18 Hair Tips I Wish I Had Known Before I Was 18

hair tipsThe older I get, the wiser I become! After working as a beauty writer for the past few years, here’s what I’ve learned ladies. I’m sure a ton of you 20somethings especially can relate to these hair tips.

1. Lay off the hot styling tools.

While I wasn’t as crazy with a flat iron as some of my friends in high school (the crunchy curls were cool back then, don’t judge!), I can remember a few of them who literally had pieces of hair breaking off in the front because they straightened their strands so much. You don’t need to run the thing over the same section of hair over and over. One to two times is perfectly fine, then STOP. It looks great; trust me.

2. Remember: It’s only hair.

I once cried like a baby when my go-to hairstylist cut off more dead ends than I would have liked in high school. Back then it was the biggest deal ever, but now I’m all like, seriously? You cried over just a few inches? It’s only hair, ladies. Chop it off, experiment with something new. It’ll grow back, and if you hate it, well, there are always extensions!

3. Stiffer does not mean better.

Granted I finally got things right in the hair department by the time my senior prom rolled around, I’ve definitely donned my fair share of super stiff, no chance that hair’s going to budge at all, updos to plenty of dances. Gah, what was I thinking!?

4. Cornrows aren’t flattering past the age of 11.

At least not on me! Sure celebrities like Beyonce and even that crazy Ke$ha can pull them off, but my freshman year of college I legitimately rocked full on cornrows to the bar one night. And sadly, no, I hadn’t just gotten home from a trip to the Bahamas.

5. Don’t shampoo your hair every day.

Like every other image-conscious teenage gal, I seemed to care a whole heck of a lot more about washing my hair when I was 18. Maybe that’s because those days were all about weekend parties, looking hot in the hallways and trying to land the coolest boyfriend in school? Either way, turns out, shampooing your hair every day can actually strip it of its natural oils, which give it that gorgeous shine and healthy look in the first place.

6. The quality of your products DOES matter.

I definitely still have a soft spot in my heart for Herbal Essences (my old must-have conditioner), but after getting hooked on WEN hair care recently, I’m convinced that high quality, salon products are absolutely worth the investment. My tresses just look and feel better, with much less frizz. My mom even swears by it, and she only tried the stuff once while visiting!

7. Scratching your scalp can damage hair follicles.

Crazy, right?! My friends and I used to give each other head scratches all the time back in the day. Not to mention, I would scratch the crap out of my scalp just lathering my hair up with my shampoo. You’re supposed to use the pads of your fingers, not your nails, to gently massage your scalp. This actually stimulates the blood flow to your hair follicles, nourishing and strengthening your strands, yay!

8. Super tight ponytails can cause breakage and hair loss!

Being the soccer player I was, I constantly had my hair in a tight ponytail and would often wear it like this to bed. Unfortunately, this can cause friction breakage and eventually even lead to hair loss. Eek. My advice? Loosen that ponytail up, or at least rock a soft scrunchie at night.

9. Your natural hair color is gorgeous too.

We all want what we don’t have. For me, that used to be blonder (like, much blonder) hair. I wish someone had told my 18-year-old self though that mousy brown hair is beautiful too. Because it is, and whatever your natural hair color is, I’ll bet it’s gorgeous too.

10. Embrace your curls (or lack of ‘em)

My hair has always been in between curly and straight, a frizzy wave if you will. I absolutely despised this when I was 18. Now? I just walk around like I’m Mary-Kate Olsen. Boho chic, baby!

11. Dare to be different.

There’s no way in hell I would have had the guts to do what Miley Cyrus did in my teenage years (i.e., chop a pixie cut). I doubt I’d even have the guts to do it now to be honest with you. But in high school, everyone is trying so, so hard to be the same that it’s refreshing to see someone finally say “screw it”!

12. French braided pigtails are out.

There’s different, and then there’s just downright bad, LOL. I adore braids, don’t get me wrong, however, the French braided pigtails thing was so not a good look at age 18.

13. Chill out with the twirling.

Whether it’s a nervous habit or not, constantly twirling your tresses can result in serious damage and perhaps trichotillomania (a condition where you compulsively pull out your hair). Bottom line, it’s best to find something else to occupy your hands with.

14. Every hair doesn’t have to be in place.

Messy is hot, perfection is not! Your hair shouldn’t be stressing you out to the max, and if it is, well, it’s simply not worth it. Enough said.

15. Make dry shampoo your bestie.

Did dry shampoo even exist eight years ago? Who knows, but if it did, I’m totally disappointed in my hairstylist right now. It’s a lifesaver.

16. Stop pulling split ends apart.

When you’re 18 and bored in class, what do you do? Entertain yourself with your split ends of course! Wow, such a terrible idea. Picking only makes the problem worse, spreading the damage up your hair shaft even further. Resist, and hit up your hairstylist for a trim instead. You’ll thank me later.

17. Less is more.

From the amount of products I put in my hair to how often I curl it and highlight it, what I’ve learned through the years is that less really is more. For instance, since I’ve quit dying my hair regularly it’s almost doubled in thickness, particularly on the ends, wahoo!

18. Appreciate what you do have.

Sure, it’d be great if your hair was a tad bit thicker or had less frizz, but think of it this way: there are some girls out there who’d die to have your hair and others who don’t have hair at all. Consider yourself lucky, and appreciate what you have.

In the mood to learn even more? Click here to see 11 clever hair tricks that hairstylists use for themselves.