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Last updated: April 04, 2023

5 Common Hair Mistakes You’re Making, According To Experts 

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Photo Credit: Instagram via @avedaartists

Avoid These Common Mistakes For Happier, Healthier Hair

When we think of hair mistakes, the first thing that comes to mind is an at-home bleach session or a Lord Farquaad bob. The truth is, many common mistakes fly under the radar because they aren’t as dramatic. (Even though they can be just as detrimental.)


We spoke to experts at the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute about the most common mistakes stylists, students and clients make behind the chair and how to fix them.


1. Brushing and detangling from the scalp

While we’re taught to brush hair starting at the ends, full books can have us in a rush. Aveda North America Social Director Tatum Neill (@tatumneill) encourages stylists to always remember that slowly brushing through the ends before working back up to the root can SAVE your client’s hair. “You’ll find that your tangles brush out much easier, you won’t hear that [snapping] noise [that breaking hair makes] and you’ll create far less damage,” he says.


Sure, that sounds easy enough. But what about preventing tangles in the first place? Tatum has an answer for that, too. “When it comes to curls of any sort, [detangling] in the shower with conditioner might be your best avenue because the conditioner can help lubricate the hair and help get some of those tangles out,” he shares.


Pro tip: Oil can also be used as a preventative measure against knots and tangles. “You can pull the oil through the ends of your hair or through the strand from roots to ends,” says Aveda educator and coach Tukia Allen (@hairbytukia). “A lot of times, that’ll help to alleviate or minimize the tangles.”


Try this go-to oil: Aveda’s nutriplenish multi-use hair oil, crafted with a concentrated blend of five power oils for nutrient-powered moisture and shine. For overnight treatment, gently apply to dry hair from root to tip, then shampoo out in the morning.


Tatum’s flawless curls:

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A post shared by Tatum: 🔊 DJ 📺 Elevate TV 📸 Social Coach (@tatumneill)


2. Pulling the hair back too tightly

Sometimes it’s inevitable—braids, high ponies and twists need security! Instead of ignoring the damage you could be causing, try these substitutes to keep the style request and ditch the damage.


Here’s how Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute Co-Creative Director and Vice President of Education Traci Sakosits (@tracisak_hair) eases the tension:


  1. The goal is to lightly comb the hair back. For this, Traci opts for a cushion brush. These brushes only skim the surface of the hair, don’t put tension on the scalp and deliver a smooth finish.
  2. NEVER use a rubber band to tie off the hair. Traci prefers materials that are softer and can be hand-tied. Wide-band elastics that can be adjusted—which Traci uses at Fashion Week and runway shows—are also recommended.


Traci’s damage-free styling techniques apply to her stunning hair art:

Photo Credit: Instagram via @traci_sakhair



3. Not using moisture correctly

It’s easy to assume that damaged hair needs protein but, according to Tukia, that’s just one side of the issue. “Usually, protein is the go-to when we think about a challenge with our hair. We consider it damage, but really moisture needs to be a part of that conversation,” she says. 


As important as it is to nail your conditioning services in the salon, it’s key to educate clients about properly conditioning their hair. Send clients home with a conditioner that nourishes their unique hair type, as well as instructions on where and how often to apply it.


4. Using the wrong temperature setting on heat tools

A lot of professional tools will heat up to more than 400 degrees. That level of heat might be necessary for some services, but Tatum warns against using high temperatures for everyday salon use.


“You want to make sure that you keep your hot tools below 400 degrees to ensure that you’re not damaging the hair with heat. Once it’s damaged from heat, it’s really hard to recover,” Tatum explains. “I prefer to start lower, maybe like 325 to 350 degrees, to see if I can achieve the look with that temperature and then slowly work myself up to that 400 degree threshold.” Remember to use your heat protectant! (A favorite is the Aveda STYLE-PREP™ brilliant damage control™ spray.)


Pro tip: Think about all the products you use on your clients’ hair before you heat style. All that product build-up is still on your hot tools and yes, it CAN cause damage. To clean, Tukia makes sure her tools are unplugged, then gently wipes them with a damp towel. 


Want to continue your cos education? Check out the Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute!

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5. Neglecting the scalp

Scalp care has been trending—we’ve all seen those viral TikTok videos. Why? Because scalp care is essentially skincare. “We moisturize, we hydrate, we exfoliate. Your scalp skin should not be any different,” says Tukia. “[For example, when] we speak of exfoliating the scalp, [your clients] can do that one to two times a week to help lift up any dandruff or product buildup.”


Here’s how you can incorporate scalp care into your service:


  • Exfoliate the scalp with your fingertips—not your fingernails! This will help with blood circulation and promote healthier hair growth.
  • Have a go-to detoxifying shampoo ready for clients with a little extra build-up.
  • Use clarifying treatments sparingly and only when needed to avoid stripping the hair too much.
  • Add Aveda’s Scalp Solutions line to your service menu. These products are crafted with hyaluronic acid and a Biotech Naturals blend of lactobacillus ferment and ectoin, designed to visibly transform the hair at its source.


Add more cutting, color and styling hacks to your service menu with BTC-U.

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