Ways You May Be Wrecking Your Hair

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You wash it, brush it, blow-dry it, straighten it, curl it, and/or put all kinds of products in it. There’s no question your hair goes through the ringer on any given day. Before you know it, your tresses can show signs of damage, from split ends to uncontrollable frizz—and the older we get, the more it naturally thins out and looks dull or damaged, even without over-processing.

The good news is you can reverse the damage. Your game plan: Stop committing these common mistakes, and bring your hair back to life.

Brushing Too Much

The old “100 strokes a day” beauty tip is a myth. Brushing your hair too much can cause split ends. Over time, it could even lead to hair loss.

Too Many Blowouts

The more often you heat your hair, the more damaged it gets. Air-drying keeps hair its healthiest. When you can’t do that, be sure you keep your dryer’s heat setting on “low” and hold it at least 6 inches from your hair as you dry it.

Not Shampooing Often Enough

Your hair may not need a daily wash (or even one every other day). But it’s important to shampoo often enough to keep oily buildup at bay. That can lead to dandruff and other scalp problems.

Overusing Shampoo

When it comes to shampoo, a little dab will do. Focus on scrubbing your scalp instead of lathering up the whole length of your hair.

Brushing Wet Hair

Water weakens your hair, so treat wet hair with care. To tackle tangles after a wash, use gentle strokes with a wide-toothed comb instead of tugging your tresses with a brush.

Flat-Ironing It When It’s Damp

When heat hits water in your hair, it can turn to steam and cause “bubble hair.” You’re left with brittle locks that have frizzy ends and break easily. Be sure your hair is dry before you use a hot styling tool. Keep it on the lowest temperature you can, and use a heat protectant spray before you style.

Toweling It Dry

Wrapping your hair gently in a towel after a wash is fine (air dry is best). But rubbing it with a towel will damage the strands.

Sticking to the Same Tight ‘Do

If you leave weaves or hair extensions in too long, or you pull them out without a professional’s help, it can cause big-time breakage. Same goes for braids, buns, and ponytails — too tight for too long, and you’ll start to see split strands. Mix up your ‘do to keep hair healthy.

Too Much Chemistry

Perms, relaxers, and hair coloring all use chemicals to curl, straighten, and dye your hair. These chemicals can do a number on your hair and scalp, including breakage and irritation. So use them wisely.

Being Reckless With Relaxers

You may want to straighten your hair yourself. It’s best to leave it to the professionals, so you don’t fry your hair. Never use relaxers on hair that’s already gone through the process. After your hair gets straightened, avoid blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling irons, which can further wreck your tresses.

Going Hatless in the Sun

Summer (and winter) rays can dry out your hair and make it break. Cover up your coif when you can to protect it — and the skin on your scalp — from sun damage.

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