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5 Surprising Ways You’re Ruining Your Hair

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We know your time is valuable—and that you probably don’t have much to spare (don’t you just wish there were more than 24 hours in a day sometimes?). But some hairstyling shortcuts just aren’t worth the damage they could potentially cause your strands, even if they save you precious minutes getting ready. Avoid these styling mistakes—your hair will thank you!

Mistake #1: O.D.ing on Dry Shampoo

Some mornings, dry shampoo seems like the best idea ever. But the damage comes from using it two (or more—hey, we’ve been there) days in a row. That’s because the scalp needs to breathe—but piling on the chemicals clogs your scalp’s pores and won’t allow it to get that fresh air, says Frank Galasso, a celebrity hairstylist who works regularly on the manes of Emmy Rossum and the Kardashians. 

The fix: Galasso recommends washing hair with a body-building shampoo instead, like Joico Body Deluxe ($30.99, joico.com), which contains a volumizing oat protein complex. “Then only use conditioner on the very ends,” he says. “This will give you the same body and texture as dry shampoo, and [your hair] won’t get as oily.”

Mistake #2: Heating to the Max

The higher the heat, the less time you have to hold the curling iron or blow dryer, right? True—but a few extra minutes can really go a long way toward protecting your hair’s health. “Not only can you burn your scalp [by doing this],” says Galasso, “but it will dry out all the natural oils, causing limp, lifeless hair.” Doing this will also contribute to split ends and possible breakage on the spot.

The fix: In addition to using a heat-protectant spray, Galasso shares this cool trick: Wrap your curling or flat iron in tissue paper before using. “It will do the same job styling, but will not burn your hair.

Mistake #3: Styling on Damp Hair

Straightening or curling your hair can feel like it takes an eternity, but you should never ever use a hot tool on damp (or even slightly damp) hair. “The steam from [an iron] is very hot, and you can risk third degree burns to your scalp just from the steam,” says Galasso, adding that your hair may even sizzle (eek!).

The fix: You have two options: Wait until your hair has fully dried before touching your tools—or use a texturizing spray on damp hair to create body and style without the heat.

Mistake #4: Over Swiping the Flat Iron

Passing quickly through the hair multiple times as opposed to using one long stroke is also not such a good idea since you can burn your hair, says Galasso. “Think of your hair like delicate fabric,” he says. “Would you [press] the iron [on it] over and over again?” We think not.  

The fix: Galasso recommends applying a smoothing lotion to damp hair to make it more manageable. Then once it’s dry, you’ll only need one swift swipe of the iron to straighten your strands perfectly.
 

Mistake #5: Pulling Your Pony Too Tight

When all else fails, a tight ponytail looks clean and put together. And no heat, no damage, correct? Wrong. “Tight ponytails rip out all the fine hairs around your hair line,” says Galasso.

The fix: Get the same effect with product. “Use a light gel and then pull your pony back looser,” suggests Galasso. “The gel will give your hair the same look as if it was tightly pulled.” If all else fails when you’re short on time, try a simple braid or style that easily works on wet hair.

More from Women’s Health:
5 Ways Your Shower Is Making You Look Worse
6 Reasons Your Hair Is Dry and Brittle
7 Hairstyle Ideas for When You Should Have Washed Your Hair But, Well, You Didn’t

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