Most of us put a lot of thought into how our hair looks, spending endless hours and incalculable sums on cuts, colors, shampooing, conditioning, blow drying, styling, and more. If you have a healthy, full head of hair, it’s easy to take it for granted. By the time you start to notice a change, the damage has already begun.
However, if you’re committed to keeping your hair as healthy and attractive as possible, the way to start is by understanding what to avoid. Here are some of the worst things you can do to hair, with some options to course-correct in order to preserve strength, smoothness, and shine.
Ignoring Thinning Hair
Both men and women may experience thinning hair for many reasons. It’s not unusual for hair to thin or change texture as we age, and both male and female pattern baldness are hereditary. Hormonal changes can also impact the regular hair growth cycle, as can a wide range of ailments, from anemia and alopecia, to thyroid disorders, and more. Even rapid weight loss can shock the body and result in excessive hair loss.
The point is, there’s often a trigger for hair thinning, and if you want to stop hair loss, you can’t afford to ignore the problem. While there’s always a chance it will self-correct, as with postpartum hair loss, the situation could also continue to worsen without help.
Seeing a trichologist, or a scalp and hair specialist, is a good place to start if you’re not sure what’s causing thinning hair. Depending on your circumstances, you may need professional treatment. However, you can also look into natural hair growth options like low-level light therapy (LLLT), an FDA-cleared technology designed to rejuvenate thinning hair with the help of laser caps.
This safe and effective treatment can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies. Laser caps are portable and easy to use, and consumers can see significant results within six months when they stimulate hair follicles with a laser cap every other day.
Foregoing Regular Trims
This doesn’t sound so bad, especially when you’re trying to grow out your hair, but there’s one major reason to trim regularly, no matter what: split ends. Our hair grows in three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen, or growth phase, can last up to several years, while the catagen, or transitional phase, lasts just a few weeks, and the telogen, or resting phase, lasts a few months, but only affects about 10% of hair follicles at any given time.
Why is this important? Because as hair grows longer and longer, the oldest parts, the ends, can become straggly and damaged, due to treatments, environmental conditions, and so on. When this happens, ends become brittle and more susceptible to breakage.
When ends split, they not only look awful and unkempt, but the split can progress up the hair shaft all the way to the root, paving the way for further damage. The best way to stop this is by trimming ends before they split, or as a way to stop split ends from causing further damage.
Putting Tension on Wet Hair
This is never a good idea. While certain hair types, like curls, are better served by detangling when wet, with the aid of conditioner and a wide-tooth comb, pretty much everyone should avoid brushing their hair when it’s wet.
This is because wet hair is more vulnerable to damage, and the tension caused by brushing is enough to result in significant breakage. You should also avoid styling wet hair or pulling it taut, as with a ponytail, since this can lead to breakage much higher on the shaft, leaving a wispy fringe around your hairline.
Processing in general isn’t great for your hair, whether you’re dying, perming, or straightening, for example. Often, it’s even worse when you take a DIY approach. Although DIY dye kits are sometimes less powerful than the chemicals used at salons, your hairdresser is trained to use these products correctly, minimizing damage in the process.
In addition, if you foul up the process at home, you’ll have to go to the salon for a second treatment anyway, wasting time and money and doing further, unnecessary damage to hair. Your best bet is just to schedule an appointment with a pro from the get-go.
Heat Treating without Protection
Even though plenty of women and men use heat for styling purposes, pretty much everyone understands that blow dryers and irons are hard on our hair. If you can’t get on board with air-drying and wandless styling, at least make sure to prep hair with products designed to protect against heat damage, and choose styling tools that do less harm with ceramic or tourmaline heated surfaces.
Your hair can be easily damaged, and if you do not pay attention to how you are treating it, you may figure it out too late. However, with treatment therapy options like the FDA-cleared laser cap for hair growth, your hair still has a chance.