There are many hair myths that circle the globe like urban legends. Like a new flu virus, once a hair rumor is started, it develops a life of its own and spreads like wildfire. Some of the strand stories endure for years.
Listed below are some of the oldest and most common hair myths along with the actual facts.
Myth No. 1: Cutting Hair Makes It Grow Faster and/or Thicker
False. Shorter hair often looks and feels thicker but cutting your hair won’t alter its normal biologically determined growth rate or overall texture.
Thin, limp or fine hair will not ever grow thicker in response to a haircut. Plump up your hair by using volume enhancing hair care products, experimenting with a hair fattening blunt cut or getting a texturizing perm or color treatment.
Myth No. 2: Split Ends Can Be Repaired Without Trimming
False. The only successful treatment for removing split ends is with a scissors. While some hair care products may temporarily merge split ends together, this fix only lasts until your next shampoo.
Keep in mind damaged ends tends to grow slower than healthy, well-maintained, trimmed hair.
Myth No. 3: It Is Okay To Trim Your Own Split Ends At Home
True. Although regular visits to your stylist for a professional trim are recommended, if you wish to clip your own split ends at home it is perfectly acceptable.
Always use a professional set of scissors and avoid dull blades, which can actually make splits worse.
Myth No. 4: Split Ends Will Travel
True. Uncut split ends can travel up the hair shaft towards the roots. Tresses that are not tended to, over time, may develop splits that migrate and split all or part of the entire hair.
Some ends can actually tear multiple times so that your split ends have splits.
Myth No. 5: Hair Grows Faster On Different Parts Of The Head
True. There is some scientific evidence that the growth rate of hair may vary on different parts of the head for select people. There is also some indication that the growth rate of hair on babies may be faster on the crown than on any other parts of the scalp. Usually the growth rate differences are very marginal and will not impact the hair appearance in any way.
Myth No. 6: Hair Will Always Remain The Same Texture
False. Although you may be born with straight, curly or wavy locks, there are many circumstances under which your hair’s ultimate texture can be permanently altered. Pregnancy, medication, chemotherapy, age and other variables can cause your texture to be temporarily or permanently altered.
Myth No. 7: Shaving A Baby’s Scalp Will Alter Their Natural Hair Texture
False. The hair that a baby is born with may or may not be the hair that they grow up with. Shaving a baby’s head will not alter the texture of their ultimate hair nor will it cause their hair to grow faster or thicker.
Myth No. 8: Coloring Hair During Pregnancy Is Harmful
False. Although some physicians disagree, most believe that coloring the hair during pregnancy will not be dangerous to the baby. When in doubt always get your physician’s permission to color your hair during pregnancy. Most experts believe that the key danger with hair coloring is not the application of the product to the scalp but the inhalation of the strong chemical odor.
Myth No. 9: Virgin Root Hair Should Be Treated Differently
True. The hair that is closest to the roots will react differently to the application of new hair color and chemical treatments. Hair color applied directly to the roots will process differently that color applied on hair that has already been treated.
Myth No. 10: Blow-Drying Hair Can Cause It To Smoke
False. This bizarre myth has been circulating for years in a number of versions. On the rare occasion that hair “smokes” it is due to the evaporation of condensation on the hair from styling gels or similar hair care products.
Myth No. 11: Smoking Causes Gray Hair
True. According to J. G. Mosley of the Leigh Infirmary in Lancashire, England in an article in Science News (January 11, 1997) smokers are four times more likely to have gray hair than nonsmokers. Even worse, smoking has been conclusively linked to accelerated hair loss.
Myth No. 12: Gray Hair Can Only Be Covered With Permanent Color
False. Depending on the percentage of gray hair that you have, you may be able to blend or cover the budding gray with a semi-permanent or demi-permanent blend that does not contain harsh chemicals.
Myth No. 13: Washing Hair Every Day Dries It Out
False. The right shampoo for your hair type and texture will actually add moisture, body and beauty to your hair. The key is to finding the correct shampoo designed for your hair.
Also, it's possible to cleanse hair with water only (WO), diluted shampoo (DS) or conditioner only (CO). When deciding whether to wash your hair every day or not consult with your hair professional and take into consideration your hair type,
Myth No. 14: Rinse Out Conditioners Does Not Provide Benefits Because It Is Rinsed Out
False. Rinse out conditioners applied to your hair right after washing will leave a deposit of moisturizing proteins and other ingredients on the hair shaft providing hair that feels softer, shinier or better conditioned.
Myth No. 15: Wearing Tight Braids, Ponytails Or Buns Causes Baldness
True. Traction alopecia is a very real hair loss condition that may result from wearing tight ponytails, cornrows or buns over an extended period of time.
Over time, hair breakage or loss as the result of tight, stressed styles, can become permanent. Avoid this potential problem by opting for looser styles that minimize scalp tension.
Myth No. 16: Sleeping With A Wet Head Causes Scalp Fungus
False. Scalp or fungal diseases can’t be caught from sleeping with wet scalps. Scalp fungus or infections requires prior involvement with infected sources such as humans, tainted hair care tools or animals. As an example, ringworm can be spread by infected animals.
Myth No. 17: Sharing Combs And Brushes Can Spread Scalp Diseases
True. It is a fact that lice and other parasites can be transported from scalp to scalp through the sharing of combs, brushes and other hair care tools.
Myth No. 18: Hair Develops Immunity To The Same Shampoo Over Time
False. Many people swear that their hair will become immune to the benefits of the same shampoo used over time. There is no scientific evidence to prove this myth.
Myth No. 19: Hair Should Be Washed Every Day
False. There is no correct schedule for washing hair. Every person should shampoo according to the specific needs of their hair type and texture. While some people do benefit from a daily shampoo, others benefit from a variety of shampooing schedules.
Myth No. 20: Lemon Juice Will Bleach Hair Blonde
False. While some naturally light haired people may notice a slight lightening or brightening after prolonged sun exposure soaked in lemon juice, the majority of people will not see any obvious change in their hair lightness or brightness.
Myth No. 21: Salon Products Are Identical To Drugstore Products
False. While there is an exception to every rule, salon products are generally manufactured to contain higher quality, more expensive ingredients that are designed to consistently provide more intensive cleansing, moisturizing and conditioning results. The quality ingredients found in salon products are not usually found in drugstore brands.
Myth No. 22: Swimming Pool Chemicals Can Turn Hair Green
True. Frequent swimmers with natural blonde or chemically highlighted hair that is extremely porous may experience the development of green tints and shades over time. This problem can be prevented with regular use of moisturizing shampoo and conditioners that provides a natural barrier to chlorine and related chemicals.
Myth No. 23: A Sunburnt Scalp Can Lead To Hairloss
True. Severe sunburn or a series of burns that occur over time may damage delicate hair follicles at the root level. People with a genetic predisposition towards hair loss may accelerate the onset of hair loss activity. Avoid scalp burns by applying sun protection products to your scalp along with your hair.
Myth No. 24: Brushing Thinning Hair Makes It Fall Out Faster
False. As long as you use a good brush on your hair, normal daily brushing will not accelerate the normal loss of hair from the scalp. If your hair is suffering from a hair loss condition like alopecia brushing will only cause you to lose hair that is already ready to fall. Excessive brushing is always discouraged under any circumstances.
Myth No. 25: Hair Care Products Advertised As Natural Are Chemical Free
False. Not all hair care products sold in health food establishments are completely natural and may contain chemicals like SLS. When in doubt read the label.
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Original Publication Date: 6/4/2002 - Revised Date: 03/27/11