Image: Oh, you’ve decided to take the DIY route, have you? (Image: HBO).
We all have good hair intentions. ‘From tomorrow, I’ll stop picking at my split ends,‘ we promise ourselves, mid-pick.
Unfortunately, good intentions don’t always translate into good behaviour — and as a result, we’re all probably doing things every single day that are making our hair unhappy. Here, Australia’s top hair stylists and colourists reveal the hair habits that make them despair.
1. DIY trims and split end snips.
Ever reached for the kitchen scissors at the first sight of a split end? Yeah. Don’t.
“It can ruin your perfectly-shaped haircut, and when you go back to the salon you’ll need to get more cut off to take it back to a balanced haircut,” explains Shane Crow, Senior Stylist at Headcase Hair. Even if you’re trying to grow out your hair, Crow recommends a trim every eight weeks — you’ll maintain the shape without those little white ends.
Same goes for DIY trims. According to Uros Mikic and the team at Kinky Curly Straight (KCS), women with curls are especially prone to cutting their own hair between appointments because they think their ringlets will disguise their efforts. This isn’t the case, so shop around for a hairdresser who can meet your needs. “They are out there, but you might need to talk to a few people and read a few online reviews to find them,” Mikic says.
2. Coming to a colour appointment with dirty hair.
Hands up if you rock up to the salon with greasy hair because you figure it’ll only be shampooed anyway? You might want to rethink that if you’re getting your colour done, as dirty hair can impact the results.
"There is an optimal window for colour to lock into hair. If the hair is too clean, it can be slippery when using foils. However, if the hair is too dirty or greasy, the colour can also have difficulty because the oil forms a barrier," says Jenni Tarrant, Owner and Art Director of Bond Hair Religion.
Ideally, Tarrant says you should wash your hair one to two days prior to your appointment, rather than right before it.
3. Cutting your own fringe
During my thrifty uni years, I was a serial fringe trimmer — and I thought I was pretty damn good at it. One look at my old happy snaps reminds me just how wrong I was.
"Too many people come in wanting to get their fringe fixed after they have cut it too short at home. It’s difficult to reverse this once it’s been done; you can always cut more off, but you can’t put it back on so easily," says Aleks Abadia, Head Stylist and Co-Founder at Esstudio Galleria.
Things get particularly tragic when you add alcohol. "Clients will cut their own fringe thinking it a good idea and easy to do after a few drinky-poos. A well-cut fringe is determined by face shape, hair growth patterns, length, finish... Let us do it, period," advises award-winning stylist Brad Ngata. (Post continues after gallery.)
4. Applying heat stylers to damp hair
This one's easy to do when you're in a rush, but that distinctive sizzling noise should be indication enough that you're, well, frying your hair.
"In order to keep your hair healthy, you need to make sure there is absolutely no moisture left in your hair before using a GHD or similar hot iron. Using these hot products incorrectly burns your hair and can cause long-term damage," says Aleks Abadia.
To prevent the sizzle, ensure you've blow-dried or air-dried your hair thoroughly before reaching for the hot tools.
5. Reckless straightening
For many of us, straighteners are part of the daily routine. The problem is, there's a long list of mistakes we all make when it comes to heat styling.
"You should only run your iron through a thin enough section so that you do it once. If you go over the same section a couple of times you are taking all the moisture out of the hair and making the hair dry. It will go fluffy, frizzy and static," explains the Kinky Curly Straight team.
Then there's cranking up the heat to speed things along. According to Dee Parker, Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME Ambassador: "This not only damages your hair cuticles, but if you’ve got product in your hair, also boils the product into your hair follicles, which is never healthy for your strands."
Heat protection sprays and thermal protectors will help combat these effects.
6. Dismissing your natural texture
"As a stylist, I love seeing clients use what natural texture they have... and stop going against it," says Edwards and Co's Peter Beckett.
"Even if your hair's not that perfect 'sexy wave' you want, use a tong and enhance it instead of getting rid of it." (Post continues after video.)
7. Hitting the bottle too hard
The shampoo bottle, that is. "Not only is it a pain in the arse to wash your hair every day, it can also strip you hair back, making the hair weaker and causing fly-aways," says Jules Tognini of Brisbane's AKA Togninis salon.
If you need any more incentive to embrace day two (and three...) hair, Alex Newman of Chumba Concept Salon says 'lived in' hair "can be effortless cool and very now".
8. Doing your own hair colour...
This will be controversial, because we all love a bit of box-dye action. However, hair experts are unanimously opposed to it.
"Becoming a hair colourist is not a piece of cake. It takes years of experience learning colour charts, tones, numbers systems, not forgetting the science behind it all and how colour actually works ... You can’t just purchase a colour from the supermarket and apply it to your hair. Colour needs to be specifically picked and tailor-made for you, taking a lot in to consideration," says Jasmine Redstone, Senior Colourist and Stylist at é SALON.
Jordan Hone from Sloans of Lane Cove adds box colours can produce "unfavourable and unrealistic" results because every individual's hair will take on the colour pigment differently. "Colour banding, over toning, and under development in blondes, brunettes, vibrant reds or coppers are probably the most common home hair dye catastrophes," he says.
And, as you might have guessed, if your DIY dye goes awry there's often a lot of time (sometimes years) and money involved in fixing it. (Post continues after gallery.)
9. Not brushing your hair before washing
The team at Kinky Curly Straight say the pre-wash brush should be part of your routine.
"You should brush your hair every time before shampooing to get all the knots out, stimulate your scalp and spread the natural oils through the whole length of hair. You will see the difference in your hair straight away, it will be much healthier and much more manageable," they advise.
10. Choosing supermarket over salon
Turns out hairdressers really hate it when clients opt for supermarket products over the salon-quality ones they recommend.
"Spending a heap of money on getting a great, fashionable colour, and then buying products from grocery shops and complaining that the colour is damaging your hair... yeah, right. Maybe it’s got to do with the bad, non-nourishing products you are putting on your hair," says Uros Mikic and the KCS Art Team.
"Trust your stylists, they know what’s best for you and the salon brands are actually proven to be a lot better for you and actually do what they say."
Jules Tognini says while supermarket products can make the hair feel soft and shiny, they can also potentially damage it. "A lot of these consumer products use fillers, detergents and silicon, which aren't great for the care of your hair," he explains.
Speaking of product recommendations, Plush Hairdressing stylist Mariah Robertson says it's important to pay attention to what your hairdresser advises for your individual needs, and ensure all areas are covered as if you were looking at your skin care routine.
"Take the advice from your stylist. Write it down and build on your needs as you would your cleansing and makeup collection. Staples should be shampoo, conditioner and a masque if your hair is longer than 10cms and is coloured or affected by the elements," she says.
11. Waiting too long to tell the truth
We've all had those cuts and colours that didn't turn out quite as we'd imagined. While it's perfectly reasonable to go back to your hairdresser and let them know you're dissatisfied, doing so weeks after the initial appointment - and expecting a free fix - isn't.
"We ask clients, on the very rare occasions that this happens, to call us within two days so we can offer a complimentary redo. We would much rather giving a free cut and/or colour with the same or a different stylist than have you be unhappy with your hair and not let us know," says Jenni Tarrant.
"If your salon’s aim is for you to love your hair then they want to make sure this happens. Communicate immediately so it can be fixed before resentment grows on either side." (Post continues after gallery.)
12. Going too hard on the bleach
Ombre, platinum, pastel... Many of the colours trending at the moment revolve around bleach. Dee Parker advises treading carefully, because bleaching is a more permanent process than regular dye.
"Normal hair dyes latch onto strands to give them colour, whereas bleach works by stripping away the natural colour in strands. Because of this, hair bleaching is more damaging to your hair if not done with the proper care and experience," Parker explains.
"Our strands have several layers of melanin and pigments, which all needs to be stripped away to reach the desired platinum or pastel hue. Not bleaching properly or taking the necessary time between treatments damages the hair shaft and strips away vital hair oils."
13. Thinning the hair too much
Maria Unali, of the 2015 Australian F.A.M.E Team and s.81 Hair, wishes her clients wouldn't ask to have their hair thinned unnecessarily.
"Thick hair is beautiful, luscious, and makes you look healthier overall. When you thin hair out, short hair pushes long hair and actually expands making it feel and appear even thicker, making it more unmanageable," she says.
"Get it cut and ask for the ends to be textured so you retain the weight and it pulls down the hair."
14. ODing on products
Are your drawers groaning under the weight of products for styling/sculpting/volumising/faking clean hair? That's fine, but be careful not to go too hard on your hair.
"Remember that all hair products contain chemicals, and that over time will take a toll on your hair," says Dee Parker.
"Stick to essential hair care, such as a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, as well as a moisturising treatment. Be mindful of overusing staples such as dry shampoo and sea salt spray. These can dull the appearance of your locks and buildup on your scalp, leading to blocked pores."
Go on, tell us - how many of these have you ticked off?