Give up bad hair habits to keep your locks lovely

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As a "seasoned" stylist, I've seen a lot of bad hair. There are so many little things that make us stylists crazy.

Bad hair care habits are self sabotaging. They prevent your hair from being its shiny, healthy best. Plus, these bad habits make a stylist's job so much harder.

Hair is delicate. Coloring, bleaching, inexpensive shampoo and conditioner, repeated heat processing, and even the environment here in the sunny South, will eventually take its toll on the hair.

There are many hair care habits that can either keep your hair in great condition or damage it. You decide which you would rather have.

Are you guilty of any of these? If so, please stop. It's the little things that can make or break your hair health.

Putting your hair in a ponytail constantly, especially in the same spot, will cause breakage, especially if your hair is highlighted. When you pull your hair too tight repeatedly, breakage occurs, especially in the crown area. This habit can also weaken the hairline, causing the follicle to be damaged and recede. Eventually hair loss can be permanent.

Varying the position of the ponytail - better yet no pony tail - will make your hair happier.

Of course it goes without saying that at-home color and bathroom trims are a huge "no." Kitchen magicians always end up spending way more money and time in the long run.

I know salon services can be costly. However, as a conscientious stylist, I use the best products on the hair and try to only do what is necessary. Yes, these products are sometimes costly.

The things you do, or don't, between appointments is key. Nothing is worse than you spending money getting great salon color and cut, and then using crappy over-the-counter shampoo and conditioner at home.

The reason you can buy a liter of shampoo at a store for $6 is because it's filled with waxes and oils that make the hair feel good but only causing buildup.

These cheap products will dry out your hair, strip your color, and be extremely counterproductive.

Not to be snarky, but a great cut and color stays with you a lot longer than that expensive dinner you ate last night. So consider buying better product to keep your hair healthy.

Your hair is the most fragile when it's wet. Do not brush or pull your hair when it's wet. Brush when dry. It's OK to use a wide tooth comb with wet hair, but don't pull tangles. Be gentle.

Do not shampoo every day. Dry shampoo helps in between. This helps keep hair healthy, color lasts longer and saves money on shampoo. It will not get oily after it goes through a few times of you not washing every day.

The oil is the scalp's defense to it being constantly shampooed. You can rinse but don't shampoo every day. You will thank me in a few weeks. Your hair will look and act better on the second and even third day.

I hope this helps you to understand how important these suggestions are. They will make your life easier, your hair more cooperative and me ecstatic.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton. styleitsalon.com

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