Washing your hair too often—or not enough
Ok, you got the memo: Cleansing your hair more than you need to can strip away the natural oils that keep it healthy, thus making it more brittle and prone to breaking. And while the trend of washing less and less often is catching on, experts warn to tread lightly. “The pores on your scalp can become congested from excessive oil, which will attract even more dirt and debris,” says Lauren E. Hack, hairstylist and co-founder of LAUREN+VANESSA salon in New York City. Your best bet: Reduce the number of times you shampoo to three to four times a week. “In between shampoos, soak up oil with a light coat of dry shampoo on your roots and use a boar bristle brush to distribute hair oils from root to tip for extra natural shine and conditioning,” suggests Nick Penna, owner and lead stylist at SalonCapri in Boston. Check out these home remedies for dry, damaged hair.
Rinsing with steaming hot water
iStock/Burwell and Burwell Photography
That same damage caused by flat irons and hair dryers can also happen when you turn the temperature dial up too high in the shower. “Think if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to put in your hair—in fact, it can be incredibly damaging,” warns Jenna Mast, a New York-based hairstylist. “It’s fine to use hot—not steaming—water to rinse out your shampoo. This allows your hair cuticles to open up and ensures your strands are clean from the inside out.” But once you condition, rinse with cold water to seal the cuticle closed. This adds a healthy shine that will last until your next wash.
Not using a color-safe shampoo
If you color your hair—even just a few times a year—using a color-safe shampoo is a must. “Without it, your color will fade very fast and your hair can become dry,” says Hack. Her favorite: Pureology Hydrate. “It gently cleanses without stripping color and provides the proper moisturization colored hair needs.” If you’re a blonde, be careful when it comes to the purple shampoos that promise to brighten your color. This shampoo is not intended to be used every day or every time you wash your hair. “If you overuse purple shampoo, your hair may start to look dull and even begin to have a grey or purple tint—and not the pretty pastel kind either,” says Hack. “If you feel your hair is starting to look brassy, try Schwarzkopf Bonacure Color Save Silver Shampoo —it reduces unwanted warm tones and brings back that cool color you intended for.” These are 38 secrets your hair stylist won’t tell you.