Every day, we use shampoo, conditioner, even your blowdryer. It’s practically second nature, but how many of us are using these hair products and hair tools the wrong way? Read this list to find out the most common hair care mistakes people make, and finally find out what to really do to get healthy and beautiful hair every day.
Mistake # 1: You use regular scissors to trim your hair
Trimming you bangs or snipping off split-ends? Don’t just grab the nearest pair of scissors. Most scissors have a blunt edge, which can cause split-ends and lead to a jagged, imprecise cut. Get special thinning scissors. These are much sharper, will help you give more control and precision, won’t damage your hair. The best hair thinning shears will last a lifetime!
Mistake #2: You rush through the shampoo process
Lauren Thompson, who runs a salon in Manhattan, says that most women don’t wash their hair well enough. Don’t just squirt out handful of shampoo, briskly run it through your hair, and then rinse as fast as you can. Take your time. Wet your hair thoroughly, then when you apply shampoo, massage it into the scalp until you get a lot of lather. You’ll realize that 1) even a small amount of shampoo is enough, as long as you really work it into your scalp and hair, and 2) it’s actually easier to rinse off shampoo if you use less but lather it up more.
“Using too much shampoo – especially if you don’t rinse it off well – will cause a lot of product build-up that can make your hair greasy and limp. Plus, if you don’t massage it in thoroughly, it doesn’t get distributed evenly. Some sections end up getting oversaturated with product, while others aren’t cleaned enough.
Mistake #3: You don’t do a cold rinse
We love hot showers too, but the heat opens up the hair cuticle and makes it more prone to damage. That’s why you should always do a final rinse of your hair with cold water, to seal the cuticle.
Mistake #4: You’re overusing dry shampoo
Dry shampoo can help a blowout last longer, or help refresh your hair in the middle of the day. However, it’s not something you should be using every day. Just like hair gels and hair sprays, it leaves product residue that can clog your hair follicles, irritate your scalp, and make your hair look dull.
Use dry shampoo just 2 or 3 times a week, and be sure to remove product build-up twice a month with a clarifying shampoo.
Mistake#5: You apply dry shampoo in the morning
Dry shampoo actually looks better if you apply it in the evening before going to bed. This gives it time to soak up oils or grease, so you wake up with great hair! With this extra time to “set” your dry shampoo is also less likely to flake or clump.
Mistake#6: You towel-dry your hair
Hair is most fragile when it’s wet, so rubbing it vigorously with a towel will cause split ends. Just wrap your hair in a towel and then press out excess water. Once it’s damp but not dripping, you can air-dry it in front of an electric fan, or use a blowdryer.
Mistake#7: You apply mousse after blowdrying
If you want lots and lots of volume and soft curls, apply mousse in the middle of blowdrying – when your hair is about 60% to 7% dry. The mousse helps set your hair, so it retains the soft waves and holds the volume, and it can also act as a primer to help other styling products last longer.
Mistake#8: You’re not using your blowdryer’s nozzle attachment
Most blowdryers come with a small, flat nozzle attachment. This helps concentrate the air, which is actually a lot better for daily hair drying.
“The nozzle provides distance between the hair and the lip of the dryer, which is the hottest point. Additionally, the nozzle keeps the air flow concentrated, and without it, the hot air disperses, causing undesirable frizz,” says Giovanni Vaccaro, Glamsquad’s creative director.
Mistake#9: You don’t apply heat protectant evenly
Heat protectant hair products are a must if you regularly blowdry or iron your hair. However, most people just apply it to the top of their hair – forgetting the hair at the nape and the sides. To make sure every strand gets coated, divide your hair into sections and then spray from left to right, top to bottom.
Mistake#10: You use the wrong brush for blowdrying
The best brush for blowdrying hair is a round brush – it gives a lot of volume and helps you pull and straighten hair. But these brushes come in different materials and sizes, and there’s no such thing as one-brush-fits-all.
If you have straight hair and want it to have volume but still stay sleek, use a ceramic brush. If you have frizzy hair that’s very thick, use a boar bristle brush.
Mistake#11: You blowdry very wet hair
If you start blasting your hair when it’s dripping wet, you’ll be overexposing your strands to heat. It’s better to squeeze excess water from your hair with a towel, then let it air-dry. Your hair should be damp or about 80% dry before you start using your blowdryer on it. Or, you can get a blowdryer with a cool setting and start blowdrying it when it’s about 60% dry.
Mistake#12: You don’t use the blowdryer coolshot button
After you blowdry, press the cool shot button as the final step. It helps cool down your hair, and will even help make your hair look shiny. Try it – you’ll see the difference!
Mistake#13: You’re applying too much hair spray, and too close
Hold the hair spray 8 to 10 inches away from your hair, so you get a light and even mist. If it’s any closer, the hair spray will cake it and clump, and even weigh down your hair. That pretty much ruins any volume you wanted to achieve from blowdrying!
Mistake#14: You use too much leave-in conditioner
According to TRESemmé celebrity stylist Jeanie Syfu, you only need a pea-sized amount of any hydrating leave-in conditioner or hair serum. (If you have very long hair, you can use about a quarter-sized amount.) Then don’t just rub it straight on your hair. Rub your hands together to heat it up and distribute the product on your palms, then run your hand through your hair. “That way when you apply it, the product goes through evenly and actually coats more strands.”
Mistake#15: You only apply apply salt spray to your top layer
Salt spray can help create lots of sexy texture and volume. However, for the product to work well, you have to apply it evenly. Divide your hair into sections, and then lift your hair so that you also reach the strands underneath.
Mistake#16: You apply anti-frizz products too late
Frizz-control products – or wave or curl definer products – work best on wet hair. Comb it through your hair, making sure to distribute it evenly, so it can help coat strands while they’re still wet and easy to shape. Then, either air dry completely or blow dry.
Mistake#17: You put too much hair oil
Hair oils are best applied on the scalp, which can absorb the nutrients. Massage it in, and then just use whatever’s left on your hands to coat the rest of your strands. If you apply too much oil, your hair will get weighed down, and you’ll be left with a lot of product build-up that can actually make your hair look dull.
Mistake#18: You stick to just one shampoo
Adjust your shampoo to your hair and scalp’s changing needs. Sometimes, the scalp can dry out or hair can become frizzy because of a change in climate. Or, your hair may need extra conditioning because you’ve been styling it more often. You should also have a clarifying shampoo to help remove build-up.
“I have a moisturizing shampoo since my colored hair gets dry, which works when I don’t wash my hair every day. But there are days when I really really need to wash my hair, like in the summer or when I exercise or go to the pool. That’s when I use my gentler natural shampoo, which cleans but doesn’t weigh down my hair,” says Sarah.
Mistake#19: You only pay attention to your hair
If you want healthy hair, you need a healthy scalp. That’s why it’s good to have a few scalp detox treatments that can boost blood circulation and remove dead skin cells that can clog hair follicles.