Wearing your hair down is amazing… you know, until it gets in your face, in your mouth, tickles the back of your neck and takes a dip in your coffee cup. The second it gives you ‘tude, you tie it back with the trusty elastic you never leave home without (and if you do, you go back and get it). Sure, you’re damaging your hair, but at least you’re not wanting to tear it out. So what’s a girl to do?
“Most women become bothered when their hair is down because it’s always in their face, or they get too hot, or they just don’t feel like styling it,” says Michael Duenas, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Hair Room Service. (Bingo!) When you do this consistently over time, the constant tension will damage the follicle and your hair will fall out in that area. (Wait, did I just hear “Psycho Strings?”)
“The hairline is the most sensitive portion of your hair,” says Duenas. If you’re like me and within an hour of being conscious you’re using anything you can find to put your hair up, here are some options to help you avoid a receding hairline:
Wear it loose
“If you must wear your hair up, make sure it’s not too tight and it’s loosely secured with an elastic,” says Duenas. (Ponytail migraines are the worst, aren’t they?) You can also twirl your hair into a loose bun and secure your ends with a clip, or go geisha and have fun with chopsticks.
Upgrade your ponytail
“Look for metal-free elastics, which help to prevent breakage,” suggests beauty expert Alexis Wolfer. Your best bets are elastics like Emi-Jay hair ties: They don’t have metal ends or glued seams (and they come in an insane variety of colors and designs). (nordstrom.com, $7) You can also make your own with our tutorial below.
Don’t wear wet hair up
Avoid using pins and elastics in your hair when it’s wet — when your hair is wet, it’s weakened considerably, so when you put an elastic in it you end up slicing your hair. How can you tell if this is happening? Take a look at your elastic after you undo it: If there’s hair on it, there’s breakage.
Oil your strands
Spray a light shine serum onto your hair before you put it up, such as Living proof Satin Hair Serum (sephora.com, $29) — this will help your hair glide against your elastic without splitting it.
Experiment with new hairstyles
“Consistently tying your hair in the same spot can weaken the hair shaft and result in breakage,” says Wolfer. Instead of always putting your hair up the same way, switch things up: Use a high ponytail one day, a low one the next, a braid over here, a bun over there. The same goes for chignons, up-twists and bobby pins, since clips essentially crush your hair.
Always wear it down when you sleep
At the very least, wear your hair down when you sleep, since rolling around on a pillow causes even more friction and tugging at your hairline.
Have a lazy day
When you’re vegging out at home, give your hair the chance to veg too. Leave your hair down during your time off so your poor scalp can take a snooze, no matter how much it drives you crazy. It’s a small change that will make a big difference. Who knows? You might even enjoy it! (Well, OK, maybe not.)