Five common mistakes ruinning your hair – plus 50 tips for healthier locks

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  • Is your hair feeling and looking dull and lifeless? Check out the common mistakes that could be ruinning your hair - plus, our top 50 hair tips to transform your tresses into healthy, glossy hair.

    From top blow-drying and styling tips to the hair care products you need to revive dry and damaged tresses, we’ve asked the hair experts to reveal their best hair tips and tricks of the trade,a long with the common mistake you could be making that are ruining your hair’s condition.

    Whether you’ve got short hair, long hair, fine or thick hair, we’ve got 50 great hair care tips to turn your lack-lustre tresses into luscious locks. We’re not talking expensive products, pricey treatments or fancy gadgets, each of these 50 ideas are quick and simple to fit into your exisiting routine.

    Taking care of your tresses isn’t easy when we all have a million and one other things to do day to day (in fact, just finding the time to wash it can be tricky most days!), which is why these hair tips are all little hints and ideas that will easily fit into your hectic schedule. From home hair colouring hacks to how you should really be applying your dru shampoo – we’ve got everything you need to know to take care of your hair covered.

    Five common mistakes you’re making with your hair

    Your scarf could be wrecking your hair
    The hair at the back of your neck can easily become tangled in necklaces and snap, causing unsightly breakage, which is visible when you wear your hair up. Jack Fitzpatrick, technician and extensionist at Windle London explains that in the winter months wool scarfs can cause a lot of damage. ‘Hair can become tangled in wool, whereas with silk, you can rub your hair and not cause damage.’ He adds that silk pillow cases will save the edges of your hair at night whilst sleeping! ‘Windle London day and night cream is a light weight conditioning cream that creates a barrier so it’s perfect to protect these edges!’

    Be careful of your handbag
    Jack Fitzpatrick adds: ‘When you put the strap of your handbag on your shoulder and trap your hair under the strap, be mindful to not just pull your hair out. You will cause fraying and break the hair you pull out.’

    You’re only dry shampooing in the morning
    Not just a busy morning essential. Jack reveals that if you have oily hair, dry shampoo is great before bed. ‘Spray it in section by section and work it in with a soft bristle brush. This will distribute the product allowing the dry shampoo to absorb the oil so it’s nice and fresh when you wake up.’

    You’re scrubbing too hard when washing
    Hair wash day? Jack reveals that oily hair shouldn’t be scrubbed too hair as oil is produced from the sebaceous gland and these react when too much pressure and force is used. He recommends a natural balancing and soothing shampoo such as the Windle London Healthy Head Shampoo. ‘Use a very small amount gently -you won’t get a lather but rinse and repeat and you’ll get more of a lather the second time.’ Jack adds: ‘Don’t be scared to skip conditioner once or twice. It’s OK if you’re using a good deep conditioning mask at least once a week.’

    Don’t rely on hair vitamins
    It could be some time till you see the results of hair vits. ‘Hair is dead once it’s left the scalp and hair grows on average half an inch a month,’ says Jack. ‘So it’s going to take some time to really see the full effects. In a year you get about six inches of new growth (maybe less as your hair grows slower in the winter months) so by then you will have a good idea if the vitamins are working for you.’

    50 hacks for healthier hair

    Regular trims

    Credit: Getty Images

    Regular trims keep your hair healthy and allow it to grow quicker. Depending on the thickness of your hair you should try and fit in a visit to the hairdressers every 6-to-8 weeks. You could even try cutting your hair at home.

    Ketchup for blondes
    If you have blonde hair or highlights, wash your colour with tomato ketchup after getting out the swimming pool. The red tones and vinegar help to neutralise the green that can appear when your peroxid-ed locks mix with chlorine.

    Condition before the beach
    Dampen you hair with water and coat it with conditioner before going in the sea or the swimming pool. This will not only keep knots at bay and make it easier to style afterwards, but it’ll protect your tresses and stop the salt from drying hair out. The fresh water minimises the amount of salt water or chlorine your hair can absorb, creating an invisible protective layer.

    Home dye tricks
    Wiping vaseline or moisturiser around your hairline and ears before using an at home dye kit will prevent the dye from staining your skin.

    Comb don’t brush
    Comb your hair when it’s wet rather than using a hairbrush to prevent split ends. Check out the Body Shop’s detangling comb (£4), it’s soft and gentle on hair and great for kids!

    Use your hands
    Always run your fingers through your hair after styling with tongs or straighteners, especially if you’re curling your hair, it will give it more texture and make the finishing piece look less uniform.

    Blast of cold water
    Seal your hair cuticles by blasting them with cold water once you’ve rinsed the conditioner out – this will give your hair more of a shine. It sounds horrible, but it works!

    Protein and Growth
    Sometimes, hair being very dry on the ends can make the roots look a lot worse than they really are so make sure to condition them with a protein-rich product. If you’re prone to an oily scalp, clarifying shampoos will help to strip the oil from the hair for a longer lasting, oil-free feel.

    A proper wash
    You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know how to give their hair a thorough wash! When shampooing your hair make sure you massage your scalp using the tips of your fingers in circular motions at least five times to give it a full cleanse – and make sure your rinse your hair through. Take time on it and you’ll notice the difference!

    Bristle brushes are best
    For smooth, sleek hair always use a real bristle brush. It will also help reduce split ends as bristle brushes are softer on hair. Only brush your hair twice a day though, as over brushing can leave it feeling greasy and lank.
    Mason & Pearson are famous for their high quality bristle brushes, but they do come at a price. have some cheaper options that still deliver great results.

    Lighter shades
    It’s important to remember that the more ‘grey’ coverage you have the lighter your overall shade will appear, so be careful when choosing a colour to keep this in mind. Start off with a tone one to two shades darker than how you would like your overall finish to look like and you’ll be amazed at how light it comes up.

    Protect your hair
    SPF protection for your hair is almost as important as it is for your skin, but often we forget to protect our hair. Invest in a good SPF spray or wear a hat when sitting out in the sun.

    From the horses mouth
    Renowned hair stylist, Anthony Mascolo says: ‘A hairstyle is a journey. Your hairdresser should tweak it regularly so you don’t get tired of it – or him.’ Sounds like it’s time to grab the bull by its horns and go for that chop you’ve been considering for months!

    woman looking concerned photo

    Use dry shampoo – but sparingly!
    We’re big lovers of dry shampoo in the GoodtoKnow offices. It’s great for absorbing grease and adding volume to lacklustre roots – as long as you don’t overdo it! Heavy dependence on Batiste et al can give you a scary array of scalp issues, including dandruff and blocked pores. According to celebrity stylist Benjamin Mohapi, overspraying can even end up causing scalp pimples or, in the worst case scenario, cysts – eek! Don’t panic – we’re not saying you should give up your instant refresh habit altogether – but you should be aware of how often you’re spritzing, and opt for a ‘less is more’ approach to keep potentially damaging build-up to a minumum (you probably don’t need as much as you think!)

Top tip: Use a build-up removal shampoo on a regular basis to keep your scalp clean and healthy.

    Fringe trim
    Trimming your fringe doesn’t need to be tricky. Pull the section of hair down across your face, twist it and trim. Start by cutting a very small amount off each time (1/2mm), this might take longer, but it will prevent any scary accidents of cutting too much off.
    Repeat the twist process until you get the right length for you.

    Overnight moisture
    To give hair a boost of moisture keep a hair mask on over night and sleep in a shower cap or wrap a warm towel around your head.

    Conditioning oily tresses
    If you suffer with oily hair, shampoo your hair daily and don’t forget to use a weekly treatment mask or deep conditioner, as despite popular assumption, it won’t make your tresses greasier! In fact, it will help strengthen and nourish your hair, allowing it to grow faster.

    Finding the balance
    Keep the back of your parting centred at the crown whether your have a side or centre parting. This balances your hair and prevents one side from looking flatter!

    Pre-shampoo treatment
    Hair oil can be used as a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment to give your scalp and hair extra nourishment. Simply massage it into hair from root to tip and leave on for at least 20-minutes before shampooing hair as normal. This is a great hair tip for the colder months when windy weather and central heating can dry hair out.

    Volumise your blow dry
    To create more volume while you blow dry your hair lift sections of hair towards the ceiling and direct the heat to your roots. This dries the roots in an upright, lifted position. Don’t forget to finish with a spritz of hairspray.

    Teenage tresses
    A common problem with younger hair is greasy roots, and in some cases spots around the hairline. If you suffer from either spot prone skin or overly greasy roots, avoid any hair on your face such as a fringe. Use a volumising shampoo like John Frieda’s Luxurious Volume Thickening Shampoo (£5.99) to clear the scalp and give lank hair some body.

    The tights trick
    To get your hair super straight and silky take an old pair of tights and cut a piece out that will pull over your head. Knot the top. Before bed, brush your hair with a paddle brush and pull the tights cap over, gently tucking in the ends. Take out the next day and enjoy your new smooth sleek hair.

    High gloss finish
    Use a glossing spray and increasing how thoroughly and often you brush your hair will give you a high-shine finish. Brushing improves how much your hair reflects the light making your colour seem more intense.

    Walnut Oil Dye
    You can stain your hair brown with walnut oil. To keep this colour for a prolonged period, use colour protection products to bring out brown hair. TRESemme’s Colour Thrive Brunette Shampoo and Conditioner will protect and boost your colour for longer.

    Focus on the roots
    Always remember when washing hair to concentrate more on shampooing the roots, and conditioner mainly on the ends. Only put conditioner on the roots if really needed as it can cause your hair to look flat and lank!

    Cradle cap cure
    For those with problematic scalps or kids suffering with a bout of cradle cap, try massaging almond oil onto the scalp and leaving for 20 minutes, and then wash hair as usual. Use each time you wash your hair for two weeks.

    Sleeping beauty
    Ensure your hair is 100 per cent dry before you go to bed. Whilst asleep, your head is in direct contact with the pillow for 6-8 hours and so if it’s wet, water can’t evaporate, the result is that your scalp over-compensates by creating extra sebum. So, in essence, hair gets oilier quicker if you go to bed with it wet.

    Spoon full of protein
    Damaged hair lacks protein, generally through over processing the hair with colour or styling. This requires protein rich shampoos and conditioners, try the Resistance range by Kerastase. When the hair is better, stop using the protein shampoo as it’s no longer required and can start to damage the hair with over use.

    Dry tresses
    While damaged hair requires a dose of protein, dry hair simply requires moisture and lots of it! Dry hair is generally caused by over drying and styling the hair. Use moisture retaining styling products to reduce the drying out effect. Kerastase and Aveda have some great options. They’re pricey – but you won’t need to use a lot.

    Disguising greys
    Rather than trying to cover the grey try weaving in highlights, this works like a camouflage effect making the grey look more like blonde highlights.

    Friendly shampoo
    Our scalps age just like the rest of our skin. Your scalp provides a base for hair to grow and provides the nutrition it needs. It is the soil from which the hair grows. Frequent shampooing with harsh cleaners really ages the scalp. Try to find a mild shampoo that is sodium and sulphate free to slow down this process as much as possible.

    Inch by inch
    Only blow-dry small sections of your hair at one time. Trying to blow-dry hair sections more than an inch thick will not work as the heat won’t pass through.

    Silver Shampoo
    Remove any dull blonde or brassy tones with a silver shampoo. It contains colour pigments to neutralise any yellow tones and leave the colour much brighter. Don’t be scared of the purple colour – it is a wonder product!

    Greasy roots
    Greasy hair can be caused by conditioner being applied to the roots, touching the hair frequently or just by the over production of oil from the scalp. Try shampooing the hair with cooler water and massage your scalp softly to reduce the amount of oil being produced.

    Tackling the bob
    It is essential that you get the right length bob for your face, as a bob can be any length from the jaw to the shoulder. If you have a round face ensure your bob is longer than jaw length otherwise it will just accentuate the roundness of your face. If you have a slightly longer face, don’t have the bob too long or it will make your face look longer.
    Jennifer Aniston’s long bob and soft blonde colour compliment each other and her face shape perfectly and provide a relaxed, effortless look.

    Use boiled radish juice to help get rid of dandruff. Simply massage into scalp and then rinse. Yep, seriously!

    Beach hair
    If you don’t fancy a swim, then spritz on lots of leave-in conditioner and then braid your hair into a plait while you’re out and about in the sun. In doing so, you will not only keep it off your face for maximum tanning exposure, but you will also be minimising the amount of hair on show to the sun. In the evening you can take the braid out and voilà you have a wavy, tousled look for your evening cocktails and dinner.

    Bungee vs hair band
    If you have thick hair or want to keep it up and in place all day, use a bungee band rather than a hair band when putting it up in a pony tail. You simply hook one end of the bungee into your hair with your other hand keeping the ponytail in place, wrap the bungee band round as many times as you can and then hook the other end. Celebrities swear by these bands as they don’t damage your tresses like some hair bands.

    Half up, half down style
    When putting your hair into a half up, half down style use your eyebrows as a guide to make sure you get the proportions right.

    Men’s styling
    If you’re struggling to find a styling product that keeps your hair in place, try using your other half’s. Mens’ hair products tend to be much stronger than women’s!

    Volumised ponytail
    To give your ponytail some volume, use your hairbrush to scoop up and smooth your hair into position and fasten. Backcomb the ponytail, focusing on the top section and spray with hairspray.

    Homemade hair mask
    Revive your hair with a homemade hair mask using 1 banana, 1 egg, 1 avocado, 2 tbsp honey, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil mixed together. Apply from root to tip and leave on for 30 minutes and you will feel the benefits!

    Rollered curls
    For natural looking waves and curls, put hair in rollers straight after lightly towel-drying freshly washed hair. Leave your hair to air dry in the rollers and then take out and use your fingers to smooth out hair, and voilà!

    Powers of olive oil
    Using olive oil on frizz-prone hair not only improves its appearance, but it also improves the elasticity and strengthens it too. Use it sparingly though, especially on fine hair, as it’s very strong and can leave hair feeling greasy if used too liberally!

    Salon perfection
    When blow-drying your hair use the cold setting for the last few blasts.This cold shot of air will smooth the hair and help lock it in place. Secure your style with a spritz of hair spray. Opt for a hairdryer that offers a high wattage when you’re buying your next one. John Frieda’s Salon Shine Ionic Hairdryer (£59.99) has a 2200W, which is the same power as salon hairdryers. We’ve tried it out and can testify that this hairdryer provides great results!

    Beer rinse
    Rinsing your tresses in flat beer helps improve the shine. Shampoo your hair, then coat from root to tip with beer, rinse and then condition has normal.
    While there is no scientific evidence to prove beer works, women across the world have been using it for years and if it is good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!

    Less is more
    Best tip for moisturising your hair: don’t overdo it with the product, a little goes a long way and your hair will only take on what it needs, the rest is surplus and therefore a waste of money.

    Fight the frizz
    Frizzy hair is the bane of many people’s lives. Try stronger holding products such as mousses to control the hair. Creams will add moisture and weight, while serums with give the shine and finish that the hair naturally lacks.

    Improve your diet
    To strengthen your hair, you need to eat a high protein diet, particularly at breakfast and lunch, so jam-pack your diet full of omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish and walnuts to keep your hair feeling stronger and looking glossier! Although this will only make hair grow at a rate of 1/2 inch a month.

    Blow-drying technique
    When blow-drying, start at one side, then do the back, the other side and lastly front. The back is hardest so never leave until last!