The internet is full of beauty advice, some of it good, some of it utter rubbish. Even if you are careful not to damage your precious tresses, there are still some common practices that lead to a stressed, damaged mop. The following is a list of ten common hair care no-no’s, and their alternatives.
1. Over-shampooing strips natural oils from the hair and scalp, leading to dry, brittle hair. Even with long hair, a nickel-sized amount of shampoo is enough. Hair should not be shampooed every day. If you have an oily scalp that seems to demand daily shampoo, you can put your hair in a loose bun, and wash only your scalp. Or, massage your scalp under the water between washings.
2. I learned from my mom to make a towel turban for my hair after washing it. This is actually bad for wet hair. Wet hair should be gently squeezed with the towel, or even dried with an old tee-shirt. Wringing or rubbing your hair with the towel will only encourage frizz and breakage.
3. Never brush hair when wet. Wet hair does not have the tensile strength of dry hair, and can very easily snap when submitted to the stress of hairbrushes and combs. Ideally, allow your hair to dry before you brush it. In the event that you must detangle and/or style your hair while still damp, use leave-in conditioner or detangler first, and use a very wide-toothed comb.
4. Flat irons and blow dryers make hair dry and frizzy. If your style requires heat, always use high quality heat protectant cream or spray, and a ceramic flat iron.
5. Wearing hair in a tight pony tail or bun for long periods is very hard on your scalp, and causes stress to hair. Tight hair ties pull on the hair follicles, and metal hair clips often pull hairs out when removed. Cloth scrunchies are gentler, but wearing hair down for part of the day is better.
6. Applying too much or the wrong products is a common hair faux pas. Too much product will weigh the hair down, causing it to be flat. Lower quality styling products, especially gels and hairsprays, usually contain alcohol, which dries out hair. Too much serum or mousse makes the hair seem oily, leading to over shampooing. Instead, select products with the right amount of hold for your style, try not to use them every day, and use the highest quality products you can get.
7. Cutting hair with household scissors can not only result in a terrible cut, but also split ends. Salon scissors are much sharper than mufti-purpose scissors. If you trim your own locks, acquire a good set of actual hair cutting scissors.
8. Thankfully, perms are mostly out of style now, but people still sometimes chemically straighten or curl their hair. This is one of the most damaging things. Even repeated heat is not as bad as permanent chemical treatment. There is no good way to do it; perms should just be avoided.
9. Dyes containing peroxide and/or ammonia are very damaging. Both ingredients cause drying and frizzing, only partially mitigated by the conditioner in the dye box. Bleaching hair is really awful, and should never be done. That said, there are natural ways to color or at least add highlights. Henna is one such natural dye.
10. Aging hair should never be dyed or heat treated, and really does not appreciate styling products. Older locks should be handled reverentially, as they are less likely to regrow once follicles are stressed. If you really want to treat it, please use the most natural products possible.