Destroying your hair is a fear deeply instilled in us all. (I swear, once a week I have a nightmare that my hair has all fallen out from too much bleach.) There’s a lot of hearsay in the world about what causes hair damage—don’t brush it while it’s dry! Don’t brush it while it’s wet! Don’t shampoo ever! Shampoo every day! Never straighten or color it! But one has to wonder what are the actual real worst things you can do to your hair, according to experts. We were interested in a literal ranked list of the most damaging hair practices, from least awful to most awful. We wanted the pros to give it to us straight.
After all, there are just so many bad hair behaviors to choose from: “Hair was never meant to be colored and or styled as much as we do nowadays,” celebrity hair colorist and Redken color ambassador Matt Rez told me. “We raise the pH of the hair with chemicals, dry out the hair with all the heat applied, and rid of all its oils with all the washing that we do.”
But like, what’s the worst? To find out, we consulted Rez and a few other top hair professionals in the business to put together this definitive ranking of the most damaging things you can do to your hair.
Next: Read how one of our beauty editors doubled the growth of her eyebrows with these six sneaky changes.