5 Things That Are Secretly Damaging Your Hair This Summer

Not your mother's "chlorine is bad" listicle.

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When it comes to hair, we romanticize summer. The sun-kissed highlights, the air-dried beach waves. But in reality, it's actually the worst time of year for your mane. And chlorine is just the beginning...

Because #TheMoreYouKnow, here's a quick-and-dirty guide to the *other* things that are causing breakage, dulling color, and doing god knows what else to your hair on the sly.

1. Air conditioning. As much of a luxury as it is, central air is sucking the moisture right out of your strands. Whether you're chained to a desk at the office during the day, blasting the air as you sleep at night, or both, you need to make sure that you're conditioning your hair accordingly. Look to leave-in conditioners and masks for hydration on the regular.

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2. Sunglasses. As essential to surviving June-August as iced coffee, shades might as well be glued to your head. But when you're pulling them back and forth from the top of your head to over your eyes, the metal detail is catching the hairs around your hairline and causing permanent damage to the follicles. To avoid this, be super mindful as you place them, or just tuck them into your handbag.

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3. Top Knots and High Ponytails. Summer is throw-your-hair-up season. Top knots and ponytails are our lifelines when humidity strikes. However, when worn for extended periods, these taut styles can be damaging to your hairline...even causing alopecia in the worst-case scenarios. 

And then there's the whole slew of problems that come from using hair ties on the regular...so when in doubt, just let your hair run free.

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4. The Sun. By now you probably know that baking your head in the sun isn't great for your hair. But it's not just a matter of wearing a hat at the beach. You need coverage, whether it's a sizable topper or a heat protectant, on your hair at all times—especially if you color it. If not, you'll pay a dear price by way of dullness, discoloration, dryness, and even breakage. You need hair-to-toe SPF, end of story.

5. Wet Brushing/Styling. Whether you're a beach bum, poolside enthusiast, or you're just showering more often, chances are your hair is wet more often during the summer, and thus more prone to damage. Your strands are dense with water, which means you shouldn't be throwing it up (ahem, reminder above) or mindlessly brushing away at knots. Be patient with tangles—it's always best to tend to them with fingers first—and use a smoothing product, like a detangling elixir, so that's it's as gentle of a process as possible.

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