Do you get wound up when you walk past a girl on the way to work, who looks as if they woke up with hair that is thick, lustrous, and perfectly undone. What’s their secret? Why—after countless sprays, serums, and battles with a curling iron—is our own hair still limp, lifeless, and ill-looking? The truth is, there’s a lot you could be doing that’s preventing your hair from reaching its full potential. (And no, I’m not just talking about your unhealthy relationship with your straightening irons.)
You’re Not Using Protection
When it comes to heat styling tools, your hair definitely gets around—so always, always make sure it’s protected. The Kerastase ‘Ciment Thermique’ is well worth the investment (around £18). It protects your hair for the next 5 times you use heat-meaning you only have to use it once or twice a week. It also doubles up as a blow-dry balm and smells insane.
You’re Not Reading the Ingredients List
The best way to know if what you’re putting on your hair is really helping is to know how to read an ingredient list. Drying ingredients like alcohol or sodium lauryl sulfate should be nowhere near the front of the list.
Eat the Right Proteins
Your hair is made up of protein, so make sure you’re eating enough of it. Think: fish, chicken, lentils, and other beans.
Your Aggressive Brushing
You know that you’re not supposed to brush your hair when it’s wet—but the feeling of tangled, sopping wet strands isn’t exactly an appealing alternative. If you must detangle, detangle gently. First, spritz a conditioning spray through your wet strands after your shower, then brush through with either a wide-toothed comb, or a brush specifically made for wet hair, a Tangle Teezer will be your best friend. Made with softer, plastic bristles that won’t cause breakage while your hair is in its most fragile state.
Your Penchant for Ponytails
If a messy pony is your go-to hairstyle, it might be time to reconsider. A too-tight elastic in the same place day in and day out can cause major breakage—and may be the reason why your hair can’t grow past your shoulders, no matter how many supplements you take. Instead, switch things up and opt for a loose, low braid, or use a scrunchie that won’t tug or leave dents.