The Surprising Habit That’s Destroying Your Hair

A little tip from my stylist changed how I carry my bag.

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Photo by Westend61/Getty Images

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

Recently, I went for a haircut. I was expecting a routine trim, maybe a scolding for going so long between appointments. But I ended up leaving the salon with more than a new style. I learned a trick that will save the hair on the left side of my head.

That day I was trying out a new stylist—Francis Catanese at Art and Autonomy in New York City. Everything started out normal; I had my hair washed and then took a seat in front of the mirror. But when Catanese started combing the strands on the back of my head, out of nowhere he asked, “Do you wear your purse on the left side?”

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Surprised by the question, I immediately started to think of reasons he might be asking me that. … Had my overstuffed bucket bag permanently affected my posture (cue me sitting up straighter)? How could he possibly know my bag’s home is on my non-dominant shoulder?

“Yes, why?”

“I can tell because your hair is thinner on that side,” Catanese said. “I’ve seen it much worse, but there’s definitely a difference.”

I was in shock. Could something that I do every single day be slowly ruining my hair?

The answer is yes. Some people just think they have less hair on one side. But in fact, the wear and tear of a purse strap pulling on strands weakens the follicles and can cause breakage, Catanese explained, or even yank the hair out completely.

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This little seed of info has changed how I tote my stuff around. I’m grateful clutches are in style [praise hands emoji]. But when I needed a larger bag, I’m just more mindful of hair sneaking under the strap.

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I make sure to move my hair out of the way, or I clip it back before slinging my satchel over my shoulder. To make this easier, store a clip like the Scunci No Slip Jaw Clip ($5; target.com) in your bag. It will hold your hair back securely without ruining your style. When you put your bag down, remove the clip and shake out those healthy locks.