Can you believe you could be the victim of a hairy myth? That your faith in certain “good” habits may actually be keeping you from the healthy mane of hair you’re looking for? Not every good old saying or belief can be taken at face value. Then be it, “brushing your hair a hundred times before bed” or “Trim often, grow faster”. There is usually some grain of truth in all these hair myths. But you need to know enough to separate the chaff from the grain! Here are seven hair myths that must be debunked before you damage your hair or at best, waste time on pointless rituals when you could be learning how to really take care of your hair.
Hair Myth #1: Rinsing with cold water will make your hair shine.
Well, we all have heard this one so many times, that cold rinse will make our hair shiny and frizz-free? That’s actually a hairy lie.
Fact: The only thing rinsing with cold water does is to make your cuticles lay flat and close your pores. So grease and dirt doesn’t enter your scalp. Warm water will do the same too, as it is absorbed in the hair and the hair swells up. Your hair is just dead tissue, so there’s not much water can do to make it shinier.
On the other hand, cold water may constrict the capillaries in your scalp that carry blood to your hair follicles. So by that theory, cold water may actually harm hair growth. Now does that seem like a myth or scientific truth?
Myth #2: Wash your hair as little as possible to keep the natural oils intact
The argument for washing your hair as little as possible is so that your hair’s natural oils don’t get stripped away by the products and water. Let’s know what’s the truth?
Fact: If you style your hair a lot, protein-rich shampoos can actually help you replenish the strands of your hair and protect them against heat damage and physical aggressors like brushing, combing and friction with your pillow at night. It’s true that harsh shampoos can strip your hair of its natural oils. But if you use daily shampoos, herbal shampoos and mild shampoos, you should wash every other day or once in three days to clean your scalp. Shampooing will actually help clean up pollution and product buildup that makes your hair dull. As per rd.com, “Your body is a self-regulating machine and would likely overproduce oils to compensate for what was lost,” says De L’isle, owner of Happy Curls, Happy Girls.
Hair Myth #3: Trim often, grow faster
Not all old wisdom is, well, wise. When our mothers told us to trim our hair often so that new hair could grow in its place, they were just mistaken. If you’ve been trimming your hair every six weeks in the hope that new hair will grow faster, here’s the sad truth but then there is a happy truth as well in this.
Fact: Trimming the ends of your hair has nothing to do with hair growth. The control tower for hair growth is in the roots and the follicles in the roots. When blood flowing from the vessels in your scalp nourishes the roots, more cells grow. The hair is pushed up through the skin as it grows, passing an oil gland on the way and picking up some luster.
But trimming your hair often does get rid of split ends and brittle hair, so your hair looks healthier. There’s clearly no reason to stop trimming your hair every few weeks!
Myth #4: A dry scalp = More Dandruff
Dandruff must be the flurry from a parched, flaky scalp, right?
Fact: Wrong. Dandruff could be born out of several issues and dry scalp is just one of them. The most common cause of dandruff is the yeast Malassezia, which normally lives on your scalp and feeds on sebum or waxy oil produced by the oil glands on your skin. When there’s too much sebum due to oily skin or some kind of imbalance, the yeast multiplies. This causes a buildup of dead skin cells. This is what itches and flakes off as dandruff.
Washing your scalp with zinc pyrithione shampoos or with shampoos containing salicylic acid, or adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo can help you treat mild dandruff right at home. Finally knowing that your scalp is not dry but oily can help make the difference to your hair care regime. To know more about how you can get rid of dandruff, you can read How to Get Rid of Dandruff – 7 Secret Tips for Women.
Hair Myth #5: Always shampoo first, condition later
Fact: It’s true that most of the time you want to shampoo first as it will remove the oils from your scalp and clean your hair. Then conditioning will nourish your hair and lock in moisture. You need to clean product buildup in your hair before you condition it. So for most people, shampoo first and condition later is good advice.
But if your hair is very long and you’ve been treating it chemically, things will be a little different. You may need to condition the ends of your long hair a little to detangle it, before you shampoo. That way, you’ll be gentle on your hair and prepare it for the shampoo and conditioning with less breakage.
Myth #6: Brush 100 times every day for lustrous locks
You know the picture of the gorgeous, long-haired Bollywood siren sitting in front of the mirror and combing her hair as she counts to hundred to keep it lustrous and thick? Well, that image is a bit overblown.
Fact: Brushing too much and too hard can harm your hair. Any excessive use of combs and brushes is aggressive on your hair; it can lead to hair breakage, split ends and open cuticles. But with the right comb or brush for your hair type, and with gentle and limited brushing, you can distribute the natural oils through the mane and keep it looking healthy. As rightly put by aarp.org, brushing is a form of friction that, if done to excess — as in 100 strokes — will damage all hair, but especially thin, weak and fragile locks. So you definitely don’t need to count to a hundred!
Hair Myth #7: Ponytails and braids are great for daily wear
Tying your hair back in ponytails and braids seem like the safe thing to do for your hair, especially in bed. But what if that’s not true?
Fact: Tight ponytails and braids actually tend to stress your hair follicles and lead to hair damage and hair fall. Ballerinas who wear tight buns all the time have to deal with hair fall, that’s definitely not so glamorous. It can cause a receding hairline or traction alopecia. If you must wear a ponytail or a braid, make it loose. Make your braids bigger and less perfect, start lower at the nape of your neck, not near the roots. If you wear a ponytail, avoid elastics and use a fabric band instead.
Of course, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to hair care. You should figure out what your hair type is, and what products and habits work well for your hair health. But always pursue myths to their source and figure out what’s right, what’s wrong before you give in to the advice of the herd. You’ll save yourself some trouble and a lot of potential hair damage if you don’t give in to the myths about hair care.