12 Mindless Ways You're Ruining Your Hair

Please forgive us.

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(Image credit: archive)

Dear Hair,

We profusely apologize for doing you wrong. It was never our intention to hurt you, and we hope that you'll take our sincere words to heart. Honestly, we never would've guessed that our seemingly harmless habits were secretly killing you. From Tippi Shorter, Aveda global artistic director for textured hair, to you, we vow to never do the following things ever again.

Dirty utensils—brushes, combs, straighteners, curling irons—recycle grime into fresh, clean hair, which can irritate your scalp and clog pores on your head. and for the love of god, please get rid of those things when they pass their expiration dates (yes, those exist).

We said it first: Silk pillowcases are m-a-g-i-c. Cotton spreads suck out moisture from your body when you sleep while silk or satin threads don't—plus, they double as cooling pads during the summer. Trust us, they're worth the extra money.

You need to apply SPF something all over every inch of you body and not just your face, legs, and arms. Certain sprays and leave-in conditioners are loaded with secret sunscreen, so keep an eye out for those on labels.

A huge no-no for those with big waves or curls? Using a regular ol' towel to dry your locks. Why? Those types of hair are naturally drier than other hair types. The rough fabrics will agitate the cuticles in your hair, causing unnecessary friction. Instead, opt for a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt.

Ditch the comb—paddle brushes are where it's at. If you're trying to untangle a knot with a comb, there's no flexibility to the tool, which is a real pain for your hair to deal with. Paddle brushes have a special cushion so that you can gently work to unravel your hair.

Sue us for advocating clean eating, but you really are what you put inside your body. Water—hydration, people!—and vitamins A, C, and E are are vital for your hair to maintain its glossy texture.

You know when you step indoors and pull your shades over your head because, well, you're not outside? Yeah, you're totally killing your follicles. Not only does that pressure from your glasses stress out the hair, but you also risk plucking strands when you step back into sunlight and pull the glasses over your eyes again.

It depends on your hair type—some people can scrub every day with no side effects (lucky)—but for those with course, thick hair that frizzes easily, your hair's already dry and shampooing it extensively makes it worse.

Touching up your highlights every four to six weeks is perfectly normal. If you're going every two weeks, just, no. Hair dye chemicals make your head more delicate and fragile to work with so, repeat after us: I will not OD on dye jobs.

"A healthy scalp leads to healthy hair," says Shorter. Just give it a massage once in a while and avoid any products or activities that might dry it out.

Sorry, sorry, and sorry. We love dry shampoo but sadly, too much of the good stuff can leave your hair dull and can block your scalp's pores, which can cause pimples or cysts. Why, dry shampoo WHY?

Shorter will admit: Super tight looks are ultra-chic...but they're pretty much murdering your tresses. Cover your eyes, but those styles are literally pulling the life out of your follicles. Oh, the sacrifices we make for beauty.

You should also check out:

The Best Short Hair to Try Now

The Complete Guide to Growing Out Your Hair

Lasering vs. Waxing Your Bikini Line

Kenny Thapoung

When I'm not stalking future-but-never-going-to-happen husbands on Facebook, you can catch me eating at one of NYC's B-rated or below dining establishments—A-rated restaurants are for basics. Fun fact: Bloody Marys got me into eating celery on the regular. And for your safety, please do not disturb before 10 a.m. or coffee, whichever comes first.