Hair is a personal topic for many as everyone has different textures and lengths that make up their unique personality.
Each one’s mane is distinct and beautiful, and today, this article will clear up some familiar hair myths so you can achieve your best hair possible.
Hair Care Myths Debunked
Myth 1: Frequent trims make hair grow faster
Truth: Trimming your hair will not affect the hair follicles but only helps to get rid of split ends.
Age, genetics, environment, diet, etc., determine how fast your hair can grow. (1) Hair grows at an average of a quarter-inch every month, irrespective of whether you cut it or not.
However, trimming your hair helps eliminate split ends and reduce hair breakage – both problems cause the ends of the hair to look thinner and shorter. (2)
Thus, it is still advisable to get a regular hair trim done every 8–12 weeks. (3)
Myth 2: Frequent shampooing can cause severe hair loss
Truth: Frequently washing your hair with shampoo has no effect on the overall growth or loss of your hair, (4) but it can help in cleansing the scalp and removing dirt, dandruff, and buildup, which can otherwise lead to hair loss if your hair is not washed properly.
It is recommended to shampoo your hair 5–6 times a week but with care, as the abrasive action of the process can damage the keratin as well as the non-keratinous structures of the hair. (5)
The hair fall that is happening while you shampoo your hair is not due to the frequent washing but because those hair strands were loose and were meant to fall out.
Your hair goes through a cycle of hair growth and hair fall; it regenerates by itself by falling out, goes dormant for a while, and then grows again. (4)
Myth 3: Brushing your hair 100 times a day makes your hair healthy
Truth: Combing your hair 100 times a day will not result in healthy hair because rigorous brushing can cause more hair to fall due to the friction.
In a study conducted on 14 women, excessive combing was the reason for their hair fall. If you want healthy hair growth, you must brush your hair but not too much, such as 100 or more strokes, as it can weaken the hair from the roots.
Instead, brush to detangle or style your hair using a wide-toothed comb. Avoid those with pointed bristles as they can harm the scalp. (6)
Myth 4: Dandruff signifies a dry scalp
Truth: There is no relation between dandruff and a dry scalp because dandruff is not due to dryness but is caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which survives on sebum. (7)
Therefore, an oily scalp can be a factor in the occurrence of dandruff.
Myth 5: The hair produces enough oil so you don’t need to oil it
Truth: Oiling the scalp with natural oils such as coconut oil, (8) olive oil, (9) peppermint oil, (10) rosemary oil, (11) and lavender oil (12) has been scientifically proven to help hair growth.
Massaging your hair with coconut oil can help eliminate scalp disorders such as dandruff because it has antimicrobial properties that thwart fungi and bacteria. (8)
Applying coconut oil along with onion juice may also help in getting rid of baldness due to alopecia areata. In one study, the participants who used onion juice on their head for 4 weeks observed hair regrowth, in comparison to those who washed their hair only with tap water. (13)
Myth 6: Plucking one gray hair can result in three more
Truth: There’s an old belief that if you pluck one gray hair, three will grow in the same spot. The real thing is you should not pluck your hair out as it can cause damage to the hair follicle, which can stop growing hair eventually.
Research also shows that repeatedly plucking or shaving gray hair can accelerate the speed of gray hair growth. So, stop plucking out your gray hair and instead cover them with natural colors if you want to. (14)
Myth 7: Ponytails, dreads, and braids are a stylish choice
Truth: Tying your tresses in tight hairstyles can cause tension and traction on your hair and scalp. Fast hairstyles, including ponytails, braids, dreadlocks, cornrows, or extensions, may lead to a receding hairline or hair loss, leaving you with thinner and weaker hair.
In fact, you could get traction alopecia, a type of female-pattern baldness caused by wearing the hair in tight and braided hairstyles. (15)
Change your hairstyle often, and try softer updos or use soft fabric bands if you want to keep your hair off your face.
Myth 8: Shampoos and conditioners must be changed every few months
Truth: You should stick to a natural shampoo and conditioner that suits your hair; there is no need to keep changing your shampoo and conditioner over and over again.
However, if you have colored or straightened your hair or moved to a place where there is hard water or a different climate, then you need to switch to hair care products that are suitable for such conditions.
Be careful of harmful ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, and fragrances when buying shampoos and conditioners, and opt for sustainable, cruelty-free products. (16)
Myth 9: Color stays better on dirty hair
Truth: It’s the other way round; color sticks better to clean hair than dirty hair as it is free of a buildup of styling products and residue.
You must wash your hair the night before applying the color yourself or at a salon.
Also, skip out on dry shampoo, serums, or mousse after your hair is colored. Wait for 72 hours before you rewash your hair, so the color is entirely trapped in the hair cuticle. (17)
Myth 10: Thin or fine hair should skip out on conditioner
Truth: That is a big no! You should always use a conditioner after washing your hair with shampoo to nourish and hydrate your tresses.
Conditioner helps to detangle wet hair and gives your mane a whole and healthy look. Recent formulations in shampoos and conditioners include combos of botanical extracts such as coconut oil, olive oil, onion juice, and curry leaves, among others, to add body, strength, and shine to the hair. (16)
Have you believed in any one of these myths? Were you surprised when you learned that they were not accurate? In your hair care journey, you will encounter many myths that are simply not true and need to be debunked.
Your hair is an important asset and part of your identity. Unruly or unhealthy hair can ruin first impressions, and that is why you need to know the proper way to take care of your hair and pay no heed to myths.
- Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: Effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/. Published January 31, 2017.
- Gavazzoni Dias MFR. Hair cosmetics: An overview. International journal of trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/. Published 2015.
- Brown NL, Brown NL, 17 AKSS, 17 BNSS, 17 JNGS, 17 das5959 S. SIOWFA15: Science in our world: Certainty and controversy. SiOWfa15 Science in Our World Certainty and Controversy. https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/17/does-a-trim-actually-make-your-hair-grow/. Published September 17, 2015.
- Punyani S, Tosti A, Hordinsky M, Yeomans D, Schwartz J. The impact of shampoo wash frequency on scalp and hair conditions. Skin appendage disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8138261/. Published April 2021.
- Zhang Y, Alsop RJ, Soomro A, Yang F-C, Rheinstädter MC. Effect of shampoo, conditioner and permanent waving on the molecular structure of human hair. PeerJ. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4636411/. Published October 1, 2015.
- P; KAGIE-H. The effect of brushing on hair loss in women. The Journal of dermatological treatment. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19016066/.
- Ranganathan S, Mukhopadhyay T. Dandruff: The most commercially exploited skin disease. Indian journal of dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2887514/. Published 2010.
- Saxena R, Mittal P, Clavaud C, et al. Longitudinal Study of the scalp microbiome suggests coconut oil to enrich healthy scalp commensals. Scientific reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8012655/. Published March 31, 2021.
- Tong T, Kim N, Park T. Topical application of Oleuropein induces anagen hair growth in telogen mouse skin. PloS one. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462586/. Published June 10, 2015.
- Oh JY, Park MA, Kim YC. Peppermint oil promotes hair growth without toxic signs. Toxicological research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289931/. Published December 2014.
- A; PYTMMETS. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/.
- Lee BH, Lee JS, Kim YC. Hair growth-promoting effects of lavender oil in C57BL/6 mice. Toxicological research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843973/. Published April 2016.
- HK; SKEA-O. Onion juice (allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata. The Journal of dermatology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12126069/.
- Prevention of hair graying by factors that promote the growth and … https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264546745/.
- Billero V, Miteva M. Traction alopecia: The root of the problem. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896661/. Published April 6, 2018.
- D’Souza P, Rathi SK. Shampoo and conditioners: What a dermatologist should know? Indian journal of dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458934/. Published 2015.
- Draelos ZD. Essentials of hair care often neglected: Hair cleansing. International journal of trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002407/. Published January 2010.