We all love our slick ponytails and messy top knots especially when there’s a chance of bad hair day on the horizon. And let’s not forget chic updo hairstyles that add the perfect finishing touch to a classy outfit. Then there’s hair dye, hot styling tools and extensions – all the fun stuff that helps to change our look in an instant. But did you ever stop and think about the stress you could be putting on your strands? It’s true that too much of a good thing can cause you more harm than good.

We take a look at five everyday hairstyles that are secretly harming your hair and what you could do to minimise the damage.

The not-so-modest ponytail
Believe it! Although this hairstyle is a daily favourite, the repetitive use of tight elastic bands can cause hair to snap and break off, according to Bydie.com. Tight buns have the same effect.

What’s the solution? Opt for a fabricated hair tie that’s gentler on your strands. Also try not to wear the same ponytail day in and day out as this puts tension on the same spot. If a ponytail is our signature style and you can’t be without, stick to ones that are low and loose. Less stress on your strands means a happier scalp.

Related article: What your hair can reveal about your health

The deceptively beautiful braid
Braids are beautiful and are always trending, but get it wrong and it could spell out trouble for your scalp. According to RealSimple, braids should never hurt after you have them put in. If they are, there’s something very wrong.

What’s the solution? It’s suggested that when the stylist is doing your braids, they leave out bits of hair around the edges to ensure the braids are not too tight. A silk cap may also help with any damage caused by friction when sleeping.

Related article: Decode your hair type

Turns out wet hairstyles aren’t so wild
We’ve all been there, we’ve hit snooze one (five) too many times and there’s only 20 minutes left before you have to show up at the office. So you jump into a shower, give your hair a quick brush and tie it into a bun or anything that looks remotely professional or neat. What you aim to do is save time, but what you’re actually doing is damaging your strands. Wet hair is weak hair and by tying it up into a quick hairstyle while it’s wet, you’re risking breakage.

What’s the solution? To your snoozing? Stay tuned! But for those wet hairstyles, well, if you absolutely have to go the wet hair route, choose hair pins or a clip and leave the elastic band for another (dry hair) day.

Super straight hair
If you aren’t naturally born with pin straight hair chances are you’re using heat styling tools. And we hate to tell you this, but the damage you’re doing to your hair is scary.

What’s the solution? While we’re all for going natural, we understand that it’s always best to have options. When blow drying is your weapon of choice, try to use the cool setting and if you can, don’t blow dry your entire head. If it’s your straightening iron you can’t part with, using a ceramic or tourmaline iron is a better option.

Top knots
It may seem like the one hairstyle that suits every and any outfit, not to mention how quick and easy it is, the top knot is not all it’s cracked up to be. When you pull your hair into one section on your head, you’re adding a lot of tension which stresses the strands and could lead to breakage. For finer hair, this is even more problematic.

What’s the solution? Keep your bun loose and bring it down slightly so that it’s not aggressively pulling on your scalp. Using hair pins and fabricated scrunchies are also a better option for securing your do.

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