Skip the daily wash
sianstock/ShutterStockShampooing every day might sound like basic hygiene, but going longer between washes actually helps you go longer between haircuts. Shampoo, along with chlorine and other minerals in the water, strips hair of its natural oils. Lather up every day, and your hair could get parched and prone to damage. “Wash hair every other day—and the longer, the better,” says Cassondra Kaeding, celebrity colorist at Sally Hershberger. Scrub at the scalp (not through the ends) to attack the oil right where it’s produced, she says.
Try a laid-back style
Cheshmeh-Studio/ShutterStockOn non-wash days, you might want to throw your hair up to extend your style. But pulling and twisting tight with a hair tie could lead to even more breakage—just the opposite of the healthy hair you wanted between haircuts. Instead of pulling hair tight, try a loose ponytail or braid, says three-time Emmy award-winning celebrity hairstylist Lavette Slater. A messy fishtail braid at the side of the head looks even fresher than your typical pony, she says.
Use a hydrating shampoo
Africa-Studio/ShutterStockA moisturizing shampoo will keep your hair healthy and strong to fight the breakage that usually sends you to the salon. “It helps rehydrate hair and give it a little body, and the protein and moisture it needs,” says Kaeding. She recommends Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration shampoo or L’Oreal Absolut Repair Lipidium Shampoo. Learn what shampoo is best for your hair type.
Goncharov_Artem/ShutterStockWash, rinse, repeat. That second lather is just beauty brands’ clever trick to get you to use product faster, right? Not so fast. If you have oily hair that's begging for a daily wash, you might find your style lasts through day two if you shampoo twice at a time. “You’ll notice that second shampoo will lather a lot more, and that’s how you know it’s clean,” says Kaeding. After your second shampoo, apply just one round of conditioner to the ends only, she says. Check out more secrets to styling oily hair.
Use a mask
puhhha/ShutterStockBetween damaging color, tugging hair ties, and regular wear and tear, your strands could do well with an extra boost of moisture. Once a week, double up that hydrating shampoo with a mask to keep hair healthy. “A good hydrating mask helps put back everything that’s been stripped out of your hair,” says Kaeding. Try the L’Oreal Absolut Repair Lipidium Masque or Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration treatment. Don't miss these nighttime habits ruining your hair.
Use a gentle brush
puhhha/ShutterStock“Hard bristles and brushing your hair really hard could ruin the shaft of the hair and could cause you to have to trim it,” says Slater. She recommends using a paddle brush, which is has soft bristles with more space in between for a gentler detangle. In the shower, use a wide-tooth comb to get the knots out before you shampoo, she says. Don't miss these other horrible hair mistakes to avoid.
Brush from bottom up
puhhha/ShutterStockForcing knots out of your hair can cause breakage, but the right technique will get through tangles without so much yanking and ripping. Spray a leave-in conditioner, but don’t bring your brush to your crown just yet. “Usually people start from the root, but you’re just moving that tangle down and putting more hair into the tangle,” says Kaeding. Working from the ends of the hair to the root with a paddle brush is easier on your hair, she says. Read more about the best brush for your hair.
Be heavy-handed with the heat protectant
Maryna-Pleshkun/ShutterStockA heat protectant spray or oil could prevent the damage from blow driers, straighteners, and other hot tools. After towel-drying hair, apply a heat protector from your roots to the ends and brush through, says Kaeding. “Rough-dry so it can adhere to your hair,” she says. Then use a round brush or paddle brush to style as you dry. Before going in with a flat iron or curling iron, apply heat protectant through the whole hair shaft again, says Kaeding.
Use a low heat setting
alekso94/ShutterStockIt’s no secret that the high heat from a blow dryer can make your hair brittle and prone to breakage. “Professional high-tech blow driers are so hot, and [people are] doing it by themselves at home and going over each piece a million times,” says Slater. “It’s burning their hair.” Using a lower heat setting might not dry your hair quite so quickly, but by avoiding extreme temperatures, you'll have less heat damage and healthier tresses in the long run. You could also invest in an ionic blow drier, which cuts down drying time so you can spend less time with the heat, says Slater.
Take it slow with the flat iron
Alex-Borovsky/ShutterStockYou might run your flat iron through big chunks of hair to save time, but you’re actually taking more time and doing more damage. Each time that hot tool hits your strands, your hair is getting a little bit more damaged. Cutting down on the number of passes you take with a flat iron means less abuse to your hair, says Slater. Start by blowing your hair as straight as possible so you aren’t trying to go from tight curls to pin-straight tresses. “If you take smaller sections and your hair is already pretty much straightened, you shouldn’t have to go through it a million times,” she says.