You don’t have to be Einstein to know that running a 400-degree straightener through your hair isn’t exactly great for your luscious locks. But there are lesser-known evils that can cause your hair some serious trauma as well. While avoiding any hair damage altogether is impossible, there are many parts of your everyday routine that can cause your mane to break without you even realizing it. We’ll tell you what can trigger the breakage (and how to prevent it!)

 hair damage

Hair Breakage Culprit #1: Styling Hair Too Tightly (and Ripping It Out!)

Oh, the feeling of a secure ponytail, braid or top knot! We love knowing our hair is perfectly in place and set to stay there. But styling your hair too tightly can result in broken strands, and undoing the hairstyle can be even more harmful! So when you’re debating whether or not to wrap that hair tie around your high pony just one more time, remember that the ponytail that goes up must also come down… and all too often, your hair comes out with it. Instead, try using a super hold hair spray like L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold.

Hair Breakage Culprit #2: Using the Wrong Hair Ties

We’re not saying you should go out and buy a scrunchy, per se (actually, please don’t), but the accessories you use could make or break your hair health, pun intended. The worst hair-tie option? An actual rubber band. That sucker will wreak havoc on your hair. Almost as bad, but not quite, are the hair ties with metal clasps. Your hair is sure to get caught in between the metal and the elastic and rip when you pull the hair tie out. Instead, try Blax Hair Ties, which slide on an off hair easily with little damage. Another option that will limit damage is Emi-Jay Hair Ties. We love the Austique 5 Pack, with its colorful prints!

Hair Breakage Culprit #3: Using Bad Brushes

You’ve probably heard that you’re not supposed to comb out tangled, wet hair because it causes damage. But did you know that if you’re not using the right brush, brushing your hair at all can cause major issues? It’s not necessary to run out and drop a ton of cash on a Mason Pearson Hair Brush (though we do love their brushes!), but maybe just don’t buy a brush from the bargain store as they can cause snags and result in damaged strands. Similarly, using an old brush can break your hair, too. Make sure you’re using a good brush that glides through your hair smoothly and doesn’t have any rough or broken bristles. It never hurts to throw in a little leave-in conditioner like Pureology Super Smooth Smoothing Cream to soften those strands.

Hair Breakage Culprit #4: Towel-Drying

For as long as we can remember, the towel turban was the hair-drying method of choice. But towels have lots of little fibers that can be rough on your wet locks. Instead, try using a T-shirt to dry your hair. We promise you won’t regret it.

Hair Breakage Culprit #5: Skipping Protective Products

You know you should apply sunscreen to your skin before you head outdoors, but did you know the sun’s rays can damage your hair as well? It’s true, and especially so if you have color-treated hair. Before you leave the house for a day in the sun, apply a protecting product like Kérastase Micro-Voile Protecteur. And before you run that 400-degree straightener through your strands, apply a heat-protectant product. Some of our favorites include Redken Satinwear 02 Prepping Blow-Dry Lotion and Pureology Fortifying Heat Spray.

Last Resort

And if you find yourself with damaged hair after all, before going to the extreme and chopping it all off, try L’Oréal Advanced Haircare Total Repair Extreme Conditioner, which will help repair broken fibers and revive your locks.

Which of these ways are you damaging your hair? Tell us about it in the comments!