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The Worst “Bad Hair Habits” and How To Break Them

The phrase, “New Year, New You” often kicks off a passionate dive into tackling this year’s resolution for a better you, but have you ever made a hair resolution? Better hair be it through human hair extensions or just taking better care of the hair you were born with starts with being honest with yourself. Like resolutions that see you diving into a gym membership that you slowly use less of, better hair starts with good hair habits and breaking the bad hair habits you’ve picked up for good. Some of these bad habits come down to simple lack of knowledge, and it is not like we’re taught how to care for our hair like we are with spelling or math. 

Bad Habit #1: The 100 Brush Strokes Myth is killing your hair (and hair extensions)

This old wives tale dates back over a century, but is it true that 100 brush strokes a day will give you healthier or shinier hair? Today? No. Then? Yes. To understand what changed we have to look back over a century ago. As the 1900s dawned, families were still only bathing once a week on average on Saturday nights when the family all shared the same bathtub, bathing one after another. It wouldn’t be for another several decades that stand up showers became a key fixture in homes with daily showers being the standard. Even then, access to good haircare was limited.

Often harsh cleansing shampoos loaded with sulfates were used that would completely strip the hair of oils. And so, women were recommended a daily ritual to redistribute oils from the scalp through the ends of the hair with 100 brush strokes. The problem is that science has moved on…we no longer strip our hair with sulfates, or cook it with literal curling irons heated over hot coals. Today’s haircare features beneficial oils and creamy emollients that protect the hair, so excessive brushing now has the opposite effect of stressing our hair. This leads to breakage, cuticle damage and split ends from what’s called “mechanical damage”.

How to break the Habit

Brushing your hair is a great way to detangle at the start or end of the day. When it comes to extensions, brushing is key, but with the right kind of brush only (a loop brush). A little brushing is all you need to keep hair healthy without killing it.

Bad Habit #2: Going all in on blow drying and hot irons

Taming your hair can often feel like a daily chore that leads you to reach for the blow dryer or a thermal styling tool like a flat iron or curling iron. Here’s the rub though: thermal hair damage is a very real issue as excessive use of heat can damage the cuticle layers of your hair. The end result is microscopic damage ranging from missing cuticles to excessive dryness. A big misconception people have is that the higher the temperature, the better the style result or longer hold of a particular style. The temperature is actually connected to the TYPE of hair you have instead of the style you are going for. In fact, a lot of people use hot tools at too high a temperature, and you should only ever use temperatures above 350F if you have thick or coarse hair. 

How to break the Habit

Firstly, think about why you are using hot tool a lot in the first place. Does your hair tend to get frizzy? Do you fight with your curls? Either of these things can be corrected with the right cut, the right products and even the right knowledge. Oils and leave-ins can work wonders as far as taming hair, frizzies and even amplifying curls. If you do use hot tools, it is important to use thermal protectant products. Never use a hairspray BEFORE using a hot tool as you’ll cook your hair. 

Bad Habit #3: A little product is good. A LOT is better.

Half a century ago Madison Avenue was writing the kinds of ad copy and commercials that got us into orange juice, breakfast cereal and also programmed to believe that the more you use of something the better. The problem is that today overusing haircare products (which are more concentrated today than they once were) creates some major problems. Take dry shampoo for instance, a great way to give your hair and scalp a break during the busy summer months. Unfortunately, overuse of dry shampoo can result in fragile, brittle hair and it can also build up on the scalp in a way that damages hair follicles. Other culprits of overuse are also protein treatments, chemical treatments and even over conditioning your hair. 

How to break the Habit

Balance how much product you use and how often you use it. Especially with haircolor, consider shampooing every 2nd or 3rd day or once a week if you have very coarse, thick hair. When it comes to product buildup however, if you hair feels like there’s some kind of coating on it, there is. Since a lot of styling products are water soluble today, it’s important to rinse hair even before you start shampooing it. If need be, periodically a clarifying shampoo can help cleanse the hair and scalp of product buildup. 

Bad Habit #4: Give those ponytails and braids a break (or else)

Ponytails and tight braids can be a fun style choice any time of year. The problem starts when you wear them all the time because they put strain on the scalp and your hair follicles. This leads to inflammation from the tugging of the root of your hair and at best results in breakage, or hair loss at worse. This type of hair loss is called traction alopecia, and thankfully it’s not permanent. 

How to break the Habit

You can still love and rock your braids, just be smart about how often you wear them. If you want them more often without risking your hair, consider braiding or getting your ponytail on with hair extensions! Clip-in sets or even clip-in ponytails offer you the style without any of the risk.

Bad Habit #5: Love haircolor or going beach blonde? It may cost you…

When summer rolls around, who doesn’t love some balayage, highlights or going full on beach blonde? The problem with color, relaxing, straightening and lightening services are (like all things) best done in moderation. Ongoing and frequently subjecting your hair to treatments can lead to breakage, best identified as seeing broken hair pieces, split ends or really limp lifeless hair lacking shine (from damaged cuticles). 

How to break the Habit

A good rule of thumb if you WANT hair color is to make sure you wait no less than 6 weeks in between color and highlight services and every 3 to 6 months for straightening services. Another option similar to the last bad habit fix is to use hair extensions AS your highlights. We have an array of color effect hair extensions that can give you the appearance of high end color work with none of the damage! 

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