woman looking at hair ends
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Brushing Too Much

The old “100 strokes a day” beauty tip is a myth. Brushing your hair too much can cause split ends. Over time, it could even lead to hair loss.

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woman blow dry hair
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Too Many Blowouts

The more often you heat your hair, the more damaged it gets. Air-drying keeps hair its healthiest. When you can’t do that, be sure you keep your dryer’s heat setting on "low" and hold it at least 6 inches from your hair as you dry it.

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woman with dandruff
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Not Shampooing Often Enough

Your hair may not need a daily wash (or even one every other day). But it’s important to shampoo often enough to keep oily buildup at bay. That can lead to dandruff and other scalp problems.

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shampoo in hand
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Overusing Shampoo

When it comes to shampoo, a little dab will do. Focus on scrubbing your scalp instead of lathering up the whole length of your hair.

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comb wet hair
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Brushing Wet Hair

Water weakens your hair, so treat wet hair with care. To tackle tangles after a wash, use gentle strokes with a wide-toothed comb instead of tugging your tresses with a brush.

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flat iron hair
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Flat-Ironing It When It's Damp

When heat hits water in your hair, it can turn to steam and cause “bubble hair.” You're left with brittle locks that have frizzy ends and break easily. Be sure your hair is dry before you use a hot styling tool. Keep it on the lowest temperature you can, and use a heat protectant spray before you style.

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towel on woman's head
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Toweling It Dry

Wrapping your hair gently in a towel after a wash is fine (air dry is best). But rubbing it with a towel will damage the strands.

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installing synthetic hair
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Sticking to the Same Tight 'Do

If you leave weaves or hair extensions in too long, or you pull them out without a professional’s help, it can cause big-time breakage. Same goes for braids, buns, and ponytails -- too tight for too long, and you’ll start to see split strands. Mix up your 'do to keep hair healthy.

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hair with bleach on it
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Too Much Chemistry

Perms, relaxers, and hair coloring all use chemicals to curl, straighten, and dye your hair. These chemicals can do a number on your hair and scalp, including breakage and irritation. So use them wisely.

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hair consultation
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Being Reckless With Relaxers

You may want to straighten your hair yourself. It’s best to leave it to the professionals, so you don't fry your hair. Never use relaxers on hair that’s already gone through the process. After your hair gets straightened, avoid blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling irons, which can further wreck your tresses.

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woman watering plants
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Going Hatless in the Sun

Summer (and winter) rays can dry out your hair and make it break. Cover up your coif when you can to protect it -- and the skin on your scalp -- from sun damage.

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woman and dog in pool
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Going Capless in the Pool

Chlorine can be mean on hair. It can dry it out and cause split ends and breaking. For the best protection, wear a cap when you take a dip in the pool. If a swim cap isn’t your thing, be sure you rinse your hair right after you swim. When that's done, wash with a swimmer’s shampoo and follow up with conditioner.

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clipping split ends
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Skipping Your Trim

It seems backward, but if you’re trying to grow long, healthy locks, the best thing you can do is get regular haircuts. The cut culls out split ends, which helps your hair look healthier.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 01/16/2020 Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on January 16, 2020


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American Academy of Dermatology: “Your hair style may be causing hair damage and hair loss,” “Getting past the hype: Dermatologist untangles common hair care misconceptions,” “Tips for Healthy Hair,” “How to Stop Damaging Your Hair,” “Taking Care of Your Hair.”

Kids Health: “Taking Care of Your Hair.”

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on January 16, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.