7 Things to Avoid
1. Too Much Contact
I am very guilty of doing this. When I style my hair, I excessively scrunch my hair to compensate for my lack of texture. As I sit in front of the computer, deep in thought, I subconsciously play with hair. I twirl it and run my fingers through it, and I don’t realize the harm I'm doing.
Over scrunching your hair and touching your hair too much actually causes frizz and breakage. When your fingers touch your hair too much, they can actually steal away essential oils, leading to dry and easily broken hair strands.
Solution: don’t scrunch too much — once you apply product to your hair, scrunch it in 1-3 times to enhance your hair texture and prevent frizz. When you are at home and tempted to play with your curls, put them up in a loose bun or cover them up with a satin scarf or cap.
2. Avoiding Regular Haircuts
This is especially common if you are trying to grow out your hair and get lush locks. Avoiding haircuts may seem like the logical thing to do, but in actuality, it’s harming your hair. When you fail to trim your hair at regular intervals, you actually encourage split ends and keep your hair from growing. A good rule of thumb is to trim your hair every 6-8 weeks, depending on your hair growth cycle. Ask you stylist to be sure. By trimming regularly, you ensure that your locks are healthy and grow out strong.
3. Using Products with High Alcohol Content
In certain hair products, alcohol can be beneficial, but more often than not, it can be harmful. Be wary of hairsprays and gels that are high in alcohol, as these can cause dry damaged hair and inevitably frizz. Always check the ingredients list before you buy hair products. If alcohol is at the top of the list, toss it. Due to the ever-increasing awareness around alcohol-based products, several hair care brands are creating alcohol-free styling agents, such as Loreal’s EverStyle Alcohol Free Mousse.
MORE: All About Alcohols
4. Washing too Frequently
If you are at all aware of basic curly hair care practices, then this is a no-brainer. Washing your hair too frequently, or every day, strips your scalp of its natural oils and leaves you with dry, frizzy hair. Not to mention the harsh chemicals in your shampoo can be very damaging if used too often.
So how many times a week should you wash your hair? Try once or twice a week depending on your texture. When you do wash your hair, be sure to use products without sulfates and that contain moisturizing ingredients like panthenol and ceramides. Here are some guidelines to hair washing:
Thick, kinky, or tightly coiled hair: once a week
Medium curls, or wavy hair: twice a week
5. Over-Scrubbing Your Scalp
If you have very oily hair, you want to scrub your scalp really well to get all the dirt out, right? Wrong. Over scrubbing your hair can actually have the opposite effect. When you excessively rub your scalp, you are stimulating it and causing the blood to circulate faster. This can be very beneficial if you’re trying to grow your hair out, but be careful just how much your scrub. Excessive scrubbing will cause your hair tangle, break and frizz at the roots. You can also damage your scalp by scrubbing with your nails.
Solution: gently scrub and massage your scalp with the pads of your fingers for the amount of time it takes you to recite the alphabet.
6. Wearing Tight Hairstyles
Tight ponytails or some protective styles can be especially useful at the gym or in the kitchen, but be careful just how much tension you put on your hair, especially at the hairline. Pulling your hair too tightly for any hairstyle can cause hair loss and hurt your scalp.
Instead of tying high ponytails that pull at your hair and your scalp, try doing a low ponytail or a loose braid. You can also take the pressure off your scalp by tying your hair with a bandana or a loose ribbon. You will get a different style that is both cute and healthy for your hair.
For protective styles like braids or twists, don't pull at your hair too tightly while putting them in, and use less hair if your are adding extensions to reduce the weight of the extra hair pulling on your scalp.
7. Always Using the Same Shampoo
When you repeatedly use one shampoo, you are altering your hair’s chemical balance and changing the results of the shampoo. Obviously we want to see results from our shampoo, but if you don’t alternate them, then your hair’s chemical balance will work against you and you will see different results with the same shampoo over time. In a sense, you are changing the effect of the shampoo by using it for too long. In certain instances, the effect can be harmful to your hair. According to HairFinder.com:
“In the case of moisturizing and conditioning shampoos, you can get an eventual build-up on (and in) the hair shaft, which may leave the hair flat and listless after repeated use. Conversely, deep-cleaning or build-up removing shampoos can strip away more than just the product build-up they're designed to remove when used over and over, leaving hair dry and more susceptible to damage.”
The solution? Keep two shampoos on hand, and alternate them weekly or bi-weekly.