7 Ways You’re Secretly Damaging Your Hair On A Daily Basis

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Hair care is a long, slow process that takes place over weeks, months, and even years of regular regimens and maintenance. But just like we can make small, steady progress over the years, we can also inadvertently damage our hair the same way. 

Unfortunately, damaging your hair is far easier than keeping it healthy. In fact, these common “mistakes” are so common that it can be hard to identify them as hair care faux pas in the first place

But according to the experts, these seven habits are harder on your tresses than you might have thought.

1. You’re Overwashing

“It’s best to wash your hair as little as possible,” explains Melissa Gilbert, an aesthetician at FantasticServices.com. “Your scalp’s skin is covered with billions of good bacteria that make up its microbiome. They maintain your skin’s pH and prevent bad microbes from settling.”

“Washing and shampooing too often can upset that microbiome and lead to scalp problems,” Gilbert continues. “An imbalance in your scalp’s microbiome can lead to bad bacteria and fungi taking over it, causing issues like inflammation and dandruff.”

RELATED: Jennifer Aniston Breaks These Common Shampooing And Conditioning Hair Myths

2. You’re Showering Wrong

The way you wash your hair is important, too—not just frequency. “It may be the last thing you think about, but the best option is to wash your hair in lukewarm water,” Gilbert says. “You need warm water to open up your hair cuticle, which will help release the residue easier.”

“Also, make sure you wash your hair gently,” she adds. “Many people tangle their hair while washing by scrubbing vigorously. However, that just tangles and mattes it. This ends up roughing up the cuticle way too much, which can lead to hair loss.”

3. You’re Spending Too Much Time In The Sun

It’s fairly easy to remember skin protection while out in the sun. But what about your hair? According to Dr. Michael May, medical director at Wimpole Clinic, our hair is just at just as much risk from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

“Too much exposure to the sun can damage the hair’s structure and cause frizzy and dry hair that’s prone to breakage,” May says. “Protect your hair from UV rays just like how you protect your skin from the scorching sun. Apply UV protection hair products and wear a wide-brimmed hat before going out.”

4. You’re Missing Out On Essential Nutrients

Yep—there are many reasons to eat a balanced diet, and maintaining healthy hair is certainly one of them.

“If improving hair health is your goal, try adding more biotin-rich foods to your diet,” suggests Dr. Jae Pak, a hair restoration doctor. For example, this can include mushrooms, avocados, and sweet potatoes.

Additionally, you should probably stop skipping breakfast. “Your body receives all the vitamins and minerals it requires to function properly throughout the day [at breakfast],” says Justina Blakeney, founder and hair expert at Niawigs.com.

RELATED: Your Diet May Be Contributing To Your Hair Loss 

“Due to hair shedding and slowed hair development, skipping breakfast might be detrimental for your hair. Try to include foods like almonds, strawberries, eggs, and cinnamon in your healthy breakfast. They provide the energy boost that your hair needs.”

5. Your Products Contain Too Much Alcohol

“Using hair gels, hair sprays, and dry shampoos with denatured alcohol can dry your hair to an extreme level,” says Ghanima Abdullah, cosmetologist at TheRightHairstyles.com. Abdullah recommends these products instead.

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is a gentle, paraben- and sulfate-free dry shampoo with no denatured alcohols. It has a light floral scent and a fresh, no-streak finish. It’s also sustainably made with a natural, clean formula.

Instead of harsh, drying hairsprays, Abdullah suggests using Kenra’s alcohol-free Shaping Spray 21. Kenra’s Shaping Spray is the first professional hairspray that is alcohol-free, providing maximum moisture retention. But don’t worry: It still offers an extra firm, high-shine hold, even without this infamous hair product ingredient.

6. You’re Sleeping On The Wrong Pillowcase

Nathan Watson of LionLocs.com says to also pay attention to your sleeping habits. Sleeping takes up about one-third of our day. If you use the wrong pillowcase, you can unwittingly subject your hair to damage—that’s a lot of wear and tear to consider.

“Sleeping on a cotton pillow can lead to tangled hair and breakage,” Watson explains. “In addition to maintaining curls overnight, silk pillowcases prevent excessive pulling of hair during tossing and turning.”

Lunar Silks offers the highest grade, 100% pure mulberry silk in its pillowcases. These satiny soft pillow shams are available in four colors and two different sizes.

RELATED: Looking For Smooth, Frizz-Free Hair? Check Your Dresser Drawers

7. You’re Avoiding The Salon

Finally, while it might seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to prevent hair damage is to cut it. Waiting too long between haircuts can cause the hair cuticle to fray and snap, leading to breakage, thinning, and even hair loss.

“In order to maintain healthy ends and avoid breakage, the majority of women should generally get their haircut every three months,” Blakeney says. “It’s time to visit the salon if you find that your ends are becoming brittle or forming split ends.”

And speaking of salons—if you’re interested in dying your hair without causing intense damage, take a look at what our hair care experts had to say about the coloring process.

Maintaining healthy, shiny, happy hair is a full-time endeavor. But man, oh man, are those voluminous hair flips and silky soft locks worth it. 

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