What Causes Hair Damage?

Ok, so your hair is fried and you’re at your wits end. What’s a girl to do? 

First things first, let’s figure out what got you into this mess. From the obvious causes of hair damage (think bleaching and heat styling) to the unsuspecting little ways damage sneaks its way in, we’re going to cover it all. And don’t worry, there are some tricks to help bring your strands back to life, or at least conceal some of that damage. Let’s begin.

Image: globalnews.com

  1. Colouring

It all started so innocently. You flipped through your favourite beauty mag, and...time out. Who are we kidding? It’s 2018. Your fav blogger is more likely to blame for this one! An innocent scroll through your social media feed inspired some serious Instagram hair envy, and next thing you know you’re leaving the salon with a head full of sunkissed highlights. With everything from balayage and baby lights to bright blondes and pastel hair, Insta and Pinterest are a treasure trove of lust-worthy hair ideas. Thanks to all those perfectly curated pics, who could resist?

Image: pinterest.com

 Maybe you took the plunge and tried a new hair colour. But between touch up appointments and the damage that results from repeated colouring and bleaching, your hair likely feels dry, fragile, and in serious need of TLC. If this sounds like you, a replenishing hair mask is the way to go. Look for one that says “moisturising” on the label or has shea butter, vitamins, and natural oils (Shea Moisture makes a great one).  Obviously we highly recommend our hair cap for colored hair!

  1. Heat Styling

We love our beauty tools so much. They transform our bed head to gorgeous waves and make our curly hair straight like magic. The downside? You guessed it. Hair damage. Heat tools seriously weaken your tresses, leading to breakage, split ends, and those fun little frizzies along your part that stick straight up like 1950s TV antenna. Not cute. 


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Understandably, we aren’t going to ask you to toss your holy-grail curling wand out the window. Instead, the fix is surprisingly simple. Hair stylists recommend setting the temp of your devices to 200 degrees celsius. It’s hot enough to style all but the coarsest hair types, yet low enough to prevent major damage.  

And you should always wait until hair is at least 50 per cent air dry before firing up your blow dryer. Short on time? Wring hair out thoroughly after a shower, then whip your head back and forth to speed up drying time. You might even try one of those super absorbent microfiber hair towels to hurry things along. If you reaalllly have no time in the morning, try washing hair at night so it’s fully dry by the time you roll out of bed, then use a paddle brush to pull hair taut while blow drying your (already dried) hair on medium-high heat in the a.m. 

You’ll be surprised to find your hair looks just as polished as if you had started with wet hair, and even more surprised at how quick and easy it all was. Doing this will substantially cut down your time under the blow dryer and thus reduce heat damage. 

Give it a try. In the meantime, use a dab of protein booster to control frizz or nourish your ends with a little olive oil to bring hair back to life.  

  1. Ponytails

We hate to say it, but tying your hair back can cause breakage and damage. Regular hair ties can snap your strands quite easily. Luckily, there are plenty of hair tie alternatives. Next time you hit the gym or are having a low key hair day, opt for a soft scrunchie (the 90s are making a comeback, after all) or an alternative hair tie like Invisibobble Hair Rings.


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Not your style? Try a no-slip claw clip. They’re every bit as capable of keeping hair in a pony as hair ties, but they’re gentler on hair. As a bonus, jaw clips won’t leave a sharp dent in your hair like hair elastics do. If you want a chic look, there are plenty of glam metallic ones on the market (hint: try Kitsch brand), but the classic old standby Scuncï ones work great. Plus, they’re readily available at like, every drugstore on the planet. 

To prevent breakage from hair ties, you need to keep hair strong. Protein is excellent for strengthening hair. For an easy DIY hair mask that is rich in protein, whisk an egg and leave it on your tresses as long as you like. Don’t forget to use a shower cap to contain any drips. No one likes runny eggs!

  1. Hidden Causes of Hair Damage

So maybe you’re a low maintenance gal (no heat styling or colouring for you!) and yet you suffer with damaged hair. What gives? 


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There are several less-obvious culprits. Firstly, hair can break and frizz from rough brushing. Gently brush hair from the bottom and work your way up using a wide tooth, natural bristle or cushioned hair brush. And never brush wet hair. It snaps so easily when it’s wet. 

Did you know hair can even get damaged while you sleep? It hardly seems fair, but you should treat your mane extra gently at bedtime. Use a silk or satin pillowcase. Cotton bedding can rough up the hair shaft and cause tangles, especially if you toss and turn. Choose silky smooth fabrics for your pillow shams — your tresses will thank you. 

Next, take a look at the ingredients list in any hair products you use. Hairsprays and gels often contain alcohol, which can dry hair out. Use the minimum necessary to style your hair, and shop for products that are alcohol-free when possible. 

Finally, sun exposure can dehydrate hair. While they don’t make sunscreen for hair, you can counteract dryness with a restorative hair mask of your choice. Deep conditioning will also keep hair moisturised. 


Image: theindependent.com

While damage can’t be reversed, it can be prevented. And besides, keeping hair nourished with moisture can help conceal dry, damaged strands. If your ends are really dry, book a cut at the salon. Don’t worry so much about losing length. No one will miss that inch or two but you. From there, you can maintain with a trim every six weeks to keep hair fresh. 

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