Bad hair care habits are self-sabotaging. They prevent your hair from being its shiny, healthy best. Plus, these bad habits make your 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 prefer.

Are you guilty of any of the following? 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, and 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 – or, better yet, eliminating the ponytail – will make your hair happier.

The claw type clips are worse. They go into the hair, grabbing it while breaking the hair that’s in the way of it closing.

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, conscientious stylists use the best products on the hair and try to only do what is necessary. It doesn’t make sense when you spend money getting great salon color, cut and style and then go home and use crappy over-the-counter shampoo and conditioner.

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 cause buildup. It might have one good ingredient, but the rest is filler. Hence the bargain price.

Bargain shampoo will dry out your hair, strip your color, and be extremely counterproductive.

Whatever you use, do not shampoo every day. Dry shampoo helps in between. This helps keep hair healthy, color lasts longer and saves money on shampoo.

Your hair will not get oily after it goes through a few cycles of weekly or bi-weekly shampooing. The oil is the scalp’s defense to it being constantly shampooed. It’s fine to 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.

Your hair is the most fragile when it’s wet. Do not brush or pull your hair when it’s wet. Brush when dry, wide-tooth comb with wet hair and don’t pull tangles. Be gentle.

I hope this helps you to understand how important these few stylist pet peeves will make your life easier, your hair more cooperative, and your stylist ecstatic.

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