8 Ways You're Accidentally Damaging Your Hair

And how you can easily fix it

You try your best. We all do. But sometimes those quick hair fixes we sneak in on occasion (like spraying dry shampoo for, sigh, the third day) can be more destructive to our strands in the long run. Here, we brush up on the unlikely offenders that may be damaging your otherwise healthy mane.

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Sleeping With Wet Hair

Damp hair is very fragile and stretches easily. Combine this with the tossing and turning you do in bed and you’re looking at lots of breakage. Bump up your evening shower time to allow for more air drying--or invest in a satin pillowcase to minimize friction.

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Politics of Pretty

Blow-drying Hair When It's 100-percent Wet

The sooner you start blow-drying, the longer your hair is exposed to heat. Instead, let your hair air-dry at least 50 percent of the way before starting your blowout. Trust You’ll still get a smooth finish.

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Industrie Online

Ironing Too Aggressively

The combination of the heat, the clamping down and the pulling is terrible for your hair. A nifty trick: Let hair dry completely (it should never sizzle!) and run the flat iron over it slightly open. That way you still get the heat--just not so directly.

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Wish Wish Wish

Brushing From The Top Down

It may sound counterintuitive, but you should always start from the bottom and work your way up in short strokes. You'll tackle any knots from the bottom, rather than ever having to yank your brush through them.

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Getty Images

Wearing Your Hair Up Too Often

Turns out, those pretty braids (and even a simple ponytail) can do a lot of damage when worn too frequently. The constant tension weakens strands and causes them to break off--especially around the crown of your head. Go ahead and let your hair down some days. And when you do put it up, work in some oil before styling to give strands a little lubrication.

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Kristin Ess

Using The Wrong Accessories

Topknot lovers: Re-think how you’re securing your strands. Your unassuming elastics (yes, even the gentle fabric ones) can bend the ends--which leads to breakage. Try a few U shaped pins (or one hefty pin if you have longer strands) instead.

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Using Too Much Dry Shampoo

We love the stuff, but like all good things, too much of it can be bad. Why? It causes buildup that not only dulls your hair but also clogs your follicles. Still keep a can on hand, but try to alternate between dry shampoo and sudsing up the ol’ fashioned way every other time you’re due for a wash.

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Get the Gloss

Using The Wrong Conditioner (at The Wrong Time)

Check your labels. If they say anything about “strengthening" or "fortifying," there’s protein in the formula. And while a bit of protein is great for beefing up weak strands, too much of it can make them brittle over time. Scale back to using these formulas no more than once a week and swap in something more moisturizing in-between.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...