17 Hair Myths We All Still Believe that Are Ruining Our Hair
No splitting hairs here. We tap hair experts to help us separate hair fact from fiction in our quest for luxurious locks.
The dirtier your hair is, the faster it will grow
Some people assume that dirty hair grows faster—less washing and styling means fewer chances for breakage, right? But don’t go skipping showers in hopes of longer hair just yet; this is a silly myth that will only give you greasy locks and an unpleasant odor. According to Brenton Kane Diallo, celebrity hairstylist for clients like Gigi Hadid and Megan Fox, “Hair is at its healthiest and strongest when its clean and conditioned. Not washing your scalp clogs your follicles, which can stop its growth.” Try this Japanese beauty trick to make your hair grow faster.
Plucking a gray hair makes more grow
If you’re reluctant to pluck a stray gray out of fear of gray-hair contagion, take comfort in this busted theory. Taylor Brock, expert stylist at Butterfly Studio Salon, tells Reader’s Digest that plucking a gray hair will not make two grow back in its place. But you should still put the tweezers down. “Plucking hair puts stress on the follicle and your scalp and pulling a hair out can cause it to grow back with a courser texture and weird growth pattern.”
You should shampoo oily hair daily
While the job of shampoos is to strip unwanted dirt and oils, it’s easy to overdo it. Turning to the suds every time your roots get slick is actually counterproductive, because the amount of sebum your scalp produces doesn’t come close to the amount stripped out by shampoo sulfates. According to De L’isle, owner of Happy Curls, Happy Girls: “Your body is a self-regulating machine and would likely overproduce oils to compensate for what was lost. Shampooing too much can lead to brittle hair and itchy scalp—among other things. Instead, take a look at your diet… use light, water-based products.” And consider jojoba oil products. You might not immediately think of oil as the antidote for oily hair, but jojoba oil is great for helping regulate sebum production, she says. Check out these hair tips for women with oily locks.
Trimming your hair makes it grow faster
Although scheduling your trim every four to six weeks helps ensure that your hair has minimal split ends, it doesn’t help it grow. Steve Lococo, master stylist and co-owner of B2V Salon, tells Reader’s Digest: “Lightly trimming the ends, also known as ‘dusting,’ will improve the texture and elasticity of the hair by preventing split ends from growing up the hair shaft.” In other words, don’t let this myth buster discourage you from regular salon visits; the extra bucks spent are well worth it if you want healthy-looking, shiny hair.
Shampoos stop working after a while
This myth stems from the idea that your hair will “get used to” a product and it will stop working. But there’s little evidence to support that. In fact, Katy Walsh of Martial Vivot Salon Pour Hommes says switching shampoos too often can actually make things worse. “Your PH balance will be off and that can cause problems like a dry scalp and hair breakage from lack of moisture.” Here are other hair-washing mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
Natural oils are good for your hair
Contrary to popular belief, most raw food ingredients (like avocado oil, coconut oil, and honey) are incapable of penetrating the hair shaft deep enough to make any lasting improvement. Plus, they can leave a sticky residue and make strands feel greasier. According to Meaghan Frayne Almodovar, colorist at Angelo David Salon in New York City: “When a professional hair-care product lists coconut oil as an ingredient, it’s not at all the same as what you buy to cook with. That’s because high-quality hair-care products utilize a delivery system specially formulated with a nano-size element of the coconut to deliver the deep, long-lasting moisturizing benefit you crave, without leaving locks greasy.”
The more shampoo suds the better
While bubbles are always fun, foaming action isn’t a sign that your shampoo is working overtime. In fact, bubbles are a by-product of harsh detergents in sulfate shampoos, which can strip hair of necessary oils and nutrients. Devin Graciano, global hair educator and founder of Use Me, says, “Although we’ve trained ourselves to think that the more bubbles there are, the deeper the cleanse, it’s just not true. Suds have no cleansing effects.”
Split ends can be repaired
The sad truth is, once the ends of hair have split, there’s no way to put them back together. Ashley Feinberg, Founder and CEO of Kavella Hair Care, says, “The key to split-end management is to prevent them in the first place and get regular trims to snip them off.” Over-washing, brushing, heat-styling, and chemical damage can cause split ends, so limit how often you do them and always treat your hair to some extra TLC, such as a weekly hair mask, when you do. Be sure to avoid these hair mistakes that cause split ends.
Silicones are damaging to hair
You may try to avoid hair products that contain silicones, like shampoos or smoothing serums, because you think they’ll weigh your hair down, but they can actually be good for your hair. “Silicones increase moisture retention and shine by sealing the hair cuticle, protecting against color fade, controlling frizz, and reducing heat damage,” Feinberg says. Just be sure you’re not using more than one product that contains silicone and use the right amount for your hair texture and length. These are the 12 must-know portion control rules for beauty products.
The more you brush your hair, the healthier it will be
Sorry, Mom. You don’t need to brush your hair 100 strokes a day for it to be healthy. In fact, Scott Yance, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Scottfree Salons, says excessive brushing may do more harm than good because it can damage your hair’s cuticle. “Brush your hair when it’s knotty, but leave it alone otherwise.” Surprised? You might also be making these super damaging combing mistakes.
Towel-drying and air-drying is better than blow-drying
Although air drying sounds good in theory, one study found that using a hairdryer at the right distance and temperature can actually cause less damage than air-drying. The science is pretty simple: When hair comes into contact with water, it swells. The longer it stays that way, the more pressure this puts on the delicate proteins that make up hair, and the more opportunity there is for damage. According to Jonathan Horowitz, researcher and ingredients’ expert for Maple Holistics, incorrect towel-drying is also harmful. “Truth is, towel-drying can be just as damaging as blow-drying, and sometimes more so, since the movements can be just as rough on your strands as intense heat. The key is to be gentle with the towel, and squeeze your hair with it rather than rub.” As a speedier alternative, blow dry hair on cool, keeping your arm fully extended, moving the blow-dryer around so you aren’t concentrating the air on one spot.
Going to bed with wet hair prevents damage
Do yourself a favor and dry your hair before hitting the hay. Not only can going to bed with wet locks leave you with a damp pillow, it can also cause cuticle damage and a bad case of bedhead. According to Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City, “While most people think they’re going easy on their hair by letting it dry naturally and sleeping on it wet, you’re risking frizz and matting. When the hair is wet, the cuticle is not completely sealed, so the friction of the pillow causes frizz.” Not convinced? This is exactly how bad it is to sleep with wet hair.
Make sure you rinse out all the conditioner
In fact, rinsing all the conditioner until hair is squeaky clean defeats the purpose of conditioner and rinses away the nutrients you just applied. According to Doug Martucci, Creative Director at PRORITUALS, conditioner provides slip and protection to hair. If you’re worried about your hair feeling greasy after a shampoo, leave your scalp conditioner-free and just focus the product on the ends.
Flaky scalp means you have dandruff
Itchy scalp, white flakes? Don’t automatically assume a dandruff diagnosis. While you may feel an urge to reach for the Head & Shoulders, take a moment to assess. Dandruff shampoos can actually worsen flaking, by drying out the scalp. According to Fred Connors, owner of FRED Salon in New York City, “Flakes often indicate the need for moisture and some exfoliation, and can occur during seasonal changes in temperature.” He recommends a DIY fix—an exfoliating scalp massage with conditioner mixed with a tablespoon of brown sugar. Here are 21 possible reasons for your itchy scalp.
Frequent shampooing makes your hair fall out
Harsh shampoos can strip your hair of natural oils, but this doesn’t have any correlation with hair loss. In fact, not showering enough can lead to excessive oil production, which can damage the root and lead to additional shedding. Sarah Lewis, Salon Manager at Supercuts, tells Reader’s Digest: “A lot of people think this myth is true because they see hair in their drain after a shower, but on average, it’s normal for a person to lose anywhere from 20 to 100 strands a day.” Find out the real sneaky causes of hair loss.
Rinsing your hair with cold water makes it shinier
According to a study by chemists at TRI Princeton, cold water has absolutely no impact on making hair look glossy. In the study, the researchers rinsed participants’ hair in water that was at least 98 degrees Fahrenheit (the hot group) or below 65 (the cold group). They found the hair rinsed in cold water did not have any added shine. In fact, warm water was more successful at improving hair shine and removing residue build-up. Although Lococo agrees, don’t turn off the cold water faucet entirely—there is still one benefit: “A cold water rinse closes down the pores on your scalp.” Find out the things your hair is desperately trying to tell you.
You can’t use hair oil if you have oily hair
Hair oil is great for smoothing frizz and adding shine, but those with oily hair may cringe at even the thought. Hairstylists assure that all hair types can benefit. In fact, oils, like argan oil, will restore moisture, shine, elasticity, and softness to hair that’s been damaged from chemical treatments and thermal stress. According to Fernando Salas, creator of White Sands Haircare, “The key to this is where you apply it. You should still apply an oil from the mid shaft of the hair down to the ends and avoid applying the product to your scalp.” Read on for 11 amazing uses for argan oil for your hair and skin.