At just 26, NYC's Brad Mondo has made a name for himself as one of the hair industry's most trusted expert voices. You might know him from the viral HAIRDRESSER REACTS videos on YouTube, where he has 7.12 million subscribers and counting. From bleach mishaps to disastrous DIY fringe cutting, his responses are funny and justified — but incredibly helpful, too. Whether you're dealing with broken strands, overprocessed lengths or split ends, Brad has a solution.
It makes sense, then, that as social media's most knowledgable stylist, he would launch his very own hair brand, XMONDO. Now available in the UK, the collection boasts every hair product you could ever need, from shampoo and conditioner to bold hair dye and styling products. Of course, having an expert-approved haircare arsenal doesn't mean much if you're cutting corners elsewhere...
Ahead, Brad shares the nine common haircare mistakes you're probably making without even realising — and how to fix them in order to achieve your best hair ever.
Using the highest temperature setting on heated styling tools
Lots of straighteners and curling tongs have adjustable temperature settings but ramping it up to the highest number to style your hair quickly could be doing more harm than good. "You don't need your straightener at its highest temperature — pretty much ever," says Brad, who suggests we might be totally frazzling our hair while styling. "If you have very coarse, curly hair, you might need that higher temperature to get your hair straight," he says, "but other than that, a middle temperature is good for everybody."
Brad says around 180 degrees Celsius is the optimum temperature, or even below that. Thankfully, a lot of straighteners are capped at a temperature that won't completely kill hair, like the ghd Platinum+ Styler, £189, which goes up to 185 degrees Celsius. Of course, the amount of heat you use depends on your hair type or texture but Brad recommends using a straightener or curling iron at its lowest temperature first to see whether it's effective on your hair, and going from there.
Washing your hair twice
Is your hair really clean if you only wash it once? According to Brad, yes. In fact, double cleansing just to experience a satisfying lather might mean you're over-washing. "Your hair may not have sudsed up and it might not feel squeaky clean but even if you wash it once and it doesn't feel perfectly clean, it most definitely is," says Brad. "Hair doesn’t need to feel squeaky or stripped of everything. You want to get rid of the dirt layer and keep some of those natural oils in there." If you regularly wash your hair twice, you're actually at risk of stripping your scalp, which can make hair crispy and dry. "Unless your hair is super greasy, one wash is good," says Brad. "Personally, my hair doesn't lather a lot of the time. It's ingrained in people that the clean feeling comes from a lather but that doesn't mean it's cleaning your hair better."
Try It's A 10 Miracle Daily Shampoo Plus Keratin, £19.50, which lathers up on the first go and makes hair feel fresh. You might also like Pantene Miracles Lift & Volume Hair Silicone Free Shampoo with Biotin, £5, which is very gentle, and XMONDO Product X Detox Shampoo, £19, if you use lots of products and your hair and scalp is in need of a deep clean.
Cutting your own fringe
You may have attempted trimming your fringe or split ends in lockdown and Brad says we're a lot better at doing our own hair as a result. But while there are hundreds of helpful haircutting tutorials on TikTok and YouTube, using the wrong tools and cutting corners ends up being problematic. In other words, it pays to follow instructions to a T.
"So many times people will skim through a video and not follow the directions, which is the biggest mistake of all," says Brad, who recommends always cutting hair when wet, as a stylist would in salon. "People always try to go in on half-dried hair and it ends up being crooked." Besides that, another huge mistake is using kitchen scissors or any scissors that aren't made for doing hair, says Brad. "This will give you split ends. You won't get a straight cut and you can't do all the fine detailing work. It's a lot harder not using haircutting shears, especially when you can get them cheaply online." Other than that? Take your time. "Section out your hair before you begin and have inspiration pictures to hand. Knowing what you're going to attempt to do before you start cutting is crucial."
Not using heat protector spray
"When you're using a hairdryer, flat iron or curling iron, you're exposing your hair to extremely high temperatures," says Brad. "It's even higher than when you cook food in the oven so I would always recommend using a heat protector. It’s an easy thing to do to ensure your hair stays as healthy as possible – a no-brainer!"
A light heat protect spray like Forcefield Heat Shield, £20, is a must. "I use it every time I style everybody's hair and my own," says Brad. "It's weightless so you don't feel it and it helps keep your style in place. It's an easy way of guarding yourself from that extreme amount of heat." Also try TRESemmé Pro Collection Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray, £2, or VO5 Heat Protect Spray with Heat Activated Complex, £4.40, both effective high street heroes.
How should you use it? "I like to use heat protector on wet hair," says Brad, from root to tip. "Begin by combing out the hair, adding your oils or creams and then apply heat protector on top. Brush it out and make sure it's evenly distributed through your hair, then proceed with your hairdryer. If your hair is dry, spray it on from far away and make sure your hair isn't too wet before straightening your hair."
Using hair conditioner incorrectly
Unless you have a fringe, Brad suggests avoiding putting conditioner anywhere near the top of your head. Instead, concentrate it to the ends and mid lengths of your hair. "I like to scrunch the conditioner in the hair as well as brush it through with my fingers and I use the leftover product on the mid section of hair," says Brad. "Most of the time, you don't want to put conditioner on your scalp because it's going to add too many oils and can make hair greasy faster. Depending on how heavy your conditioner is, it could even put a layer of film over your head which isn't great as it suffocates the skin on your scalp, potentially even making your head drier — especially if you have dandruff or psoriasis."
If your hair is on the fine side, try L'Oréal Paris Botanicals Lavender Fine Hair Conditioner, £7.99, or OUAI Fine Hair Conditioner, £22, neither of which leave behind residue like others can. Natural and curly hair will benefit from Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner, £10.95, which enlists shea butter and oils to nourish strands, while R29 recommends Hydraglow Hydrating Conditioner, £19, for medium and thick hair.
Enlisting the wrong brush for your hair type
When it comes to hair health, the brush you choose is important, says Brad. If you have curly hair and are focused on the integrity of your strands, it's best to comb through lengths when wet using a wide-tooth comb. You can even rake it out with your fingers if you don't have a comb to hand. If your hair is fine and prone to knots and tangles, Brad recommends Tangle Teezer's The Wet Detangler, £12, or anything with malleable bristles.
"When it comes to blow-drying, a boar bristle brush is amazing for pretty much all hair types but specifically frizzy, coarse and curly hair as it smooths out the hair better," adds Brad. "It takes a little more effort but makes hair smoother and straighter. If you have straight hair, having something that heats up like a ceramic round brush is great because then you can get that volume and a wave or curl in your hair."
Overlapping your hair colour
Regularly layering on permanent hair dye at home (for example a box dye) can result in damage, warns Brad, and will be hard to strip away if you decide to switch up your shade. "Use a permanent colour on your roots and a semi-permanent colour on your ends to refresh them," says Brad. "Products like these won't cause damage and can make hair super shiny and healthy-looking." He also recommends a colour depositing mask: a hair mask which incorporates hair dye and leaves lengths soft and shiny. Try XMONDO Hair Healing Colour, £21, if you're after something vibrant or Moroccanoil's Colour Depositing Mask, £28.85, available in various shades.
Brushing your hair when it's wet
If your hair is prone to knots, Brad warns against brushing or attempting to untangle when wet. "When your hair is wet, it's much more susceptible to breakage," says Brad. "It becomes twice as stretchy and you don't want to be tugging at it when it's like that." Instead, dry until your hair is roughly 80% less wet before going in with your detangling brush. "That way your hair won't snap off," says Brad, making it less susceptible to split ends and broken strands around the face.
Washing your hair every day
In an age when we're more aware of germs and bacteria than ever before, you'd be forgiven for washing your hair on a daily basis — especially if you work in the city or use public transport. But it's not doing your strands or scalp many favours. "If you can go a week, or even two or three days, that's great," as over-washing can strip the scalp and lengths of natural, moisturising oils, potentially making it dry and irritated. Leaving it a little longer between washes is especially beneficial if you colour your hair, says Brad. "Otherwise, you're going to spend so much money colouring it. You simply won't get good longevity out of your salon appointment."
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