I have spent entirely too much time thinking about, cleaning, styling, and stressing over my hair. Seriously. As someone who has worn her hair bobbed, waist-length, and everything in-between, you would think I should have a pretty good grasp of basic hair care at this point. But I’m definitely still learning new tricks from time to time and figuring out the one hair care mistake that I continually make. Unfortunately, there are about a million bad hair habits that can wreck your tresses, and, if you're like me, then you've probably done them all.

Many days I just want to stuff the whole mess under a hat and be done with it (and some days I do just that.) But it’s worth learning ways to keep from further ruining my hair, if only because I’ve already sunk so much time and effort into it. I can’t give up now. So here is the lowdown about the most common hair care mistake, as well as the easy way to fix it. And the fix actually involves a little less effort, so that’s nice. Hopefully, happier hair is within reach for everyone. And if not, there’s always the hat option.

So what's the big hair care mistake? Blow-drying your hair while it's still dripping wet.

Do you just jump out of the shower and start blow-drying right away? It’s tempting if your hair takes forever to dry. But according to Allure, your hair should be about 50 percent dry before you start blow-drying to minimize the amount of heat damage to your strands. And Self further notes that blow dryers can make water “flash dry” and damage the hair’s cuticles, so limiting your dryer time as much as possible — and using a heat-protector spray — is good way to prevent damage.

So to keep your hair feeling healthy, try to limit the time under the dryer. It may be helpful to let your hair air-dry while you go about the rest of your getting-ready routine, then quickly hit it with the dryer right before you leave. Or just wash it at night, sleep in braids, and wake up with waves. Whatever the case, you’ll probably do well to step away from the dryer a little bit.

Images: Brent Gambrell, Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr