blow drying hair aging mistakes

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Your Daily Hair Routine

The habit: Automatically putting your styling tools on the hottest setting

Why it’s making you look older: When you blast your hair with heat (whether it’s from your blow dryer, your curling iron or your straightener), you create tiny air bubbles within the hair shaft, explains Pamela Jakubowicz, MD, a dermatologist at Montefiore Medical Center in Scarsdale, New York. Those bubbles lead to breakage, which makes your head of hair look thinner, and you, a bit older.

The fix: When it comes to hair dryers, the distance between the nozzle and your hair matters too—one study in Annals of Dermatology found that holding your dryer 6 inches from your head caused the least damage to hair (compared with 4 inches and 2 inches), even when hair was dried for longer periods of time. There are also plenty of heat-free hairstyles that still look polished. If you cannot (or will not) part with your hot tools, always use a heat protectant product first, set your tools to medium heat instead of high heat and don’t use the tools on the same section of hair over and over.