7 Reasons Your Hair Looks Fried

If you're guilty of any of these hair sins, save your strands with tips from the pros.

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It may seem like split ends, dryness, and straw-like texture appear overnight, but hair damage happens slowly thanks to daily decisions that aren't as harmless as they seem. How many of these common hair sins are you guilty of? Fear not, we've got your pro solutions right here.

1. You're cranking up the heat.

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Unless your hair is super curly or coarse, there's no reason for your tool's temp to get up to 400 degrees. "380 to 390 is usually enough," advises David Lopez, a hair stylist in New York City. "If you have a relaxer or you're a bottle blond, go down to 300 or 320." When the tool is on your hair, avoid doing multiple passes or holding it in one spot for too long. "Five seconds is the max for a curling iron, and one to three seconds for a flat iron," says Jenny Cho, a Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist for Suave. If that's not doing the job, try an iron—like T3 Singlepass X—that's designed for strands that are more difficult to straighten.

2. You're skimping on moisture.

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If there's one fatal error on this list that we've all committed, it's depriving our hair of hydration. Shampoo and conditioner formulas with moisturizing ingredients, like Suave Coconut Milk Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner, are mandatory for getting healthy-looking strands. "Use a lot of conditioner, but focus on your ends—they can never have too much moisture," says Marcus Francis, a Suave celebrity stylist in Los Angeles. Have color-treated or chemically-processed hair? Add a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a week to soften and nourish. A good option: Kenra Revive Treatment Strengthening Masque.

3. You're coloring too frequently. 

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Although getting touch-ups every six weeks is the typical recommendation, holding out for eight weeks or longer will keep hair in better shape (and save you $$). Another way to protect your strands: "Make sure your colorist is paying attention to details—overlapping highlights or color at your roots will lead to breakage," says Lopez. "If your hair is getting destroyed, have a conversation with your pro. It's okay to ask questions, like whether she must use bleach. Any competent colorist will gladly discuss your options."

4. You're over-heating. 

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From curling wands to good old-fashioned blow-dryers, it's important to limit usage to twice per week max (although with blow-dryers, three to five times per week is fine because the heat doesn't come in direct contact with your hair). Keep a dry shampoo like Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo on hand to give a blow-out a couple extra days' mileage. And be sure to spritz on a heat protector first. "It's like armor for your hair," says Cho. Spray it on section by section.

5. You're being reckless with your accessories. 

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Ready to have your mind blown? Your cross-body could be the cause of your breakage. "If your hair tends to get caught under your purse strap and you pull it out, the leather could be doing damage," suggests Lopez. "Lift the bag strap, and then move your hair."

6. You're detangling—destructively. 


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"Be gentle, particularly when your hair is wet," says Cho. To safely work through knots, apply leave-in conditioner, then use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to detangle, working from the ends up.

7. You're letting the sun beat down on you. 

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Those warm beams might feel amazing, but UVA and UVB rays can damage the cuticle (the outer layer) of your hair, leaving it brittle and dry. The solution: "If you get a lot of sun exposure, use a leave-in conditioner," says Lopez. "I like Staying Alive by Kevin Murphy." Spritz on wet hair, then air dry or style as usual.

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Baze Mpinja

Baze Mpinja has been working as a writer and editor for national print magazines, digital media outlets, and global beauty brands for nearly 15 years. A few of her other passions: books, bars and Brooklyn.