Bad habit: Not eating for (hair) health
“The best diet for your hair is the same one that’s best for your heart, brain, and longevity—the Mediterranean diet, with lean protein, nuts, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats,” says Dr. Piliang. Protein is especially important: Your hair is made of protein, and eating enough helps gives hair its strength and structure.
Says Kingsley, “If you aren’t eating correctly, no matter what products you use on your hair, it simply won’t grow to its best ability.” Being low in iron, vitamin D, or zinc (a rare deficiency) can lead to thinning hair.
“Often, people are treated for genetic hair loss when it’s actually an iron deficiency that’s responsible,” says Evan A. Rieder, MD, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health. Women with heavy periods, those following fad diets or other restrictive eating plans, vegetarians, and vegans should all be careful to get enough iron. And while it’s always best to get nutrients from healthy, fresh food, when that’s not possible, dietary supplements can be helpful. Know the 7 signs your hair is starving for nutrients.
Bad habit: Overbleaching
While adding color to hair actually plumps up the fiber and makes it more full, bleaching hair isn’t so kind. “Bleaching color from hair damages the cuticle,” explains Dr. Piliang. “And that causes the hair fiber to become thinner and more prone to breakage.” Ask your hairdresser whether you can achieve a similar look with a high-lift hair color rather than bleach. Or at least reduce the frequency of bleaching to minimize thinning hair.
Bad habit: Turning the heat up too high
“Styling tools like hot rollers, and curling and flat irons, can be especially harsh on the hair, causing breakage and making the scalp weak. And if you’re also using a hairdryer daily, avoid the hottest setting as much as possible,” advises Todor Todorov, longtime stylist for Bumble & Bumble Salons.
Adds Dr. Piliang, “All of these things weaken the hair shaft, the fiber. They can damage the cuticle on the outer layer of the hair, especially if you’re using high heat or using things like a straightening iron every day.” Follow these 7 essential tips if you use heat on your hair every day.