in a recent survey by All Things Hair, it has come to light that many American women are neglecting the regular cleaning of their hair brushes and hair tools. The survey also revealed that most women aren’t washing their hair properly, resulting in damaged strands. However, this comes as no surprise with the many questions about how frequently one should wash their hair and the recent Hair Training trend, encouraging women to go weeks without shampooing their hair.

Key findings from the survey include:

Poor Hair Tool Hygiene

The majority of women confessed they rarely clean their hair styling tools, demonstrating a need for more awareness surrounding the accumulation of dirt, oils, and product residues that can build up over time making them a breeding ground for bacteria. In fact, All Things Hair sent samples to a lab to be analyzed and the results were shocking.

Hairbrush – 50% of respondents said they clean their hairbrush just once a month, 24% once every few months, and 20% admitted to washing it once every few years or not at all. The majority (66%) have owned their hairbrush for over a year, with 30% hanging on to theirs for 3+ years. It is important to regularly clean hairbrushes and combs because these tools came back with concerning amounts of bacteria. Without proper sanitation, this bacteria is distributed into the hair and puts women at risk of scalp infections and hair loss.

Hair tools – respondents showed similar neglect toward their hair tools, with a quarter (25%) of women who own straighteners and curling irons saying they clean them once every few years or not at all. Of all the tools analyzed, heat styling like straighteners and curling irons came back with little to no bacteria, but it is not uncommon for these tools to accumulate dirt, debris, and product buildup that causes hair breakage and hair to burn more easily. It is also important to keep heat styling tools clean because it will ensure the best results and longest life out of your styling tools.

Hair dryer – nearly half (44%) of respondents said they only clean their hair dryer once every few years or not at all. Wiping down hair dryers should be done at least once a week, especially because the lab results revealed that the bacteria growing on hair dryers could be harmful to your health.

Using dirty hair tools harms the overall health of your hair. All Things Hair spoke to Oscar Merlo and Tricia Oesterling, a New York-based hair stylist and colorist duo, who emphasized the importance of proper hair hygiene. They said:

“The cleanliness of hair tools prevents the spread of bacteria and illness. When natural oils, dust, and products build up on bruises and irons, It’s impossible to achieve great styling. It’s especially important to remove product build-up on irons, so it doesn’t snag, snap, or burn the hair.”

Unhealthy Hair Washing Habits

Another key to maintaining the health of your hair is proper hair washing. The survey revealed that many women are not washing their hair correctly, leading to a build-up of oil and dirt, scalp inflammation, and hair breakage.

Incorrect shampooing technique – less than half of women (45%) are shampooing their hair properly, by applying shampoo at the roots first, paying extra attention to the crown of their head. Instead, the majority (55%) of respondents focus on the length of their hair.

Incorrect conditioning technique – the majority of women (61%) who use conditioner are not applying it correctly, massaging it into the roots and scalp rather than running it through the mid-length of their strands to the ends.

The survey results highlight the need for education and guidance on proper hair care practices among American women. Merlo and Oesterling offer insider tips on how to properly wash hair so that it stays cleaner for longer:

  1. Start by lightly brushing your dry hair to lift some of the residue from your scalp. The build-up of hair products, oils, and bacteria have likely made quite a home in your roots and might need some assistance on their way out.
  2. Use warm water to saturate your hair and fully activate the benefits of your shampoo. Lather shampoo on your hands and then apply it from the back to the front of your head. Gently massage your scalp to loosen up dirt, residue, oils, and skin flakes.
  3. Finish by rinsing with warm water for at least two minutes to avoid product buildup. Apply your conditioner from the mid-shaft to the ends before bringing it up to the roots. The final rinse should be a bit cooler to stimulate blood circulation and help seal the cuticle for a frizz-free finish, revealing healthier cleaner hair.

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