5 Major Hair Care Mistakes Your Stylist Wishes You'd Stop Making

Two top New York City stylists have a lot to say about your bad hair care habits.

Here’s what two top New York City stylists have to say about your bad hair care habits, and how they’re sabotaging the luscious locks you’re meant to have.

A healthy head of hair can boost your confidence exponentially, but how much confidence do you have in your ability to actually keep your hair healthy? In fairness, hair is pretty delicate—and once damaged, very hard to “fix.” Dyeing, heat processing, and even the environment can take a toll on your tresses. But there are a lot of everyday hair care habits that can help keep your mane in top condition. There are also a lot of things you can stop doing. Here, two top New York City hairstylists, Eliut Rivera of Eliut Salon and Siobhan Quilan of Art + Autonomy Salon, share the top hair care mistakes they’ve seen. If you’re guilty of any of these? Cut. It. Out.

1. Putting your hair in a ponytail constantly.

“This will cause breakage, especially if your hair is highlighted,” Rivera told us of one hair care faux pas: keeping your hair pulled too tight, too often. “A lot of time you can see the breakage on the crown area.” Too much traction from severe pulling can even damage your hair at the follicle, causing a type of gradual hair loss called ‘traction alopecia.’ Eventually, the hair loss can even become permanent, according to hair loss supplement brand Viviscal.

Looking for a compromise? Amazon reviewers love these “ouchless” ponytail holders.

2. Spending all your money in the salon but skimping at home.

“People spend so much time and money at the salon, but then they don’t want to invest in quality products to keep up their hair at home,” says Quinlan. She notes that a lot of drugstore hair care products are cheaper because they have cheaper ingredients that can often be harsher on your hair. “People are always shocked by how much of a difference stylist-recommended products make versus just whatever happened to be on sale. There are so many products options because there are so many different hair types and environmental [factors] that can affect your hair,” she told Real Simple. “Most stylists really do care about your hair; they aren’t just trying to sell you stuff.”

To maintain your salon-quality locks at home without blowing your budget, try stylist-approved Olaplex products.

3. Masking your face but not your hair.

Masking is having a moment. All you have to do is scroll through your Instagram feed to find everyone from Chrissy Teigen to Drew Barrymore slathering hydrating honey, detoxifying charcoal, and soothing aloe all over their faces. Quinlan says you should be giving your tresses the same TLC—after all, hair is made of a lot of the same stuff as skin, most notably keratin. “Everybody says they don’t have time [for deep conditioning masks],” says Quinlan, so she suggests mutlitasking. Just mask your hair before any activity that lets you wear a bun for an hour and shower afterward, like a workout.

For a tried-and-true all natural hair mask option, try coconut oil.

4. Brushing out your hair after you shower instead of before.

Your hair is most fragile when it’s wet, notes Quinlan. “Don’t tear through it with a brush after the shower if you don’t want it to break.” If you need to de-tangle, she recommends brushing it before the shower, when your hair is dry. Then when it’s wet, use a wide tooth comb or a brush specifically designed for dealing with wet hair.

This $ 5 wide-tooth comb for wet hair is top-rated on

5. Sticking to the same shampoo and never mixing it up.

The secret to dull, lifeless hair is to keep using the same shampoo year after year. For shiny, bouncy locks, change your shampoo regularly, says Rivera. “Sometimes your hair gets used to the shampoo you use constantly,” he tells Real Simple. A variety of shampoos will help your hair recuperate its body and become manageable. “It’s good to have a few different shampoos with different purposes, like a moisturizing shampoo, shine shampoo, color-safe shampoo, and volume shampoo. Then alternate.”

Here are 7 other important bits of hair knowledge your stylist wishes you knew.

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