It’s common knowledge that everyone has a unique head of hair, and there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” rule when it comes to hair care advice. That being said, there’s clearly a long list of tips and guidelines that have been passed down through the generations when it comes to maintaining healthy hair.
Some of these tips are actually quite useful and backed by scientific evidence, such as not washing your hair every single day, or taking it easy on heat styling and chemical treatments.
Unfortunately, a large number of these age-old tips are completely false and are nothing more than old wives’ tales. Thankfully, we’re here to set the record straight and bust some common hair care myths!
Myth #1: Cutting Your Hair More Frequently Encourages Growth
On average, hair grows about a quarter of an inch each month, and no amount of regular trimming can make it grow any faster. In fact, given that hair growth is entirely dependent on the hair follicle and root, it makes absolutely no sense to think that trimming the ends of the hair would have any effect on its growth patterns. So why does this myth persist? Hair that is damaged and broken typically exhibits split ends and dramatic thinning towards the end of the hair strand, making it appear shorter than it really is. Thus, when you trim these thin ends and let the hair grow out, it suddenly looks longer and thicker despite being the same length as before the trim.
Myth #2: Using the Same Shampoo Loses Effectiveness Over Time
Every once in a while, you may notice that your favorite shampoo isn’t doing as good of a job of removing oil and grease from your hair, or that your prized conditioner isn’t providing enough moisture as before. While it may be tempting to blame the products and assume they simply “stopped working”, the real culprit is your hair. You see, our hair can change dramatically due to weather changes or hormonal fluctuations, which can make it more prone to dryness or cause the scalp to produce more sebum, leading to greasier hair. If your hair type is prone to these fluctuations, the answer is to stock up on different types of products appropriate for the fluctuating states of your hair.
Myth #3: Brush Your Hair Frequently for Healthy Hair
One of the most common hair myths is the idea that “100 daily brush strokes” is the key to healthy hair. In practice, this seems to make a great deal of sense, as dry brushing helps distribute natural oils and detangle, making hair appear to be smooth, soft and shiny. In fact, regular dry brushing can be quite beneficial for maintaining longer hair types when done in moderation. However, any kind of excessive brushing, such as 100 daily brush strokes, is a recipe for breakage and cuticle damage. Learn to be gentle with your hair, and never brush it more than you need to!
Myth #4: Oily Hair Doesn’t Need Conditioner
If you have greasy, oily hair, the last thing you think you need is a hair conditioner. The problem with this advice is that grease comes from the hair follicle producing too much sebum and has nothing to do with the actual hair itself. While our natural sebum can be moisturizing to our hair on its own, it fails to provide our hair with the kind of nutrition and penetrative hydration that an effective conditioner can provide. Also, much like our facial skin, the scalp can overproduce sebum when it is too dry or dehydrated, making it that much more important to apply conditioner!
Myth #5: Stress Causes Grey Hair
Ever hear someone say, “this job will give me a gray hair?” It’s a common belief that stress and anxiety leads to a production of gray hairs, but nothing could be further from the truth. In short, our hair color is caused by the production of melanin, just as the color of our skin is caused by a production of melanin. As we age, this natural melanin production decreases, causing our hair to lose its color and take on a gray appearance. Additionally, free radicals can hasten the process of melanin degradation, which makes it important to incorporate products containing antioxidants like vitamins E and C!