12 Common Hair Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Locks

Having dry, brittle hair isn’t always down to genetics — the cause of your damage could actually be due to everyday, common mistakes. Everything from which styling tools you use to the shampoo you buy, or even how you sleep can hugely impact the health of your hair. What’s more, hair damage isn’t always the result of what you’re doing — it can primarily come down to what you’re not doing. Take our advice and adjust these simple hair care mistakes to return your locks to their optimum shine and strength.

1. Regularly blow drying

hair dresser drying brown hair with hair dryer

Blow drying will damage your hair. | iStock.com/MilanMarkovic

If you’re someone who prefers to shower in the morning, you likely rely on a blow dryer to style your hair before leaving the house. Despite the convenience and effectiveness of blow dryers, the extreme heat from this tool causes the moisture within your strands to bubble. Bustle explains this stresses and breaks your hair. The results are split ends, dryness, and breakage. Instead of blow drying your hair, try towel drying with styling products. Or, use your blow dryer on its coolest setting.

2. Touching up your roots

woman gets a new hair color at the salon

Touching up your roots adds more chemicals to your hair. | iStock.com/kzenon

Touching up your roots (whether it be at home or a salon) damages your hair with harsh chemicals. More says demi-permanent and permanent hair dye contains peroxide, which opens the hair cuticle in order to deposit the color molecules. By dying your roots every time you see a hint of your natural color, you’re repeatedly damaging your youngest hair and scalp.  

3. Using cheap styling tools

woman styling hair with a straightener

Spend a little money on your styling tools. | iStock.com

Not all styling tools are created equal. By using a cheap straightener or curler, The Huffington Post says you’re more likely to break and burn your hair (you can even smell it frying). You’re best off saving up and buying slightly more expensive styling tools that are specifically designed to protect your locks, and they’ll last much longer overall than drugstore options. As a general rule, choose ceramic over plastic.

4. Buying harsh shampoo and conditioner

woman buying hair spray and shampoo at the store

Choose good products. | iStock.com/JackF

Regardless of the price point of your shampoo and conditioning set, it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients they’re formulated with. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a key ingredient in many shampoos, but theFashionSpot says this dries the scalp and hair follicles just as much as it cleans. We recommend using a more natural set for gentler locks, like Kai’s shampoo and conditioner, which are both paraben-, sulfate-, phthalate-, phosphate-, gluten-, and cruelty-free.

5. Using the wrong brush

woman getting her hair brushed and dried

Use the right brush. | iStock.com/MilanMarkovic

Your hair comb may seem harmless, but if its bristles are too sharp or rough, they could be causing microtears in your individual strands, Allure says. Switch to a gentle brush like Aveda’s Wooden Paddle Brush, which has soft, wide-set bristles that massage your scalp and reduce the stress put on your hair.

6. Skipping out on oil

Small bottle of essential yarrow oil

Essential oils are great for damaged hair. | iStock.com/kazmulka

Applying hair oil is an essential practice if you want to prevent or reverse damage. Instead of letting your hair’s breakage and split ends compile, use the ProRituals Oil-In-Reviving Cream, which is infused with seven powerful plant oils that instantly hydrate, smooth, and protect hair.

7. Sleeping with wet hair

Cropped beauty close-up of lower half of a Caucasian woman's face

Don’t go to bed while it’s wet. | iStock.com/Skodadad

Your hair is elastic and pliable when wet, Reader’s Digest says, which makes it more susceptible to breakage. To prevent your hair from tearing while you sleep, thoroughly dry your hair before bed, wrap your head in a silk scarf, or replace your cotton pillowcases with satin ones.

8. Taking hot showers

Woman washing her hair

Hot showers aren’t helping your hair. | iStock.com/esp2k

Steamy showers are incredibly relaxing after a long day, but did you know they damage your hair by stripping your scalp of its natural oils? If you’ve noticed your hair is increasingly lackluster, it’s best to take a more tepid shower with a cold finish. To reverse the damage caused by years of hot showers, try out the Hair and Scalp Therapy Conditioner with Green Tea and Neem by Ecco Bella.

9. Never detoxing your hair

Client is resting while her hair is being taken professional care

Give your hair a break every once in awhile. | iStock.com/Zinkevych

It’s not just your diet that needs a detox — your hair requires it, too. Detox shampoo removes the thick, unwanted buildup of products and chemicals that accumulate over time. To give your hair a deep clean and tangible refresh, invest in a detoxifying shampoo like the cult-favorite shampoo Maxi.Wash from Kevin.Murphy. It has anti-pollutant ingredients that purify and hydrate your scalp.

10. Bleaching your hair

woman holding her hands in hair

Bleaching is bad news for your hair. | iStock.com/grinvalds

Lightening your hair with bleach is one of the most damaging treatments, Refinery29 explains. Bleach causes the strands of your hair to swell, dissolves your natural melanin, gives your hair a coarser texture, and splits your ends. If you want healthy hair, you’re better off sticking to your natural color or going darker.

11. Getting it chemically straightened

Hairdresser uses a hair straightener as she dresses a client's hair

Skip the chemical straightening. | Britta Pedersen/AFP/Getty Images

There are plenty of horror stories from women who have gotten their hair chemically straightened, so you’d be wise to learn from their mistakes. Chemically straightening your hair is so irritating to your scalp that it can cause bleeding, and the silky smooth results aren’t guaranteed to last beyond your first wash.

12. Regularly wearing tight hair bands

young woman with hair in a bun

Don’t pull your hair so tightly back. | iStock.com/michaeljung

Ponytails and top-knot buns are great hair style options when you’re having a bad hair day or don’t have time to fully style it. However, you need to be careful about how tightly you fasten your hair band, as they can cause stress at your hairline and breakage at the shaft. Switch to a scrunchie or tie the band one less time.