View Full Version : How damaging is touch?

October 15th, 2013, 02:22 PM
Hey all, I noticed there were some threads about trying not to touch/play with hair, but I didn't see any about why, maybe I just didn't dig deep enough down. Right now my hair's ~6" long and I'd trimmed the back a little during growth, and it's a pretty awkward length for me. Some of it falling down in my face is just at "poke you right in the eye" level, and the stuff in the back has decided it wants to head due east.

So in this situation, I find myself frequently fingercombing through my hair throughout the day, brushing hair out of my face, and trying to tone down the crazy direction some of my hairs decide to head off to manually. I don't use any gels or anything, and I'm about 2 weeks into doing CO washing 2-3 times a week. So I just wanted to know, is this type of touch damaging to hair or are people talking about something else, like tugging/twirling longer hair? I imagine I'll be able to reel it back in a bit when I can actually get my hair behind my ears, and when it's long enough to weigh down in the back a little better.

I'm not too concerned either way, I'm happy with my hair now, and I know if it somehow ends up damaged in the lower sections because of this later, I could do a slow trim instead of dealing with this awkward phase again. Mostly I'm just curious and want to at least know if something is damaging if I'm going to be doing it.

October 15th, 2013, 02:32 PM
I think the other thread was more focused on longer lengths when hair is older and has a lot more “weathering” damage and on twirling hair/bending it. On your length I don’t think you should be worried about damage from touching your hair to brush it out of your face or adjusting it. At shorter lengths natural oils from the scalp protect almost the entire length of the hair shaft so it’s softer and more pliable.

October 15th, 2013, 02:40 PM
Also I think some of the threads about not touching hair are to support people who compulsively touch their hair the way that others bite their nails.

October 15th, 2013, 03:19 PM
Unless you are complusively pulling out hair, I don't think it does masses of damage. Yes, minimising damage is always great, but touch IMO probably comes pretty low on the damaging stakes - much less damaging than even daily washing, maybe? certainly much less so than the "big killers" of dye, bleach and flat iron.

Also, remember that most of these frets about miniscule damage come from people who either are growing to extreme lengths (classic+ or even knee+) or who already have masses of damage (e.g. from bleach, dye or flat iron). Damage is cumulative, so running your hands through your hair is going to result little to no visible damage on chin-length hair (maybe 6 months old ends) but might result in visible damage on knee+ hair (6+ years old ends). Equally, touch is going to cause little/no visible damage on virgin hair, but has the potential to be "the straw that breaks the camel's back" on hair that is already heavily damaged.

Life damages hair. Don't fret about the little bits - just eliminate the major causes of damage and ensure that you are as healthy and stress-free as possible, so that you are growing in healthy hair to start with.

October 15th, 2013, 05:48 PM
Well said, Panth! I recently had to break the bad habit of pulling split ends, which I learned is very bad for hair. So, it may also depend on the "type" of touching. Pulling is bad but maybe stroking (as long as it's not compulsive) is ok?

October 15th, 2013, 05:57 PM
I stroke my hair a fair bit when its down, in the same one a guy does with his beard when hes thinking or something similar haha :) I dont think its damaging at all (I never hear my hear break when i do that and i'm very gentle) so im not worried.

October 15th, 2013, 08:03 PM
All touch is damaging bit by bit it wears away the cuticles, even hairs rubbing against each other causes 'weathering'. Obviously how bad the damage caused is depends what type of touch and how much, the damage might well be microscopic if you only touch in moderation. I went through a phase of finger combing my ponytail loads and eventually it all started to break off. Twirling has also caused velcro and split ends, but again I did do it a fair amount.

October 16th, 2013, 06:17 AM
Thanks for all the great answers. That's basically what I was thinking the case would be, but I wanted to see it in writing from the people who knew best. I'll keep on brushing the hair out of my face and waiting for this awkward phase to end! On the bright side, I think my poking-directly-into-eye-length hair may be gone. It seemed to last all of a week or so. Not like I've experienced major growth or anything, but it's gotten to where it lands near the bottom of my eye/top of my cheek, which is 1/10 as annoying, at most.

October 16th, 2013, 06:40 AM
Well, i don't think it's very damaging, but for me it makes my hair to get oily and dirty quicker and that means more frequent washing, that is damaging.