7 Major Causes of Damaged Hair & Effective Ways to Avoid It

By: | Mar 6, 2018

Picking a perfect hairstyle is one common struggle that almost everyone experiences. It takes time and effort to keep abreast with latest hair trends of the season. Is everybody raging for red hair? Do people want to have long luscious curls? Of course, you’re always willing to try new things to get that perfect look yourself.

Lovely woman with long curly hair

In achieving the style you want, you may have sacrificed the health of your hair in the process. Here are the things you need to watch out, with some tips to avoid their damaging effects.

Frequent Washing and Over-Shampooing

When wet, the hair shafts swell and it could lead to breakage. Shampoos can wash off natural oils too. Overdoing or shampooing frequently results to dry brittle hair that looks dull and lifeless. This is especially tricky because people have different hair types.  Each hair type has a unique texture and therefore allows for different levels of oiliness.

First, you need to understand: How does hair become oily?

Contrary to what most people think, oil doesn’t come from the hair strands themselves but from the scalp. This oil is called sebum. It travels along the hair shaft, thereby keeping it moisturized and shiny. Based on this premise, it follows that straighter hair tends to be shinier than any other types of hair. With straight hair, oils don’t have to go through obstructions like twists or bends that curly and kinky hair have. The curlier or kinkier the hair, the more prone it is to dryness. That’s why people with these hair types are advised to shampoo less frequently.

Woman washing her hair in the shower

So how often do you need to shampoo?

Generally, there is no exact formula into how many times a week a person should wash and shampoo hair. It boils down to the natural texture and thickness of your hair and your styling habits. It also depends on your lifestyle and the environment you are constantly exposed to.

There are several ways you can combat hair damage caused by frequent washing and over-shampooing. Here are some guiding tips:

  • For normal hair: Wash your hair less. If you must wash daily, use a gentle daily cleansing shampoo. They are usually less harsh on your hair. Target the roots where dirt normally builds up.
  • For thick, curly, or kinky hair with less oil: Less frequent shampooing is better. You need to allow the scalp’s natural oils to travel along the hair shaft. Washing every other day is fine. For in-between days, use products that give hair some extra lift and fresher smell.
  • For fine hair, someone who sweats a lot (works out a lot), or someone who lives in a very humid place: Daily wash and shampoo is fine. Your hair and scalp could be too oily. This makes you prone to dirt build-up, which you need to wash off every day.
  • Use dry shampoo. Dry shampoos, which are in powder form, actually do work to absorb oil. If you need to style, leave-in conditioners can help.
  • Consider a co-wash. To co-wash is to wash hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. This is advisable for curly hair to minimize shampooing. Castor oil is a wonderful all natural conditioner you can try as you co-wash. Find out how castor oil keeps hair soft, shiny, and manageable.

Brushing Wet Hair and Over-Brushing

Wet hair is more susceptible to breakage. It becomes weaker as the bonds that keep your tresses strong are present only when hair is dry. To protect hair from breakage, instead of using a brush, gently run a wide-tooth comb through your wet hair. Start from the bottom and work your way up to the top of your head. Brush your hair when it’s about eighty percent dry. It’s only then that it starts to hold the style anyway.

Even brushing dry hair excessively can still result to hair breakage. Friction due to over-brushing can lead to split ends. It is better to use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb when removing tangles. Forget about that old belief of giving your hair a daily dose of at least 100 brush strokes to keep it healthy. You don’t need that much. Ideally, you need to brush your hair to help distribute its natural oils. Overdoing it could do damage than good.

Here’s an Extra Tip:

Just as you clean your makeup brushes, you should clean your hairbrushes regularly too. If there’s a bunch of hair and product build up in your hair brushing tools, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Never use a dirty brush that contains a bunch of leftover hair products and residue.

To avoid this, remove the hair out of the brush after each use. Clean it thoroughly at least once a month. Mix baking soda and water, and grab an old toothbrush. Dip it into the solution and gently brush up the bristles. Rinse thoroughly and you’ll have a squeaky-clean brush ready for use.

Apply castor oil on your hair to make it easy to comb and protect hair from damage. Keep tresses moisturized with Castor oil so that it grows healthy, long, and strong. Learn more about the different types of castor oil you can use and how they are made.

Towel Drying

Aggressively rubbing hair with a towel can be too rough. It causes frizz, split ends, and even hair fall. If you want to avoid these, the best thing to do is pat your hair gently with a soft towel to absorb moisture. Simply press the water out. This will keep breakage to a minimum and frizz at bay. Choose a super absorbent towel for better drying.

Heat Styling Tools

Heat from the beaming sun has enough power to dry your hair. When you use hair-drying tools to dry your hair, you are actually putting unnecessary heat on hair. Blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons are the most common culprits of stiff hair. They remove moisture out of your hair. The lack of moisture causes hair cuticles to crack and break eventually.

A hair straightener used on hair

If you have colored or chemically treated hair, using heat styling tools is bad news. These things zap the moisture out of your hair. To mitigate the effects of heat, use a heat protecting spray or serum and keep the temperature of your styling tools to a lower setting. Regular oil treatments to replace moisture can also help.

There is a ton of options in the market but you can use organic castor oil for hair. It has deep conditioning action and absorbs quickly to every hair strand. Just apply it at night then cover your hair with a shower cap. Leave it overnight. In the morning, shampoo and condition your hair as normal.

Other excellent picks are virgin coconut oil and argan oil. There are many types of essential oils good for protecting hair from damage. Find out the best essential oil for your every need and how to use them.

Chemical-Based Treatments

Top hair salons offer services like bleaching, perms, highlights, and coloring. All these hair treatments use chemicals that can have damaging effects. These chemicals penetrate the hair cuticle, breaking the inner bonds. This weakens hair, leaving it dry and lackluster over time. The best thing to do is avoid these kinds of hair treatments or do it less frequently. If you must have your hair treatment fix, make sure to do some deep conditioning to bring moisture back to your hair.

What Else Can You Do:

Sufficient In-Between Touch-Up Time: Try to add more time in between touch-ups. This gives your hair some breathing room. Stretch the time to every 8 to 10 weeks or longer.

Avoid Multiple Treatments: Subjecting your hair to various treatments at one time is downright torture. For example, you want your hair straight and colored. If this is what you’re going for, consult an expert hairstylist first to decide on the best way to do it.

Protect Hair: When in the sun, use a leave-in conditioner that protects hair from sun damage. Other variants such as oil, serum, or spray are also available and great to use.

Ponytails and Braids

Wearing your hair in a ponytail or braid causes hair to break or pull out. When ponytails are tied tightly you are sometimes required to pull out your hair tie with excessive force, causing hair fall. Hair becomes thinner over time as well. Disappointed? You don’t have to be. You can still sport these hairstyles occasionally, making sure that your hair is not too strained. Try to keep it loose, and change it up by trying another hairstyle the following day.Woman sporting beautiful braids

Hair Extensions and Weaves

Hair extensions and weaves create damage right at the roots of your hair. It puts too much pressure to the point of discomfort or pain in the scalp. It may lead to scalp wounds or blisters when worn for a long period. Worse, it could be the reason for a serious hair loss condition called traction alopecia.

If you really must wear a weave or hair extensions, make sure to get it done by a professional. Go to a salon that specializes in hair extensions. Then practice proper scalp care and hygiene to keep it healthy.

Now that you know the common causes of hair damage, it’s time to stop doing them and start applying the recommended fixes into your hair care regimen. Never wake up to a bad hair day ever again with these effective ways to avoid hair damage. Always remember that the right products and proper hair care routine will keep your hair looking its best.