Thousands of people have hair that’s plagued by splits and breaks despite overall good hair habits and good general health. What happened? If you abstain from chemicals and heat drying, treat your hair kindly and use healthy products on it, then your tools might be to blame. Take a good, hard look at the actual “hair hardware” that touches your glistening mane. Here are some points on how to pick the right hair accessories and equipment to help prevent damage to your hair.
Get the right comb
The vast majority of cheap thermoplastic combs are bad for your hair. How can you tell? Look at the individual teeth. Is there a noticeable seam? How smooth does that seam feel? That rough edge scrapes away at individual hairs, causing breaks and splits all along the hair shaft. Consider a bone, wood or horn comb, or splurge on high-quality plastic or resin that doesn’t have seams. Discard combs if the warp or splinter, or if a tooth breaks. Whether you have straight or wavy hair, make sure you get the right tooth distance for your needs.
Avoid brushes like the plague
Seriously, most brushes do more damage than good. The average brush is designed to rip through the tangles in your hair for a fast and easy detangling, but at the expense of your hair health. You can limit damage by being very careful, but a well-chosen comb is almost always the better option. A boar bristle brush is the one exception. This is a very soft-bristled brush that helps collect and evenly distribute the natural oils in your hair, moisturizing and protecting it. Make sure that your hair is completely tangle-free before using the boar bristle brush – it’s just to distribute oils, not to detangle.
Not every towel is a good idea
That terrycloth towel you bought from your nearest discount store could be killing your hair. Instead, opt for a soft microfiber towel or similar material. Terrycloth can snag hair and cause it to tangle, and can tear the hair shaft if you “scrub” with the towel instead of gently patting dry.
Watch out for hair ties and rubber bands
It can’t be repeated enough: Stay away from rubber bands. Rubber bands tangle easily, and can catch and break hairs with the least provocation. On the same token, metal tabs on elastic hair bands can wear away at the hair shaft, also causing breaks and weak spots. Whenever possible, opt for the thicker “ouchless” bands that are about ¼” thick and have no metal or rough edges.
Barrettes and hair sticks can make or break your hair
Hair sticks, slide barrettes and hair sticks make excellent hair accessories for a wide range of hairstyles, but it’s important to be careful with these as well. Sticks that are made from cheap plastic or acrylic, or that have twists or carved patterns along the shaft, are potentially damaging. Barrettes with dangling decorations can snag on your hair, and some French clips have rough metal edges. Slide barrettes should be smooth on the edges with a smooth, splinter-free stick. Before every hair accessory purchase, it’s critical to run your fingers over every edge and surface to make sure nothing will snag your hair.
Remember that damaged hair can’t be repaired. Each strand is delicate and prone to breaking, so it’s important to develop healthy hair habits in order to grow out your hair. Healthy hair will always look better than damaged hair, so it’s definitely worth the extra effort to protect it from excessive daily wear and tear.