Finding broken hair strands in the shower every time you shampoo, or run a comb through your mane, is as much of an emotional loss as it is physical. Dealing with hair breakage is one thing, but not knowing which of the million possible reasons are causing it, is another. Are you using the wrong shampoo? Is your hair straightener damaging your mane? Can your hair really break if you tie it when it’s wet? We got two celebrity haircare and styling experts: Rod Anker, founder of his eponymous salon chain in Delhi, and Hiral Bhatia, one of Sonam K Ahuja’s favourite hairstylists, to delve into the most common reasons why your hair is suddenly prone to breakage, and what you can do about it.
You’re using too much oil in your haircare routine
When oiling your hair, make sure you don’t “use a lot of heavy hair oils on the middle and the ends,” warns Bhatia. “When you do that, you have to use double the amount of shampoo to get rid of the oil, which further dries out the hair.”
You’re shampooing your hair from scalp to tips
“Don’t rub your hair while shampooing—it damages the cuticles in the long run and takes your mane’s shine away. Shampoo is only meant for your scalp [unless the bottle specifically talks about the lengths]. You must only run the lather through the middle and the ends—that’s enough to cleanse the hair,” says Bhatia.
You’re still skipping the conditioner in your haircare routine
“Many people still get scared to use a conditioner, because they think it causes hair fall. Truth is, a conditioner closes the cuticles and softens the hair. It can never cause hair fall. It has to be used away from the scalp and must be rinsed off the hair completely. If you’re unsure about whether you’ve gotten the conditioner out well, keep washing till you don’t see any product coming from your hair, only clear water. Ideally, you must also use a leave-in conditioner [or serum] every time you wash your hair,” says Bhatia.
You’re tying your hair up even when it’s wet
“Stop tying your wet hair. Your hair is most delicate at the stage that it is wet, and tying can make it susceptible to easy breakage,” says Bhatia.
Or using a hair brush on wet hair
“Brushing wet hair is not the way to get rid of knots. If your hair tangles too much, there are a number of effective tangle teasers and detangling sprays you can use,” advises Bhatia.
You’re OD-ing on the hair dryer
“A hair dryer can cause more damage than most people can imagine. It can cause split ends, dehydration and breakage if not used correctly (which untrained hairstylists could do), and can leave you with a haircut as the only option,” explains Anker. “Make sure you don’t blow-dry your hair without a heat protectant spray,” adds Bhatia.
You’re over-colouring your hair
“Just because you colour the roots, doesn’t mean you should colour the ends. Too often I see colour being done when it’s not needed. Too much colour can also cause hair damage and breakage. You do not always need to ‘freshen up the ends’ with colour. In fact, the ends should be half a shade lighter than your roots if you’re going for a natural look,” says Anker.