7 Everyday Habits That Are Most Likely Damaging Your Hair
So you have the perfect hair care regimen. You wash and condition your tresses regularly and there’s almost never a split in sight. Plus, you’re conscious of what you eat and you make sure to limit how often you use heat. Surely, this must mean that your hair is in perfect health, right?
Not so fast. You could be eating all the right foods and using the best hair products, but if your hair could talk, you’d probably be in for a rude awakening. Though you may *technically* be taking good care of your hair by adopting certain regimens and visiting your stylist, your everyday habits could be making your efforts counterproductive. For instance, have you ever factored in how your sleeping habits could be affecting your hair growth? Or how certain hairstyles could be taking a toll on your hair follicles? See which common practices could actually be ruining your hair health.
Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase
Sleeping with cotton sheets has a few downsides, like the fact that it dries out your skin and can lead to more wrinkles. But it can be even more harmful when it comes to your hair – especially if you’re a restless sleeper. The material leads to more friction, which causes your hair to twist into knots and then turn into a literal bird’s nest when you wake up. Even worse, it sucks the moisture out of your hair, which can lead to more breakage.
It’s why you should consider investing in a silk or satin pillowcase ASAP because unlike cotton, it doesn’t cause friction or tangle your hair. You can wake up feeling like royalty and have smoother, more manageable tresses.
We’ve all heard the phrase “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” ad nauseam, but what we don’t hear about is how it can affect our hair. All the nutrients that we feed our bodies also have to feed our hair. So if it doesn’t get all the vitamins and minerals it needs, it can grow brittle, shed, and take much longer to grow.
According to hair expert Philip Kingsley, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your body, and also for your hair. Energy to form hair cells is lowest first thing in the morning (or when you wake up!). Eat a balanced and nutritious breakfast of proteins and complex carbohydrates to give your hair a nutritional boost.” So yeah, think twice before skipping your first meal to rush to work.
Wearing tight ponytails
Braids, ponytails, and top-knots are among the most popular ‘dos these days, but they tend to put a lot more pressure on hair follicles if they’re done too tightly. While there’s no harm in rocking unique and trendy styles, it’s important to be mindful of how tightly they’re done or, better yet, to wear them sparingly. Dermatologist Doris Day explained: “That longstanding pull or traction on the hair can pull the hair out and ultimately lead to permanent scarring.”
Using tons of dry shampoo
Sorry, dry-shampoo-addicts. We’ll admit that these things are lifesavers, but relying on them too much (or using them as substitutes for real washes all the time) can lead to serious damage. Our scalps need to be properly cleansed with shampoo to get rid of excess buildup, while dry shampoos should ideally be used only as a last resort/in emergencies. Using too much of it can actually clog your hair follicles, prevent new growth and possibly lead to dandruff.
Dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D. said: “I always compare the scalp to the face. Could you imagine if you didn’t remove makeup and dirt from your skin and instead only added a little powder to soak up the oil? Dry shampoo is okay in a pinch, but not ideal for regular use.”
Not getting enough sleep
*Sigh*… We’re all totally guilty of hitting the hay late and indulging in caffeine to keep us afloat the next day. But according to Hair Restoration Expert Dr. Sajjad Khan, missing out on sleep can be detrimental to our hair’s health.
He said: “Quality sleep is needed for adequate protein synthesis of the hair as well as the release of growth hormones and enzymes needed for healthy hair. In regards to your hormones, you’ll find that when you don’t get enough sleep, the production of melatonin (used by the body to regulate sleep and wake cycles) wanes, and studies have shown that this can decrease hair growth.” Yikes…
Taking super hot showers
As awesome as it feels to take steaming hot showers, it can actually strip away natural oils and eventually damage your locks. Hair restoration experts at Bosley have mentioned that hotter showers can “dry out your hair and scalp, making hair brittle and more prone to breakage.” Plus, this can cause an “overproduction of oil that can damage your hair at the root and cause excess shedding.”
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better to wash your hair with ice cold water. Warmer water can actually help you get rid of excess oils way more effectively. Just make sure you’re not using super hot water that feels like lava.
Using Dirty Combs and Brushes
When was the last time you cleaned out your combs, brushes, straighteners, and other hair utensils? If you’re struggling to remember, then it’s time to give them a thorough clean ASAP. It’s important to keep clean utensils in your hair because dirty ones can contain buildup and grime that irritates your scalp. (FYI, the same goes for reused hair accessories!)