Nowadays, you can’t turn a corner without hearing about what’s good or bad for you. Anything from your everyday lifestyle to your little luxuries, there’s no escaping the constant flow of conflicting information. It’s just so damn confusing! All you want to do is live a straightforward life, right? Well, today is the day that dizzying record gets set a little straighter.
Speaking of straight, to get things started, let’s strip away the fake from the fact and debunk 15 common hair myths so daft you’ll wonder why you ever believed them.
1. Your Hair is Alive!: No, it is not! Well, not exactly, anyway. The follicles at the scalp are alive. The papilla (or the “bud”) at the base of the hair follicle is where most growth takes place and each follicle has its own blood, nerve and muscle supply. As for the hair outside of your scalp, this is physiologically dead (GASP!) The hair has none of the supplies that the follicles do. It doesn’t bleed or hurt when you cut it (that would be a painful trip to the hairdressers, wouldn’t it?) So your hair isn’t alive, but the follicles are.
2. Cutting Your Hair Will Makes it Grow Faster: In what reality would that ever make sense, anyway? Growth comes from the scalp, not the ends! (Because that’s the bit that’s alive, remember…) However, trimming the splits will avoid hair looking thin and there’ll be less breakage as a consequence. Just don’t think you’ll suddenly turn into Rapunzel after a quick snip.
3. Shampooing Leads to Shedding: Erm, no it doesn’t. We all shed hair. The fact that some of us have more of it clogging the plughole than others is nothing to do with shampoo. In fact, not washing your hair and letting oil build up on the scalp can actually cause inflammation, and this reaction will stunt hair growth (and your head will look like it’s been dipped in a deep-fat fryer – sexy) Usually, shedding is down to stress (think about how much your pet sheds when they visit the vet, it’s the same thing) But, in more serious cases, excessive shedding might need a trichologist’s intervention. In any case, some shampoos can even help combat this unwanted effect by stimulating hair growth (see point 14 on hair loss) So please, don’t stop washing, just find a good product that contains essential oils and KEEP IT CLEAN!
4. Dandruff is Caused By Having a Dry Scalp: Nope, in fact, it’s the opposite! Having snowflakes flurry from your head is usually is an occurrence of non-washing, which, as I mentioned earlier, increases the oil build-up in the scalp, causing yeast to grow. Dandruff is the body’s reaction to it. Nice. So go on, soak up the suds!
5. Washing Your Hair Every Day is Bad For You!: No, eating a doner kebab every day is bad for you, not washing your hair. After reading all about dandruff and dead hair, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that this is simply not true. The only truth is that you should allocate hair washing days to what suits your hair type. So basically, if you have greasy roots, give it a wash. If not, then don’t. Simples!
6. Foaming Shampoos Clean Your Hair Better: This association between cleanliness and SLS is just wrong, wrong, wrong! The sulfates in your shampoo have literally no effect on your hair’s hygiene. They can, however, fade your hair colour (ever tried using Head & Shoulders to remove an unwanted hair dye? Yeah, SLS is the culprit for that) In essence, this foaming detergent is just a cheap cleaning chemical for manufacturers to put into products to keep their costs down (you’ll still have to pay a fortune for it, though) And while, yes, it does remove grease, SLS itself can’t distinguish between what oils should or shouldn’t be stripped. Therefore leaving an increased risk of a skin reaction (such as acne or rashes) amongst other health issues (although much is still in debate as to how correlational it is) To be on the safe side and still have beautifully clean hair, go SLS free!
7. Regularly Switching Shampoos Puts Life Back Into Your Hair!: Shampoos all offer different effects. Some are good for volume, others for hydration etc. but none of them offers the potential for resurrection, and changing shampoos regularly has absolutely no effect on the health of your hair whatsoever. If you stick with the same shampoo every day, it’ll be fine. If you swap it and think your hair is thanking you for it, well…it’s not. Your hair doesn’t worry if you use the same or different shampoos. All it cares about is that you use one that suits.
8. Hair Oils Make Your Hair Greasy: Stop right there! This is only applicable if you put oils directly on your scalp. But what doughnut would do that? Depending on whether you seek shine or sleekness, the oil should only be applied onto the mid-length section of your strands and then worked down to the ends, or just simply spritzed onto the very ends. That’s it! And a bonus? Oils can penetrate the cuticle, which means they don’t only make your hair look enviably similar to Rachel’s in Friends, but they also do good, too! Coconut oil is a great all-rounder because it can protect against heat, bleach and even UV damage, and it definitely doesn’t make your hair greasy. It simply nourishes the hair and leaves it soft, smooth, shiny and ready for action.
9. 100 Brush Strokes a Say is Good For Your Hair: Who made this one up – people who like to sit in front of dressing tables and gabble about 19th-century men while they brush one another’s flyaways? Anyway, only brush your hair when it’s knotty. That’s the only rule here. Excessive brushing actually damages the hair’s cuticle and is more liable to make it greasy. Neither of which are good for your hair! So leave it alone.
10. Plucking a Grey Hair Out Means 2 Will Grow in its Place: You think the tweezers are to blame for the fact you’re getting old? Think again! Greying is a natural process and will happen no matter what. Plucking doesn’t do this. But, it does weaken the strand, meaning that if you pluck too much, it won’t grow back at all (and surely it’s better to be grey than bald?) So, if you can’t embrace the silver, bring on the hair dye! This leads me nicely onto my next point…
11. Colouring Your Hair is Damaging!: Wrong again! Granted, bleaching your hair isn’t great, because this means stripping the hair to make it lighter, which will thin the hair strand and makes it more prone to breakage. But, the magic of darkening your hair is that it actually plumps the strand and makes it appear thicker! So the moral of the story is, putting colour “into” your hair is okay, but stripping colour “out” is bad.
12. Rough Towel Drying is a Smart Way to Dry Your Hair: Why would loads of yanking and scrunching ever be a good idea for hair? Use that towel to dry your body only! It is too rough to use on the hair and can actually cause breakage. Purely use it to gently squeeze any excess water from the hair and then gently comb your hair (starting from the bottom to allow for easier detangling) to remove the rest. For those in the need of a hair-friendly brush, Tangle Teezer’s are great for this.
13. Air Drying is Better Than Blow Drying: Proof that natural doesn’t always mean “healthy”, amazingly, whilst blow drying does, as we all know, damage the hair’s surface, air drying can actually damage it within the strands. This is because when the hair is exposed to water for long periods, the interior of the strands swell, and then, as it dries, it contracts. This repeated cycle causes something known as “hygral fatigue” which can result in breakage. A bit like a rubber band being pulled and stretched over and over, after a while, it’ll become warped and eventually, it’ll split. So, for the happy medium, blow your hair dry on a low heat setting, constantly move it across your hair so it’s not focused on one place and keep it about 15cm away.
14. Wearing Hats Causes Hair Loss!: Tell that to Slash! Have you seen his barnet? For a man who I’m pretty sure sleeps in his top hat, it doesn’t look like his locks have suffered much for it. This is because hair loss is genetic and can be brought on by hormonal levels and stress. The idea that hats can “cut off” the circulation to the scalp is cobblers. If you suffer from hair loss, then invest in minoxidil (Regaine is a good product for this) as this stimulates hair growth. But don’t go throwing away your favourite headgear!
15. The More Products You Use, The More Effective They Are: Nonsense! Despite all the claims of combining this styling gel with that root-boosting spray for traffic-stopping tresses, overloading the products will only do more harm than good. For instance, using too much serum will inevitably weigh your hair down, rather than giving you that weightless bounce you desire. There really is a lot of truth in the phrase, “less is more” and this is just one example. So to avoid becoming the mirror image of Captain Caveman, make sure you only use a 10p piece size of shampoo when washing your hair (any more and you will strain the scalp) and when it comes to the styling routine, depending on what you’re wanting to achieve from your hair that day, adjust your products accordingly. A couple of products should be more than enough.
It all sounds easy when you know it, but still, so many people are unaware and take unnecessary trips to the salon to get their hair cut when they want it to grow or raid the supermarket for 70 different styling products to achieve that perfect tousled look. Madness! If you know someone like that, tell them to keep their hair on and save them from struggling by sharing these facts.
They’ll wonder how they went so long without them!