So you want healthy natural hair and you’re doing all the “right” things. Actually, you’ve been doing all the right things for a while now but you just can’t seem to figure out why your hair isn’t healthier or longer. It could be that in your quest for longer more beautiful hair, you are sabotaging your own efforts. We realize that your desire to treat your hair well are genuine, but that you may unknowingly be destroying your hair by accident. Here’s how to tell if you need to undo some of the “good” you think you’re doing and stop damaging your hair.
GOING TOO LONG BETWEEN SHAMPOOS
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how often you should wash your hair. Though most stylists wouldn’t recommend going more than two weeks without a wash, we know that some women go as long as a month without washing. When you wait too long to clean your scalp, the dirt and buildup can cause a myriad of problems including slowing your growth because of a clogged-up scalp. Be sure to wash your hair at least once every 10 days and more if you work out or break a sweat multiple times a week. The biggest hint that you’ve gone too long is if your hair starts to smell. This is what we call “gone too far.” Funk means that your scalp has turned into a petri dish and is screaming out for urgent help.
YOUR BIRTH CONTROL IS MAKING YOUR HAIR FALL OUT
Yep, this is a thing. You diligently pop your pill the same time every day and think nothing of it. All the while your hair is at a standstill or filling up the drains in your shower and skin in a hurry. The culprit could be your artificial hormones. Read all about how taking Plan B or birth control can cause your hair fall to out.
BURNING YOUR HAIR OUT WITH A BLOW DRYER
You may think that heat damage can only occur with hot styling tools like a flat iron, straightening comb or curling iron, but think again. Holding your blow dryer too close to your hair (or even putting it directly on your hair) or becoming too comfortable enough to use it on the highest setting–especially high wattage dryers–multiple times a week or month, could mean looking at broken off hairs in an instant or ones that sneak up on you. Many blow dryers get hotter than some flat irons so be sure to use a heat protectant when you blow dry and flat iron every time and never, ever place the end of the blow dryer directly on your hair. Read How To Properly Blow Dry Your Hair for more expert blowdry tips from celebrity stylist Felicia Leatherwood. Also, check out our review of L’Oreal’s new Blow Out Extender product line.
BURNING YOUR HAIR OUT WITH A CURLING IRON
This one seems obvious, but we want to point out something that many people miss–using a flat iron on your hair when it’s not 100% dry. This is no, no, never, ever. Steaming your hair with a flat iron could cause microscopic bubbles to form in your hair strands which then leads to breakage. Additionally, your hair could simply burn off and the steam from your hair could seriously burn your scalp. To avoid this, make sure your hair is completely dry before you stick a flat iron in it.
COMBING OR BRUSHING YOUR HAIR UNDER THE WRONG CONDITIONS
There is a proper way to use a brush and a comb on natural hair and not only that, there are some brushes and combs you should never stick in your hair. To see which combs and brushes you should and should not use, check out Combs 101: The Best Combs For Your Curly Hair and Hair Brushes 101: A Guide To Your Perfect Hair Brush(es). And don’t miss Notes On Wet Curls And Hair Brushes (AKA How To Brush Wet Curly Hair).
YOUR HAIRSTYLES ARE TOO TIGHT AND TOO FREQUENT
When you think of alopecia you probably think of hair loss that’s caused by genetics or stress or from too tight braids and other hairstyles that add weight or bulk to your hair like hair extensions. But you can also cause traction alopecia from repeatedly pulling your hair into the same style over and over again. Think of your daily do or die, slick and tight high bun, tight headband that you wear daily or your favorite nightly braids that make your hair fall a certain way and then tying your head scarf too tight around your head repeatedly night after night. Over time, this repetition with your hairstyle, hands, brush or comb can put a lot of stress on your edges and hair and you may find that the style you wear year round is breaking your hair off. If you think your constant hairstyles may be the culprit, avoid being so rough on your hair as well as constantly wearing the same tight hair styles. Mixing things up may help the health of your hair more than you know it. If you think repeating hairstyles has caused your hair to break off, Phylia De M. 3 Step Kit may be your new best friend.