I have been a hairstylist for over 15 years, and in that time I have doled out a lot of advice about hair. While people’s hair ranges from soft, healthy, and shiny to dry, over-processed, and breaking, these are five of my most-repeated tips.
1. Do not put your hair up when it is wet. Hair is somewhat elastic and will stretch. This is called elasticity and is an indicator of hair-health. When hair is dry, it will stretch up to 30 percent, but when it’s wet, it will stretch up to 50 percent! So if you put your hair in a ponytail or up when it’s wet, it will stretch much farther. As it dries, it will start to retract, and viola — breakage. This is also why it is important to be careful combing or brushing the hair when it is wet. When it is that stretchy, it is a lot more fragile.
2. Towel dry your hair before you condition it. Throw a towel over your shower bar and towel dry your hair after you shampoo and before you condition. Not only will this allow your conditioner to penetrate farther into the hair strand, you will need to use less since it won’t slide right off your hair and down the drain.
3. Get a trim every 4-8 weeks, even if you are growing your hair out. Hair is made up of chains of amino acids. When the hair is damaged, those chains start to unravel and you are left with split ends. Once your ends are split, there is no repairing them. They need to be cut before they continue to split farther up the hair strand. Getting regular trims will keep your ends from splitting and reduce the amount you need to cut off over time.
4. If you buy any professional products, make it your shampoo and conditioner. Your daily shampoo and conditioner have more impact on hair health than any of the other products that you use. Consult with your stylist for a recommendation on which one is best for you.
5. If you color your own hair, do not pull it through the ends every time. Of all the clients who sit in my chair, the most common reason for severely damaged hair is botched home color. Many color jobs need to be left to professionals, but if that isn’t in your budget you can minimize the damage. Only retouch the new growth, don’t pull the color through the ends that have already been color. Box color often has a high ammonia content, and pulling it through hair that has already been damaged often makes it unfixable.