Rubber Bands Could Be Causing Your Hair Damage. Here's How

Styling your hair is an easy way to upgrade any look. There are plenty of picture-perfect hairstyle options to choose from, whether you're applying heat, doing a fun new twist, or creating a classic hairstyle. Unfortunately, if you tend to style your hair often, you have (or may) face hair damage. Apart from making your hair more complicated to work with, hair damage can affect the overall quality of your hair.

Hair damage can range from annoying split ends to dry, brittle hair. In extreme situations, it may even leave your scalp needing repair. And while it's almost inevitable, you can avoid significant damage in many ways. One significant change you can make to lower the amount of damage to your hair is avoiding high amounts of heat. Whether you use hair protectant spray or opt for air-drying methods, implementing some sort of protection is essential, as using hot tools is the quickest way to damage your hair.

There's another potential source of hair damage that could be causing problems for your scalp and strands: your accessories. While rubber bands and hair ties are the common tools used to secure the hair in various styles, these hair accessories might be the root cause of many of our hair issues. Knowing the exact cause of your hair damage will get you one step closer to having healthy and shiny hair.

How rubber bands are damaging your hair

For ponytail fans everywhere, we're sorry to say: Rubber bands are an indirect cause of hair damage, particularly because of their tight grip. "Rubber bands create friction and rub the hair follicle in an isolated area, and this is what causes damage to the cuticle layers," trichologist and colorist Sophie MacCorquadale told Byrdie. "Over time, this friction wears away the cuticle layers and weakens the hair structure, causing irreversible damage. I see many clients who have a layer of hair breakage in areas where they tie their hair up."

Moreover, when using rubber or elastic bands on your hair to pull it tightly back, your scalp is exposed to high tension. Over time, this can cause stagnant hair growth or hair thinning and loss. Rubber bands can also become a mess to take out. When removing these hair accessories, your hair can become tangled or knotted and cause unnecessary pulling on the strands. By needing to pull and tug your hair to take out rubber bands, you are breaking or damaging the hair strand. After continued use of rubber bands, your hair can start to show signs of damage or breakage. 

If you constantly find hairs around your rubber bands or hair ties after removing them from your hair, it's very likely you are using an improper hair tie or removing it too harshly. Ultimately, you should avoid using rubber bands if at all possible. While softer rubber bands are a better option, they could also cause damage if used frequently and tightly.

Rubber band alternatives you should use instead

While rubber and elastic bands are a no-no for your hair, there are other ways you can safely put your hair up without risking significant damage. The easiest solution to pulling your hair up is using a scrunchie or any fabric ponytail holder. Scrunchies, especially satin ones, will secure your styles without being too tight on the hair. Since they are covered by fabric, your hair won't be tugged or pulled as harshly as with a rubber band. Plus, scrunchies will easily slip off your hair without causing a tangled mess.

If you aren't a fan of scrunchies or their looser grip on your hair, you can always refer back to those fabric-covered rubber bands, also known as the classic black hair ties. Although they can cause hair damage, working with them to nail a perfect sleek ponytail with minimal damage is possible.

Start by applying oils and serums to your hair before putting on your hair tie. These products allow the hair tie to slip on and off without getting tangled in your hair. The best way to avoid damage from using hair ties is to use them sparingly. Severe hair damage can be caused by repeatedly using elastic bands or rubber bands without giving your hair a break. Switching between hair accessories or leaving your hair down in between uses will help your hair breathe without breakage.