What Causes Hair to Fray?

Learn what makes your hair fray so you can start taking proper care of it.

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You can have the longest, professionally colored hair possible, but if it's frayed that just isn't going to matter. When hair is frayed, it's usually a sign that there's major breakage going on. And when your hair isn't healthy, there's no way to make it look nice, no matter how much time you're willing to devote to styling. Once you're aware of what causes your hair to fray, though, you can start taking the proper preventative steps to avoid further damage and get your hair back to a healthy state.


Overwashing hair is one of the top causes of dryness and breakage, which results in split ends and also possibly fraying over the length and roots of your hair. When it comes to shampoo, less really is more, not only in terms of frequency but also with the amount of shampoo you're using per session. Only use a dime-sized amount for hair shoulder-length and shorter, or a quarter-sized amount for longer locks. Shampoo your hair no more than three times a week to avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils.


You know when you go for a run on the treadmill and start to get out of breath and feel thirsty? That's because your body is getting dehyrated. The same happens to your hair when it doesn't get enough moisture. That's why you need to condition your hair after each shampooing session, to nourish your hair and particularly to replace the moisture that was lost from shampooing.

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure can result in fraying. Even in the ice-cold months of winter, ultraviolet exposure from the sun can result in major damage of your hair, so always pop on a hat before heading out, especially if you know you're going to be in the sun for an extended period of time.

Heat Styling Damage

Using heat styling tools such as your beloved hair straightener and curling iron too frequently can result in fraying. These tools may help you achieve the style you want, but over time are seriously damaging to your strands. To avoid hair fraying as a result of heat styling, always apply a thermal heat protectant product onto your hair first.

Improper Maintenance

Even if you're trying to grow your hair out, you're doing more harm than good by keeping any split ends rather than getting them trimmed off. The frayed hair is only going to continue up the length of your locks, causing even more damage. Get your hair trimmed -- even just a few centimeters of hair taken off -- once every one to two months to keep it healthy.

Hair Accessories

Even certain hair accessories can result in causing breakage and resulting in your hair fraying. Avoid using hair elastics with metal parts and fastening your hair clips and barrettes on too tightly. Also avoid wearing your hair accessories in the exact same spot each time; for instance, when you put your hair in a ponytail, position it a bit higher up one time and a bit lower the next, so your hair elastic isn't constantly squeezing over the same section of hair.

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