We all style hair one way or another but sometimes the little things that we do can have long term significant impact on hair health. Here we will look at some of the common hair styling practices that can lead to damage.
Hair styling practices that lead to damage
Teasing is common for those (usually with fine hair) who want to add an extra boost to hair volume without products. This is achieved by repeated short combing actions a few inches near the roots, by countering the direction that the cuticles lie on hair. In other words, the combing action lifts the cuticles and roughs up the hair. The raised cuticles prevent the hair fibers from lying uniformly flat against each other. This creates the desired volume. However, as you can imagine, the combing action will damage the cuticles and weaken the hair fiber over time. [Read here to learn how combing/brushing can lead to hair breakage]
2. Tight braids
Braids are a quick and easy way to style hair, from kids to adults. Hair that are unruly, thick or curly can be quickly subdued with braids giving them a neat controlled appearance. Braids can be fashionable and stylish because they offer variety and complexity in hair styles. However, tight braiding everyday is not kind on hair. The twists and turns combined with the pressure can create fissures and cracks on the cuticles over time. Some people even face hair loss known as traction alopecia from too much constant pulling. The stress on the hair follicles results in premature shedding. Traction alopecia is also seen from tight pony tails.
3. Hair do’s with hairspray and gels
Hair spray, hair gels or other holding products such as mousse do not cause hair damage as such. Instead it’s what we tend to do the next day that damages the cuticles. Once the holding products have set, they become hard and crispy. Many of us tend to brush/comb the hair the next day without washing first. And this is where problems arise. The force needed to break the ‘glued’ hair fibers, combined with the friction will cause damage on the cuticles of the hair.
4. Over-exposure to heat
Heat styling is an obvious source of damage to hair because the heat causes the hair protein to denature (change structure) and weaken. This, combined with the mechanical action of brushing/combing, is a perfect recipe for damage. However, there are instances where hair are over-exposed to hair. If you can smell the distinctive sulfur smell, then you know that you’ve burned areas of your hair. Often times even hair stylist will linger the blow drier at the ends on the round brush to create a long lasting curl. This is an example of over-exposing hair to the heat. Leaving the flat-iron on one section for too long is another example. Curling hair with a curling iron is an art, which if you haven’t mastered means that the hair is getting fried while you are trying to curl the rest of the fiber onto the iron.
5. Danaging hair accessories
The quality of the accessories is equally important to keep hair healthy. Things like cheap bob pins or bare rubber bands tend to pull against the hair, damaging the hair and pulling out the fibers. Use accessories that are smooth and soft and that do not add more grief to hair. Fabric scrunchies for example are better than plain rubber bands.