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By Audrey Siva­sothy, author of Hair Care Rehab

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.

Old wives’ tales and inef­fec­tive prod­ucts that claim to treat or reha­bil­i­tate hair often have a place­bo effect because peo­ple want them to work. But many of the­se ideas and prod­ucts actu­al­ly do the oppo­site of what’s intend­ed, and they delay the user from seek­ing out real solu­tions.

Here are 5 com­mon hair care myths:

• Myth: There’s a mag­ic pill (or oil, serum or balm) to grow our hair faster, stronger or thick­er. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, no. Hair growth is genet­i­cal­ly pre­de­ter­mined and con­trolled by our hor­mones. 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!) Basic vit­a­m­in sup­ple­ments can offer slight improve­ments in hair qual­i­ty, but only if our 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. Strands will grow at the same pre­de­ter­mined rate each mon­th, and indi­vid­u­al strands will grow in at the same thick­ness as before. 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 nec­es­sar­i­ly. 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. 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. Hair can be cleansed as often as you like with­out dry­ness, pro­vid­ed you use the prop­er prod­ucts to retain mois­ture. 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! 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.

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. She is the author of “Hair Care Rehab,” (www.haircarerehab.com)

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17 Comments on "5 Myths About Black Hair Care"

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Mikayla_Jenee

The top 4 myths are not just black hair myths. My white friend has been try­ing to grow her hair out and she was telling me about this video she saw on YouTube and the­se are appar­ent­ly com­mon myths for every­one.

Brande
The wash­ing one was a myth i dis­cov­ered a cou­ple years ago. my hair is a mix­ture of 4a/b/c in dif­fer­ent spots but my hair does won­der­ful being washed every day but i did dis­cov­er this using a sul­fate free sham­poo- healthy sexy hair- and its accom­pa­ny­ing con­di­tion­er. I would fol­low with the spray on leave in conditioner(unfortunatly the­se prod­ucts were dis­con­tin­ued, sad face:(). Imme­di­ate­ly upon try­ing the wash­ing my hair every­day i saw instant favor­able results so I am a firm believ­er that you real­ly have to just try things to see what works for you. There is no… Read more »
awesome

i def­i­nite­ly agree. mrs jessie charge a for­tune and when you think it’s going to be good, it just leaves yur hair feel­ing like crap wih that min­er­al oil and petroluem . nat­u­ral ingre­di­ents are best. i rec­comend mer­cy oint­ment

Merinofro

Many expen­sive prod­ucts are rip- off’s, but some of them are incred­i­ble. I love Nexus Humec­tress and Kuz has a leave-in that rocks! Kinky Curly Knot Today is a sta­ple, too… The best stuff comes from the kitchen, but for leave- in con­di­tion­ers, i love the­se three…

nicarm00
I have been using Kinky Curly prod­ucts and they have been work­ing for me. I use it dur­ing the spring and sum­mer because its meant as a wash and go and it takes forever to dry. If you fol­low the direc­tion it works. The best part is I dont have to buy extra mois­tur­iz­ers bc its an all in one. It is nat­u­ral and has aloe vera in the prod­ucts. Kinky Curly basi­cal­ly allows you to keep your hands out of your hair and let it be! I agree about Ms. Jessies prod­ucts. Even they don’t adver­tise as nat­u­ral, I used… Read more »
vero77

who is Janelle Mon­ae ???? lov­ing that updo!!!

Phoxxie

She’s a singer. Youtube her. Im not into her music but I think shes a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral black sis­ta

myblackfriendsays

great mythbusters–thanks for post­ing them.

srb199

Irony: The add on this page for “Liq­uid Gold” oil, promis­ing faster hair growth in 4 weeks or less. :)

Tabatha
The last one is true for me, I can not wash my hair more than once a week I’ve done so much to see if I can for exam­ple I would pre-poo, but the always using an oil usul­ly coconut it start­ed leav­ing a weird feel­ing to my strands and even with prod­ucts that I nor­mal­ly used my hair would still feel dry the moment I dropped it to once a week all was well in the world, well bet­ter any­ways. I used hair viat­mi­nes because my hair NEEDED IT! It was not pret­ty. The nour­ish­ment was so lost after… Read more »
Ugonna Wosu

I pret­ty much knew all this, but it always helps to reit­er­ate things. Thank you for writ­ing.

Kayla

Expen­sive prod­ucts do more is def­i­nite­ly a myth. I’m still bit­ter over how much I spent on use­less Miss Jessie’s prod­ucts.

Jada

I agree with you about Miss Jessie! They are charg­ing way too much for water and min­er­al oil! They should be ashamed! I love Shea Mois­ture, all of the ingre­di­ents are high qual­i­ty and the price is not bad.

Melissa

THIS. Miss Jessie’s is so expen­sive and makes my hair feel like crap. But I can pick Shea Mois­ture up at Tar­get for $10 and it makes my hair so soft and won­der­ful.

N Francis

I agree! I’m amazed and baf­fled at how expen­sive miss Jessie’s prod­ucts are. The ingre­di­ents are cheap, yet they charge ridicu­lous prices.

Michelle

Dr Miracle’s was bud­get break­er, my hair got full of dan­druff and I had to spend the next 2 to 3 months using flow­ers of sul­phur mixed with sham­poo and sul­phur hair­grease to get rid of the damn flakes… :/

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