Beyond the average “bad hair day,” tresses can sometimes be seriously stressful — but are you making it worse? From personal pet peeves to major damage control, here are some of the biggest mistakes you can make with your locks and how to fix them.
Don’t … over process your hair to fit into a trend.
Why: Coloring too often can leave hair severely and visibly damaged.
How to fix it: If your hair is already fragile and dry, resist the urge to bleach it out. Give it a rest for a few months and try conditioning treatments once or twice a week. In order to keep all of her hair looking healthy, stick to a consistent color schedule and regularly apply a repairing treatment.
Don’t … let cowlicks and fringe dry before styling.
Why: Allowing cowlicks to air dry before you tackle them makes it harder to manipulate and style. This can result in unwanted flyways or make hair look messy and unpolished.
How to fix it: Once dry, spray a little dry shampoo in the roots to soak up any oil or sweat throughout the day that can disrupt your style.
Don’t … wash your hair every day.
Why: Washing your hair too often can cause your scalp to over-produce sebum, creating greasy-scalp syndrome. It can also strip the hair itself of oils that add moisture and keep it healthy.
How to fix it: Cut back on washes and use hair powder to extend the life and texture of your current style.
Don’t … go more than one or two shades darker than your natural hair color.
Why: If you go too dark the color can look inky (like you applied it yourself) and can result in a drab or washed-out look on certain skin tones.
How to fix it: Add a few subtle highlights to frame the face and soften a too-dark shade. You want to find a color that accentuates your features, rather than washing you out. Try brightening up dark hair with a clarifying shampoo. This product aids in removing excess minerals that can cause your color to look dull.
Don’t … blow dry upside down.
Why: The purpose of a blowout is to close or seal the cuticle. Flipping the hair over is in fact pushing the cuticle up and roughing up the hair. It creates temporary volume, but the hair will flatten, defeating the purpose.
How to fix it: Rather than flipping over, stand straight and use a brush to pull the hair directly up. Then, with a concentrator nozzle on the end, aim the dryer so that it points to the end of the hair strand, which closes the cuticle. Pulling away from the head as you dry will automatically create the volume you desire.
Don’t … style hair with a brush that’s too big.
Why: Brushes that are too big can make it impossible to create volume.
How to fix it: Use a 2 or 2.5-inch diameter brush for the best results. A boar-bristle brush is great for smoothing and volume. Ceramic brushes are better for curls, but they don’t offer the amount of tension needed for the optimal volume during a blowout.
Don’t … do a major hair color change more than once a year (if your hair is long) or every six months (if your hair is short).
Why: Hair grows an average of six inches per year. That means, waiting six months to a year between color switches will provide enough recovery time to keep hair shiny and damage-free. This is especially important when you’re going several shades lighter or darker.
How to fix it: Work in a big change gradually. For example, if you’ve been coloring your hair dark brown and decide you want to go blonde, try to do it in stages of light golden brown, dark golden blonde and then bright blonde over a period of a couple of months. To treat your hair between color visits, especially through big changes, use a deep conditioner that’s full of vitamins and essential oils. Or, if you feel the need to drastically change the color, it’s best to significantly cut your hair at the same time.