Maybe you save up all year to drop cool grand on a leather, structured one like Amal Clooney, or maybe you’re more about options and quantity, heading over to Zara to pick up anything that sparkles or has details like fringe or patches. No matter how you shop for your handbags or the designs that convince you to spend your hard-earned cash on them, your beloved accessory could be the cause of your hair damage.
At least that’s the culprit behind my hair breakage. Before you freak out, sell your Marc Jacobs satchel, and only invest in clothing with pockets from now on, let me explain. When I split my hair in the center, one side is noticeably less dense—I came upon this realization when a stylist pointed it out to me a few months ago. When I part my hair in the middle and curl each side with a wand, the left always takes longer because there's more hair. It was definitely true. That was the end of the conversation, though.
As per usual, when I left the salon, I started fixating on it and low-key freaked out. Was I going bald? Did too-tight ponytails really get the best of my mane?
To calm myself down, I chalked it up to being just some weird quirk of my body and moved on. But the fact was brought up yet again by my hairstylist Erickson at Bumble and bumble salon in New York City. As we were looking at my hair to discuss my haircut, he pulled both sides to the front, pointed to the right side, and randomly asked, "Is this the side you wear your bag?"
Yep. I always, always, always sling my bag over my right shoulder, rarely checking if my hair will be snagged or broken off in the process, or caught underneath the straps and yanked out. As someone who's always had long hair, I guess the pain from pulling never really phased me. Wondering if my situation was a fluke, I asked Erickson if he usually sees this as a culprit of hair breakage.
"Yes, I do!" he said. "Wearing a shoulder bag everyday can definitely cause breakage. The constant tugging and tension can cause hair to snap. Eventually, you will notice a significant difference in both sides of your hair," he continued.
Um, well that's terrifying. He told me to be extra mindful about moving my hair over to the other side before slinging my bag over my shoulder. In addition to reworking my habit, he told me to try using a strengthening shampoo and conditioner.
Since then, I've been obsessive about following his tips. Because let's face it—I'll be damned if I let one of my favorite accessories ruin the other.
This article originally appeared on InStyle.