Tips and tricks to fight fric­tion and smoothen your hair.

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On any given day, your hair likely gets a quick towel dry, is pulled into and out of a pony­tail a few times, and then nes­tles into your pil­low – all typ­i­cal habits in which you don’t give a sec­ond thought. But here’s the rub: “These move­ments cre­ate fric­tion,” says hair stylist Eva Scrivo, owner of the Eva Scrivo Sa­lons in New York City. And this re­peated daily fric­tion can cause a lot of dam­age over time. “Even­tu­ally, your strands fray and ul­ti­mately snap,” says Martina Spinatsch, a hair sci­en­tist at Sch­warzkopf hair care.

Fric­tion also makes strands feel rough, tan­gle eas­ily and form split ends. “I don’t think a lot of us re­alise just how frag­ile hair re­ally is,” Eva says. “We should be treat­ing it as gen­tly as a favourite dry-clean-only blouse.” To do that, you need to make some sim­ple shifts to your rou­tine.

Be es­pe­cially kind to wet strands

Hair stretches up to 30 per cent when it’s wet, mak­ing it more sus­cep­ti­ble to break­age, Eva says. Rather than ag­gres­sively rub­bing it with a towel to dry it, wrap the towel around your head and squeeze out the ex­cess mois­ture, says Herbal Essences celebrity stylist Charles Baker Stra­han.

The de­tan­gling tool you reach for is also key. “Us­ing the wrong one is like cut­ting a tomato with a dull knife – it’s in­ef­fec­tive and de­struc­tive,” Eva says. Opt for a wide-tooth comb or a brush made for wet hair, which has su­per­flex­i­ble bris­tles. Slowly work your way through, sec­tion by sec­tion. “Be par­tic­u­larly con­sci­en­tious with your ends – they are the old­est part of your hair, so they’re most sus­cep­ti­ble to dam­age,” Martina says.

Then if you want to blow-dry your hair, the best brush for the job is a round one with boar bris­tles. Be­cause these bris­tles have smooth edges, they put less ten­sion on the hair than plas­tic ver­sions do. Plus they can stand up to heat for much longer. Plas­tic brushes need to be re­placed ev­ery other year.

Af­ter work­ing out, hy­drate, hy­drate, hy­drate

Ideally, af­ter sweat­ing through an ex­er­cise ses­sion, you’ll wash (or at least rinse) your hair be­fore you dry it. But raise your hand if you’ve skipped that step to save time and gone straight into blow-dry­ing your sweaty gym hair. It seems ge­nius, un­til you learn that “the salt in your sweat com­bined with the heat of the dryer is se­ri­ously de­hy­drat­ing,” Eva says. Her time­sav­ing so­lu­tion: Dab the sweat with a towel, then mist your hair with wa­ter (fill an empty hair spray bot­tle or use a fa­cial mist) to di­lute any re­main­ing sweat. Then blow-dry.

Rotate your go-to styles

Strands are more prone to break­age when you put stress on the same sec­tion ev­ery day. “Tight pony­tails and buns strain the hair, es­pe­cially when you pull your hair into them when it’s still wet,” Charles says. “You’ll most likely see bro­ken strands around the hair­line.”

If you wear one of these styles daily, mix up its lo­ca­tion: Try it high one day and low the next. To pre­vent break­age from your hair elas­tic as well, go with a thick ver­sion – it pro­vides more cush­ion and less ten­sion than a thin band would, Eva says.

Let your hair sleep soundly

Your trusty cot­ton pil­low­case cre­ates fric­tion on the hair: Strands tend to snag on cot­ton fi­bres, which rough up the cu­ti­cle.

Use a silk pil­low­case. Or wrap hair in a silk scarf or pull a silk slip over your pil­low, Charles says. Sleep with your hair up? If you pull out your elas­tic in the a.m. and strands come with it, then go to bed with a looser bun or a braid to keep hair from be­ing yanked in the night.

If you could zoom way in, you’d see tiny scales on the sur­face of your hair. When they lie flat, strands are soft and shiny.

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