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Showering Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Hair, Say Stylists

From skimping on conditioner to rushing your rinse, here are some all-too-common haircare no-nos.
FACT CHECKED BY Leah Groth

Given abundance of worries that may exist in your life, showering—something you've mindlessly done every day since you were a child—really shouldn't rank high among them. But according to top stylists, hair-care professionals, and dermatologists, there are likely plenty of mistakes you don't even know you're making in the shower every day that aren't doing your hair any favors. In fact, they could be causing your hair damage. To learn what they are, read on. And for more tips on showering smarter starting now, make sure you're avoiding The Single Worst Time of Day to Take a Shower, Says Experts.

1

You're Washing Your Hair Way Too Much

Woman takes shower in the bathroom. Feminine hygiene rules concept

If you want healthy, vibrant, and lustrous hair, the single biggest mistake you're making is washing it every single time you step foot inside a shower. "Your [hair] issues start in the shower," Mark Townsend, the top stylist who has Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen among his clients, recently told Bustle. "People just aren't treating their scalps properly. Over-cleansing leads to your scalp going into overdrive to produce enough sebum to make up for what you stripped away."

In short, your scalp produces natural oils ("sebum") that are important to healthy and shiny hair, and the main reason for using shampoo is to rid your hair of dirt and excess oil. So, contrary to what your favorite shampoo commercial might be telling you, soaping away all of those natural hair-boosters too often will ultimately dry out your scalp, rob your hair of essential oils, and ultimately lead to a dry and less lustrous hair. And for some great healthy living advice, check out these Surprising Habits That Are Rapidly Aging Your Body.

2

You're Skipping the Conditioner

soap, natural sponge and shower gel closeup
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If you want brittle and duller hair, the single best way to get it is by avoiding the bottled that says "conditioner," whose contents will protect your hair from damage when it's wet. "If you stop using conditioner, your hair will likely be more difficult to comb," Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and author, explained to Allure. "It will also be more likely to have flyaways and frizz and be prone to splitting and breaking during your styling routine."

Townsend agrees. "It drives me crazy how many people skip conditioner altogether because they think it's going to weigh their hair down," he told Bustle. "Then they complain about their hair being dry and breaking and being frizzy all the time."

3

Your Water Is Way Too Hot

Young woman reacting in shock to hot or cold shower water as she stands under the shower head washing her hair eyes closed with her hands raised and mouth open

Nothing may beat a hot shower, but if you're really turning up the heat you can cause real damage to your locks. "Too hot water opens the hair cuticle, allowing keratin proteins, natural moisturizing factors, and color molecules to escape, so hair loses strength and the color fades," Nicola Clarke, a celebrity colorist, explained to Glamour. Also, when your cuticles are opened, you can expect your hair to be super frizzy afterward. And for more advice on getting the most out of your showers, see here to learn What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Cold Shower, Say Experts.

4

You're Not Brushing Your Hair Before Showering

Old wooden hairbrush
Shutterstock

Brushing your hair before wetting your hair will "help to loosen dirt, remove any stray hair, and untangle knots," Nate Rosenkranz, a stylist at Alterna Haircare, also explained to Glamour. Consider it a bonus that by doing so you'll also be making it much easier to wash out any accumulated dirt and excess oil during your shower. And for more ways to take better care of yourself, don't miss these Secret Celeb Self-Care Tricks That Totally Work.

5

You're Rinsing Terribly

shower
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According to Townsend, this is a problem for people who use more gentle, rain-mimicking showerheads. "With those, the water just falls directly on you," he told Bustle. "I've had so many times before red-carpet events where I've had to tell clients to go wash their hair again because there's too much conditioner left behind." So make sure you're not rushing things and you've properly rinsed. And for more great tips, don't miss The 8 Body Parts You're Not Washing Enough, Say Dermatologists.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more
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