The 10 worst things you do to your hair

Redbook
Ways to stop damaging your hair

(Clean out your hairy brush/Getty images)

As much as we'd love to agree with Elle Woods that the rules of hair care are simple and finite, there are plenty of ways you may be harming your precious strands without even knowing it. Here's how to stop the damage.










Using old styling tools

You want to make sure to clean out those hairy brushes, which are breeding grounds for germs and old residue — things no one wants in their hair.

"Remove the hair from the brush after each styling session," advises Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a New York-based trichologist. Once a month, clean brushes and combs with a little baking soda and water, dissolving well, soaking for a couple of minutes, and rinsing thoroughly. The baking soda removes oils and products that can get stuck in the bristles.

(See more: Find your best bangs - The 5 most flattering styles)


Use a loose hair tie

(Use a loose hair tie / Getty images)

Using a rough elastic

It's not 1995, but the scrunchie could be making a comeback. The best type of elastic to use in your hair is something covered in fabric — a dense, thin hair tie can irritate your strands causing breakage if pulled to tightly. If you just want to get your hair out of your face, try gently pulling it back using bobby pins or claws.

Anything too tight is damaging, so try to think loose.












Take it easy on the chemical processing

(Take it easy on the chemical processing / Getty Images)

Infusing hair with too many chemicals

Too many artificial chemicals are bad for any part of your body — and your hair is no exception. Too much coloring, keratin-ing, and relaxing can cause breakage and damage. Make sure you keep the number of chemical processes to a minimum, and consider establishing a routine that involves preemptive care before undergoing chemical treatments, like a scalp mask or an elasticizer — a pre-shampoo protective treatment — a couple days prior to visiting the hairdresser, says Phillips. When you do arrive at the salon, always tell your stylist about any prior treatments, even if they didn't work out. The damage could still be there.



Setting the heat too high can damage hair

(Lower the heat setting / Getty Images)

Setting the heat too high

Excess heat strips hair of its natural moisture, causing your cuticles to dry and snap off — leading to some thirsty-looking strands. That's why we're told not to turn the heat all the way up on our styling tools, but how do you know how hot is too hot?

To start, don't turn the dial above "medium." Phillips also suggests holding a blow dryer up to the back of your hand. If your skin feels comfortable, you've found a good setting. If you have seriously stubborn hair and need to use extra heat, always make sure you're using a heat protectant. And as rule of thumb, the less heat the better, so try to style your hair when it's as dry as possible — don't blow dry when it's dripping wet, instead wait until it's damp.

 


Don't skip heat protectant

(Use a protectant / Getty Images)

Skipping heat protectant

You've heard it over and over again, but for good reason. "Heat protectant spray is important to prevent damage to the hair shaft," says Phillips.  "It will help the shaft maintain moisture and prevent excess breakage by coating and moisturizing your strands."

One to try: Tresemme Heat Tamer Spray ($7.50; Amazon.com). Spritz it on damp or dry hair from around six inches away right before you begin heat styling with a blow dryer, curling iron, or flat iron. Make sure it coats each section that is going to be exposed to heat, but not so much that your hair is sopping wet again. A light spray will do the trick.






View gallery

.
Going too long between haircuts

(Get a trim / Getty Images)

Going too long between haircuts

While picking at split ends might be a great procrastinating tool, it's also a wake-up call that you're due for a trim. Over time, split ends tend to divide into even bigger split ends, causing your hair to thin and weaken.

To keep hair looking healthy — and whole — try cutting 1/2-inch off your ends every month, or every other month if you're trying to grow hair long. Dead ends don't add to your length anyway, so trimming them gives your hair a chance to reboot.




View gallery

.
Brushing from the roots down

(Brushing correctly / Getty Images)

Brushing from the roots down

Brushing your locks from top to bottom can cause snags and breakage. To go about it in a gentler way, divide your hair into three-to-four-inch sections and smooth from the bottom up.

To do this, grab hair a few inches from the bottom, and brush down from where your hand is. Move your hand up a few inches and repeat the process until you get to the roots. This way, there's not one long stroke from the top to the bottom, but little baby strokes that are way gentler.










Handling wet hair roughly

(Use a protectant / Getty Images)

Handling wet hair roughly

When hair is wet, cuticle scales can lift, making moist strands more delicate and more susceptible to breakage and split ends than dry hair. Make sure you always smooth damp hair with a wide-tooth comb, like Sephora Collection Wide Tooth Comb ($3) — using a brush or narrow-tooth comb can be too rough because it pulls too harshly causing snaps and breakage. The same goes for towel-drying, which can lead to ripping or breaking the strands if you rub too hard.










Slathering on too many products

(Use less product / Getty Images)

Slathering on too many products

The last things you want to do are cause build-up and strip your hair of its natural oils. If you have fine hair, your locks will end up weighed down, creating the opposite effect of what you're trying to achieve.

On natural hair, too many products can create dry strands by over-coating the cuticle and preventing moisturizing serums from getting to the center.

And while thicker hair takes to products a bit better, start with less product than you think you need, building up if that amount isn't doing the trick. Every woman needs heat protectant, dry shampoo for greasy days, and shine serum for frizzy days. If you want to use additional products or are unsure if you're putting too much in, try applying products to wet hands to thin them out a little — you can always add more.



Keeping the same shampoo for changing hair

(You don't have to switch shampoo / Getty Images)

Keeping the same shampoo for changing hair

Most women seem to think that they need to routinely switch their shampoo in order to keep locks from building up a tolerance to product. Not true, says Phillips. "Change your shampoo when hair circumstances change, for example, if color or highlights have been added."

Additionally, many women tend to experience some type of hair loss during pregnancy. When this happens, try switching to a shampoo and conditioner for thinning hair like Nioxin (starting at $13.20; Yahoo! Shopping), which was initially developed for post-partum hair loss.




More from Redbook:

5 Ways To Master At-Home Hair Color

13 Best Dry Shampoos

The Top 100 Salons In America


Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Stephen Hawking warned us about contacting aliens, but this astronomer says it's 'too late'

      In 2010, physicist Stephen Hawking voiced concern about the possibility that we might contact...

      Business Insider
    • 40-year-old Florida woman accused of sex with teens at her child’s party

      A Florida woman accused of having sex with teenagers is facing additional charges in connection with the same incident. A total of five victims have now been identified, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Three of them are 16-year-old boys. Jaimie Ayer, 40, was charged with an additional four counts of unlawful sexual activity. The sheriff’s office announced Thursday she was originally charged with three counts of unlawful sexual activity of certain minors. At that time, officials determined there were two victims, 16- and 17-year-old males. All seven counts stem from an incident on Dec. 23 in which the Bradenton woman allegedly was giving alcohol and having sex with minors at

      Miami Herald q
    • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wedding 'on the cards' says her gun-toting half-brother

      The tearaway half-brother of Meghan Markle has begged for forgiveness ahead of her potential royal marriage to Prince Harry, and says he would "love" to attend the wedding. Tom Markle Jr, 50, grew up with Meghan in California, but the two have since taken very different life paths. While Meghan, 35, enjoys considerable success as Rachel Zane in US legal drama Suits, Tom has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

      International Business Times UK q
    • 'Put up the picture again': Chris Wallace uses photos to confront Trump chief of staff over false crowd-size claims

      Fox News anchor Chris Wallace confronted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday over...

      Business Insider
    • That didn't take long: Trump's press secretary is already a meme

      We're one day into the Trump presidency and the memes are already flying. President Donald Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave a press conference Saturday in which he complained about the media's "false" reporting of crowd numbers at the inauguration.  Although he admitted to not having any, you know, hard figures, he declared:  "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe." SEE ALSO: All the best protest signs from Women's Marches across America In so many ways, he was just plain wrong. Pictures from President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009 show many more people on the mall than on Saturday, and D.C.'s transport agency told the Washington Post that 570,557 people took trips Friday compared to 1.1 million trips in 2009. Nielsen also estimated that about 31 million viewers watched TV coverage of the day —  less than Obama and Ronald Reagan's first inaugurations. Not to mention, Spicer claimed that Trump's inauguration was the first time "floor coverings" had been used to protect grass on the National Mall, making empty space more obvious. He was also wrong: Tarps have been used before. Now people on the internet have suggestions for some other "yuge" inaccurate facts Spicer could share next. Of course, there's already the inevitable Twitter account @SeanSpicerFacts as well as the #SpicerFacts hashtag. Guess the number of jelly beans.Me: 87Wife: 134Sean Spicer: 1.5 million #spicerfacts pic.twitter.com/dq7MmhgG3H — Mark Zohar (@markzohar) January 22, 2017 Donald Trump was the first person to walk on the moon, despite what the dishonest media claims. #SpicerFacts — Sean Spicer Facts (@SeanSpicerFacts) January 22, 2017 A picture of the press secretary mid-briefing proved the meme's most popular incarnation. Did you know, for example, that "you're free to leave the Hotel California whenever you'd like?" Or, perhaps, that "Nickleback has sold more records than any band in history. Period?" Well, now you know thanks to #SpicerFacts. "You're free to leave the Hotel California whenever you'd like." #SpicerFacts pic.twitter.com/hce2BSTjtH — Brian (@briblu311) January 22, 2017 Nickleback has sold more records than any other band in history. Period. — Sean Spicer pic.twitter.com/4l3Hbx9cLK — Bob (@bstephen) January 22, 2017 "The bass lines for 'Ice Ice Baby' and 'Under Pressure' are completely different. Period." #SpicerFacts pic.twitter.com/Sg4uY3OHgA — Erik The Web (@torgospizza) January 22, 2017 #SpicerFacts This is not my fathers suit, Period. pic.twitter.com/DiBC8dzWJN — Trump's tweet Editor (@Spyhuntress) January 22, 2017 "Kelis' milkshake brought NO boys to the yard, period" - @PressSec pic.twitter.com/XWg7gHY6rX — colton dunn (@captdope) January 22, 2017 Well you see, Egypt is not in Africa. That's why movies and TV have white actors playing Egyptians. #SpicerFacts pic.twitter.com/EZxlkal03u — Black Girl Nerds (@BlackGirlNerds) January 22, 2017 "Suicide Squad was the most critically acclaimed movie of 2016. Period." #SpicerFacts pic.twitter.com/wvjrmH8mfj — Film School Rejects (@rejectnation) January 22, 2017 "The Earth is flat. Period." #spicerfacts pic.twitter.com/BCN5Gg5OJN — Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) January 22, 2017 “The Warriors did not blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals last year.” #SpicerFacts pic.twitter.com/Fc3AVrsSEE — Joon Lee (@iamjoonlee) January 22, 2017 The groundhog is the most accurate predictor of weather in history. Period #SpicerFacts pic.twitter.com/QyEOOvn8DX — Chaco (@Chaco_Chicken) January 22, 2017 The Associated Press contributed reporting. BONUS: Trump's 2017 vs Obama's 2009: A brutal inaugural concert comparison

      Mashable
    • 10 Facts About Charles Manson's Imprisonment That Will Disgust You

      Infamous convicted murderer Charles Manson has spent nearly five decades imprisoned since his death sentence in 1971 was commuted to life. Suffice it to say that his peculiar behavior behind bars is far from that of a model prisoner. The following 10 facts take a glimpse into the life of a caged madman as well as the bizarre fan base his lunacy attracts. 10 A Disturbing Fan Base Despite the fact that Manson undoubtedly has had a lot of “alone” time—over four decades locked away in protective custody in a California state prison—he receives plenty of fan mail to keep him occupied as well as continuous meet-and-greet requests. In fact, Manson has received more mail than any other prisoner in the

      Listverse q
    • Criminals can’t wait to be arrested by this sexy cop

      Talk about New York’s Finest. Samantha Sepulveda is a local police officer who doubles as a lingerie and swimsuit model — and her sexy poses have garnered more than 110,000 followers on her @sammysep Instagram page. Sepulveda, 32, is only 5-foot-2 but deceptively tough. She’s a fitness fanatic who wields her femininity more effectively than a firearm. “I talk men into handcuffs all the time because they don’t want to fight me,” she told The Post. She joined the force in 2010. About three years later, a friend who worked for a lingerie and swimsuit company invited her to model in a runway fashion show — and launched her new career. Sepulveda refused to name her police department to avoid any notoriety,

      New York Post q
    • Discarded protest signs from the Women’s March in NYC (28 photos)

      Following the march in New York City, protesters left behind thousands of signs around Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower. Many signs left near a construction site were taken home by admirers as souvenirs. One group of placards was made into an art installation on East 57th Street, while many of these great signs were discarded near receptacles along Fifth Avenue waiting for sanitation. (Yahoo News) Photography by Gordon Donovan /Yahoo News _____ Related slideshows: Slideshow: Signs of the Women's March around the world >>> Slideshow: Women's March on Washington, D.C. >>> Slideshow: Women’s March around the world >>> Slideshow: How newspapers covered President's Trump inauguration >>> Slideshow: Anti-Trump inauguration protests break out in U.S. >>> Slideshow: Protests worldwide against the inauguration of Donald Trump >>> Slideshow: Obama's Washington >>> Slideshow: Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day >>> Slideshow: 66 hands on 66 Bibles >>> See more news-related photo galleries , and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Tumblr.  

      Yahoo News Photo Staff
    • Gavin Rossdale Opens Up About Split from Gwen Stefani: ‘Divorce Was Opposite to What I Wanted’

      Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani may have ended their nearly 13-year marriage in 2015, but the rocker still thinks his ex-wife is “incredible.”

      People
    • Bill Gates shares the critical lesson he learned from his 4th grade teacher

      When the self-made billionaire met Mrs. Caffiere, he was a timid 9-year-old.

      CNBC.com q
    • Teenage mother arrested after 'taping' two-year-old son to the wall so she could do housework

      A woman in the US has been arrested after she live-streamed a video of herself taping her two-year-old son to a wall. Authorities were alerted to the disturbing video, which shows Shayla Rudolph, 18, taping her toddler son's mouth shut and pinning him to the wall. Rudolph appears to explain that she restrained her son in order to do her housework.

      International Business Times UK q
    • With 5 Simple Words, Mark Zuckerberg Says Everything That Needs to Be Said About Vaccines

      Mark Zuckerberg stirred up a parenting debate, and it has nothing to do with Facebook privacy settings nor photos of breastfeeding moms. No, it has to do with a simple photo he posted about his then 1-month-old daughter, Max. Like so many new dads before him, Mark's been sharing his daughter's milestones on his Facebook page — her first quantum physics book, her first New Year's Eve, her first Star Wars pose — and her first round of vaccinations. A year ago, he posted a photo of Max bundled up and sitting on his lap at what is likely to be her pediatrician's office and wrote, "Doctor's visit — time for vaccines!" With those five words, one of the world's richest and "most influential people"

      PopSugar q
    • AT&T is losing cellphone customers, fast

      AT&T is steaming ahead at full speed with its plan to merge with media company Time Warner. That's probably a good thing for the company's bottom line, as the wireless business is losing customers at speed. According to an analyst note from Cowen and Company Equity Research, seen by  Fierce Wireless , AT&T is leading other carriers in customers departing every quarter. "“When asking postpaid subscribers that have been with their carrier (less than) two years which carrier did they previously have, the top answer for current Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon respondents was ‘previously AT&T,’ whereas in previous surveys it’s been more mixed," the note reportedly said. That makes sense when you look at AT&T's numbers. The company lost 268,000 subscribers during Q3 2016, and a Wells Fargo analyst predicted  that the company lost another 220,000 in the fourth quarter. AT&T claims the subscriber losses are due to a new, more focused retentions system, whereby they focus more on lucrative customers, and allow those on cheaper plans to defect to other cell carriers. That's what you'd expect a company that's slowly fading to say, but it does also make a small amount of sense given AT&T's recent direction. It's focusing more on high-value customers who buy cable, TV and wireless service in a bundle, or those who at least subscribe to DirecTV Now. The strategy adopted by T-Mobile , which is probably stealing most of AT&T's customers, is nearly the complete opposite. For T-Mobile, it's all about selling the single semi-unlimited data plan it now offers and getting multiple lines onto one account. Time is going to tell which strategy ultimately makes more money, but history is more in favor of T-Mobile's direction here. The economics of wireless leans in favor of the more customers, the better. The additional cost of letting one more customer use your giant national infrastructure is low, so the more customers you have, the easier it is to grow your network -- and the data shows that the one thing people really care about is good service.

      BGR News
    • Carly Fiorina reacts to the Women's March on Washington

      Former presidential candidate suggests on 'Sunday Morning Futures' that demonstrators give the new president time

      Fox Business Videos
    • White House goes to war with the press over dubious claims about crowd sizes

      President Donald Trump's top officials stood defiant for a second day in the face of...

      Business Insider
    • These dog protesters at the Women’s March are our ultimate heroes, and their signs are literally fetch

      We have been so impressed by the amount of support women received this weekend at the various Women’s Marches throughout the country….

      Hello Giggles
    • Punter Pat McAfee Fired Off A Tweetstorm About The Colts GM Right After He Was Fired

      The Indianapolis Colts fired GM Ryan Grigson on Saturday. It seemed like a move that needed to happen, as Indy’s on-field performance over the last few years has declined while rumblings of a rift between Grigson and Chuck Pagano have been out there for a while. McAfee has been in Indianapolis since 2009, so he’s seen the inner workings of this organization before and during the Grigson years.

      UPROXX
    • Why No One Likes Adam Sandler Anymore

      Sandler's nasty attitude and his constant failures with critics should be enough to kill his career, but even all that hasn't done it yet.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • High-jumping dog clears gate in a single bound

      "Chill my dog can't get out of the gate"pic.twitter.com/EPIwV3Yy8B— ㅤㅤㅤ (@GeoMcBerry) January 21, 2017This is the dog the sports world needs. Fearless. Able to leap tall gates in a single bound. The applications for athletic endeavor are endless.Professional special teams player/ field-goal blocker.Olympic high jumper.Air BudThe list goes on. What team wouldn’t want this dedicated pooch on its side? The best part of this jump might be the subtle heel click as it clears the gate. Love this dog.Dogs are good.

      SB Nation q
    • Womens March on Washington Protesters Got a Mid-flight Surprise on Southwest

      A Southwest flight full of people on their way to Washington, D.C.many of which were heading to participate in Saturday's Women's March on Washingtonwere treated to a special in-flight lightshow on Thursday night.

      Travel+Leisure