Even hot water can damage your tresses. By Alyssa Dhaliwal
Photo: avemario / www.123rf.com
Maintaining shiny, healthy and smooth hair isn’t the easiest, especially in this hot and humid climate that makes our hair even more difficult to manage. Whilst we all do our best to tame the beast that is our mane, there are plenty of mistakes we make that only exacerbate the damage our hair undergoes over time.
Whether you’ve got a freshly cut healthy head of hair or are trying to keep your tresses long and silky, here are a number of everyday mistakes that need to stop happening to your hair.
1. Washing your hair with hot water
One of the easiest ways to damage your hair is by using excessive amounts of heat. While washing your hair with hot water gets rid of oils and opens up the cuticles to allow your shampoo a better shot at cleaning your hair, too much hot water will strip your hair and leave it dry and frizzy. Rinse your hair with warm water before you shampoo it, but always rinse out your shampoo with cool water instead. This will also help close the cuticles and leave your hair smoother and shinier. We know it’s tough to resist the warm water, especially at the end of an exhausting day, but it’s for the good of your hair (and your skin!).
2. Skipping conditioner
You may feel like your hair is healthy enough to not require conditioner, but if you have long hair, conditioner is going to help with the detangling process, which means your hair will be smoother and more manageable and less prone to breaking from knots. If you have really fine hair, choose more lightweight conditioners or try the reverse shampoo process where you use conditioner first and then shampoo it out after a few minutes.
If you find conditioner makes your hair look too greasy, then simply use it on the ends of the hair strands rather than all the way through. We advise starting halfway down to ensure your ends are silky smooth but your scalp and roots are still bright and fresh.
3. Heat styling
Blow-drying, flat-ironing or curling at high temperatures will damage the cuticles and leave your hair more brittle and dry. Avoid going higher than 180 degrees Celsius when using a straightener and invest in a high quality styling tool that has better materials and temperature regulators.
4. No protection
Even at lower temperatures, heating tools are still going to damage our hair. A simple pre-styling heat protectant spray or serum offers a coat (think cute bomber jacket) for your hair and thus helps it survive the heat damage better. Hair is fragile enough on its own, so you want to protect it before using a styling tool that’s hot enough to burn your skin!
Your hair is at its most fragile when wet, so you should avoid brushing through it with any dense brushes. Tools like wide-tooth combs are more gentle on the hair and can be used for detangling or combing conditioner through your hair. Even if you’re blow-drying your hair, you should do a rough blow-dry using just your fingers and a hair brush, tousling your hair until it’s almost completely dry before going in with a brush to smooth things out. Also, on a regular basis, always brush your hair starting with the very ends before working your way up to your roots, to make detangling as painless and smooth as possible.
6. Tight hairdos
Tight buns or ponytails tug a lot at your scalp. First off, they can give you more frequent headaches over time, and secondly, the constant tugging on your hair follicles can damage your hair. If you want a secure hairdo for something that involves lots of movement like regular workouts, try putting your hair into a more gentle braid instead. It’s not so harsh, but way more secure.
7. Washing your hair too often
If you have particularly dry hair, it could be a result of washing it very often (and with water that’s too hot). Of course, our humid weather means we perspire more often, so it’s understandable if you do need wash your hair frequently. However, our scalps offer natural oils and when we over-wash our hair, we can deplete these oils that we need. Opt for more gentle shampoos like ones specifically created for daily use, and focus the shampoo where it’s needed most like your scalp, avoiding getting much on the ends of your hair.