A high ponytail and slick, glossy buns are high on the list of most-people’s go-to hairstyles. They’re easy to replicate, and take very little time to put together, making them incredibly convenient for times when you’re running late. But wear these too often, and that simple one-step ponytail or bun could be damaging your hair more than you ever imagined. “Hairstyles that pull on your hair in any way can damage your hair. It’s best to loosen up your hairdos, as anything that gives you pain at the hairline will damage your hair,” says celebrity hair and makeup artist, Vibha Gusain. “It’s advisable to not make any of these your go-to everyday looks, and should you be wearing them regularly, give your hair a break as much as you can.” Ahead, we list out the top three hairstyles that can damage your mane if worn too often.
A high, tight ponytail
Frizzy waves, baby hair refusing to sit down, or third-day greasy hair—the solution to all these problems is a tight, high ponytail. In fact, since hair is pulled back so tight, it can pull the skin back to look tighter and younger, so it’s no surprise that this hairstyle is a celebrity favourite. However, if done too often, this one can lead to hair breakage or enough hair loss to leave a receding hairline. Too much breakage, and it can cause follicle damage. “Tight ponytails or tight braids, anything that pulls on the scalp and causes headache is a big culprit,” says Gusain. She suggests going for a slick low ponytail on days when you just need to pull your hair back, or starting the braid loose and then getting tighter towards the ends. “Also, brush your hair from the bottom first and not the top, as when you brush from the top, you get a lot of tangles. It’s better to start from the bottom so that you pull less,” she advises.
While the pulling is bad enough, the tight elastics that hold hair together can cause breakage as well. They grip hair very tightly, causing fraying when used too often. Hairstylists suggest switching to scrunchies (see our favourites here) or silk ponytail holders that are softer on the strands.
There’s a reason they tell you to not sleep with wet hair—it is most susceptible to breakage. “Wet hair is weak and fragile, and pulling or brushing it aggressively can cause hair fall and breakage,” says Gusain. Plus, twisting up or styling wet hair lead to frizz, leaving tangles and knots behind as it dries. If you do want to replicate a celebrity-favoured wet look, Gusain suggests using a shine spray to fake it.
While placing hair in a bun through the day can cause breakage and excessing pulling, wearing it to bed for the promise of no-heat waves is worse. As you roll around in bed, the traction at the roots gets stronger, causing more friction through the night. Most hair experts suggest leaving hair open or loosely tied at the end to prevent this. Silk pillowcases or silk hair accessories can help reduce the abrasion that cotton or elastic can cause. “If you have to tie your hair up at night, keep it very loose, and try to use a loose band,” Gusain recommends.