10 Sneaky Things That Are Damaging Your Hair

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causes of hair damageSo you buy quality shampoo and conditioner, make sure to brush your hair gently, and try to avoid going too long without a proper trim, all in an effort to maintain the health of your locks. But did you know that despite your best efforts, there still are a number of things in your daily life that can be working against your achieving the hair of your dreams?

Unfortunately, there are many small habits in life that can cause damage to our hair, especially over an extended period of time. Read on to discover the sneaky ways you could be damaging your hair!

1. Your Hairstyle
If you’re someone who repeatedly wears styles that pull or puts tension the hair, then you may be putting yourself at risk for Traction alopecia. Traction alopecia is the hair loss that occurs after persistent gentle pulling on the roots over several hours or days.

This can especially occur on those who continuously wear braids, ponytails, hair extensions. Parting your hair at the same location and wearing man buns can also have the same effect.

Avoid tight, twisting, or curling styles that pull the hair since this can lead to breakage and permanent hair loss can occur.

2. Sunlight/UV Exposure
If you have summer hair goals (or live somewhere sunny year round), be certain that your time in the sun is spent with good hair protection. In fact, frequent sun exposure is the most common cause of structural deformation to the hair shaft.

UV exposure can break down hair proteins and cause hair to look dull by changing it to a less desired hair pigment. It is crucial to protect the cuticles from sun exposure since these help maintain the integrity of the hair shaft.

Some of the best ways to combat against sun damaged cuticles are to wear a hat while outside or use hair care products that contain UV filters like this one.

3. Taking Steamy Showers
Similar to how hot water dehydrates the skin, a hot temperature does the same to strands of hair which causes them to become dry and brittle. Our scalp naturally produces oils that protect our hair from damage, yet when we wash our hair, we are removing these oils with our favorite smelling shampoo and conditioner.

Taking a hot and humid shower also causes the pores on our scalp to become bigger, just how they do on the face. To compensate, these pores will begin working overtime to produce these natural oils in an attempt to keep up with oil production.

As a result, additional shedding and damage to the root can occur. Next time you hop in the shower, consider turning the temperature down and rinse your hair with the coolest setting possible.
causes of hair damage


4. You’re Using Elastic Hair Ties
Elastic hair ties often leave our hair in too tight of a binding since they are usually have metal on them which is too aggressive for our strands. Even more scary, hair experts say that by using one, you run the risk of premature and receding hairlines. Yikes.

Avoid metal elastic hair ties and instead use something that is smooth and loose such as good seamless elastic hair ties to reduce the risk of damaging your hair.  

5. Mishandling Your Hair After a Shower
According to experts, hair is most susceptible to damage when it is wet so it is crucial that you be cautious how you handle it! When the hair is wet, our cuticles lift up a little which makes them vulnerable to things they come in contact with.

Soon after when cuticles dry, they return to their original position. The time in between leaves them vulnerable to things they come in contact with, especially vigorous friction from your towel! If you must towel dry hair, gently pat and press the hair, never rub, pull, or twist hair!

And if you can, try to air dry your hair as much as possible and use a low heat setting on all blowdryers and styling tools, as well as heat protectant sprays (duh).

6. Chlorine Exposure 
For many people, “fun in the sun” entails many days spent lounging poolside and enjoying a cool dip. However, pools contain chlorine to kill the bacteria and keep the pool sanitary, which strips the natural sebum oils that protect our scalps and body from daily external factors.

Your hair is like a sponge and will soak up everything, good or bad. If you’re headed to the pool, consider the following:

  • Use a swim cap
  • Wet your hair and use a leave in conditioner that protects against chlorine before the pool
  • Shower and shampoo afterwards
    how chlorine damages hair

7. Sleeping on a Cotton Pillowcase
Cotton pillowcases are common amongst consumers because of their accessibility and cheap price, but did you know they could also be drying out your tresses which can cause them to become brittle? Cotton pillowcases actually absorb moisture from your hair and since there is no  glide on this material, friction and snagging occur as a result.

To prevent this, it is best to use a pillowcase made of silk. Silk cases don’t strip your hair of its natural oils which makes them cleaner. Silk is also smooth which will help to keep your hair strands in place and ultimately prevent tangling.

Additionally, they can improve the appearance of your skin and decrease signs of aging. If you want your beauty rest to work for you and not against you, try making the switch to a silk pillowcase like this one.

8. Insulin Raising Foods
Just like our bodies, our hair needs the proper nutrients to grow. High levels of insulin block and destroy nutrients from reaching the hair which can ultimately result in hair loss. Anything that raises insulin levels such as sugar, bread, cereal, or pasta, should be avoided or eaten in moderation.

This is why you may often times see a diabetic with hair that is falling out or frayed. Instead, consume fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which are essential for restoring hair growth. Or consider buying hair vitamins like these that will work to restore hair and keep it in tip top shape.

Click here for a list of foods that have been proven to help hair.

9. Heat 
Okay…so maybe this isn’t exactly the most “sneaky” thing that can damage our hair, but I couldn’t not include it on this list!

Heat can be very damaging to your hair since it pulls out the moisture while simultaneously eroding hair cuticles. When you use heat treatments, you not only deform the natural structure of your hair, but also you create additional stress that weakens the hair shaft and may cause breakage.

If you must use heat on your hair, consider the following:

  • Switch to ionic equipment like this, this, or this.
  • If you need to use heat, be sure not to overdo it. For fine hair, consider lowering the temperature setting. Regardless of your hair thickness, no one should use 400 degrees.
  • Never leave the heat in one place for too long.
  • Use a heat protectant product prior to any blow drying or curling.

Click here for our recommendation on the best heat protectant products for any budget.

10. Your Hard Water
If you live in an area with hard water, then it is possible your hair could be paying the price. Hard water is rich in different types of metals and chlorine that strip the hair of natural oils and also prevent healthy oils in quality shampoos and conditioners from penetrating the shaft.

Hard water can also be responsible for drying out skin and washing color out of hair quickly.

We recommend purchasing a filter for your shower head that will filter out all the damaging chemicals and metals. Although not cheap, we have no regrets since purchasing ours and don’t believe you will either after feeling how amazing your skin and hair is!

If you know of any other “sneaky” things that damage your hair please leave them in the comments below!

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