When it comes to taking care of your hair, the rule book can seem endless. Much like taking care of the rest of your body, there are tons of mixed messages out there. Don’t shampoo too much, but don’t go too many days between shampooing either; use a hot iron for the smoothest results, but don’t use hot irons too often; and the list goes on. At the end of the day, you have a head of hair that you need to do something with — and would prefer to not make silly mistakes that leave your strands dry, dull, and damaged. To make sure you’re doing right by your locks, we asked top stylists to unveil the most common hair mistakes you might be making and what to do instead.
Mistake: Turning up the temp on your hot tools
Even if your hair is super thick, chances are, it doesn’t require the hottest setting available on your curling or straightening iron. “Using repeated hot tools can weaken the outer layer of the hair over time, causing it to be fragile and break from the bottom,” explains Jennifer Albert, former Fekkai hair specialist and CEO/founder of JA Studios in New York City. It’s best to try the lowest setting first and see if that works for your hair. If not, move the dial up slowly — keyword — until you find the lowest possible setting that curls or straightens it to your liking.
Mistake: Washing your hair every day
No one wants greasy hair, but shampooing daily strips your color and natural oils and can cause breakage. Instead, remove excess oil and buildup with a clarifying shampoo that’s free of sulfates or harsh detergents. “A product like dpHUE’s Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse is the perfect substitute for shampoo and conditioner and you can use it every few days to keep hair looking great,” says Kacey Welch, a hair colorist at Roil Salon in Beverly Hills, CA. After a while, you’ll find that you don’t need to shampoo as much as you used to. If you must rinse on the daily, check out these pro-approved shampoos.
Mistake: Constantly changing your hair color
Being indecisive is one thing, but swapping your hair color from dark to light to bright pink several times a year is inevitably going to wreak havoc on your strands. “Even if you take every precaution when stepping out of the dark and into the light, coloring your hair is still a chemical process and can lead to severe damage,” says BLONDME Global Ambassador and celebrity colorist Kim Vō. She recommends taking breaks between changes in color. “Just like a heart needing time to heal, so does your hair!”
Mistake: Being cheap
Let’s just start off by saying that not all shampoos, conditioners, and styling products are not created equal — especially the ones that claim to be color-safe. Many are loaded with harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and sulfates. “Cheaper hair products may seem appealing, but keep in mind that most contain tons of chemicals and fillers that can strip your hair of its natural oils and fade your color in no time,” explains Lauren Hack, hair colorist and co-owner of LAUREN+VANESSA salon in New York City. “Professional-grade products last longer, because a little goes a long way, and also contain vitamins and minerals that nourish your hair.” One of her favorite lines is Oribe Gold Lust.