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Hair care is all about preservation. Your hair is not living like your scalp; it can be temporarily repaired but not permanently restored. Everything in hair care is meant to help maintain and style it. As your hair grows and you retain length, your hair is healthiest at the roots and usually the most damaged at the ends, which is why trims help to retain length. Before purchasing products and building a new regimen, it is helpful to understand how damage occurs and basic ways to maintain your curls.

What is damage?

There are three forms of damage: chemical, mechanical, and thermal damage. Chemical damage includes permanent color treatments, bleach, relaxers/texturizers, and the Brazilian keratin treatment. Mechanical damage includes regular maintenance from washing, detangling, and styling along with friction against clothing. It weakens the cuticle layer of the hair strands while chemical and thermal damage can weaken the cortex. Thermal damage includes direct heat from blow-dryers, flat irons, curling wands, and curling irons, which can weaken the cuticle and cortex layers.

Since washing, combing, and styling help to maintain your hair and scalp health, mechanical damage is unavoidable and is the most common form of damage.

If everything is damaging, what’s the point? 

It depends on what you want. If you want to explore various hair color and styles and retain length, using hair products lessen the damage that your strands experience. Now that you know about different forms of damage, you can tailor your regimen to your lifestyle and goals. Maintaining moisture, reducing frizz, and retaining length are the top concerns for most curlies, and here are things you can start altering in your regimen to achieve those goals.

4 things to stop doing

1. Using shampoo too often or not enough

Shampoo is formulated to remove product buildup, dirt, and excess sebum from you hair and scalp. When the hair follicle is clogged, you can cause or exacerbate your current scalp disorder. Using shampoo too often can also exacerbate scalp conditions. Most licensed cosmetologists recommend cleansing at least one a week for a normal, healthy scalp. Also consider switching to sulfate-free products and other cleansing options absent of SLS.

2. Skipping trims

Trims do not make your hair grow, they help you to retain length. The hair shaft grows from the hair follicle in the scalp not ends, so your ends should be cut as needed to prevent dry, split, and frayed ends and breakage.

3. Using heat tools regularly

Regardless of the temperature or frequency at which you use heat styling tools, it is best to not use them regularly. Limit heat tools to 1-3 times a year, as using them daily, weekly, and monthly greatly increase the risk for heat damage, which is irreversible. 

4. Too much of anything

Healthy hair requires balance. You can have too much of a good thing. Too much moisture, protein, and wearing the same hairstyle can all cause breakage. Your hair needs proper moisture-protein balance to be pliable yet strong. Consistently wearing your hair loose can create dry ends while always wearing a ponytail, puff, or extensions wears on the point of contact along the hair shaft.