Problem No. 4: Raking or Frying Tortured Locks
"Any hair combing, brushing, or blow drying has the potential to weaken hair," Bank says. He adds that the 100 strokes a night recommended by grandmas is a hair care trick that has seen its day.
"Some rough brushing of wet hair can pull it out by its roots!" he admonishes. "Use a wide-toothed comb. If you use a dryer, use a diffuser."
Wilson recommends a tourmaline blow dryer. Reapply the leave-in conditioner before drying with any blow dryer, he adds. And, of course, if you've been in the water, rinse with fresh, untreated water.
If your hair has any body, you can also apply a texture product, curl sections around your finger and wait a few minutes for it to dry. Fluffing up curls with your fingers also avoids turning on the dryer. Or you can braid the hair (loosely), let it dry, and then finger-comb out the waves.
"Never rub your hair dry with a towel," Wilson says. "Blot with the towel -- gently. If you rub you raise up the cuticle; then if you apply heat (from a dryer), it can damage the hair." Special, superabsorbent hair towels are available on the beauty web sites.
Scrunchies and (heaven forbid) rubber bands can weaken hair, Bank says. "Any time you grab, tug, twist, or pull hair, it is weakened." Too-tight ponytails (or those casual little postswim knots and buns) can even cause the hairline to recede over time.
If you have extensions, you can swim, shower, or do anything you want with them in. "I recommend the ones that are waxed in, not clipped," Wilson says. "Extensions are good for three to six months."
Getting frequent trims to lose the split ends is also a good idea in summer. And if you have been glomming on all these products, use a mild, clarifying shampoo once in a while to rinse them out.
Problem No. 5: Putting Groceries on Your Hair
Food belongs inside you. Eating omega-3-rich foods, such as fatty fish and flaxseed oil, benefits hair. Bank is a believer in biotin, a B-complex vitamin. "I tell people to take 2.5 milligrams a day," he says. Read the labels and talk to your doctor before starting any over-the-counter product.
Still, some people insist on putting food items on their head. Lemon juice, beer, onion juice, olive oil, and mayonnaise are a few do-it-yourself hair treatments that Bank and Wilson have seen used. "Use professional products," sighs Wilson. "These have been tested."