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Hair health: Are you DAMAGING yours?

Last updated on: October 6, 2012 09:49 IST

Hair health: Are you DAMAGING yours?

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Learn just what some popular styling techniques do to your mane.

Try recalling all have you done to make your hair look gorgeous in the last couple of years. You probably got it straightened, then used some products on it, and of course you coloured it too.

But how is it that a friend of yours, who is not so much into hair styling and beauty products, seems to have such lovely locks and yours do not match up after so much effort? Step back and think about it. Maybe you are putting too much effort into making your hair beautiful and it is having the opposite effect.

You hair is an intricate structure with three layers. The innermost layer is the medulla. It is surrounded by the cortex and covered by a top layer called the cuticle. Anything that ruins the natural organisation of these layers will do your hair more harm than good. Though a lot of high-quality hair styling products are available in the market, moderation is the key.

Chemical straightening or curling

Straightening or curling first breaks the natural inner bonds in your hairand then re-forms them in a different way. Understandably, this will weaken your hair and may make it look brittle and lifeless. Hence, frequent curling and straightening may not be a great idea. Pick up styling techniques that flatter your natural hair type, rather than forcing your hair to look the way it isn't.


Image: If you want thick, glossy locks like Anushka Sharma, don't chemically straighen or curl your hair often
Photographs: Courtesy Perfect Relations
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Bleaching

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Bleach works by penetrating the cuticle and removing the natural pigment of your hair. So when you bleach, you are in fact tampering with the normal hair structure. Explore options other than bleaching. In fact, colouring your hair without bleaching it is not as bad as bleaching.


Image: Bleaching your hair often like singer Christina Aguilera is not advisable
Photographs: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Highlights and colouring

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Quality highlights and hair colour do not cause major damage to the hair structure, but avoid applying them close to the roots.

Moreover, not all colouring agents suit all people. Observe closely how your hair responds to the colour. If you notice dryness or loss of lustre after colouring, you should perhaps minimise on it rather than experimenting with your hair.


Image: While hair highlights like Jennifer Lopez's look fab, proceed with caution
Photographs: Frederick M Brown/Getty Images
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Blow drying

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Blow drying works by causing short term changes to the bonds of your hair. It is usually safe, but just as with colour, go easy with it. May be you do not need to do it daily. Also try to avoid very high temperatures.


Image: Blow drying will give you a great coiff like Sonam Kapoor, but avoid high temperatures
Photographs: L'Oreal ad campaign
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Tightly tying up your hair

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A tight ponytail actually tugs at the roots and wearing this style daily can be damaging to your hair. And tightly tying back wet hair is an absolute no-no, because wet hair is even more fragile.


Image: A tight ponytail or bun like Kim Kardashian's can harm your mane
Photographs: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images
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Brushing till it shines

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Maybe someone told you that one hundred strokes everyday bring shine and bounce to your hair by improving the scalp's blood circulation. Unfortunately, this isn't correct. Running a brush through your hair means exposing it to friction. Too much of it can actually cause split ends and breakage.


Image: You may envy Mallika Sherawat's glossy mane, but over-brushing is not going to improve yours
Photographs: Francois Durand/Getty Images
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Over-shampooing

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There is no uniform definition for over-shampooing. You need to figure out how frequent shampooing is required to keep your scalp clean and remove oil build-up.

This varies greatly from person to person. Those with oily hair typically need more frequent shampooing. If your hair is somewhat dry, daily shampooing is not recommended.


Image: Shampoo only as often as you have to and keep your hair looking natural and healthy, like Freida Pinto
Photographs: Michael Buckner/Getty Images
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