7 Products That Could Be Hurting Your Hair

You’re late for work, your mane’s out of control, and all you can find is an old, stretched-out hair tie. You shrug, slip it over a top-knot, and dash out the door.

What’s the problem? That threadbare elastic could break fragile strands (especially if you’ve still got wet hair!). In the spirit of keeping your tresses healthy, strong and frizz-free, we’ve called out seven more common hair product offenders to toss, replace or upgrade ASAP.

Tossable Product: Metal straighteners and curling irons (especially those that don’t have a temperature button)

The Damage: Metal doesn’t distribute heat evenly like ceramic or tourmaline tools. And if you don’t have control over the temperature, you run a high risk of burning your hair.


Tossable Product: Metal or plastic headbands

The Damage: Unlike their stretchy counterparts, these headbands put a lot of pressure on your hair and scalp, and depending on whether they have a built-in comb or not, they could cause breakage and flyaways as they’re removed.


Tossable Product: Hair ties that are stretched, made from plastic or sport a metal piece

The Damage: You wouldn’t put a rubber band in your hair (we hope!), but using hair ties that’ve stretched so much they’re exposing the elastic underneath; those with metal bands; and clear plastic elastics are pretty much the same thing. Once you see hair clinging to to a tie as it’s removed, it’s time to throw it out.


Tossable Product: Bobby pins with exposed metal

The Damage: Once they lose the protective covering at the end, it’s time to retire hairpins to the trash. Metal ends can rub against your scalp, knot your hair and even rip it out when removed. Also, avoid clips or barrettes with a metal clasp that doesn’t have a rubber coating.


Tossable Product: Brushes with worn-out bristles

The Damage: While brushes can undergo a good deal of cleaning over their lifetime, bristles that have lost their coating — or become damaged— won’t glide through hair as smoothly, so you run the risk of pulling and tearing.


Tossable Product: Combs that are broken, bent or made from low-quality plastic

The Damage: If your comb has seen so many knots that it’s bent out of shape, it’s definitely time to toss it. You should also discard any budget combs with seams, which could snag your hair instead of gliding smoothly.


Tossable Product: Any sample shampoos, masks, oils, etc. that you’ve had for years

The Damage: While products like shampoos and conditioners can last two years opened and three years unopened, ask yourself the last time you grabbed a tiny bottle from your growing collection. It could have lost its effectiveness by now.

Illustrations by Arianne Krekeler