6. Heat-styling unsafely.
It might seem counterintuitive (and inconvenient), but it’s technically best to do any heat styling when your hair is already dry. (This is why figuring out great air-drying techniques can be so handy!) “In order to use heat without damage, the hair has to be completely dry,” explains Bobby Eliot, who has worked with Hailee Steinfeld and Jena Malone. “Using heated styling tools when the hair is still wet literally fries the hair.” Another major bad habit is heat-styling many days in a row. This can be super damaging,” says Michelle Sultan, who has worked with Zendaya, Naomi Campbell, and Venus Williams, “and causes the hair to dehydrate resulting in brittle, damaged, and broken hair.” So try to heat style just once or twice per week, if possible. And, of course, don’t forget the heat protectant!
7. Detangling the wrong way.
Believe it or not, there is a right way to brush your hair: No matter what your hair texture is, you should start from the bottom up. “My biggest pet peeve is when people start at the root when brushing or combing. You can literally hear the hair breaking!” says Michael Long, who has worked with Lizzy Caplan and Alexandra Daddario. “Instead, start at the ends and remove the tangles there first. Then work your way up towards the root. That way, you’re reducing split ends and frizzy broken bits.”
8. Applying product incorrectly.
The product’s instructions are there for a reason. “I constantly see my friends, family, and clients mist aerosol products like dry shampoo and hairspray, but with the can two inches from their heads,” says John D, who has worked with Amy Adams, Lea Michele, and Drew Barrymore. “Instead, give the can a good shake for better product distribution, then extend your spraying arm out all the way and spray away. Aerosol products work best when they’re exposed to air before they reach the head.”
9. Applying too much product.
Since scalp health is so vital to hair health, if you’re piling on the product, you may actually be making it harder for your hair to grow. “The whole point of washing your hair is to break down build-up,” explains Santiago. So keeping an eye on how much product you apply daily is important.
One product a lot of people overapply is dry shampoo. “If you use dry shampoo or texturizing spray more than twice a week, you’re likely dehydrating your scalp, which can make the hair weaker and more prone to breakage,” explains Sunnie Brook, who has worked with Katie Lowes and Anna Faris. If your hair starts to look weighed down or starts breaking, you’ll need to scale back. But what if you’re trying to minimize wash days and cut down on your dry-shampoo usage? In that case, reach for products to keep your hair strong and hydrated, like refreshing sprays. You can also try co-washing (washing your hair with only conditioner, some of which are formulated with cleansing properties that are gentler than shampoo and specifically meant for co-washing). This will accomplish the dual goals of breaking up build-up and restoring moisture.
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