Over the past few weeks, it’s safe to say that we have all experienced a beauty mishap or two. From patchy, half-fallen-out lash extensions to grown-out manicures and toes that need some serious tending to, there’s no doubt that our beauty routines have recently been flipped on their heads. The biggest issues that it seems almost everyone is facing, though, are those to do with our hair.
Being unable to get out to salons means that many of us are currently facing unsightly roots and split ends and even risking at-home haircuts in a bid to better the situation. One of the most common complaints that I have come across, however, is that of hair breakage. In fact, almost everyone I have spoken to agrees that their hair seems to be snapping much more than it ever has before.
Unsure whether your short strands are breakage or just baby hairs? “Loss of elasticity in hair leads to snapping. Healthy hair will be able to ping back into shape. The stress test is when it's wet, if you pull the hair and it bounces back, it's healthy,” says Paul Edmonds, celebrity hairstylist and official BAFTA partner.
While there’s no doubt that regular trims are essential for keeping hair healthy and strong, there are some things that will help prevent further hair breakage. Keep scrolling to discover the hair habits that experts warn could be causing your strands to snap and what you can do to help.
Okay, it might seem obvious, but overprocessing your hair, in general, is sure to lead to some sort of weakening and breakage, and when you throw some serious heat into the mix, things get a whole lot worse. “Heat styling causes both disulphide bonds and hydrogen/salt bonds to degenerate. These bonds form the structure of the hair, and once compromised, they make the keratin weak and shed. Keratin is the material that hair is made from, so the hair itself gradually becomes thinner and snaps,” explains Edmonds.
While social trips out are on hold for a little longer at least, now is a great time to give your hair a bit of a break from all of the heat styling. Why not let your hair air dry or take a hiatus from daily tonging? If you can’t face the thought, investing in a hard-working heat protectant is absolutely imperative if you want to prevent breakage.
Using Tight Hairbands
If you have long hair and are anything like me, your go-to hairdo for the last six weeks will have been a zero-effort topknot that teeters somewhere between your forehead and your crown. A chic look it is not, but given the current working-from-home situation, I have found it quite practical.
The bad news is that it’s causing serious breakage. “People are wearing their hair up more than they usually would. Using elasticated bands with dry hair that’s knotted will cause more breakage,” says Edmonds.
So what can be done to help? Revlon Professional global artistic ambassador Mark Leeson advises that there are kinder ways to style your hair practically. “Try a loose plait to keep hair away from your face and tie with a silk hair tie that won’t cause snags,” he says.
Fiddling, twisting and playing with your hair might seem like a harmless habit at first, but actually anything that causes unnecessary friction will cause damage. “Twisting your hair with your fingers out of nervous habit can definitely cause breakage,” says Edmonds.
On a wider scale, your hair is likely experiencing damaging friction every day that can be drastically reduced. Take towel-drying your hair, for instance. “Rubbing when towel-drying can damage vulnerable hair,” warns Leeson. “Always blot instead of rub.”
Brushing When Wet
I get it. Brushing your hair is kind of a must, especially when it’s knotted and wet. However, it’s not so much the action of brushing your hair that causes breakage, more the way that you do it. “Brushing too hard and vigorously when hair is wet can cause snapping. If you start from the top, you can cause more knotting, causing it to snap,” says Edmonds. He also recommends starting from the ends and gradually working your way up to the root.
The trick to keeping your brushing routine healthy is all in the tool. “Choose a brush that makes light work of knot and tangles, smoothly gliding through hair from root to tip,” advises Leeson.
It might not seem to make much sense, but actually, washing your hair too often can cause issues. “Depending on your hair type, overwashing can cause dryness. Daily washes are okay if you have oily hair, but those with dry hair might only need to wash once a week,” says Leeson.
Besides the obvious issues that arise with the friction of washing, subjecting your hair to water every day might not help, either. “In poor-water-quality regions, there is a high concentration of mineral salts that cause lime. During rinsing, lime can deposit on the hair, leaving it dull, rough and prone to breakage,” Leeson adds. In order to fight against breakage that occurs as a result of washing and lime, experts recommend nourishing treatments to restore moisture and proteins.