11 Pro Hairstylists on How to Prevent Hair Breakage
Hair breakage isn’t just everyday shedding. Dry, damaged or brittle hair is more likely to snap off or break than healthy hair, though this is a loss you can 100% prevent. We turned to the pros to find out how you can take hair breakage from annoying reality to thing of the past. Here are their expert tips on keeping your strands a little longer, so you can go from break-up to make-up with your mane.
David Mallett, Brand Founder, Salon Owner and Stylist
There are different causes to hair breakage – hair ties, heat styling tools, coloring hair, brushing. When pulling hair back opt for hair ties without a metal clasp, try not to tie ponytails or other styles) too tight and, when you can, try for a secured clip. Also when brushing, don’t over do it. Make sure to start at the bottom and move your way to the top to avoid pulling any knots down further into your hair.
Heat styling tools can be hard to avoid. When using a blow dryer, allow hair to air-dry a bit first. Never heat dry dripping wet hair and using a lower heat setting with a serum will help minimize flyaways. Personally, I prefer to use Parlux 3200 Ceramic Ionic: $169.63. It’s extremely lightweight and has heat controls that are easy-to-use. If you’re using tools like a curling or flat iron, use a heat protectant and, again, lower temperature setting. Applying a repair or hydration mask (Mask No. 1 Hydration: $75) once a week will keep moisture locked in your strand and will prevent breakage. If your hair is needing extra TLC, keep the mask on overnight and rinse out in the morning.
A mask can also help with coloring hair, especially when going lighter and putting a lot of stress on your locks. My Mask No. 3 La Couleur: $75 nourishes hair at a deep molecular level and seals the hair cuticles to restore the pH balance of hair. Made with raspberry vinegar it acts efficiently to balance the pH-levels of hair by sealing the cuticles, to resist color fading. Slower fading means less trips to the salon and less color treatments on your hair.
Chad Kenyon, Brand Founder and Celebrity Colorist
Over-shampooing or wrongful shampooing are common causes of hair breakage. Shampooing less is often best for maintaining strong resilient hair, which is why I created my two new CHAD KENYON Tinted Dry Shampoos.
Want to avoid breakage during your hair coloring services? Make sure your hair colorist is using Olaplex N°1 in ALL of your hair Color formulas: base colors, lighteners/bleaches, Glosses/toners. It is an absolute falsehood that Olaplex is ‘only for damaged hair.’ The absolute truth is that, by insisting that your Colorist add Olaplex N°1 in ALL your formulas & finish with OlaplexN°2 Treatment, you’re both preventing breakage and ensuring that that your color service results will be optimal. Strong healthy hair = Rich, radiant beautiful Hair color. (Olaplex is compatible with all hair Color lines.) The new Olaplex N°4 Shampoo: $28 and N°5 Conditioner: $28 both strengthen hair and prevent hair breakage.
When I meet my new clients for the first time I always look for any prior hair breakage. Want to know where I most commonly find hair breakage? Not the face-frame (although that comes in second place). The most common is the ponytail area because the hair tie isn’t compatible with the hair and they are removed with force. The hair ties that are flat out and about 1/4 inch wide (preferably made with silk) are great. My dear friend Trace Henningsen makes beautiful hair accessories from the highest quality fabric that will keep hair safe, stylish and intact.
Vernon Francois, Celebrity Stylist, Creative Director and Brand Founder
Decreasing breakage comes down to choosing the right products, applying them in the right way, drying and styling your hair with the right tools and knowledge. Your diet also plays an important part in helping to reduce breakage. When hair has kinks in it, not a coil or a curl – it can be the most fragile, because it tends to lack the most moisture of all hair types. Co-washing can be done very frequently if needed for this hair type, up to twice a day, for intense hydration and conditioning.
Curly hair and Afro hair textures crave ingredients that are hydrating and nourishing; which is one of the main focuses of my collection. Try to avoid heat drying and styling if you can. Also, a traditional cotton bath towel can pull and stretch the hair, stripping out moisture, which is not good at all. A much better option is to carefully squeeze and pat your hair dry with an old cotton t-shirt; or, ideally, a microfiber towel. It’s far more caring for your hair and really helps to reduce breakage.
Nicole Leal, Director of Education at 901 Academy, Master Stylist at 901
Give your hair a break from heat styling at least more than half of the week to minimize hair breakage.
Franck Izquierdo, Co-founder IGK
Don’t brush your hair when wet. Your hair is most vulnerable when it’s wet and is more susceptible to breakage. If you need to brush it, use a wide tooth comb or wet brush and start from the bottom, very gently pull out tangles as you work your way up. Prep with a leave-in conditioner, like THIRSTY GIRL Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner: $28 to detangle and prevent breakage.
Also, don’t wash your hair too frequently. Frequent shampooing can dry hair out and make it more likely to break. If you want a gentler wash, try SMOKE & MIRRORS Cleansing Conditioning Oil: $29. It gently cleanses while deeply conditioning with coconut oil and sweet almond oil, so hair isn’t stripped of its natural oils. For deeper washing, be sure to always use a sulfate-free shampoo – I like BAD & BOUGIE Amla Oil Deep Repair Shampoo and Conditioner: $25. It has a bond building complex that nourishes and strengthens hair immediately and over time.
Get regular haircuts to prevent split ends from breaking. Plus, regular haircuts keep hair looking and feeling healthier and fuller.
Adam Livermore, Oribe Educator
Breakage can happen when hair is burned with a hot tool. Hair is a delicate fabric, and it needs to be protected when you’re working with a curling iron, flat iron, or metal/ceramic-barrel round brush. Once hair is singed, there’s no fixing it—it just has to be cut off. To avoid this, use a heat-protection product generously enough so that you see a little steam when you go in with the iron. Steam is good; it means the water in the product is vaporizing and the heat protection ingredients are working. Oribe Balm d’Or: $45 protects hair against 450-degree heat, and it’s easy to layer into your existing regimen. I also suggest turning the temperature down on your iron. Unless your natural texture is sheep’s wool, your iron doesn’t need to be anywhere near 450 degrees. Go slow and steady with one pass on each section. If you go over and over on the same section you’ll cook the product and then cook your hair.
The hair’s internal structure can also become weakened or destroyed by chemicals like bleach, relaxers or aggressive color, which is yet another problem with another solution. Overly aggressive chemicals damage the internal structure that holds the fiber together, and if it gets weak enough, your hair can break off just from running your fingers through it. Those who are color or bleach obsessed need to add reparative and strengthening products into his or her regimen to keep hair strong. Oribe Gold Lust Transformative Masque: $66 is weightless so even the finest-haired blondes can use it. After just three days of use, I’ve seen the masque rescue a few celebrities who went too blonde too fast. I also really love the Oribe Power Drops Damage Repair Booster: $58 which has 2% Linoleic Acid in it to repair both the cuticle and the internal structure. Cocktail it in your hand with any Oribe styler. I recommend Supershine Light Moisturizing Cream:$52 for a rich, powerful dose of moisture and repair.
Garren, Celebrity Stylist and Co-founder, R+Co
One thing you shouldn’t be doing is spraying hair with hairspray and then running a flat iron or curling iron over it, this dries hair out and definitely causes breakage. GRID Structural Hold Setting Spray: $29 is the perfect product to use before a hot tool for hold and protection. I see a lot of correction needed with young girls who are addicted to their flat irons. Their hair is cracking and becomes a mess.
Don’t pick your hair apart of snap off the dead ends. Raking your hands through your hair while wearing heavy jewelry, like rings with large prongs, can wreck the hair. I’ve seen women who don’t even realize this is why they have breakage. Also letting your purse strap rub back and forth over your hair will cause damage, be sure to pull hair out first. The same goes for putting on a coat or necklace. Always move your hair out of the way to protect it.
David Thompson, Mizani Texture Squad Pro, Salon Owner
See a professional and use the hair products that offer heat protection that they recommend for your hair type. Be sure to detangle using a large tooth comb when washing- stay away from brushes while hair is wet. If color or relaxers are involved make sure you have a great heat protection serum or awesome leave-in to keep your hair strong. The Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Treatment: $30 is a great daily product for all hair types.
Leysa Carillo, Curly Expert & Educator
Eat clean and drink more water. Your hair is essentially made up of what you put in your body. The better you eat, the better your hair. I recommend plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein!
Deycke Heidorn, Editorial Stylist
I would recommend to treat your scalp as if you treat your skin. Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. If your hair is nourished, it stays flexible, bendable, meaning, less breakage and split ends.