How did we not know this?!
I’ll be the first to admit it. For someone who was a beauty editor for nearly five years, my hair maintenance routine is embarrassingly underwhelming.
I wash my hair once every one and-a-half weeks (insert screams of horror and disgust here) because my locks are so long and thick it’s a major ordeal to clean them, use heated hair tools like my strands are invincible, and get a haircut – wait for it – once every two years. Yeah, I know.
So between all the neglect, I was shocked to learn I’ve also been torturing my hair during the brief moments I actually try to take care of it: in the shower, by following the same routine of every woman I know. So prepare for some more shock and horror, because you’re about to learn you’re not in the safe zone either when it comes to your hair maintenance regime. Here are six hair mistakes you’re almost definitely making when you wash your hair…
1. Not brushing your hair before you hop in the shower
Stepping under the water to gear up for a wash with hair that hasn’t been brushed is asking for disaster. Tangled hair isn’t only more difficult to sufficiently clean, it’s way more vulnerable to pulling and breakage, so start giving it a gentle run-over with a wide tooth comb or soft bristle brush before you head for the bathroom.
2. Brushing it in the shower
Mistake number two is the very opposite. Waiting to brush your locks until you’re mid-wash is a recipe for even more damage, as water actually has a weakening effect on your mane’s bonds, making a comb a wet head’s worst enemy. Just don’t do it. Same goes for combing it once you’re out. Wait till it’s dry.
3. Using shampoos containing sulfates
You might think you’re clear on this hair sin, but check the ingredients list on the back of your supposedly ‘all natural’ or ‘organic’ shampoo bottle and you will likely be shocked to discover you are massaging sulfates into your scalp every time you wash your hair.
The problem? Besides being a hormone-interrupting chemical you’re transporting into your bloodstream every time you massage it into your scalp’s open pores, sulfates are unnecessarily harsh to your locks and can strip your scalp of natural oils and nutrients, causing it to overcompensate by ramping up oil production, thus leaving you with limp, oily strands. Worse still, they don’t add anything of value to the washing process, other than making your shampoo go all foamy when you lather up.
4. Applying conditioner to your roots
Newsflash: most of your hair’s oil is concentrated in your roots naturally, so adding conditioner there is only going to result in a mane that feels dirty just a day after you’ve washed it. Conditioner is used to add moisture and oil back to your locks, replacing anything your shampoo may have stripped out. As your roots are naturally oily, skip them altogether and concentrate on the rest of your hair, particularly the tips, where there’s least moisture.
5. Using the wrong shampoo for your hair lifestyle
Your choice of shampoo and conditioner should reflect your hair lifestyle. So if you use a hair straightener every day and aren’t opting for heat protecting products, you’re doing your mane a major disservice. Ditto if you dye your hair and aren’t using a color protectant.
6. Not giving your mane the TLC it needs
Just like you need to cleanse and moisturize your face every day, you need to apply a mask to your hair once a week, every week. Skipping this crucial hair maintenance step means you’re merely superficially addressing your hair every time you shower by washing out dirt and conditioning to temporarily replace lost moisture. A mask will actually treat your hair from the inside out, preventing issues like breakage, limpness, dryness, frizziness and split ends in the first place. Just try implementing this step for one month and see if your hair quality isn’t completely transformed.
Images via ourgoldenage.com.au, tumblr.com and giphy.com.
Comment: What hair sin are you most guilty of?