9 Things That Might Be Ruining Your Hair

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I know you try to keep your hair in the best shape possible. You brush it, you condition it, you wash it, you use the right products for your hair type. And yet, can you still be at risk of suffering from damaged hair? Possibly. Here are a few everyday items or habits that you might not know are ruining your hair.

Dirty Hair Brushes

Hands taking hair out of hair brush.

Cleaning your hairbrush is important to maintain healthy hair.

No, simply pulling out the stray hairs from your brush after using it is not going to cut it if you want to avoid ruining your hair. Your brush catches dead skin, small stray hairs, and literally colonies of bacteria (no, I am not exaggerating). If you aren’t careful about washing your brushes, you could suffer from scalp irritation or allergy, so make sure that once a month, you’re rinsing your brushes with a solution of baking soda, shampoo and water to kill off the nasties. Allow them to air dry before you use them next.

Your Blow Dryer

Before you jump down my throat, I’m not about to tell you that you should throw away your blow dryer. What I will tell you, though, is to make sure your technique is one that’s healthy for your hair – not damaging for it. Make sure to use a heat protector spray on your hair before blow drying and use the lowest temperature that will work for your hair (thicker hair will need a higher temperature than finer hair). Hold the dryer at least five inches away from your hair and work quickly, as it isn’t healthy to focus the blast of hot air on one part of your hair for too long at a time.

Smoking

Hands holding cigarette ripped in two.

Quit smoking for healthier hair.

Yes, smoking is terrible for your lungs. Yes, smoking can cause cancer. But can smoking also affect your hair? Absolutely. Smoking constricts the blood vessels, which aside from other health issues, means that not enough blood is circulating to your hair follicles. And what does that look like? Brittle, dull, and thinning hair. Not a good look.

Your Purse

This is an interesting one. If you’re like me and carry your whole life in your purse, Mary Poppins-style, then you need to be careful. A heavy purse pulling on your hair while you walk to work is not doing you any favors. If you’re noticing thinning hair on one side of your head, try putting your hair on top of the straps or tying it back loosely.

Your Hair tie/Ponytail Holder

Girl with back to camera and pink bow in hair.

Girl with hair tied up.

If you’re one of those girls who like to tie up your hair super-tight (uhm, me), you might want to rethink your hairdo. Splitting, weakened hair can be caused by wearing your same tight bun, pony or braid every day without rest – especially if you tie up your hair when it’s wet. If you want to tie up your hair, be sure to let it loose every few days to allow it to rest, and when you do tie it up, try to avoid using elastic hair ties – reach for your cute, fabric-coated scrunchie, instead.

Cotton Pillowcases

Yes, I know they are cheaper than satin pillowcases but cotton pillowcases may be ruining your hair! At some point, you need to ask yourself: what is more worth it, beautiful hair, or saving a bit on a pillowcase? Because cotton is not smooth like satin is, it causes friction in your hair when you move throughout the night which leads to breakage. Do yourself a favor and invest in a satin pillowcase: you’ll be avoiding breakage, tangles, and morning hair. Plus, satin bedspreads look way fancier than cotton ones.

Hair dye

You may not have been born with the hair color you dream of, but there’s an easy solution to that: hair dye. Right? Well, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Firstly, the chemicals in the hair dye force your hair cuticle (protective layer) up – which is unnatural and damaging. Plus, the dyeing process strips your hair of its natural color. This means that to maintain a nice color, you’re going to have to keep on dyeing it, doing more and more damage each time.

Washing Your Hair

Brunette woman shampooing her hair while showering.

Don’t wash your hair too often.

Yes, you should be washing your hair – two or three times a week. Not every night. Washing your hair every night strips it of its natural oils, which leads to dry hair that is prone to breakage. So, do yourself a favor and skip the shampoo every second night.

Stress

Yes, okay, we all get stressed out sometimes (or more than sometimes). But stressing out causes your blood vessels to constrict, so your hair can’t get the nutrients it needs to create new hair. In other words, stress is directly linked to hair loss. If you are stressed out very often, you need to find a good way to calm yourself down (not just for your hair). Try taking deep breaths or going for a walk when things get overwhelming.

Conclusion

It’s true that a lot of these things affect your everyday life but they may be ruining your hair. You’re not going to throw away your purse (I’ll take it, if you are), and you’re not going to stop tying back your hair. But the point is to be smart. Tying your hair up in a scrunchie every so often is not going to harm your hair, and if you washed your hair last night but it got dirty today, it’s also okay to wash it twice in a row. If you keep things in moderation and take care of your tresses as best as possible, you can enjoy beautiful, healthy hair.