15 Hair Care Myths – The Truth and the Lies

Everyone has a favourite myth about hair care – and we usually never let the truth get in the way of a good legend! This article examines some of the most widely known – and the reality behind the myths.

1. Excessive washing of hair causes hair loss/dryness.

FALSE: Frequency of washing doesn’t harm hair. Wash it as often as you like, although the recommendation is three times a week. The right shampoo for your hair type and texture will actually add moisture, body and beauty to your hair.

2. More shampoo = cleaner hair.

FALSE: Don’t waste your shampoo! A dollop of shampoo, about the size of a quarter is usually enough for long hair. Very long hair may take a little more.

3. Conditioner helps repair split ends.

FALSE: No conditioner can “repair” damaged hair. What it can do is smooth down the cuticle and make hair seem in better condition. A good conditioner can also prevent damage from occurring in the first place.

4. Blow-drying produces hair loss.

FALSE: Blow-drying can damage, burn or dry hair, which can cause it to fall, but the hair will grow back immediately. This is not permanent hair loss.

5. Sleeping with wet hair causes scalp fungus.

FALSE: Scalp or fungal diseases can’t be caught from sleeping with wet scalps. Scalp infections require prior involvement with infected sources such as humans, tainted hair care tools or animals. Scalp fungus (tinea capitis) mainly affects children, whose immune systems make them more susceptible to skin infections.

6. To get your hair to grow, brush 100 strokes each day.

FALSE: Brushing that much can damage the hair cuticle. NOT recommended! Actually, your hair reacts better to a comb than a brush. Brushing it will only lead to split ends and hair breakage.

7. Sharing combs and brushes can spread scalp diseases.

TRUE: Lice and other parasites can be transported from scalp to scalp through the sharing of combs, brushes and other hair care tools.

8. Cutting hair makes it grow faster and/or thicker.

FALSE: This common misconception comes from the fact that hair is thicker at the base than it is at the tip, so shorter hair appears thicker at first. Cutting your hair does not affect 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.

9. Color treatment causes hair loss.

FALSE: Most hair coloring products contain chemicals that can do serious harm to the hair itself if not properly used, but it wont instigate hair loss.

10. Salon products are identical to drugstore products.

FALSE: Although there are exceptions, salon products generally 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. If in doubt – read the labels.

11. Long sun exposure favors hair loss.

FALSE: Your hair acts as a shield against the sun. Hair loss appears at the follicle level and so the sun would have to penetrate at this depth to do any damage.

12. Diet is related to hair loss.

TRUE: it’s important to eat right in order to be generally healthy. However, no individual food has been proven to be beneficial or detrimental to hair.

13. Stress causes hair loss.

TRUE: Severe stress (e.g. surgery or a death in the family), can shut down hair production, causing temporary hairloss (alopecia areata). The scalp usually recuperates, though, and hair grows back

14. Wearing tight braids, ponytails or buns causes baldness.

TRUE: Traction alopecia is a very real hair loss condition that is quite common amongst older African American women. It results 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.

15. 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 non-smokers. Even worse, smoking has been conclusively linked to accelerated hair loss.

SUMMARY

Heard another myth about hair? Do your research – ask an expert! This doesn’t include your grandmother, best friend or local barmaid. Instead, talk to an experienced hairdresser or a trichologist. Always get the real facts before you act on any hair myths – you owe it to your hair.

(With thanks to Daniel Mcullough and Karen M. Shelton)

The Best African American Hair Care Tips For Long Healthy Hair

No matter what your hair texture, you can benefit from these African American hair care tips. Natural hair or relaxed hair needs special treatment and gentle handling to achieve optimal health. I hope these are helpful to you.

Watch the Heat

  • Make sure your hair has been freshly washed and conditioned before using a heated styling tool. Do not redo your hair mid-week if it frizzes up. This can cause damage due the build up of styling products and dirt on your hair
  • Take a break from the heat! Retain more of your hair length by styling your hair with heat free styles like braid outs, French rolls, and buns.

Proper Bed Time Care

  • Do not go to bed without wrapping your hair or pinning it up. Remember to wear a scarf to maintain your hairstyle and keep your hairline smooth.
  • Always detangle your hair before bedtime. Remember to use a wide-tooth comb. This will make it even easier to style your hair in the morning.
  • Use an oil or serum on your hair ends at night. Do this before rolling your hair or wrapping it in the scarf. Your hair will retain moisture and it will help you to hold a better curl.

Regular Maintenance

  • Don’t go longer than a week without washing your hair. A common myth among African American women is not to wash your hair too much because it will lead to dryness. Far from the truth. Water will keep your hair moisturized and clean. Having a clean scalp and hair will promote hair growth. And it smells much better!
  • Depending upon the health of your hair, you should get your ends trimmed every 2-6 months. Start with this tip immediately. It’s a good start to your healthy hair journey.
  • Deep conditioning should be done at least every other week using the heat of a hooded dryer. The heat will help the conditioning penetrate. Use a protein deep conditioner once a month to strengthen your hair.

This list of African American hair care tips should help you get started on your journey to healthier and longer hair.

Top 6 Ways Aloe Vera Can Make Your Hair Turn Heads

Aloe Vera, or the ‘wonder plant’ as it is often called, is a succulent cactus-like plant that grows in arid climates. It is most commonly known for its ability to moisturize and revitalize as it is comprised of 95% water. The ‘wonder plant’ is also a great source of nutrients, as it provides a number of essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Here are some ways the ‘wonder plant’ can be used to help revive your hair, bring back its luster, and moisturize like no other product on the market, naturally.

1- The Ultimate Moisturizer

Mix 1 Tablespoon of Aloe Vera Gel into your conditioner, or nix the conditioner altogether and let the Aloe revitalize your hair as it replenishes its moisture.

2- The Need For Speed

Does it take forever for your hair to grow? The ‘wonder plant’ provides hundreds of nutrients and enzymes that stimulate hair growth. Try gently massaging some Aloe Vera Gel into your scalp and letting it sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water and a mild shampoo. Repeat as needed. You can also try adding some concentrated Aloe Vera juice to your favorite smoothie. Whether applied externally, or taken orally, extracts from the ‘wonder plant’ can help speed up hair growth.

3- Thicker is Better

Thin hair is more prone to damage and breaking, and looks a little wimpy in a pony tail. Beef up your locks by adding a little Aloe Vera into your life. Try a daily supplement, or stick with some Aloe Gel rubbed into your scalp and transform those puny ponies into luscious locks.

4- Shine, Shine, Shine

Wish you had shiny locks? No problem! Aloe Vera’s moisture-rich composition will help nourish your hair and help you achieve that shiny hair you’ve always dreamed of in no time.

5- Flake those Flakes

Many of the hair products on the market dry out your scalp and cause dandruff. The ‘wonder plant’ can help reduce dandruff, naturally. Try combining a few tablespoons of Aloe Vera Gel with some coconut milk and wheat germ oil. Massage into your scalp. Rinse. Repeat as needed.

6- Less is More? No way!

Did you know that Aloe Vera (in the form of a gel applied topically, or as a dietary supplement in the form of a capsule or concentrated juice) can help prevent hair loss? Among its other super-powers, the ‘wonder plant’ is an anti-inflammatory which helps stop hair loss.

Incorporate some Aloe Vera into your lifestyle and your beauty routine and watch as your hair is naturally rejuvenated.

From Long To Short Hair: Making The Transition Easy

The decision to go from long to short hair is sometimes done with a lot of thought and sometimes done on a whim. Whatever the reason, it is important to prepare for some transitioning, and to make the correct decisions with regards to your new style. Often a drastically short cut will be too short, and then you will have to wait for your hair to grow out again. To avoid this problem there are a few simple points to consider before going for the cut.

One option is to go to a medium length haircut before deciding to go any shorter. This allows you the chance to get used to shorter and shorter styles, without cutting too short the first time. Often women or men find out that medium length is just what they really wanted – long enough to pull back yet short enough to wear down and in a casual style if they want. For women that are used to the multitude of different looks and styles that can be accomplished with long or medium hair, they may find the shorter style to be a bit restrictive, whereas the medium length still gives lots of options.

If your best feature is your long hair, and that is what you feel good about and have other people recognize you by, is cutting your hair really right for you? The shorter style will be very drastic, and it may attract lots of positive or negative attention. Gradually going shorter will eliminate a lot of the stress of a cut, and allow people to get used to your new style. In addition, wearing your hair up or back for a while before the cut will help you decide if short is the look you are going for, as well as help your coworkers, family and friends adjust.

Short hair doesn’t have to mean just one style. By learning how to work with short hair you can have several different styles from casual to elegant. Try using some of the new hair fibers, muds, crèmes and other styling products to create new looks with your style. If you are unsure of how to start, try talking to your stylist and having him or her show you a few quick styles.

Your facial shape will also have a big impact on what length of hair looks best. For long faces, short hair can actually square out the face and lessen the appearance of length. Squarer shaped faces are softened and rounded with layering at the sides, but will appear more squarely shaped with the very short cuts. Bobs and blunt cuts look great on oval shaped faces, and depending on the length of the cut, different features can be accentuated. For example, if you wish to draw attention away from your cheeks try keeping the hair longer at the sides of the head, and more textured through the bang area. A professional stylist will be able to advise you on a cut that will suit your features.

Getting a short cut can help you get in style, change your traditional look, or even just do something new. To avoid any regrets, try going shorter in stages, rather than all at once. If you are not sure what you will look like with a shorter style, you can try on wigs that will help you “see” yourself with short hair, or else keep your hair pinned up or pulled back to get used to the idea. If you are getting a short cut just because it looks cute on a friend or a movie star, you may want to reconsider. If you are cutting your hair for you, and you feel that it will suit your face and busy lifestyle, then short is definitely an option.