Image Source: Unsplash
We do a lot of things to our hair to beautify it or cut down on maintenance, but many of our tried and true hair care secrets are doing the opposite. Some are so harmful they make us sick in the short and long term. Improper hair care can damage a lot more than your follicles and scalp.
Here are 5 dangerous hair care routines that could be harming your hair and your health.
1. Using Hair Straightening Chemicals
Hair straightening products are often used by women with curly or wavy hair to cut down on general hair maintenance. However, these products contain a variety of deadly chemicals, such as formaldehyde, parabens, cyclosiloxanes, and phthalates, which can make you feel sick.
While the fumes in hair straightening chemicals can lead to nauseousness or headache, the long term effects are truly terrifying. Frequent users have a 4.05% risk of getting uterine cancer, whereas non-users have a 1.64% risk, so it’s better to go natural for the sake of your health.
2. Using Heat to Manipulate Your Hair
Using curling irons, hot combs, hair straighteners, or blow dryers is a bad idea, especially if you already have dry hair. Exposure to high heat changes the shape of your hair’s keratin strands. Any tool that heats to over 300°F converts ⍺-keratin to β-keratin can weaken your hair.
If you want to change the look of your hair, blow dry with cold air or sleep with plastic rollers. Keep in mind that you don’t have to cut your hair if it’s already damaged. Instead, apply 100% coconut oil to your hair and wash it out after two hours to repair incredibly dry hair and scalp.
3. Brushing Your Hair 100 Strokes a Day
If you have wavy or curly hair textures, then you already know brushing your hair is a bad idea. However, brushing is typically bad for your hair because it pulls and tugs at it. Even when you have to, you should never brush hair when it’s wet or from the top of the head to the bottom.
Hair never needs to be brushed 100 strokes a day, as doing so can lead to split ends, hair loss, and breakages. Only comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb (or hair pick) when styling it. If you have long or tangly hair, gently run your fingers through it to loosen any knots or loose hairs.
4. Incorrectly Installed Weaves or Extensions
The right weaving techniques can protect your hair, but a novice hairstylist may braid too tightly or place them too close to the scalp. When this happens, the prolonged scalp irritation can lead to headaches, sensitivity, dandruff, and long term hair loss if the follicles are damaged enough.
However, clients have nothing to worry about if they go to salons that specialize in weaves and hair extensions. Just make sure you keep up with scalp hygiene and give your head a break every few months. Don’t wear a professionally installed weave or extensions for over 3 months.
5. Not Using or Incorrecting Using Conditioner
Conditioner nourishes and protects the hair by sealing the hair cuticle, blocking external damage from heat (up to 250°F) and pollution. It can also repair dry and brittle hair when used properly. If you aren’t using conditioner, be sure to find one for your hair type and use it.
You can apply conditioner to damp hair every time you wash it (every 2-3 days for short hair, 3-4 days for long hair). Let the product absorb into your hair follicles for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the treatment. Rinse thoroughly until your hair feels clean and lacks a slippery texture.