Hair styling is an entire trial and error process, of testing out myths and rumours from various sources.
A lot of them are just scaremongering and basic marketing ploys by companies trying to sell a product or service. But there are, however, some basic things that you might be doing that are causing damage to your hair.
Here are the things that can weaken your hair, cause hair fall; or ultimately lead to hair loss:
1. Being Rough With Wet Hair
This might come as a shock, but wet hair is a lot more feeble and susceptible to breakage than dry hair.
Before drying your hair with a towel, try to lightly squeeze out the excess water. The friction from rough drying with a towel can cause breakage and frizz and can get worse over time.
Also, try not to brush your hair when it’s soaking wet as this is another cause of damage. If you need to brush out any knots or tugs, use a wide-tooth comb first.
Ideally, your hair should be towel dry before using a hairdryer.
Heat is one of the biggest causes of hair damage. This can really be separated into several categories: natural heat (the sun), hairdryer use, straightener (flat iron) use, and hot water.
Overdrying your hair with a hairdryer or a straightener can weaken and damage your hair. Heat causes temporary changes to the hydrogen bonds that hold hair together and over time, these temporary changes can lead to more permanent damage.
Best practice is to set your hairdryer to medium heat at a fast speed to start things off. Keep the dryer moving across the hair and avoid prolonged exposure to heat in just one area. If it starts to sting your scalp, then that’s when you know it’s too hot.
The same goes for water that’s on the hotter side. Be careful not to scald your scalp as hair health is directly linked to scalp health.
If you also live where it’s sunny the majority of the time, you should also be mindful of the heat coming from the sun. Too much exposure can dehydrate your scalp and damage your hair. There are, however, treatments that will protect your hair and scalp from the sun so you should consider those… or just wear a hat!
3. Dirty tools
Dirty combs and brushes that are covered in nasty hair product residue and oil are breeding grounds for bacteria.
Product build-up from the comb can be transferred to your scalp, leading to clogged and blocked hair follicles. An extreme result of this would be hair loss.
Remember to clean your combs and brushes at least once a month with a mixture of baking soda and lukewarm water, or even just shampoo in a wash basin. A toothbrush will help you to get into all those tiny bristles.
4. Brushing technique
Combing and brushing techniques are most relevant for guys with longer hair, but it’s still important for men of all hair types to take note.
Over-brushing and combing can cause split ends and breakage. The constant friction can be too much for the hair and will cause it to break.
When brushing, start at the ends and then work your way down to the roots. This will minimise tugging on the hair.
5. Hair Bleaching and Hair Dye
It might seem obvious, but hair bleaching and dyeing can cause serious damage, especially when done constantly. So whenever possible, always bleach and colour your hair with a professional. The DIY risk is just too high!
Bleaching penetrates the outer cuticle of your hair strands with chemicals and removes its natural pigment. When done repeatedly, it can get dangerous as it can change the structure of the hair. This in turn could leave it open and more vulnerable to external factors such as pollution and can contribute to the loss of moisture in the hair.
Damage from bleach includes dry, brittle, inelastic hair which inevitably leads to breakage. It also causes hair to be more porous and swollen, making it more vulnerable to other chemical and non-chemical processes.
Meanwhile, highlights and semi-permanent dyes may not be as damaging as bleach, but they can still make your hair lose moisture. They can also change the inner structure of your locks causing a lacklustre look and dryness, especially if you frequently colour to hide your roots or grey hair.