No doubt you’ve heard a hair myth or two, but we’re here to separate hair fallacies from facts to get your follicles in tip-top tress shape. From hair cut to hair color, and every myth in between, here’s the truth about hair.
“Frequent trims will make hair grow longer.”
We’ve heard this one about a million times, haven’t we? Unfortunately, frequent trims do not make hair grow at a quicker pace. Only our follicles in the scalp determine our speed of hair growth—but wouldn’t it be nice if we could tell them to speed it up sometimes? The truth is, regular trims may make hair appear as if it is growing longer faster because you’re eliminating split ends, which often make hair look thin at the bottom or can even break off, making your hair look as if it’s not growing. If you are trying to grow your hair out, we recommend getting a trim every eight weeks to keep split ends at bay while it grows.
“Stress causes gray hair.”
Gray hair is determined by genetics, full stop. Even the most laid back, easy breezy person is going to get gray hair if her genes make it so (sorry!). But that doesn’t mean stressed out people are off the hook (and who wants to stay stressed out, anyway?). If you’re genetically predisposed to graying, increased stress can accelerate the graying process. So while stress is not the cause of gray hair, it is certainly a friend of it.
“Plucking a gray hair means two more will grow in its place.”
Luckily, this one is false. Tweezing one or two gray hairs won’t affect the composition of gray hair on your head, but when they grow back, they’ll come back gray. But, plucking gray hairs isn’t advisable, because plucking could lead to scarring, which would prevent hair from regrowth at that site. Frequent plucking, especially in the same area on the scalp, could lead to thinning. We recommend letting your hair color take care of your grays instead.
“You shouldn’t color your hair if you are menstruating.”
This has become pretty popular on Internet message boards, but we’re not sure where it started. The idea behind this myth is that your changed hormonal levels during menstruation affect your hair’s ability to hold color, and it’s better to wait until you aren’t on your period. While we appreciate the attempt to explain it, it’s profoundly false. We recommend that you color your hair every four to eight weeks, as determined by your hair’s growth cycle, not your menstrual cycle.
“Red hair fades faster than blonde and brown.”
We’re very sorry, beautiful gingers, but this one is true. Because the dye molecules for red pigment are so much bigger than other dye molecules, they do not fully sit in the hair shaft the way that other color molecules do. Since about half of the molecule stays on the surface of hair, it washes out faster than other colors. To help your red color have more staying power, wash hair less frequently (every other day at most), and be sure to use color protecting products.
“You should wash your hair right before coloring so it’s the cleanest possible for the color to stick.”
This hair color myth has great intentions, but it’s only a partial truth. Leaving hair “dirty” before coloring is actually a natural way to help protect your scalp from any potential irritants, because your natural oils will be more present than if you had freshly washed your hair. That being said, having a lot of product build-up on hair (especially at the roots) prior to coloring could impede the efficacy of the dye. We recommend washing hair a couple of days before you plan on coloring, and avoiding using products like dry shampoo, mousse or anything with heavy oils until after you color.
“You need to wait at least a day before washing your hair after coloring.”
There’s no myth-busting this one—it’s quite true. When your hair color has finished processing, immediately wash it out with the Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner included in your kit. However, after that inital washing, it is best to wait at least 24 hours to wash hair again because the product needs time to set into hair. Washing too soon, particularly with a clarifying shampoo, can pull the recently applied color out of hair, so we recommend waiting to wash—24 hours if you must, but try giving that hair color some bonus time and wait 48-72 hours for that first post-color shampoo.
“Conditioner makes hair greasy.”
Your conditioner does not make your hair greasy, and your hair can benefit from the nourishing, protecting effects of conditioning treatments. Rather, greasy hair is caused naturally when too much sebum—a type of oil your body makes—is produced at the scalp. Instead of ditching the conditioner, be sure to only use it on the ends of hair, rather than up at the scalp.
“If you keep using the same shampoo, it will stop working.”
While we agree that it can be fun to mix up shampoos from time to time, there’s no evidence that using the same shampoo over an extended period of time would have any effect on how well it works. If it cleaned your hair the first time you used it, it will clean your hair the 200th time you use it, too. Of course, if you go from not coloring to getting into a color routine, we recommend swapping your regular shampoo for a color protecting shampoo to help preserve color and keep hair hydrated.
“You have to brush your hair 100 times a day.”
Whether you were told this one by an older relative, a friend in the locker room, or perhaps a teen magazine, you have probably heard some iteration about how many times a day you should brush your hair. Is 100 the correct answer? No. That’s an excessive amount of brushing that could actually damage hair or exacerbate hair loss for women with thinning hair. While brushing is important—it helps distribute oils from the scalp throughout the hair—it should be done gently and only as needed to detangle hair. Always use a brush with soft bristles or a wide tooth comb.