We tend to stress the importance of developing good nighttime habits for both our health and appearance. How many times have you heard how crucial it is to get a solid seven hours of sleep, take off all your makeup before bed, and apply retinol and moisturizer to keep your skin looking its healthy best? These are all great tips — but what you do in the morning counts, too!
If you’re rolling out of bed and making any of these most common haircare mistakes, you could be setting yourself up for drier hair that is more likely to suffer from split ends and breakage. Dr. Elaine F. Kung, board-certified dermatologist based out of New York City and the founder of Future Bright Dermatology, outlines four of the worst morning habits that are actually so bad for hair loss. Whether you’re currently experiencing thinning hair that has you worried OR you just want to keep your hair in its best healthy state. break these habits ASAP for stronger, thicker hair.
Applying shampoo on hair strands
Shampoos are formulated to remove dirt and oils from the scalp, Dr. Kung explains, so when you apply shampoo on strands it may remove oils from hair strands and change the pH of hair fibers. “Therefore, shampooing hair strands may cause hair cuticle damage and hair fiber breakage,” Dr. Kung said.
Play it safe by focusing only on your scalp when you’re washing your hair and using a gentle shampoo that is free of sulfates and paragons.
Forgetting to use hair conditioner
Shampoo and hair conditioner go together like peanut butter and jelly — making conditioner a regular part of your haircare routine is an important morning habit. “Hair conditioners are designed to minimize static electricity, improve hair manageability, and temporarily mend split ends,” Dr. Kung said. “Hair conditioners reduce friction between fibers, making hair easier to comb and detangle. Hair conditioner technically replaces hair oils that are washed off with synthetic substitutes like silicone to offer hair smoothness and shine.”
Heating our hair when it is wet
“Heat treatment to wet hair causes more chemical and structural damage to hair strands than heat treatment to dry hair,” Dr. Kung cautions. “Heat treatment to wet hair causes the hair cuticle to bubble and buckle.
Therefore, the following hair grooming practices that we commonly do after we wash our hair can cause split ends and breakage:
- Using a blow dryer less than 15cm away from hair strands
- Using curling irons
- Using flat irons”
Your best bet? Wrap wet hair in a microfiber towel and let it air dry for 20 minutes. Then apply a heat protectant spray to strands before using any heated tool.
Pulling hair into tight hairstyles
Ponytails, buns, and braids can look amazing — and are certainly tempting when you have little time to get ready in the morning. But repeating these styles can come at a cost.
“Pulling our hair tight repeatedly over a long period of time can contribute to traction alopecia,” Dr.Kung said. “Traction alopecia is hair loss from regularly having tight ponytails, buns, or braids. People with chemically or heat-treated hairs are especially susceptible to traction alopecia, which is characterized by hair loss along the frontal hairline.”
Try and take breaks between tight hairstyles to give your scalp a rest.