28 . October . 2019 BY Dr. Sharmishtha Deshpande

Do you feel like you are spending a considerable amount of time caring for your hair, but your hair isn’t quite reflecting that effort? Do you believe that you have checked everything on to-do-list of hair care but something is still amiss?

Most of us believe that we understand our hair well and that we are on top of the game with our washing routine. But caring for your hair is more than just washing. Even with washing, it is effective only when done right!

Here are the most common mistakes that people make with their hair care practice! Make a note, correct them and you will see a visible difference in your hair!

  1. Over-combing and using the wrong type of comb/brush!This is perhaps one of the most common mistakes that people make with the intention of making hair ‘shiny’. Brushing does help distribute the natural hair oils but you do not need more than 8 to 9 strokes with the hairbrush or comb a day. Any more combing and you stand to damage your hair. Excessive brushing can tear the hair, pull it out and ruin the cuticle layer causing split ends, especially if you are someone with dry and colour-treated hair. Over-brushing does no good for oily hair either – it merely stimulates the sebaceous glands and thus, increases the level of sebum (skin oil) in the hair.

    Using the wrong type of brush or comb is another big ‘comb-mistake’. Most use plastic or metal combs that produce static, aggravates dryness, increases snagging and pulling. The jagged imperfections will increase split ends too.

    Wide-toothed comb for thick curly hair…round bristle brushes for styling…paddle brush for hair that is prone to tangling and so on. Understand which kind of brush or comb works best for you and stick to it! Longer your hair the longer should be your brush’s diameter. And it’s important that the comb has anti-static properties. When you use the wrong kind of comb, you complicate your hair woes further! Using the right comb can go a long way in avoiding hair damage.

  2. Prolonging a trim/hair -cut and the myth about split ends!Prolonging your haircut can lead to hair that is extremely dry, unhealthy and prone to split ends. While it’s easier for people with short hair to notice growth, most with long hair can’t quite judge when they actually need to go for a trim! Those with longer hair are also more prone to split ends.
    And it’s a myth that split ends can be ‘treated’ at home. Getting a trim at least once every two months is very important. By trimming off split ends you prevent your hair from getting split even further up. Remember, once your hair has split, there is no product that can fix it for you.
  3. Not oiling Oiling has to be one of the prime elements in your hair care regimen. Those of you who think of it as an activity that you grandma used to do or hounds you to do, and it’s too uncool for you – sorry, your grandma is right in asking you to oil your hair.

    Oiling your hair is the antidote to most of your everyday-hair problems. Be it frizzy hair, dry hair, split ends, hair colour damage…oiling as part of your hair care regimen can help you tackle them all. Oiling before wash helps in forming a protective shield around your hair. It helps in reducing the wear and tear that happens during hair wash. This protective oil shield adds shine, moisture, helps prevent split ends and breakage. Coconut oil and olive oil have the potential to reduce protein loss in both undamaged and damaged hair. But remember, ensure that the hair is not kept oiled for more than 24hrs.

  4. Washing hair with hot waterThis is yet another common practise – taking a shower in hot water. Hot water when used for rinsing hair can strip it off its essential oils and moisture. It leaves the scalp dehydrated and your hair tends to get frizzy and static post-wash. We would recommend that you use lukewarm water for your hair wash and end it with a cold rinse. Cold water seals the moisture in your hair and leaves your scalp hydrated.
  5. Not shampooing enoughIt is a myth that shampooing is bad for your hair. It is, in fact, one of the most basic hygiene requirements in scalp and hair care. The primary purpose of shampooing hair is to remove the accumulated dirt and grime/ excess oil from the surface of your hair and scalp. The scalp is where dead cells and grease build-up. And the pollution around tends to stick to your hair strands as you go about your day. Thus, shampooing is your basic clean-up process to maintain personal hygiene. The process of shampooing in itself does not lead to hair loss or increase in the production of sebum (skin oil).
  6. Scrubbing and tussling wet hair with a towel for drying A very common practice observed is to put a towel over the head and rub/scrub the hair hard right after a shower. And women tend to wrap a towel around and leave it on like that for long after shower, the intention being to soak the water off.

    After washing your hair, gently pat it dry with a towel – blot it gently from the roots to the ends. Avoid rough back-and-forth motions. This damages the hair shaft and leads to hair breakage. And leaving your hair wrapped in a wet towel for long can damage your hair follicles. You can put your hair up in a towel for a few mins and then open it up to let it air dry. It is recommended that you neither leave your hair wet nor tie it while it is still wet.

  7. Combing and heat styling wet hairYes, styling is done best when hair is damp. But not when it is dripping wet. Heat application on wet hair is a bad combination. Towel dry the dripping wet hair to soak out the water. When hair is damp, style it the way you want.

    Before you heat-style your hair, you will need to blow dry it a bit. To begin with, pat-dry your wet hair with a towel. There is a right way to use the hairdryer. Never set it too hot. Dry your hair from root to end, using the flat nozzle that comes with blow dryers. This nozzle should ideally be held at a sharp angle to the hair strands. This can help close the cuticles and avoid hair damage.

    Using curling irons, or hot straighteners on wet hair can burn the hair shaft and put a strain on the follicles, damaging them.

  8. Using the right product or using the product incorrectly There are two concerns here. One is choosing the hair products that are right for you. And then using them the way they are meant to be used!

    Most often you pick up products on the basis of advertisements, packaging and most of all, those that are on sale! Unfortunately, your hair wouldn’t agree with this logic for choosing hair products, be it shampoo, conditioner, hair serum or gel.

    Each type of hair, each scalp condition, needs a different type of hair product, for regular use. Do read our blog on how to choose the right shampoo for yourself. This is indicative of what to look for in your hair products. When in doubt, seek the guidance of your trichologist. Using the wrong hair product can lead to severe hair damage and hair fall.

    Further, each product needs you to use it right. For instance, conditioner is meant to be applied along the length of the hair strand. Not on the scalp. Hair Repair serum again is meant to be applied on the hair shaft. So, understand the purpose of a hair product, understand how it is to be used, and then use it right!

  9. Not cleaning your combs and brushesThis is a basic hygiene factor that weirdly many don’t pay attention to! Your comb or brush will have a deposit of oil, grime/dirt, product residues etc on it. It is essential to keep cleaning them to ensure that this residue doesn’t end up on your hair!

    As important as it is to keep your luscious locks washed and clean, it is equally important to keep your brushes and comb clean. We recommend washing them atleast once a week and replacing them once in a while. Ignoring the cleanliness of your hair instruments can make your hair prone to itching and even scalp infections.

  10. Using random complimentary hair products on travel!This practice is quite rampant. Those who travel frequently have the habit of not carrying their hair care products and simply use that which is offered at the place of stay. You visit a hotel, use the shampoo and conditioner in those tiny little bottles offered in the shower room…you visit the next, you use the ones offered there…and so on. This is not something we would recommend at all!

    While these products may serve the purpose of cleaning out the dirt, it may not be something that is suitable for your hair and scalp condition! And frequently changing the products you use, can wreak havoc on your hair, leading to hair fall. If you are a frequent traveller, whether for business or pleasure, do ensure that a certain discipline is maintained for your hair care. You can read our blog on travel hair care for more tips on this front.

  11. Sleeping with open hairThis is for people with medium to long hair. You may feel like a diva when you sleep with your hair open, but trust us, you will not wake up feeling like one. Your hair is most likely to get completely knotted up. We would recommend that you braid or tie your hair up with a top-knot when you hit the bed. Also, try a satin pillowcase for silky locks. This will help prevent it from getting overly tangled and frizzy. This will also help you save some time when you get ready in the morning!!
  12. Ignoring your scalpWhile you may be taking a lot of action on the hair front, you may be ignoring your scalp! Your scalp needs great care. If your scalp isn’t healthy, you are not going to grow healthy hair or any hair at all! Massaging your scalp to stimulate the blood flow is crucial and so is keeping it clean.

    Many also make the mistake of masking dandruff! Patting down the scalp with gels or oil to keep the flakes down or with the intention of ‘moisturising’ the scalp will only make it worse! Most don’t understand that dandruff is not always just dry scalp. Don’t mask or self-treat your dandruff and scalp. It may not even be dandruff that you are dealing with! Not all flaky stuff on your head is dandruff! And trust us, scalp infections can be really painful if you don’t take care of scalp health and spot concerns in time! Seek professional help from a trichologist to treat it right.

  13. Frequent use of styling equipmentEveryone wants to look like the model on Instagram, every day. Gone are the days when you saw styling equipment only at beauty parlours. Now every home has a set of styling tools (all of which that run on electricity) and they get used literally on a daily basis. This is not a healthy trend at all.

    We do not advocate that you never use styling equipment, but only recommend that you do so in a measured manner, with adequate protective care to your hair on the sidelines. Do read our blogs on how modern trends can be damaging to your hair and how you can stay stylish while ensuring your hair is damage-free.

  14. Neglecting your dietThis may not sound like a direct ‘hair care mistake’ but a neglected diet is a base for concerns in most! You may take care of all of the above points, but you will still not have healthy hair if your diet is neglected. Those who follow our blogs know how much we insist on a balanced diet for healthy hair. If you haven’t read them, please do now and take away some key tips!
  15. Inadequate water intakeThis again doesn’t sound like a ‘hair care mistake’ but not drinking adequate water is a huge haircare mistake! You perhaps do not realise it on a daily basis, but when you don’t have enough water, your hair will be dry, brittle and prone to breakage. You may use the best of hair products, follow the perfect wash routine, take vitamin supplements… but if your water intake is inadequate you will not see the results you wish for. Do read our blog on the impact of dehydration on hair.

Consult a professional trichologist who’ll guide you through the diet and lifestyle that is best for you, suitable hydrotherapy treatments, ensuring that you avoid concerns of hair damage and hair loss. Periodic check-ups help keep a tab on your hair’s health and well being. A single meeting with a trichologist, having a discussion on your lifestyle, hair care routine and diet, can be an eye-opener. Your hair is as you care for it!

Being confronted with a hair problem may not be a choice, but providing a permanent solution for it is indeed a choice – your choice.

With that, we sign off for now! For all things ‘Hair’, do follow our blogs on hair loss, hair care, treatments and solutions and interesting hair trivia!
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