Whether you love experimenting with different hairstyles for self-expression or simply want to keep your strands out of your face during the work day, you might have certain go-to styles that are part of your regular rotation. The thing is, some styles come with consequences and it’s up to you to decide if they’re worth it or not.
Wearing your hair in certain styles can result in stressing your strands at the root, potentially leading to greater issues, like hair loss, in the future. None of us want that, right? Right. So, if you’re curious as to which hairstyles are the biggest culprits you’ll want to read on. To prevent your mane from getting weaker due to styling, stay away from flaunting these styles too often.
The Why: Traction Alopecia
The technical term for gradual hair loss caused by repeatedly pulling on your hair or wearing tight styles is traction alopecia. You can reverse it by not wearing tight or hair-stressing hairstyles, but if you don’t stop it soon enough, you can face permanent hair loss.
Styles to Reconsider
If you find yourself getting headaches, tangles, hair loss or are just plain uncomfortable, these hair styles could be to blame. Reconsider them and find alternatives that can give you a similar look without the pain.
A sleek ponytail is one of the most flattering hairstyles -- and it’s timeless and classic. But if you’re a ponytail connoisseur and have noticed your hair thinning out, it might be time to retire your traditional hair tie for a while and find a hair tie that is gentle on your strands. In the early 1900s, a study featuring female subjects in Greenland revealed that those who wore tight ponytails lost a substantial amount of hair along their hairline. In 1958, a study on U.S. girls wearing ponytails revealed patterns of bald patches that were found throughout the scalp. Granted, we have many science-backed hair growth products we can rely on now (along with gentler hair accessories), but the point is, regardless of what decade we’re in, hair will always get stressed if you’re constantly pulling on it. Let it loose here and there!
The Easy Sub: If you don’t like your hair down, try a loose low ponytail (which looks fancier if your hair is curled) and use a hair tie made of organic bamboo cotton to minimize damage or one that grips more effectively so you don’t need to loop too tightly.
Tight buns are essentially the sister hairstyle of ponytails with a simple twist. A sleek bun can have the same effects on your hair and hairline as ponytails because it pulls your hair the same way. Dermatologist Harold Lancer, MD, told Mane Addicts that one might notice extra strands of hair leftover on their hair tie after wearing a bun because of consistent tension on the roots.
The Easy Sub: Challenge yourself and practice fashioning a loose bun held together with a pen or stick. YouTube it!
Braided hairstyles are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to pulling at the roots, but they also serve as a protective hairstyle for natural hair. To find the perfect balance, if your braids feel too painful, it’s time to loosen them up. Cornrows are known for causing hair loss because of their stress on the roots, and they ideally should not be worn for more than two to three months to be on the safe side.
The Easy Sub: Opt for a looser braid or a style that braids only from the neck-level down. If you want more drama on the top, add a headband or barrette.
Extensions and Weaves
As much as we love to add some length and volume to our manes, it can come with some not-so-welcome consequences in the long run. If you tend to wear extensions or weaves, be mindful of how long you keep them in your hair. The longer you wear them, the longer they pull on your hair and increase your chances of developing traction alopecia. Extensions and weaves that involve bonding glue or tape can rip your hair out upon removal.
The Easy Sub: Consider sew-in or clip-in options when possible.
All of this isn’t to say that you can’t ever wear your favorite hairstyles again. If you’re a big fan of ponytails, buns, or braids, you don’t need to completely cut them out of your life. However, just like everything else in life, it’s best to do it all in moderation. The same goes for extensions and weaves—you don’t want to stress out your tresses when you don’t have to. But we totally get it, sometimes we need to focus on the aesthetic part of hairstyling too! If you’ve noticed a bit of hair loss over time, think about how you’ve been styling your hair lately and with a few changes, you might notice all the difference.
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