Hair loss is a common concern for many people. If you’re hoping to grow out your hair or reverse hair loss, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to your diet, supplements and hair-care products. Maybe you’ve found yourself desperately searching for answers to questions like, “How can I stop my hair from falling out?” and “How do I grow my hair back naturally?”.
Here’s the thing: growing new hair is only half the battle. You also need to prevent damage and breakage to avoid losing the hair you already have. If your ends are splitting and breaking, your hair won’t look visibly longer (even if it is actually growing). You’ll also need more frequent trims to remove damaged hair, thus slowing down your hair growth.
Unfortunately, everyday life can be REALLY hard on your delicate strands! Your hair is exposed to numerous stressors throughout the day: heat and weather extremes, wind, hard water, chlorine, buckles and zippers that catch and snag hair, harsh styling products, hot tools and more.
While it’s not realistic to avoid all of these stressors, you can protect your hair against mechanical damage, which is caused by improper handling and styling. Treating your tresses with the gentleness and care they deserve helps to reduce excess hair fall and promote a fuller, healthier head of hair.
Take a look at these 5 everyday habits that may be wrecking your hair and causing hair loss… and what you can do to fix them.
Habit #1: Styling Your Hair in Tight Braids or Ponytails
The high ponytail trend keeps coming in and out of fashion… but sadly, it’s not a healthy style for your hair. Tight, sleek ponytails pull on your hair follicles, weakening the hair (especially around your hairline) and eventually causing it to break off.
This can also happen with extremely tight braids, cornrows or weave applications. If you feel strong tension or discomfort at your roots, the style is too tight. Over time, prolonged tension can scar and damage the hair follicles, leading to permanent hair loss and a receding hairline.
Solution: Opt for low, loose ponytails and braids for exercise and everyday wear. Save the bouncy high ponies for special occasions.
If you wear cornrows, box braids or hair extensions, make sure to get your hair done by a qualified stylist and take breaks between styles. Remember that your hairstyle should never cause headaches or pain– if it does, speak up! This is a sign that you are putting too much pressure on your follicles and potentially causing damage.
Habit #2: Using the Wrong Hair Accessories
We’ve all had the experience of finding several broken strands on our hair elastic. Why does this happen? Hair elastics are a source of friction, often tugging and rubbing at the hair in the same spot until it snaps. Metal barrettes, bobby pins, headbands and combs can also tear and pull out hair.
Solution: Instead of rubber bands or traditional elastics, opt for satin scrunchies or soft fabric hair ties. Avoid any hair accessories that put metal in direct contact with your hair. Look for alternatives like coated bobby pins, fabric headbands, bamboo hair sticks and silky hair ribbons
Habit #3: Sleeping Incorrectly
Who knew that something as basic as sleeping could damage your hair? While a good night’s rest is essential for growing long, strong, healthy strands, sleeping with your hair loose can cause damage. Rubbing against a cotton pillowcase all night long makes hair prone to dryness, tangles and breakage… also known as bedhead!
Solution: Before bedtime, apply a lightweight leave-in conditioner to protect your ends and style your hair in a loose topknot or braid. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction and help your hair retain moisture. Alternatively, cover your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet before drifting off to dreamland.
Habit #4: Rough Brushing and Combing
It’s tempting to rush through the process of detangling and styling hair, but rough combing is a major source of damage! Yanking a brush or comb through hair can rip fragile strands and pull out healthy hairs. This is especially bad when your hair is wet, because wet hair is more delicate and prone to breakage.
Solution: Take your time and be gentle! Using a wide-tooth comb or wet brush, slowly work your way up the hair shaft from tips to roots. Carefully work through any snags, using your comb to gently pull apart the knots. If your hair is prone to tangles, apply a leave-in conditioner or detangling spray before combing to make it more manageable.
Habit #5: Rubbing Your Hair With a Towel
Did you know that towel drying can cause hair loss? This is because most people use terry cloth towels, which zap natural oils from the hair and rough up the cuticle. Since wet hair is super-fragile, rubbing it with a towel often results in split ends, weakness and the dreaded FRIZZ.
Solution: Improper towel-drying is one of the biggest causes of mechanical damage to hair. Luckily, it’s also super easy to fix! Simply swap out your regular terry cloth towel for a microfiber towel created specifically for hair.
When you get out of the shower, gently squeeze your hair to remove excess water and wrap it in your microfiber towel. Since microfiber is softer and more absorbent than terry cloth, it gently dries the hair with no rubbing needed!