6 Causes of Hair Breakage (And
How to Repair It)

by Rebecca Norris

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Learn what causes hair breakage and how to stop it, according to pros.

Split ends are the worst—especially if you’re trying to grow your hair out. However, your ends aren’t the only part of your strands that can experience breakage.

Depending on your hair habits, you may notice hair damage anywhere from your roots to your ends. But what do those habits entail? We chatted with a few of the industry’s top stylists to find out.

What causes hair breakage?

Several habits may come into play when it comes to hair breakage. With that in mind, we’ve broken down each below.

1. Washing Hair Too Frequently

As much as you may love washing your hair, IGK Hair co-founder Franck Izquierdo says that doing so too often can lead to breakage.

As he explains, “Frequent shampooing can dry hair out and make it more likely to break.” With this in mind, it’s best to wash hair every other day or every third day.

Man roughly drying hair on high heat, which can damage hair

2. Roughly Drying Hair

It might seem like second nature to rub your hair dry when you hop out of the shower, but Franck says not to.

“When towel-drying your hair, blot, but don’t rub,” he urges, as “rubbing your hair with your towel can cause tangles and breakage.”

3. Brushing Your Hair While Wet

Next, Franck explains that your hair is most vulnerable (read: susceptible to breakage) when wet.

While brushes exist specifically for detangling wet strands, he recommends holding off until hair is at least damp, if not dry.

“If you need to brush it, use a wide-tooth comb or wet brush and start from the bottom. Very gently, pull out tangles as you work your way up,” he advises.

4. Choosing the Wrong Brush

On a similar note, R+Co co-founder and celebrity stylist Garren Priano says that using a metal brush can easily cause breakage.

“Many people don’t realize, but once you add heat to a metal brush, it gets too hot and the hair [gets] fragile and can break,” he explains.

Woman looking in the mirror tying her hair up tightly, which can contribute to hair breakage

5. Pulling Hair Too Tightly

Whether you’re pulling your hair into a messy bun, topknot, or ponytail, pulling it tightly can lead to breakage both along your hairline, as well as where the elastic holds your hair up.

Because of this, Franck recommends using more TLC, which includes opting for a more gentle elastic in the process.

“The new coil elastics are great to prevent bumps, but can cause a lot of breakage,” he says. For that reason, he continues, “You’re better off using a cloth holder or a scrunchie.”

6. Over-Processing Your Hair

Last but not least, who doesn’t love fresh color? The problem is, over-processing—especially when going from one color to the next—can lead to breakage.

Because of this, Garren advises spacing out your color appointments. Also, try to stray from constant bleaching.

How to Stop Hair Breakage

Now that you know what causes hair breakage, let’s go over how to repair it.

Use the Right Hair Treatments

“When it comes to healing breakage, there are things you can temporarily do to help seal split ends, such as using a split-end mender or a smoothing serum,” explains IGK Hair co-founder Aaron Grenia.

When it comes to the best products for hair breakage, Aaron points out the importance of using leave-in conditioners. (After all, as we learned above, hair is more prone to breakage when wet.)

Additionally, using heat protectants before any styling can help prevent hair breakage, as well.

Hair stylist trimming a brunette's hair to help stop hair breakage and repair split ends

Get Regular Trims

Ultimately, as Aaron continues, “It’s best to get a trim to cut off split ends and prevent them from further splitting higher up the hair shaft.”

And as much as you may want to avoid trims to grow out your locks, Garren points out that they’ll make your hair look healthier in the long run.


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