There are some things about hair that we know are true. It grows from your scalp (duh), and if you rub a helium balloon over it, you'll make it stand on its ends. But there are other things about our hair that we're not so sure about. Like, was your grandmother right to tell you to stroke your strands with a brush 100 times before bed? Is stress really causing your hair to fall out?
To debunk these hair myths once and for all we went to Rodney Cutler, owner of the Cutler salons in New York City. Here, he separates hair fact from fiction.
Myth: Your hair can become immune to your shampoo and conditioner making the products less effective. The Truth: "Your hair can be immune to shampoo and conditioner," says Cutler. "Certain products have specific ingredients like silicones, waxes and oils [that] can build up on the hair and reduce the efficiency of the product," he adds. That buildup is what makes us think that our hair has become immune to the products. In order to avoid this, swap between brands or formulas of shampoo and conditioner throughout the week or at least change them up every two weeks.
Myth: Your hair will grow faster if you trim it regularly. The Truth: "Hair does not grow faster by trimming it regularly," says Cutler. But, if you don't trim it regularly, it will split and you'll lose even more length than you would have if you just trimmed it. "So, the quickest way to long, healthy hair is to regularly trim," he says. Aim for every four to six weeks and ask for a "dusting", which means that the stylist will take off just enough to keep your ends healthy.
Myth: Brushing your hair each night will make it shinier and healthier. The Truth: Actually, "if you are brushing your hair from roots to ends, you are dragging some of the oil from your scalp through the mid-lengths and ends," says Cutler. This can make you think your hair looks shinier, but that's not necessarily the case. In general, over-styling of your hair (brushing too often, wearing too many tight updos, etc.) can cause damage to your strands, so stick to a few strokes that will help distribute oil that can help protect your hair, but don't overdo it.
Myth: Coloring your hair causes damage. The Truth: Historically this was true, says Cutler—especially when lifting color (lightening it). But, the latest hair color technologies have allowed experts to color hair without stripping it of moisture. Some even fortify the hair while doing so, he says. When you go in for your next color treatment, talk to your stylist about the color products they use and choose one that will keep your hair healthy.
Myth: Washing your hair less often will keep it healthier. The Truth: "Washing your hair less often will keep it healthier…there is nothing gentle about detergent [which most shampoos contain]," says Cutler. And although quality product manufactures have created cleansers that are infused with conditioning agents, "not shampooing your hair will keep the amino fatty acids and oil on the scalp and hair shaft," says Cutler.
Myth: Twirling your hair with your fingers causes split ends. The Truth: Though this is more common with fine hair, it can be true. Creating friction when twirling hair "will create distress on the hair shaft and may cause split ends," says Cutler. If twirling your hair is a habit of yours, now's a good time to kick it.
Myth: Rinsing with cool water will make hair shinier. The Truth: "Hair is more likely to shine when it reflects light, and that means creating a flat surface," says Cutler. Rinsing with cool water "closes the hair cuticle [so it lays flat] allowing more light to reflect and shine," he adds.
Myth: Stress can make your hair fall out. The Truth: "While this is an extremely complicated topic, there are definitely case studies for stress affecting the follicle," says Cutler. If you are under more stress than usual, and your hair does seem to be falling out at a rapid speed, head to your doctor. They can help you get to the root of the problem.
Myth: Using the "cool shot" button on your hair dryer will make hair less frizzy and shinier. The Truth: "Using a cool shot button does not actually make your hair less frizzy or shinier, it actually seals in the blow dry/set," says Cutler. So, if you ditched frizz or effectively smoothed curls while blow drying, the cool air will help make that look last longer. But, the opposite is also true. "If you’ve just blown out your hair and it's frizzy, and your final touch is with the cool button, it will remain frizzy," explains Cutler.
Myth: You can mend split ends without cutting them off. The Truth: "There are definitely products out there that will stop further damage or splitting of the ends, but once they are split, the only solution is to cut them off," says Cutler.
Did we miss any myths? Share them here!