The 5 Biggest Hair Styling Mistakes That Can Cause Hair Loss in Women

Back of woman's head with curly hair

Hair loss is a condition that affects millions, but is most often only attributed to men. Women experience all kinds of hair thinning and loss, but too often aren’t aware that common causes of hair loss can be prevented. Style trends, popular products, and lack of knowledge of what hair needs in order to stay healthy and strong make hair loss in women seem like an impossible struggle. There are 5 major mistakes that can cause hair loss in women that, if avoided, can help maintain the health and fullness of natural hair.


Wearing the same style for too long

  • When we find a style that looks good, it’s normal for women to stick to that style day after day. However, repetitive tension on the same areas of the scalp can compromise delicate hair follicles. Repetitive use of hair elastics, parting hair in the same places, or damaging chemical processes like relaxers or bleaching can cause hair thinning due to damage.

What to do instead:Play with new styles and don’t be afraid to change up your look! .


Styling too tight

  • Let’s be real, one of the best parts of wearing a tight hair style is the mini face lift that comes with it, right? Who doesn’t love the little lift you get from a high pony or tight fresh cornrows. But that lift comes with a price: follicle damage. Traction alopecia is a condition caused by repetitive tight styling. It’s the main culprit for hair thinning and loss in Black and Afro-Caribbean and African women— as well as ballet dancers or women who wear wigs or weaves— and can be prevented by knowing the warning signs. If your hair style feels tight enough to restrict movement of the head or neck, cause headaches, or if a fresh style feels itchy or uncomfortable it’s too tight, and could lead to permanent follicle damage and hair loss.

What to do instead:• Braids, twists, and cornrows should be firm, but not tight. You should be able to comfortably slide the end of a parting comb along the scalp beneath the braid or twist. After wrapping a hair elastic around a pony or a bun, you should be able to fit a finger under the stretched elastic. And if there is any pain or discomfort, immediately loosen the style in order to protect delicate follicles.

Using cheap or low quality products

  • In an effort to save money, many of us want to opt for cheaper products found in drug stores or discount beauty shops. The problem is, many ingredients in these products can dry out or damage hair, or worse, affect overall health over longer periods of use. Formaldehyde, parabens, and unlabeled fragrances or “parfum” in popular hair products can damage the hair shaft or absorb through the scalp, causing permanent follicle damage.

What to do instead:Look for products with natural active ingredients like natural oils and herbs, even if that means finding products at a slightly higher price point. Investing in quality products may prevent the need for expensive hair restoration treatments in the future.

Taking matters into your own hands

  • During times of limited availability to professional beauty services, taking beauty treatments into your own hands may seem like an easy alternative, but for some styles and treatments, one amateur mistake can mean permanent hair damage. At-home relaxers left on the scalp for too long, or used on thin or otherwise chemically processed hair can not only lead to temporary hair loss, but can cause serious damage and scarring to the scalp from chemical burns. Using hot tools on fragile hair, or using hot combs without a thermal protective products, can cause heat damage to natural hair, or if dropped or used too closely to the scalp, can permanently burn and scar the scalp. Even the most seemingly benign protective styling like braids or twists, if pulled too tight or left in the hair too long, can lead to hair loss and thinning—even detangling coarse or hi-textured hair can pull hair from the root causing temporary or permanent hair loss.

What to do instead:• Seek out a professional, or at least make sure to do plenty of research before attempting any style that is usually performed by a hair care specialist.

Not giving your scalp the same attention as your skin

  • Our faces get a lot of attention when it comes to skincare, but we tend to forget that the scalp is skin, too. In some ways, taking care of the scalp is even more important, because without maintaining moisture, clarity, and proper blood circulation to the scalp, our hair suffers, too. Just like our face, the scalp needs proper cleansing, moisturizing, and treatment of skin conditions. Otherwise, hair can become greasy, flaky, and brittle. Without proper circulation or stimulation of the scalp, nutrients that our skin and hair needs to grow healthy and full can’t get to the hair follicles.

What to do instead:Natural, high quality cleansing and conditioning products are key to daily maintenance of the hair. Additionally, healthy oils can properly moisturize the scalp to prevent dryness, flakiness, and itchiness. Oils like jojoba, argan, and avocado oils are similar to the natural oils produced by the skin and scalp and provide lasting moisture. Because brushing and styling are usually the only stimulation the scalp receives, adding scalp massage with a naturally stimulating oil like peppermint or a follicle stimulating cream to your nightly routine can increase blood circulation to the hair follicles. Simply apply the oil or follicle enhancing product to the scalp and massage it in with your fingertips in small circular motions, focusing on areas of thinning hair.


Hair loss is a common issue for women, but avoiding these mistakes in styling and maintenance of the hair and scalp can help prevent unnecessary hair thinning and damage. While some damage can be permanent, simple changes to the way you care for your hair can have a major payoff for not only your hairline, but your confidence as well. Hold your head high and let your healthy hair shine, and let hair loss be a thing of the past.