Here's what two top New York City stylists have to say about your bad hair care habits, and how they're sabotaging the luscious locks you're meant to have.
A healthy head of hair can boost your confidence exponentially—but how much confidence do you have in your ability to actually keep your hair healthy? In fairness, hair is pretty delicate, and once damaged, very hard to "fix." Dyeing, heat processing, and even the environment can take a toll on your strands. But there are everyday hair care habits that can help keep your mane in top condition.
There are also some bad habits you can stop doing. Here, two top New York City hairstylists, Eliut Rivera of Eliut Salon and Siobhan Quilan of Art + Autonomy Salon, share the top hair care mistakes they hate to see, and why they're doing more harm than good for your locks.
Mistake #1: Putting your hair in a ponytail constantly.
"Keeping your hair pulled too tight, too often will cause breakage, especially if your hair is highlighted," Rivera says of her top hair care blunder. "A lot of time you can see the breakage on the crown area." Too much traction from severe pulling can even damage your hair at the follicle, causing a type of gradual hair loss called traction alopecia. Eventually, the hair loss can even become permanent.
Looking for a compromise? Try these "ouchless" ponytail holders ($3; amazon.com).
Mistake #2: Spending all your money in the salon but skimping at home.
"People spend so much time and money at the salon, but then they don’t want to invest in quality products to keep up their hair at home," says Quinlan. She notes that a lot of drugstore hair care products are cheaper because they have cheaper ingredients that can often be harsher on your hair. "People are always shocked by how much of a difference stylist-recommended products make versus just whatever happened to be on sale. There are so many product options because there are so many different hair types and environmental [factors] that can affect your hair," she says. "Most stylists really do care about your hair; they aren’t just trying to sell you stuff."
To maintain your salon-quality locks at home without blowing your budget, try stylist-approved Olaplex products.
Mistake #3: Masking your face but not your hair.
Quinlan says you should be giving your hair the same TLC as you do your face. After all, hair is made of a lot of the same stuff as skin, most notably keratin. "Everybody says they don’t have time [for deep conditioning hair masks]," says Quinlan, so she suggests multitasking. Just mask your hair before any activity that lets you wear a bun for an hour and shower afterward.
For a tried-and-true, all-natural hair mask option, try coconut oil ($7; amazon.com).
Mistake #4: Brushing your hair after you shower when your hair is wet.
Your hair is most fragile when it’s wet, Quinlan notes. "Don’t tear through it with a brush after the shower if you don’t want it to break." If you need to de-tangle, she recommends brushing it before the shower when your hair is dry. Then when it’s wet, use a wide tooth comb or a brush specifically designed for dealing with wet hair ($5; amazon.com).
Mistake #5: Using the same shampoo over and over again.
The secret to dull, lifeless hair? Keep using the same shampoo year after year. For shiny, bouncy locks, change your shampoo regularly, Rivera says. "Sometimes your hair gets used to the shampoo you use constantly," he says. A variety of shampoos will help your hair recuperate its body and become manageable. "It’s good to have a few different shampoos with different purposes, like a moisturizing shampoo, shine shampoo, color-safe shampoo, and volume shampoo. Then alternate."