We’ve all grown up hearing various old wives tales and mysterious and wondrous ways to cure all. However, how much truth is there really in some of these myths.
Here, Consultant Trichologist and Manager of Education at The Institute of Trichologists, Sara Alkazraji MIT, explores and explains the truth behind many of the common hair myths.
Myth: You should not wash your hair everyday as this is bad for hair.
Truth: Washing hair regularly is certainly not bad for the hair or scalp and this is a myth. For optimum hair and scalp health in general we recommend washing every; one to two days. Despite this general guidance some hair types may benefit from washing less frequently and therefore it is important people follow a washing regime and use products which specifically suit their hair and scalp. Regular washing produces an optimum environment for hair to grow, maintains scalp health whilst also stimulating blood and oxygen to the scalp.
Myth: If I don’t wash my hair it will clean itself.
Truth: There is nothing self-cleaning about hair and this is very much a myth. Not washing hair will result in a build-up of dirt, dust, grease, dead skin cells and oil from the sebaceous gland (sebum). This build-up of sebum and other substances on the scalp can begin to cause an imbalance to the skin’s natural biota and for some individuals this imbalance can result in an irritated scalp causing itching, flaking and inflammation.
Myth: A good trim will help your hair to grow.
Truth: Hair is made up from a hardened keratinized protein which is actually dead. The living element of hair is the bulb which is nourished and fed by the blood supply within the scalp. Cutting hair has no impact on its ability to grow and therefore trimming hair will not encourage it to grow longer or faster. Regular trims help to keep hair in optimum condition and reduce split ends. Cutting hair can also offer cosmetic benefits making hair look fuller and thicker.
Myth: Avoid shampoos and conditioners containing sulphates and silicones as these are bad for hair.
Truth: Sulphates and silicones are not harmful and can often be found in many good quality products. Sulphates are a cleansing agent which help create the lathering effect experienced when shampooing, some hair types may benefit from this lather whilst others may respond better without. Silicones can help reduce frizz, offer a smoothing effect and add shine. Whilst these ingredients are harmless their type and strength can vary between products which can have different effects on different hair types. It is important people use products which are suited to the individual’s hair and skin type but at the same time should not be lured into thinking any ingredients found in shampoos and conditioners are harmful.
Myth: Plucking one grey hair will result in more hairs growing back thicker.
Truth: This is a myth and is certainly not a treatment for creating thicker hair. Pulling hair out from the root can be extremely damaging and if performed regularly can lead to long term hair loss in the area being plucked. Considering a hair colouring service with a professional stylist would be a more productive method in tackling grey hairs.
Myth: Brushing your hair a 100 strokes a day makes it healthier.
Truth: This is a myth and there is no benefit to brushing hair at 100 strokes per day. Brushing hair helps prevent tangling, knotting and can offer some cosmetic benefits when smooth and tangle free. However, brushing does not make our hair healthier. In fact, brushing too much using incorrect methods, tools or when wet and in a fragile state could cause great damage to the hairs shaft and cuticle scales leading to permanent hair breakage. Always take care when detangling hair, be gentle and use a wide tooth comb working from the ends of hair towards the root.
Myth: A cold water rinse makes the hair shine.
Truth: Sadly not, cold water does not close the hair cuticles and does not leave the hair smoother and shinier, these effects are usually achieved through using a conditioner. Although cold water may feel refreshing it actually constricts blood capillaries which are responsible for nourishing and feeding the hair bulb. To achieve the ultimate shine individuals should choose the appropriate products suited to your hair type which aim to produce these results.
Myth: Your hair gets used to the same products, so it is important to keep changing.
Truth: Hair does not “get used to products” our hair and scalp condition can change over time so if someone is not gaining the same benefits from a product it is likely the hair or scalp may have changed somewhat. Chemical processes, environmental changes, our health, lifestyle, stress, hormonal changes just to name a few can all lead to changes in our hair and scalp. It is important people use the correct products for their hair type in order to maintain optimum hair condition and style. If someone is not gaining the benefits from a product it is likely time to change to one more suited to your hair type. However, if the products you’re using are working, then there is no need to change.
Whatever you’ve heard or what you think you know, if in doubt, it is always worth checking with an expert who will be able to tell you fact from fiction.