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Damaged Hair: Are You Making These 8 Mistakes?
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Damaged Hair: Are You Making These 8 Mistakes?

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Most people who have long hair will attest to the fact that the upkeep of it can be hard work at times. Especially when an occasion calls for hair down and you suddenly realise that all that shoving it up in tight hair bands has ravaged your strands, leaving them sticking out all over the place. Not the smooth silky-locked look you had hoped for.

You might not even be aware of the hair care mistakes that you're making. Have a read of this and have yourself a head of strong, shiny tresses in no time!

Tying your hair up

Many people with longer styles actually rarely wear it down, which negates the point somewhat; however this is because it gets in the way. Eating, going to the gym, work all often require hair tied back. Also, there are lots of styles which involve scraping back your hair into a tight ponytail; great for cheekbones, but less so for the strands of your hair, which are likely to break under all that tension.

Try mixing up how you wear your hair. Be adventuress with styles; buy yourself a new clip, or plait your hair at the back. For days that you do wear a ponytail; make sure to use bands that don't rip the hair and try not to put it up while your hair is wet and more susceptible to breaking.

Brushing

Firstly, the right equipment is important. Use either a wide toothed comb, for when your hair is knotty and/or wet and a brush with nylon bristles for properly brushing out dry hair. A round brush is fine for styling, but will snag in knotty hair and cause damage.

When using a comb to detangle hair focus on the area that has knots and holding the hair just below the root gently tease them out. DON'T start from the top of the hair and pull straight down, this creates worse knots and breaks lots of strands.

When combing out hair after a shower, be aware that hair absorbs water and is far more fragile when wet so be extra careful; apply a leave-in conditioner through the ends, which will help to seal split ends and reduce damage.

Washing

For many of us showering is a highlight of the day. Either first thing in the morning, waking you up and making you feel fresh and ready for the day, or at the end of a long day when the water washes away the stresses and the grime that's accumulated.

Well, this may be great for you and your personal hygiene, but it may not be so great for your locks. Lots of the advice out there encourages you to wash your hair less often and allow the natural oils to nourish and conduct the self cleaning function that they're designed to do.

It can be tricky to make this transition though, once hair is accustomed to regular washing, so if this is the case be aware of what products you're using and schedule in days where you don't mind having unwashed hair, or are going to be wearing a scarf anyway.

Products

The quality of the products you use on your hair will greatly affect its condition and how it looks. It may be tempting to buy cheaper products, and for some people they work just as well; however, if your hair isn't looking too great then you may need to look at the products you're using and possibly spend a bit more for better quality.

Deep treatments

The regular application of a deep hair treatment is a really effective way of boosting condition and keeping unwanted split ends and breakages at bay.

Again, choosing the right product is of paramount importance as hair differs so much. Talk to a professional about what type of hair you have and exactly what it requires to optimise your hair care regime.

Heat

This probably won't come as much of a surprise to you, but applying heat to your hair when styling causes damage. That's not to say you must never again use heat to dry or style your hair; it's about using the correct products to protect the hair from the heat and trying to minimise use, either by giving your hair a break on certain days, or turning down the heat where possible.

Dye

Obviously not dying your hair is better than dying it, but it needn't be as bad as it can be. Bleach is the worst offender for destroying hair completely, but again, if used responsibly then it won't cause any noticeable damage.

The key here is to get your hair dyed by an experienced hairdresser and to try to limit the amount you get it done. Also, make up for bad habits with more good ones, such as deep treatments and laying off the heat styling.

Scalp

With so much emphasis on the hair, we can sometimes neglect the scalp. That is until there is a problem, such as dandruff, or itching. If you suffer with any scalp conditions there are a number of products available (some prescribed, some not) that will treat it.

For those of you who don't have any noticeable issues in this area, you should still make a point of caring just for your scalp. Massage it to get blood flowing to the hair follicles and to promote hair growth, or moisturise it with coconut oil to remove dead skin.

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