We all make mistakes—but we’d like our hair to not be one of them, thanks. After all, we’re all aware now that brushing your hair when its wet is a no-no, and that shampooing every day might actually be drying out your strands. These nine hair sins we’re sharing, however, may surprise you. Read on and be honest—are you guilty?
Click through the slideshow above to see the nine surprising hair mistakes you’re probably making!
Why it’s a mistake: The fibers in your trusty towel and its rough texture can tug at your locks and cause frizziness and breakage.
Why it’s a mistake: By now, we all know the negative effects heat styling has on your locks (dryness, brittleness, splits ends...the list goes on). Not using heat protection before blow-drying, straightening, or curling leaves your hair exposed and more prone to damage
The fix: Adding this one little step to your hair routine can make a world of difference. Apply a heat-protectant product (Matrix’s Total Results Heat Resist Iron Tamer ($16) leaves our strands silky-soft) to wet hair before blowdrying. Most formulas also contain moisturizing oils and proteins, so they’ll hydrate as they protect. Try Trésemme’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray ($6) or Bumble and Bumble’s Tonic Lotion ($21)
Click here to see our roundup of the best drugstore heat protectant products!
Why it’s a mistake: Yes, there’s a right way to brush your hair. Most people attack knots starting from the roots and then brush downwards. This means you’ll have to fight through more tangles to get to the ends, which weakens the hair shaft and leads to breakage
The fix: First of all, always avoid brushing your hair while it’s wet—it’s in its most delicate state at this point, and any extra tugging can lead to broken strands. If you must brush while wet, apply a leave-in conditioner like Kérastase's Nectar Thermique ($42) and gently detangle with a wide-toothed comb starting from the bottom, working your way up to your roots. The same technique applies to dry hair—start at the bottom and work your way up. This will help prevent broken strands and is a gentler way to deal with knots and tangles.
Why it’s a mistake: Though it may be tempting to take to the hair dryer immediately after showering, resist the urge. Blow drying sopping wet strands usually means you’ll be drying for a longer period of time, and thus, adding more damage to your hair.
The fix: Instead of blow drying right after your shower, dry your hair with a t-shirt, then allow it to air-dry for at least 10-15 minutes. You can apply your makeup and pick out your outfit during this time period. Letting your hair dry naturally for at least a little bit means less time spent with your blow dryer, and subsequently less heat damage.
Why it’s a mistake: A perfectly-perky pony is one of our favorite low-key hairstyles. But beware: a pony that’s too tight can cause broken strands and leave your hair in a permanently weakened state, especially if you always create one in the same place on your head.
The fix: Use a gentle, non-tugging elastic like the ones by Twistband (#6)—plus, they double as cute wrist accessories when they’re not holding your hair back.
Why it’s a mistake: Washing your hair too often strips your hair of its natural oils, yes, but what about how you wash your hair? If your hair isn’t lathering up as much as you’d like, don’t reach for more shampoo—doing so can weigh down your hair with excess product and leave it dull and lifeless.
The fix: Instead of adding more shampoo, simply add more water. This will increase your lather without making you pile on product.
Why it’s a mistake: Wait—aren’t you supposed to set your heat tools on the lowest setting? Though we do agree that less heat is always better, there is a downside: it usually means you’ll have to clamp down more than once to achieve your desired effect, meaning just as much (if not more) damage to your locks.
The fix: This one is tricky. The best way is through trial and error—if you find yourself straightening the same section of hair over and over again, try increasing your iron’s heat by a few degrees. Ideally, one quick swipe should leave you with silky-smooth strands.
Why it’s a mistake: This might be a hard pill to swallow, fine-haired ladies. Applying hairspray before curling your strands might help your curl last, but it’s wreaking havoc on your hair in the meantime. Why? Hairsprays contain alcohol, which can burn and sizzle when coming in contact with heat and damage your strands.
The fix: Only use hairspray after curling, straightening and teasing—your hair will thank you.
Why it’s a mistake: No matter what your hair type is, chances are you’ve experienced the dull, gritty feeling of product buildup. Instead of overcompensating by doubling up on your normal shampoo, reach for a clarifying shampoo to remove residue bring your hair back to its natural state
The fix: Using a clarifying shampoo like Neutrogena’s Anti-Residue Shampoo ($7) once a week will prevent leftover build-up from all your gels, serums, creams and sprays.
Are you guilty of any of these hair mistakes? We’re not judging—click here to see the 20 mistakes every girl makes in her 20’s.
Turbie Twist Hair Towel ($12)
Trésemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray ($6)
Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion ($21)
Kérastase Nectar Thermique ($$42)
Twistband Hair Ties ($6)
Neutrogena Anti-Residue Clarifying Shampoo ($7)