One cause of hair loss that is often overlooked is hairstyle. Hair loss can often be exacerbated or even caused by the way you style your hair. Even if you don’t overprocess your hair, you might still be doing some things that attribute to hair fall without realizing it.
When you first notice hair loss, it is a good idea to take a critical look at your routine for anything that could be causing it. Many people use the wrong tools or the wrong methods and the result is excessive hair fall. Simply changing your ways can be enough to stop hair loss in its tracks and is a much easier and cheaper solution than other treatments. Here are some of the top causes of hair loss that are related to maintenance and styling.
1. Pony Tail Holders, Barrettes, and Hair Clips
One of the biggest styling-related causes of hair loss is the usage of pony tail holders, barrettes, and hair clips. When you use one of these objects in your hair, it tends to pull the hair out from the scalp. If you make a really tight pony tail, you will pull out a lot of hair. Do this daily or even a few times per week and over time you will have a lot less hair than you started out with.
Pony tail holders also tend to cause breakage at the site where they are applied, which means you could end up with lots of shorter hairs at the length where you put the pony tail holder. Ditto for barrettes and hair clips.
Sometimes you need to get your hair out of your face. While there is no way to avoid hair breakage and fallout entirely when pulling your hair back, there are a few less damaging options.
Pony tail holders covered in cloth, such as “scrunchies” tend to be gentler on the hair. If you must use the rubber band type, at least choose options without metal clasps, which tend to grab and rip hair. Barrettes that have some cushioning are better than those without. And be sure to choose hair clips that are the right size for the amount of hair you need to pull back; stuffing a huge section of hair into a tiny clip that you have to force shut is always a recipe for hair fall disaster.
2. The Wrong Brush or Too Much Brushing
Most people brush their hair every day and for good reason. We all look better when our hair is brushed and your boss might not like it very much if you started skipping it. Not only that, brushing stimulates the scalp and boosts circulation, which is actually beneficial for your hair.
You don’t want to avoid brushing altogether. Instead, you want to choose a gentle brush and only brush when absolutely necessary. The material of the bristle is less important in this case than the structure; the brushes that have tiny balls at the end of each bristle, such as the Phillips Light Touch 1 Cushion Hair Brush, provide maximum protection to your hair and scalp and are therefore the best choice for those with weak hair.
Gently brush your hair only before you go somewhere and only for as long as needed. The old advice of brushing your hair 100 strokes before bed is not good for your hair.
3. Blow Drying the Wrong Way
Sometimes blow drying your hair is inevitable. For many of us, our hair simply doesn’t look good when left to air dry on its own. We know blow drying is bad but we do it anyway. For the rebellious among us, here are some tips to minimize damage.
Experiment with an air drying/blow drying combination. For example, my naturally curly hair has to be straightened with a hair dryer to look decent but I’ve found I can let it air dry for a good half hour before turning on the blow dryer and still have it turn out looking good after I finish. This reduces the amount of time I use the dryer but still gives me the same final result.
Also, try to use a low temperature setting. Most people do not need the hottest setting. Heat can be very damaging to hair. And be sure to keep the filter clean. Finally, lower wattage hair dryers tend to cause less damage.
4. Heat Styling
Women in particular are often guilty of subjecting their hair to lots of abuse. Electric rollers, curling irons, and flat irons all wreak havoc on your strands. You don’t have to give up these elements entirely. Try to save them for special occasions or at least switch to tools that do less damage.
When you do use heat tools, look for gentler options. A ceramic flat iron protects the hair much better than the type with metal plates. I admit to straightening my hair more often than I should. I recommend the HSI Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron because it doesn’t damage your hair the way other types of flat irons do.
Ceramic curling irons are also better for your hair than the traditional variety. The Babyliss Pro Porcelain Ceramic Curling Iron is one of my favorites because it doesn’t fry your hair. Always pull the iron through the hair gently to avoid pulling out extra hair.
5. Hair Coloring and Chemical Treatments
Many people don’t want to give up coloring their hair. Those with graying hair in particular feel compelled to use color. And most people’s hair starts to turn gray around the same time hair loss due to aging starts to pick up. This only seems to make the problem worse.
You don’t have to stop coloring your hair, however. You just need to make better choices regarding the type of dye you use. Henna is one gentle alternative to chemical-laden dyes. You could also ask your salon to use ammonia-free dyes. Many salons keep these less harsh versions of hair coloring on hand for pregnant women so it’s worth asking.
If you color your hair yourself, some good hair dye brands that aren’t as damaging include Hydrience, Herbatint, and Elumen.
6. Washing the Wrong Way or Too Often
It feels great to wash your hair but some people tend to get overzealous and are too rough on the hair. Always treat your hair delicately when you are applying shampoo. Don’t wash your hair more often than needed. Blot your hair dry with a towel, taking care not to rub the towel into your hair, which is a surefire way to cause damage and hair loss.
Also, take a look at the ingredients in your shampoo. Sulfate free shampoo is quickly replacing traditional formulas. Most shampoos do contain sulfates and there appears to be a strong connection between these ingredients and hair loss. Switching to one without sulfates can make a big difference in the condition of your hair. Also try shampoos that contain vitamins for hair loss.