For many women, hair is a tricky thing. On the one hand, you love when you’re having a fantastic hair day and are just 100% feeling yourself. On the other hand, there are many, many days where your hair just will not cooperate no matter how hard you try, and you end up leaving the house looking like you barely brushed it. If you’re blonde, you’ve probably fantasized about having dark raven locks. If you’re a brunette, you’ve probably wondered what you would look like if you were a blonde. If you have straight hair, you probably longed for curls, and vice versa. And, obviously, every woman knows the struggle that is deciding whether or not to get bangs. Simply put – hair is a touchy subject for many women.
While you may know what makes your hair look great and what makes your hair look awful (looking at you, humidity frizz), there are a few things you’re doing to your hair that you may not realize is totally damaging it. And you can buy all the nourishing hair masks you want, but if you’ve totally fried your hair or irreparably damaged it, there’s not much you can do except cut off a lot of the damage and hope it grows back healthier. So, take care of your hair – and try to watch out for these 15 hairstyles that might affect the health of your hair.
15 Your trusty ponytail
The ponytail seems like such a perfect hairstyle – it’s super easy to master, you can pull it together without a mirror if you need to, it can hide a multitude of hair sins, and it gets your hair away from your face. I mean, what’s not to love? The only problem is, if you’re rocking the same ponytail every day, chances are you’re causing some serious breakage and fraying. You see, if you use hair ties in the same spot day after day, the hair will eventually be affected by it. One of the easiest ways to make this style a little bit gentler on your hair is by splurging on nicer hair ties – preferably ones with fabric or cloth on them, and no metal parts. And, you can also switch up the height, rocking a low ponytail one day and a sleek high ponytail the next, to ensure you’re not constantly wrapping the elastic around the exact same spots.
14 Tight braids
We get it – braids continue to be a huge hair trend, and they can be a lot of fun. There are so many different styles, from the nostalgic two braids that you used to love when you were younger to the more complex braided styles you find yourself copying from Pinterest. However, when it comes to braids, tighter is definitely not better. Sure, a tight braid gives a cleaner, crisper style, but it can also cause splitting, follicle damage, or even tensile stress, something that happens when there’s tugging on your follicles and can even lead to hair loss. The fix here is pretty simple – while it’s fine to occasionally wear a tight braided style when you want to look super chic, for the average day, loosen up a little bit and rock a more romantic, messy braid – your hair will thank you, and frankly, they look just as fantastic as tighter styles.
13 A wet updo
It happens to the best of us – you don’t have time to dry your hair, you’re late, or it’s just a scorching hot summer day and the thought of pointing a blow dryer at your head makes you want to cry. Plus, there are countless runway shows and fashion spreads showcasing models with wet, styled hair – you’re not lazy, you’re just on trend, right? Well, while the slick, wet updo might be a fashion-forward look, it’s also really terrible for your hair – you see, wet hair is more delicate and prone to breaking than dry hair. So, that simple wet bun you put together when you were running late is likely going to yank quite a few hairs out of your head – and that’s just if you do it once, not if you make a habit of it. If you really need your hair out of your face when it’s wet, rock a cute fabric headband or something while you finish up your make-up – don’t put it up entirely.
12 Long, long extensions
Extensions are becoming more and more of a thing – tons of celebrities are wearing them, countless average girls you meet on the street, and it’s hard not to want those long, silky, perfect strands after seeing so many others rock them. However, if you value the health of your hair, you may want to give extensions another thought. The longer your hair is in general, the longer it is to keep healthy – that’s why you need to make sure to regularly get trims, even if you’re trying to achieve Rapunzel-like length. However, extensions are even worse than naturally super long hair because they literally tug at your scalp and can cause breakage at the root of your hair. There are many types of extensions, from clip-on to sew-in, and some are a little bit better than others, but just think of it logically – if something is clipped into your hair, day after day, of course it’s going to cause damage!
11 Teased hair
No one wants boring hair that just lays dull and lifeless against their scalp, so many women opt to tease or backcomb certain portions of their hair to get that sexy volume going. I mean, in some parts of the world, teased hair is practically a necessity, a way of life – crazy inventions like the Bumpit were created for a reason! However, it turns out that all that teasing is likely leaving your hair really damaged – you see, the volume in teased hair is created by combing it backwards, which actually involves scraping the cuticles of your hair strands backwards. The whole process can lead to breakage and split ends, particularly if you’re doing it every single day to add a little oomph to your hairstyle, so next time you find yourself tempted to do anything to get a little extra volume, browse the drug store for some root-boosting hair products instead.
10 Pin straight strands (if they’re not natural)
While some people have stick straight hair and absolutely hate it, others really love the sleek, chic look of totally straight strands – the problem is, if you’re not born with hair like that, it takes a lot of coaxing to get things completely pin straight. Chances are you’ll find yourself spending way, way too much time with your flat iron, desperately trying to combat the bumps or waves that occur in your hair naturally. There are things you can do to make it a little less damaging, such as using heat protectant spray or using higher quality ceramic or tourmaline hair tools, but at the end of the day, applying high heat to your strands on a regular basis is bound to damage them. While you can certainly bust out your favourite sleek look on special occasions, try to learn to love your natural hair texture and rock that at least a few times a week to give your hair a break from all that heat.
9 Crazy, sexy curls (if they’re not natural)
You know what they say about women’s hair – generally, you want exactly what you don’t have. So, while many curly-haired ladies are arming themselves with their flat iron day after day, there are many women with straight hair who want nothing more than sexy curls bouncing around all day. Again, the main damaging factor here is heat – if you have totally straight hair and you want gorgeous curls, you’re probably clocking in hours every month with your hot curling iron. You can use as much heat protectant as you want, but daily frying will definitely lead to damage at some point, so try to steer clear of curling every single day if you want your hair to stay as gorgeous and healthy as possible – or, perhaps give some alternative curling methods a try. There are a lot of interesting products on the market that claim to curl without using any heat, so perhaps you’ll find your perfect fit through some trial and error.
8 The ballerina bun
It’s hard not to love the ballerina bun as an easy hairstyle. It requires no more work than a ponytail, yet it makes you feel effortlessly chic. It’s smooth, it’s sleek, and it’s sophisticated – why wouldn’t you want to wear it every day? Well, if you you’re your hair to stay healthy, you’ll steer clear of the daily ballerina bun, because that tightness that leads to the sleek silhouette can also cause breakage and tension in your hair. A great alternative if you’re a total bun-head is simply rocking a loose, messy bun a few times a week in addition to your trademark sleek ballerina bun. The look is similar, but a looser style typically won’t pull on your strands as much as a tight bun does. Just don’t try to wear the loose bun if you’re an actual ballerina prepping for a performance – that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
7 Bobby pin mania
Styling your hair can be tough if you have a cut that isn’t just a blunt, uniform length. You may be trying to pull together a sleek look, and find that you have random bits of hair sticking out here and there. Perhaps you’re growing out your bangs and they’re at that awkward stage where they’re too long to be hanging in front of your eyes, yet too short to be pulled back into your hairstyle. The solution to so many hair woes is the simple bobby pin – it grips the hair and keeps it solidly pinned wherever you want it to be. The problem is, if you use bobby pins in the same spots all the time, you’ll eventually start to see some breakage, just as you would from rocking the same ponytail day after day. Try to save your hair by moving them around slightly to ensure you’re not pinning the same spot every day.
6 Braids near your hairline
We kind of blame Pinterest for this one – there are so many incredible hairstyles that incorporate braids in an unexpected way and add a ton of visual interest to a seemingly simple hairstyle. And since all your hair isn’t in a braid, it’s not as bad, right? After all, you’re just rocking mini French braids near your crown, or pulling at your temples while the rest of your hair hangs loose and free. Well, even if every strand isn’t wrapped up in a braid, you can still be damaging your hair – in fact, the hair near your hairline is the most delicate, so braided styles that focus on those spots can be even more damaging than a tight overall braid. Again, the solution is simple – just don’t wear braids in the same spot every day, or perhaps go for a more loose, romantic mix of braids and waves that looks like you stepped straight out of a pastel-colored lifestyle blog.
5 Slicked back and sexy
Many hair trends start with celebrities and the styles that they prefer to rock on the red carpet and in press appearances, or with the looks that you spot in fashion spreads. For quite some time, one of those trends has been the sexy, slicked back hair. It’s a look that may be a bit intimidating for some women initially, but it can be super chic and simple – plus it’s a great way to get your hair out of your face in hotter months! The problem is, getting your hair to stay like that requires a fair bit of gel, and some hairstylists warn that the chemicals in gels can actually break down your follicles if you use them too much. Now, obviously, you don’t need to turn in your bottles of gel ASAP – there are many guys who use a bit on a daily basis and don’t instantly go bald. However, just be aware that the gelled back look will require thorough washing out, and you may want to skip a few days of slicking every now and then.
4 Bleached blonde
Okay, this may seem a little bit obvious, but given how many women still seek out super blonde tresses in the belief that blondes must have more fun, it needs to be said. If you’re literally bleaching your hair to get it blonde – or as the first step before turning it grey or pastel or any other shade that requires a colorless base – your hair will get super damaged. There are tons of products out there designed to be gentle on color damaged hair, and to moisturize and strengthen and do all kinds of things designed to help heal your hair. However, at the end of the day, bleaching is a process that involves putting something on your hair that you can barely stand to breathe in (seriously – any woman who has made the mistake of bleaching her own hair in a poorly ventilated bathroom knows this too well). Rocking platinum blonde locks will definitely hurt your hair health, so it’s just a question of whether you want to prioritize your hair’s health or are willing to do whatever it takes to try to repair your hair while keeping the amazing colour.
3 The sunnies perch
This might not be the first hairstyle that comes to your mind in the winter, but when those hot summer months roll around, every girl is guilty of doing this time and time again. You wear your beloved sunglasses outside, then perch them on top of your head when you go inside, or just when your eyes want a break from the dark lenses. First of all, moving your glasses from your face to your head to your face, over and over again, can potentially cause breakage near your delicate hairline. Also, as any woman knows, sunglasses with nose pads can create some major tangle issues that are liable to yank out a ton of your hair. The perch looks so cool and effortless when done correctly, but you might be better off keeping your sunnies in your purse, and showing off your healthy, shining, undamaged hair instead (or just wear your sunnies 24/7, who’s going to stop you?).
2 The daily blowout
Any woman knows that a perfect blowout can pretty much set your mood for the rest of the day or night. Your hair is shining and silky, it’s bouncing and moving like in a shampoo commercial, and you just feel totally put together and fabulous. A great blowout can be a wonderful treat, whether you get it at the salon or opt to do it yourself at home with your trusty brushes and blow dryer, but your hair isn’t the biggest fan. As with any method of styling that involves heat, daily blow drying is liable to, well, dry your hair – literally. You can regularly apply masks and moisturizers and try to restore the damage from all that hot air, but if you want your hair to be truly healthy, you’ll need to learn to love second-day hair. Seriously, though – all you need is some fantastic dry shampoo and your one day indulgence or effort turns into a second (or third) day of phenomenal hair.
1 The colour chameleon
We’re going to go ahead and blame Kylie Jenner for this one, and perhaps Instagram to a lesser degree. Countless women post shots of their hair dyed every colour of the rainbow, from chic grey to dreamy lavender to vibrant red. It can be a ton of fun to dye your locks a crazy colour, and a great way to express your personality. However, you need to be careful if you find yourself constantly wanting to rock a different shade. Dyeing your hair is a damaging process, and going from one crazy colour to another will almost always involve having to take your hair back to basic bleached in order to achieve the desired shade. Kylie Jenner makes it look easy, but that’s because she has a team of stylists at her disposal to take care of her damaged hair, and also because she rocks a lot of wigs. If you want to rock a different wig every day, by all means go for it – just please don’t dye your hair on a weekly basis if you want to keep it from, you know, falling out.
Sources: byrdie.com, bustle.com, romper.com, brit.co