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Easy ways to prevent hair damage

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to keep your hair healthy

Prevent damage to your hair before it starts. Damaged hair is dry, dull and unhealthy. You can avoid hair damage by following these easy hair care tips and tricks.

woman towel drying hair

Stop blow-drying your hair

Put down the blow-dryer and other heated styling tools and allow your hair to air-dry whenever possible. If you must use a blow-dryer, add a diffuser and use it on a low heat setting. Look for hair products with thermal protectants to help shield your hair from heat damage. It's also very important to be careful when towel-drying your hair. Rubbing your hair vigorously with a rough towel can cause breakage, damage and the frizzies. Use a soft towel and blot out the water -- rather than rubbing.

Prevent sun damage

We all know the serious damage that the sun can cause to our skin, but did you also know that hair can get significantly damaged from the sun as well? Ultraviolet light weakens the hair, resulting in breakage. The best protection is to cover it up with a hat or umbrella. Also look for hair products that contain SPF and avoid staying out in the sunlight for extended periods.

Read more about how to protect your hair from sun damage >>

Combat the chemicals

Chemical dyes and processes can zap the life from your hair. The chemicals strip your hair of its natural moisturizers and can damage the cuticle -- leaving your hair looking dry, dull and often frizzy. When using hair color, select a shade that is only a couple shades away from your natural hue. Also, go dark rather than light. Lightening or bleaching your hair is much more damaging than just going a little darker. Avoid over-processing your hair and always make sure that your hair is well hydrated. If you hair is damaged, condition it every day -- even if you skip a day or two between washes.

Find out how to get the shine back when your hair loses its luster >>

Quick tip: When shopping for headbands, hair ties, elastics and other accessories, choose items that can glide easily along your hair to avoid causing damage to the cuticle.

Skip the extreme styles

Pulling your hair into extreme ponytails or tight braids, as well as using heavy hair extensions, can cause damage to your hair and scalp. Traction alopecia is a type of gradual hair loss that is primarily caused by pulling force applied to the hair. Traction alopecia usually occurs at the hairline. If you want to wear braids, hair extensions, ponytails and hair accessories, just make sure that they aren't too tight.

Know your alcohols

You might have heard that you should avoid hair products containing alcohol. That's not entirely correct. While some forms of alcohol can dry and damage your hair, others are actually beneficial. Ethanol, isobutane, isopropyl alcohol and SD alcohol should be avoided whenever possible. However, cetyl, lauryl and stearyl alcohols help your hair's cuticle to lie smooth and flat.

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