavy, there's just not much you can do about it. Or is there? This showerhead and filter system removes 90 percent of chlorine from water and balances pH for shinier, healthier hair that holds color longer. And bonus: it'll give you softer skin, too.

Shampooing Curly Hair Frequently

Devacurl Original Kit with No-Poo and One Condition, $53, Amazon

Lots of people are catching on to the "no-poo" movement — which means they are skipping shampoo entirely. Supposedly, this tactic helps to avoid stripping your hair and scalp of natural oils, and it's especially popular for those with curlier hair who've found that shampoo has dried their locks out entirely. This no-poo and conditioner kit embraces the lifestyle, with orange peel extract, grapeseed oil, wheat amino acids and more to gently cleanse and nourish, no-poo-style.

Using A Regular Deep Conditioner On Color-Treated Hair

Arvazallia Rejuvenating Hair Mask and Deep Conditioner, $14, Amazon

Standard hair conditioners aren't designed for color-treated hair, and therefore they don't help you maintain color for a long time. And if you're using a hair mask once a week, you should go the extra mile and find one that's made for color-treated hair. This deep conditioner and hair mask will do the trick — it's free of parabens and sulfates, and it's fortified with argan oil and macadamia oil for soft, vibrant color.

Ignoring Your Scalp

Zyllion Shampoo Scalp Massage Brush, $5, Amazon

Hair care starts at the scalp, where each of your hair follicles is directly impacted by the health of the skin on top of your head. One way to keep the blood flowing and the skin glowing is with regular scalp rubs, which you can do in the shower each day with this shampoo scalp massage brush, which will provide a thorough massage to your all-important scalp each time you cleanse your hair. And it feels great, too.

Drying Your Hair With The Same Towel You Use On Your Body

Aquis Microfiber Hair Towel, $21, Amazon

Though drying your hair with a towel is infinitely more gentle than blow drying, the application of a standard cotton towel on your sensitive strands can cause frizziness and breakage. If you use this separate microfiber hair towel, however, you can ensure that your hair is towel-dried thoroughly without causing any frizz, ushering you along on your routine without any damage.

Distributing Conditioner Unevenly On Your Hair

Goody Ouchless Shower Hair Comb, $7, Amazon

While some people put way too much conditioner on the scalp (leading to a greasy scalp), others are guilty of putting way too much on the ends of their hair, which can leave it drier. Solve the problem with this shower hair comb, which allows you to distribute product evenly from scalp to tip, while also gently detangling and cutting down brushing time once you're out of the shower.

Cleaning With Regular Shampoo After Frequently Swimming

UltraSwim Dynamic Duo Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, $15, Amazon

Whether you're an Olympic swimmer or just lucky enough to have access to a pool, the threat of chlorine to your hair is real — too much exposure, and it'll strip your natural oils and turn it that familiar shade of green. This swimmer's shampoo and conditioner duo repairs the outer protein layer of hair, where chlorine does its worse damage, reversing the ill effects of your summer swims.

Drying Out Hair With Frequent Shampooing

Sun Bum Beach Formula Dry Shampoo, $15, Amazon

Most of us are guilty of simply showering and shampooing too often, which leads to a chronically dry hair and scalp combo. But if you're worried about oil, try a dry shampoo out — what's unique about this one is not only does it eliminate oil, sweat, and oil, it protects your hair from damaging UV rays. It's made with tapioca starch, and it's vegan, free of sulfates, and contains no silicone.

Letting Product Buildup Damage Hair

ACURE Clarifying Shampoo, $8, Amazon

Between the various conditioners, hair gels, and hair sprays you apply on a daily basis, it's no wonder why you're weighed down with product buildup. This lemongrass clarifying shampoo cleanses thoroughly but gently, getting rid of buildup without drying out your hair — it's loaded with organic argan oil and avocado oil to replace much-needed moisture. Plus, it's color-safe and contains no synthetic fragrances.

Washing Out All That Nourishing Conditioner

Renpure Coconut Whipped Creme Leave-In Conditioner, $10, Amazon

If your routine normally consists of a conditioner that you rinse out before you hop out, why not add a leave-in conditioner to your schedule, allowing your hair to hydrate for hours after you shower? This leave-in conditioner is packed with coconut water that quickly absorbs into your hair leaving it bouncy, not weighed down, and its formula is completely free of sulfates and parabens.

Letting Hot Winter Showers Damage Your Hair

Betty Dain Mold Resistant Shower Cap, $7, Amazon

Everyone loves a nice, hot shower during the cold winter months — and I'm personally guilty of taking an extra-steamy shower during the spring allergy season — but that hot water can really dry out and harm your hair. With this mold and mildew resistant shower cap, you can take as many hot showers as your heart desires, while keeping your hair safe from the high temperatures.

Using Products With Artificial Colorants And Parabens

Jason Sea Kelp Conditioner, $9, Amazon

Most shampoos and conditioners are packed with artificial colorants, synthetic fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and so much more. These potentially harmful ingredients are meaningless to some but can be a source of dry hair for others. Don't risk it and try out this natural conditioner instead — it's formulated with sea kelp, Hawaiian ginger root, and kukui nut oil to soften and hydrate as nature intended.

Using Harsh Products To Get Rid Of Dandruff

HoneySkin Restorative Shampoo, $11, Amazon

If you struggle with dandruff — or with eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, or other sensitive skin issues — don't attempt to tackle it with a shampoo that's too harsh, which can sometimes dry out the scalp and aggravate the issue. Instead, opt for this gentle, restorative shampoo that uses organic ingredients such as manuka honey and aloe vera to soothe and protect your scalp, putting skin issues to rest.

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