5 Hair care myths — debunked

If your hair care isn’t top of mind for you on a regular basis, seeing the gorgeous celebs attending the Golden Globes last night certainly can draw your attention to your tresses. However, the last thing you want to do is buy into hair care myths that can actually damage your beautiful locks. Longtime hair care advocate and health scientist Audrey Davis-Sivasothy wants to debunk those old wives’ tales on taking care of your mane.
If your hair care isn’t top of mind for you on a regular basis, seeing the gorgeous celebs attending the Golden Globes last night certainly can draw your attention to your tresses. However, the last thing you want to do is buy into hair care myths that can actually damage your beautiful locks. Longtime hair care advocate and health scientist Audrey Davis-Sivasothy wants to debunk those old wives’ tales on taking care of your mane.

Don’t be misled about hair care

Misinformation can be just as stubborn as frizz or those pesky flyaways – it’s difficult to manage, impossible to reason with and it just keeps coming back, says Davis-Sivasothy, author of Hair Care Rehab. “Old wives’ tales and ineffective products that claim to treat or rehabilitate hair often have a placebo effect because people want them to work.” Don’t let this be you! Here are common hair care myths and the hair care specialist’s solutions for hair health.

Myth: There’s a magic pill (or oil, serum or balm) to grow our hair faster, stronger or thicker

Davis-Sivasothy warns that there is no magic anything to make your hair more amazing than it is meant to be. “Hair growth is genetically predetermined and controlled by our hormones,” she explains. “Unless the magic pill affects our genes or hormones, there’s no hope that it might make our hair grow.” (This includes prenatal vitamins. Credit the upsurge in hormone levels during pregnancy for those vibrant tresses!) Pregnancy hormones give moms-to-be lush hair — not the prenatal vitamins. Though basic vitamin supplements can offer some improvement in hair quality, but only if your body truly lacks the particular vitamin or mineral being taken.

Myth: Trimming will make your hair grow stronger, longer, faster or thicker

Since hair is dead, cutting the ends has no effect on what happens at the scalp, according to the Hair Care Rehab author. “Strands will grow at the same predetermined rate each month, and individual strands will grow in at the same thickness as before,” she says. “While trimming or cutting the hair does seem to give the appearance of thicker hair, this is only because all of the freshly trimmed hairs now have the same, clear endpoint.”

Myth: Expensive products do more

Not so fast, warns Davis-Sivasothy. She suggests, “Always look for ingredients over brand names. There are just as many poorly formulated high-end products as there are bargain ones – and just as many worthy expensive products as there are bargain ones, too!”

Myth: Products made for or marketed to (insert race/ethnicity) cannot be used by those of other backgrounds

False! The ingredients in a product matter much more than to whom the product is marketed. The hair care expert explains, “In fact, most products have the same set of three to five base ingredients. Products for “ethnic” hair types tend to be more moisturizing and have more oils and proteins than those for other hair types. Damaged hair needs a good dose of moisture, proteins and oil to regain its healthy appearance. The same holds true for products marketed to those with color-treated hair. Even if your hair is not dyed, using a product for color-treated hair can be beneficial because these shampoo formulas tend to be gentler (to preserve easily washed away hair color) and conditioners tend to be super-conditioning, but lightweight, to help reduce dryness from the coloring process.”

Myth: Washing your hair too often leads to dryness

This depends on the products you are using. “Those who generally have naturally drier hair types (including those of us with curls and highly textured hair) often shy away from frequent cleansing – but water is not the enemy,” says Davis-Sivasothy. “It’s the stripping shampoos and mediocre conditioners we use that are to blame. Using the proper moisturizing and conditioning products at wash time will actually increase your hair’s hydration.”

About Audrey Davis-Sivasothy

Audrey Davis-Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, publisher and longtime, healthy hair care advocate and enthusiast. Sivasothy holds a degree in health science and has written extensively on the science of caring for hair at home.

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