8 Ways You’re Ruining Your Hair (And How to Fix It!)

Are you guilty of committing these bad hair habits? L’Oréal Paris celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak and Cutler/Redken stylist Jenny Balding explain what common hair care missteps are ruining your tresses, plus easy solutions to bring life back to your locks.

dry damaged hair

1. You’re towel-drying too aggressively.
Rubbing your wet hair down with a towel can disturb the cuticle and cause breakage and frizz. Instead, let your hair air dry a little, and then gently blot dry with a towel.

2. You’re sleeping with wet hair.
We know, we know—thoroughly drying your hair after a late-night shower is the last thing you want to do before jumping into bed. However, sleeping on wet hair can cause frizziness in the morning due to the friction from your hair on the pillow as it dries overnight. Dry your hair at least halfway by blotting with a towel or using a low heat setting on your hair dryer.

3. You’re using the wrong brush.
Wet hair + wrong kind of brush + aggressive brushing = a recipe for disaster. Wet hair follicles are especially fragile, meaning brushing incorrectly can lead to breakage. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb to brush through your hair while you condition or use a hair mask in the shower. This will help to gently distribute the formula evenly throughout your wet hair. Continue using your wider comb after towel drying your hair, and only move to brushes with finer bristles once your hair is dry.

Try: L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm, $6; target.com

4. You’re brushing from top to bottom.
Brushing from root to tip causes stress on locks, which can lead to knots and breakage. Instead, start combing at the ends to work out the worst kinks, and then work your way up to the scalp.

5. You rely too heavily on heat.
Although easier said than done, applying heat to your hair should be done sparingly. Look at your ‘do and see what needs to be enhanced—maybe just a wave here, a bend there, or straightening out at the ends. Target these touchups to minimize heat damage and get out the door faster!

6. You aren’t rotating your products enough.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to switching out your shampoo and conditioner is at the turn of every season, or after you get a new hair color.  Your tresses have different needs in the summer than it does in the winter. For example, using deep conditioners from dry summers can overcompensate the lightweight moisturizing needs of your winter locks, leaving them weighed down and lifeless.

Try: Redken Clear Moist Shampoo, $13; walmart.com

7. You’re applying product directly to your roots.
Applying product to your roots can leave hair looking limp. Start at the ends instead so your strands can absorb more of the product’s beneficial ingredients. Only products like root-lifting mousse or shampoo should be applied to the roots.

8. Your updos are too tight.
Ponytail holders can be a girl’s best friend when it comes to bad hair days, but they can also be your hair’s worst enemy. Using a too-tight elastic on the same parts of your hair can cause frictional damage. Instead, use an elastic that’s covered, and switch up your updo or try a braid for a change of pace. Your locks will thank you.