Published On: Fri, Nov 11th, 2022

Common hair mistakes to avoid for ‘healthier’ and young-looking hair

Hair and beauty writer Brenda Lee Intignano and stylist Lynn Chambers from Cliphair spoke to about the worst habits people commonly do to damage their hair, without them even realising. Even washing your hair too much can lead it to look brittle, and, in some cases, it can lead to hair loss.

The experts said: “Washing your hair too often strips it of its natural oils, which are important for maintaining healthy, shiny hair. This can be particularly damaging in the winter when hair is more prone to dryness and frizz. The result? Dull, lifeless hair and annoying, crinkly flyaways.

“Too much shampoo can also dry out your scalp, leading to a dandruff problem. You might think washing your hair more often will get rid of the flakes, but it will have the opposite effect instead.”

Brenda and Lynn suggested exfoliating your scalp instead, saying: “Give your natural oils a chance to naturally soothe your dry scalp, and try an exfoliating treatment once or twice a week.

“Gentle exfoliation with a detoxifying product and a scalp massager, or just your fingertips, gets rid of the build-up of dirt and dead skin cells and promotes blood circulation to reduce hair loss.”

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However, interestingly, not washing one’s hair enough can also lead to damage. Brenda and Lynn continued: “It obviously depends on your hair type and texture, as more porous hair can benefit from being washed less regularly, but leaving hair without a good wash for too long can cause sebum to build-up around the follicles and block them, restricting hair growth.

“The build-up of sebum and dead skin cells can make your scalp itch – scratching it can cause tiny abrasions to the scalp, and in extreme cases can even lead to infections.”

When it comes to dry shampoo, it is best to use it sparingly, according to the experts. They explained: “It’s important to remember that dry shampoo isn’t actually shampoo, so it doesn’t clean your hair. Occasional use won’t cause much of a problem but overusing it can make your hair more vulnerable to breakage by stripping too much of the natural oils needed to keep it moisturised.

“Limit your dry shampoo use to no more than one or two days a week.”

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The experts went on to explain that washing your hair with hot water can sometimes cause more damage than good. They said: “Heat damage can also make your hair colour fade quicker, by causing the pigments to oxidise.

“If after your colour fades away you resort to an unnecessary round of hair dye, what you’re doing is applying more damage to your tresses. But it’s not just heated tools that will affect your hair: problems can even start in the shower, where the water’s temperature is unnecessarily hot.

“Hot water can lift your hair cuticle, causing dehydration and frizz, and make your colour fade quicker, which will make you want to dye your hair more often than necessary. Ideally, you should stick to lukewarm water for healthier hair.”

Some stylists recommend using purple shampoo for healthy hair, but Brenda and Lynn warned against using too much of it.

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They said: “Purple shampoo counteracts the yellow in bleached or highlighted hair, cooling warm tones down from brassy to ashy. However, using it too frequently can darken your blonde and make it look grey, dark, and dull.

“Use it no more than once a week, and if you still feel it needs more than that, it might be best to speak to your stylist – you might need another round of colour to achieve the level of blonde you’re looking for.”

After washing hair, comes drying it. Brenda and Lynn explained: “Sleeping with wet hair isn’t just cold and uncomfortable it’s also damaging your hair. Hair is at its weakest when it’s wet, and the friction from your pillowcase can cause tangles, matting, and breakage – plus, the dampness of your hair combined with the warmth of your head on the pillow can create a fertile territory for bacteria and fungal infections.

“Rough drying your hair with a towel ruffles the hair cuticles, causing frizz and breakage, and blow-drying dripping wet hair can cause damage and frizz as you’re using heat for longer than necessary.

“So how should you dry your hair? Use a microfibre towel, or even an old t-shirt, to absorb as much water as possible, then allow to air dry for ten minutes before using your hair dryer on the cool setting. When your hair is nearly dry, you can increase the heat a little for the last few minutes of styling.”

Brenda and Lynn recommended trimming your hair regularly to keep on top of its health. “Get regular trims to keep the split ends in check and stop the damage from travelling all the way up the strands of hair,” they said.

“Aim for a trim every six to eight weeks to keep your hair as healthy as possible. Hair feeling a little limp and lifeless? Add some volume yourself with clip-in extensions, or even nano-rings that can be installed by a hairdresser.”

What you eat and drink can also impact your hair health, Brenda and Lynn explained, saying: “Hair is made of a protein called keratin, and you need to be eating enough protein to ensure it remains strong and healthy. Eat protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs, nuts, and legumes.

“When you don’t drink enough water, your body will use the water you do have for more important functions, and your hair will suffer. The hair becomes brittle and will develop split ends, and growth will slow down or even stop. Make sure you stay hydrated to keep your hair healthy.”

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