Seven deadly hair sins and how to avoid them

According to a recent survey by Viviscal natural hair growth supplements, 7 in 10 people have never used any sort of treatment to help improve the health of their hair or protect it from immediate and long term damage. Heat, pollution, over-styling, lack of nutrients and harmful UV rays can all have a detrimental effect on the health of your hair. With the help of expert trichologist Trisha Buller we’ve highlighted the seven most common deadly hair sins and ways to avoid them.

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1. Burning up with PRIDE, heated appliances
Recent research reveals that 13% of people use a heated appliance on their hair every day and a further 15% use a heated appliance every other day, with many already recognising the damage that these products are having on their hair. Trisha notes that in some cases the effects of over-styling may not be immediately noted: “Although people do not see the immediate damage they are causing to their hair, the long term effects are inevitable, it is only a matter of time until we see a further increase in hair burning and damage as a direct result of heavy styling”.

Try it: It is best to let your hair dry naturally, notes Trisha, but if you need to use heat make sure you use a heat protection spray which you put on to the hair while it is still wet and then blow dry. This will also protect hair from curlers, straighteners and other heated appliances. By not using protector products on your hair it’s like putting an iron straight onto your skin! The temperatures reach up to 200˚+ in a matter of seconds, notes Trisha.

2. Colour ENVY
If you are guilty of being a colour chameleon when it comes to your hair you could be causing both immediate and long term damage which can result in breakage, lack of vitality, shine and strength. Colourants, bleach and treatments such as perms and chemical straightening mean that hair can easily dry out. Trisha recommends a regular professional maintenance programme, to maintain condition and style with cutting, colouring and treatments.

Try it: Ask your hairdresser if they have natural colour options as these contain less chemicals whilst still giving vivid colour. Remember to book yourself for regular intensive conditioning treatments as these can restore much needed lost moisture, a good habit is to ensure that you book one in alongside your regular 6-8 week trim. If you can’t afford expensive salon treatments, try an at-home treatment at a fraction of the price, Holland & Barrett’s Perfectly Pure Coconut Oil, £14.99, is an intensive moisturiser for dry and damaged hair.

3. GREEDY for luscious locks
Hair extensions can put unnecessary pressure on the scalp and can lead to hair loss. Letting your hair grow naturally will ensure that it is healthier and will, with regular trims and treatments get longer over time. Hair extensions can not only be painful but can lead to more serious conditions such as traction alopecia which can be caused by over-tight braids as well as hair extensions. The condition is often temporary and once the ‘traction’ element has been removed normal growth eventually returns, however, in some cases it can be permanent.

Try it: For extra thickness and body Trisha recommends utilising new styling techniques. “Body is essential to make the hair look thick and glamorous. It is therefore essential to get to the bottom of this problem and give your hair the maximum root lift that it needs. Certain products can be used such as root boosters, but alternatively drying your hair with a brush or tipping your head upside down while drying can give your hair an amazing boost.”

4. SLOTH, a lazy diet leads to low nutrients:
Dieting and having a diet low in fat can lead to limp and dull hair. Hair, like the rest of your body needs essential fats and proteins to maintain growth. Eating plenty of protein (milk, fish, nuts, eggs) and topping up on essential fatty acids (olive oil, walnuts) will help with hair health. Hair is a complex chain of amino acids so poor nutrition can lead to weakening and loss of the hair, these proteins and essential fats are fuel for healthy cell regeneration.

Try it:  Supplementation can also help with the healthy growth of your hair if you feel as though your diet may be lacking in some of the nutrients or you need an extra boost. Choose a supplement designed specifically for hair health and growth for the best results. Viviscal Maximum Strength is a daily supplement which provides the specific nutrients to nourish the hair follicles from within, helping to reduce hair loss and support existing hair growth. Lifes2good (www.viviscal.co.uk),  Holland & Barrett, Superdrug and Lloyds Pharmacy (including Selfridges).

5. GLUTTONY, frequent washing frenzy
Many people fall into the trap of washing their hair daily which strips the hair of essential oils and can lead to hair becoming dull and dry. Trisha recommends only washing your hair two to three times a week, cutting back on the amount of times you wash your hair will also mean less styling: a double hair saviour.

Try it:  To keep your hair looking and feeling fresh between washes try a dry shampoo which instantly leaves hair feeling fresh  and clean – without the need for water to rinse. Klorane’s handy can of highly effective dry shampoo instantly leaves hair feeling fresh  and clean – without the need for water to rinse. Simply spray onto your roots, leave for two minutes and brush out. Hair regains volume and lightness within minutes. The Klorane range is available from John Lewis stores and selected independent pharmacies nationwide. For further stockist details call 01582 820165, or visit www.klorane.co.uk.

6. WRATH, irritated scalp, using the wrong products
Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner is critical for maintaining the health and glossy appearance of hair. Trisha recommends choosing a shampoo that cleanses the scalp and offers strengthening and protection properties as well as moisture for hair. Conditioner is essential- many people chose to go without conditioner if their hair is fine or greasy as it can make it go flat. However, like your skin, hair needs moisture. Conditioner coats the outside layer of your hair (cuticle) protecting the inner structure, creating shine. Using the right conditioner will also give it body and volume, or a sleek and smooth finish, whatever you desire.

Try it: For healthy hair it is essential that the scalp area is gently cleansed, hydrated and the hair lightly moisturised. Viviscal gentle Shampoo and moisturising Conditioner are both naturally derived (98% & 97%) and free of harmful SLE/SLS sulphates. Both products are suitable for all hair types including dry, damaged, fine and thin hair.

7. LUSTING after the sun
Similar to skin care, it’s important to protect your hair from the sun’s harmful UV rays, says Trisha. “When you expose your hair to the sun it sucks even the healthiest hair’s moisture out and leaves the outside layer of your hair dehydrated and raspy to touch, leaving your hair looking dull.

Try it: Wearing a hat to cover your hair will not suffice, as the humidity can still have an effect on the hair. Instead, try using a protective spray and treating your hair with the same rules you would your skin, spend plenty of time away from direct sunlight and make sure your hair is intensively moisturised at least once a week.