Want long, healthy hair?
One of the best ways to make sure your hair grows long is to stop damaging it. Damage causes the hair shaft to break, in particular at the ends (split ends). Once the ends of the hair are split there’s no way to repair them. The only way to get rid of them is to cut them off, so you won’t be able to grow your hair as long.
And if you don’t trim split ends, they can actually travel up the hair shaft and cause even more damage.
So how do we prevent damaged hair, so we can grow our hair long and healthy?
This post is a list of all the ways to prevent damaged hair. So you can have the long healthy hair you’ve always wanted!
HOW TO PREVENT DAMAGED HAIR
STOP USING HEAT STYLING TOOLS
First on the list because it’s the most obvious and causes the most damage! Using heat styling tools can make your hair dry and brittle, meaning it’s more prone to damage and breakage. Not to mention if you have curly hair and you’re straightening it you’re fighting your hairs natural pattern, and repeatedly damaging it makes it harder for your natural curls to form.
Having a day off heat styling will give your hair a break from all the damage. If you can go cold turkey and quit the tools altogether! Your hair will thank you for it.
LOWER YOUR SHOWER WATER TEMP
This one surprises people, but having your shower water seriously hot could secretly be damaging your hair. It makes sense- if heat damages your hair dry, why wouldn’t it be damaging your hair wet too?! If you’re quitting the heat on your dry hair, quit the heat on your wet hair too to further prevent damaged hair. Lower your shower water temp slightly and rinse out your conditioner on cold for added shine.
WASH YOUR HAIR LESS
Washing your hair daily strips the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and dull. Not to mention your hair then overcompensates and starts producing more oil. Yes, washing your hair more is actually making it more greasy!
Try washing every other day or even less to give your scalp a chance to stop over producing oil and prevent damaged hair.
ONLY SHAMPOO THE ROOTS
Your scalp produces natural oils which is what makes your hair look greasy, and you use shampoo to remove the oils and stop it looking greasy. Unless you haven’t washed your hair in weeks, it’s very unlikely these oils will reach the ends of your hair. So by using shampoo on the lengths and ends of your hair you’re drying them out for no reason, which can result in breakage.
Only shampoo your scalp, and gently massage your shampoo in to stop damaging the ends of your hair.
USE NATURAL ALTERNATIVES TO SHAMPOO OR JUST CONDITIONER
Some commercial shampoos contain harsh ingredients that overly dry the scalp. Try using natural alternatives, having wash days without shampoo or just switching to conditioner (known as co-washing) to stop it drying out and prevent damaged hair.
USE CLIPS, SCRUNCHIES OR BOBBLES WITHOUT METAL
Tightly tying up your hair causes unnecessary strain on the hair strands, which can cause hair loss from the scalp. Not to mention that wearing tight bobbles in the same position constantly can cause repeat damage in the same place, causing the hair to literally snap off where the bobble has been.
To prevent damaged hair when wearing it up, make sure to use clips, scrunchies or bobbles without metal in a loose style and to change the position of your bobble(s) daily.
DEEP CONDITION REGULARLY
Depending on how long your hair is, the ends can be years old. By using shampoo regularly the natural oils your scalp produces to nourish your hair never reach the lengths and ends, so they end up dry, brittle and prone to breakage.
To stop your hair from being too dry and to lessen damage, try using a deep conditioning treatment weekly. Leave your conditioner on for half an hour to really moisturise your hair, and for added shine!
DRY USING LOW HEAT OR AIR DRY
Even without using straighteners or curling tongs, using a blow dryer on full heat will cause unnecessary damage. Plus the force of the air stream can cause tangling and even more damage.
If blow drying try using a lower heat, or even skip it altogether and air dry from time to time to prevent damaged hair.
ONLY BRUSH IT WHEN YOU NEED TO OR USE A COMB
Brushing it constantly causes tension on the scalp, resulting in hair loss.
Prevent damaged hair when untangling by only brushing it when you need to, using a wide tooth comb to get the worst knots out first and gently starting from the ends of your hair.
DON’T BRUSH YOUR HAIR WHEN IT’S WET
Water causes the hair shaft to swell up, making it more prone to damage. You can reduce damage when your hair is wet by only using a wide tooth comb to untangle your hair with conditioner in, so the strands glide over each other and are easier to untangle.
USE A COTTON T-SHIRT INSTEAD OF A TOWEL
Rubbing your hair dry with a towel causes friction between the hair strands, which results in breakage. The deep grooves in the towel also causes the hair to get trapped in the towel, adding to the damage.
Use a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel instead of a regular towel and gently squeeze water out of your hair instead of rubbing. And never wear your hair in a towel turban- it causes the hair at the front of your face to be stretched, and as it’s wet is more likely to snap off!
WEAR PROTECTIVE HAIRSTYLES
The weather can really take its toll on your hair; the sun dries it out and wind causes more tangles. Plus your hair can be damaged by things other than the weather, like chlorine and salt water.
You can lessen the damage from the weather and general life by wearing protective hairstyles. In particular plaits are good as they hold the hair in the same position and stop chlorine and salt water causing as much damage.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO PREVENT DAMAGED HAIR
Perhaps the most important and easiest way to prevent damaged hair is to treat your hair as though it’s very delicate, because it is! Don’t be rough with it, use gentle products and take care of it and any damage will be minimal.