In the movies, characters seem to be able to roughly towel dry their hair and toss it into a perfect bun with no questions asked. Unfortunately, your stands are likely more delicate than you think—particularly when they’re wet. Many factors go into having a healthy mane beyond just your time spent styling it.

Since your hair is comprised of proteins, weakness points may be due to a lack of nutrients. As trichologist Anabel Kingsley told Cosmopolitan, “One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is an iron deficiency. Iron is essential for producing hair cell protein.” Since many people are iron deficient, it’s a good idea to get your levels checked if you’re also experiencing hair breakage or loss. Remember, strong hair starts from within. If you’re looking for a fortifying boost, you can add a high-quality biotin vitamin to your routine along with other nutrients your body needs to produce healthy cells.

Vitamin B12 can also help with weak strands as well. “Vitamin B12 deficiency often causes hair loss as it can affect the health of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your tissues,” Kingsley explained. “It’s most common in vegans as you can primarily only obtain B12 through animal proteins.” If you follow a plant-based diet, it may be wise to add a B12 supplement to your wellness regimen. Once your body has what it needs, expect your hair to grow stronger and healthier.

Being rough with your hair can cause breakage

If you’ve heard of the T-shirt trick, then you know that you need to be careful with wet hair. The idea behind this tip is that running a towel through your hair can cause breakage. “Aggressively drying your hair with a towel results in frizz and tangled hair,” hair stylist, Miko Branch, told Allure. “Rather, dab your hair with an old or unwanted T-shirt for a smooth and absorbent approach, then gently squeeze out the moisture so that your hair is no longer dripping wet.” Furthermore, wrapping your hair in a towel while it’s wet can rough up the cuticle, essentially moving it in an opposing direction and making it more susceptible to breakage.

Once it’s dry, hair can still fall victim to common sources of damage. If you’re a hair-flipper, this news may come as a shock: Constantly touching your hair can cause breakage. Master stylist Edward Tricomi explained to Allure that playing with your hair, especially as it dries, can wreak havoc on vulnerable strands. Brushing it over and over can have the same impact. Adding blow-drying serum or strengthening oil can combat this issue, the outlet notes.

Start from the inside out and make sure you’re giving your hair the nutrients that it needs. Be mindful while your hair is wet, and dry your locks with a T-shirt and practice gentle brushing. Boost your strengthening routine with a nourishing serum and your snapped off ends will be a thing of the past!

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