The Top 10 At-Home Hair Mistakes That Drive Hairstylists Crazy

August 31, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Despite not having a minute’s worth of training in the art of cutting or coloring, many of us insist on taking our beloved locks into our own hands in the privacy of our bathrooms. Why?! Then, to make matters worse, some of us trot into the salon and play innocent about it. Little old me? Why, I’d never try to put a red toner over the gorgeous highlights you spent two hours painting onto my hair the last time I was here.

You may have good intentions, but most hairstylists agree: attempting to fix and/or change your hair at home often only makes things worse. So before you pick up the shears or buy another box of hair dye, find out if your dirty little hair secret is on the list of worst at-home mistakes below. If so, break the bad habit ASAP, then promptly call your stylist to apologize (before making your next appointment and swearing off at-home balayage for eternity).

1. Cutting your own bangs. “My pet peeve is woman who cut their own bangs,” says Joico Celebrity Stylist Paul Norton. “This is something that requires the utmost precision and balance. And most bangs tend to need texturizing a bit on the ends as well which is just far to hard to do on your own at home.”

2. Covering grays. “Covering your grays is so tricky to do at home,” Norton says. “Most people have a hard time reaching the back and therefore end up with areas very visible to everyone else that remain gray.”

3. Lightening your own hair. “One of the riskiest things to do in or out of the salon is to apply a lightener to the hair,” Norton says. “If you don’t carefully watch it as it lifts you can cause irreversible damage or even breakage which is why it’s best to leave it to the pros. Also [at-home] highlighting can be bad because the pattern you end up with might be a bit too severe.”

4. Flat ironing or curling your hair before it’s fully dry. “This can be bad for not only your hair but for your expensive tools as well,” Norton says. “The moisture in your hair can fry the hair when heat is added.”

5. Not washing conditioner out of your hair. “People think that leaving the conditioner in the hair can be beneficial after the cleansing process, but it actually can weigh your hair down and attract way more oils and dirt to the hair, leaving it super hard to style,” Norton says.

6. Not trimming your hair often enough. “Many women wait too long in between hair cuts,” says Gina Capano at Luxebar. “If you have chemically treated hair, or you are generally more prone to split ends, you should be getting a cut every 6- 8 weeks. Once breakage sets in, the split ends begin working their way up the hair shaft. The longer you wait, the more you’ll have to trim.”

7. Drying your hair with a towel. “Once you’ve hopped out of the shower be careful not to disrupt the cuticle by towel drying too rough,” Capano says. “Remember: we don’t want to raise the cuticle. Never create friction between the towel and your hair. Always rake toward the ends and pat dry. Never ring the hair. Friction will raise the surface of the hair and make your hair more susceptible to damage. If you use the towel correctly, you’ll remove most of the moisture and this will also lead to faster blow-drying.”

Pro Tip: Use a microfiber towel–it will reduce friction.

8. Washing your hair every day. “You don’t need to wash your hair every day,” Capano says. “Washing frequently can cause your hair to become dry and over worked. Shoot for every 3-4 days, if possible.”

9. Over-brushing your hair. “I know your mother probably told you you had to brush your hair constantly, but you don’t have to and you shouldn’t,” Capano says. “Brushing disrupts the outer layer or surface of the hair, leading to more frizz and potential breakage.”

10. Coloring your hair at home. “Often times when coloring at home, a woman’s hair will either become stripy or too dark,” says Matrix SoColor Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas. “Both of these problems require a very complicated, time-consuming, and expensive color correction process. What’s more is that even after these corrections are made at the salon, it will leave hair feeling dry and dull, so it is important to moisturize hair with a mask such as Matrix Biolage HYDRASOURCE Mask, which will help optimize moisture balance for healthy looking hair.”

For more beauty tips, check out why every woman should be using facial oil and how to treat and prevent dull hair.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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