Switch­ing sham­poos often? Shiv­er­ing through a cold rinse? It’s time to rethink your rou­tines.

Myth #1: Fre­quent trims make your hair grow faster.
Cut­ting the ends of your hair doesn’t affect the fol­li­cles in your scalp, which deter­mine how fast and how much your hair grows, says Para­di Mir­mi­rani, MD, assis­tant pro­fes­sor of der­ma­tol­ogy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cis­co. Hair grows an aver­age of a quar­ter-inch every month — whether or not you cut it. Reg­u­lar trims might make your hair look a lit­tle longer, though. Get­ting rid of split ends reduces hair break­age, and break­age is what makes hair look thin­ner at the ends (and short­er), says Matt Fugate, a hair­styl­ist at Sal­ly Her­sh­berg­er Down­town in New York City. Every eight to 12 weeks, ask your styl­ist to take off the min­i­mum nec­es­sary to elim­i­nate split ends.

Myth #2: If you always use the same sham­poo, even­tu­al­ly it will stop work­ing.
You don’t need to prac­tice sham­poo rota­tion to keep your hair clean. But if you’ve recent­ly start­ed col­or­ing your hair or increased your use of hot tools, it might be a good idea to switch to a more mois­tur­iz­ing sham­poo, says Mir­mi­rani. Oth­er­wise, stick with your favorite as long as you love it.

Myth #3: A cold-water rinse makes your hair shinier.
Hair­styl­ists love to spread this gospel. Their ratio­nale: The icy water will make the cuti­cle of your hair close so it’s flat (and light-reflec­tive), not ruf­fled (and dull-look­ing). Your hair, how­ev­er, con­tains no liv­ing cells — it doesn’t react to cold (or hot) water, says chemist Mort West­man. Use con­di­tion­ers and styling prod­ucts that con­tain sil­i­cones and oils to smooth the cuti­cle. And lim­it dam­age to your hair from straight­en­ing treat­ments, hot tools, and fre­quent dye­ing.

Myth #4.: For healthy hair, brush 100 strokes a day.
You’ve prob­a­bly heard that rig­or­ous brush­ing will dis­trib­ute the nat­ur­al oils from your scalp to add shine to your hair. Or that it will stim­u­late blood flow to your scalp and boost hair growth. Nei­ther is true. In fact, brush­ing caus­es fric­tion on hair, lead­ing to cuti­cle dam­age and break­age, which makes hair lus­ter­less and frizzy, says Mir­mi­rani. Brush your hair min­i­mal­ly (only to detan­gle or style), and use the right tools — a wide-toothed comb or a pad­dle brush with ball-tipped, plas­tic bris­tles. Avoid boar-bris­tle brush­es — nat­ur­al bris­tles aren’t uni­form, so they’re espe­cial­ly harsh on your hair and scalp.

Myth#5.: If you sham­poo less often, your scalp will grad­u­al­ly pro­duce less oil.
No mat­ter how fre­quent­ly you sham­poo, your scalp pro­duces the same amount of oil, says Jef­frey Ben­abio, MD, a der­ma­tol­o­gist at Kaiser Per­ma­nente in San Diego. Cut­ting back on sham­poo­ing will have no effect on your seba­ceous glands; genet­ics and hor­mones deter­mine the amount of oil they pro­duce. But it will cause dirt and oil to accu­mu­late on your scalp and hair fol­li­cles, and could cause inflam­ma­tion and irri­ta­tion that might stunt hair growth. All experts agree: How often you wash your hair is a per­son­al deci­sion. Use your judg­ment. Wash your hair with a mois­tur­iz­ing sham­poo when you feel you need it, whether that’s dai­ly or week­ly.

So inter­est­ing! Ladies, have you fall­en for any of these myths?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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49 Comments on "5 Myths about Trimming, Brushing and Shampoo"

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True trim­ming has its place every one is dif­fer­ent.


There is such sham­poo in Japan


In ref­er­ence to #3. When I wore my hair relaxed my styl­ist would ‘final rinse’ my hair in cold/cool water stat­ing the same. When I joined the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty I heard the same & con­tin­ued. BUT I have noticed that my hair feels bet­ter when I rinse it in warm water, before the final cold/cool water rinse. I’ve con­tin­ued to prac­tice this for almost 3 years (BC May 2010) when I should have just lis­tened to my hair!

What is true is what works for you! We are all unique so no ONE method works and that is where sci­ence annoys me as it says we are all the smae and will react the same.…not true.No one solu­tion for unique­ness. My hair loves a reg­u­lar wash and can cope with bi-week­ly or once a month it does not have a pref­er­ence and responds to how I train it to not what an arti­cle says. The key here is build­ing a rela­tion­ship with your hair and lis­ten­ing to it. I must say when I saw via cNN I was sus­pi­cious… Read more »

“Myth #3: A cold-water rinse makes your hair shinier”

Hot water drys out skin so I can only imag­ine that it dries out hair. In that sense, using cold water as a final rinse makes sense. With that said, I like to use luke­warm water.

I don’t buy into pH, cuti­cle opening/closing, etc. though…

nerline germain

I used to fall for the trim­ming your hair myth, not any­more.
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I agree with the third myth! The fact that cuti­cles close up when we do a cold water rince is not due to chem­istry but it’s due to physics! In fact dead or alive a cells tend to get small­er or to rap­proch each oth­er when they are in con­tact with cold­ness!


“Hair grows an aver­age of a quar­ter-inch every month — whether or not you cut it.”

errrrrrmm.…. Am I the only per­son who noticed this typo? If this was the actu­al case, 1/4″ mul­ti­plied by 12 months means one would only gain 3 inch­es of hair a year. I’m pret­ty sure it’s 1/2 an inch per month, but please cor­rect me if I’m mis­tak­en.

Kaila P

It varies, but since they said aver­age, from wha­tr I’ve seen s far every­one else has a half inch


Yes your cor­rect hair grows 1/2 per month I guess they had a typo I learned that in cos­me­tol­ogy school 6inchs a year

I’m actu­al­ly not quick to believe that Myth 5 is untrue. I had a group of white friends who did an “exper­i­ment” on their heads. They all had real­ly oily hair and decid­ed that they would try grad­u­al­ly sham­poo­ing less to see if this would effect how oily their hair gets (at this point they were wash­ing their hair almost every­day). Long sto­ry short, after a few months of try­ing this they noticed the less they sham­pooed their hair the less oily it was. The basic con­clu­sion was that con­stant sham­poo­ing (with sul­fate sham­poo) dries out your scalp, mak­ing the… Read more »
Nicole Veazie
Ya that wash­ing their hair once a month is ridicu­lous! I was once told by a black der­ma­tol­o­gist that the scalp is basi­cal­ly part of our body. We wash our face and body every day and same “should” go for the scalp. How­ev­er, with black hair, it is almost impos­si­ble to wash every day. But once a month is frig­gin GROSS!!!!!!! I was stand­ing next to a beau­ti­ful woman once who had the most beau­ti­ful long dreads. I kept smelling this smell (like dirty hair) and then I just asked how often she washed it. Her reply was “oh like… Read more »

I believed in # 3…so now I guess I can stop freez­ing my poor head on wash day lol

I have nev­er heard of #5 before, but I knew the oth­er ones were pure bogus. I like the one that says that the dirt­i­er the scalp, the faster the hair will grow. I guess it means that the buildup is like compost/fertilizer!!! lmao


I don’t think any­one should go one, two or three months with­out wash­ing their hair. And I can’t imag­ine how dirty hair helps with retain­ing length, grow­ing bac­te­ria and smells, maybe. 

Whether women want to admit it or not, its VERY unsexy to smell someone’s hair that has months of prod­uct build up and basi­cal­ly just an OLD smell.

I wash every ten days or so in the win­ter. When I’m work­ing out reg­u­lar­ly, I HAVE to co-wash at least dai­ly to remove sweat from my scalp, espe­cial­ly in the sum­mer.


#3 is truth. The cuti­cles do open and close and using “cool” water after a deep con­di­tion does help to close the cuti­cle of the strand and keep in the mois­ture that you’ve just applied.

I’m sor­ry but this is not a great arti­cle for Black or nat­ur­al hair.

Jojo satoes

In fact, where is JC? We need her con­fir­ma­tion!

Don’t we though? I always much rather rely on research that has been con­duct­ed in a sys­tem­at­ic man­ner rather than sit here bick­er­ing back and forth with nei­ther side bas­ing their argu­ments on reli­able evi­dence. Some­times you just have to test things in order to be sure because place­bo effect is real folks. In order to real­ly know if any prod­uct or prac­tice is effec­tive, you have to keep all oth­er prod­ucts and prac­tices con­stant as you imple­ment the one prod­uct or prac­tice. Oth­er­wise you might make an attri­bu­tion error and claim that one prod­uct gave you amaz­ing results when… Read more »
Jojo satoes

Some­one says this now after freez­ing my scalp off for years? J/k.…..


I’m gonna need a lot more con­vinc­ing on #3. While hair doesn’t con­tain liv­ing cells, we do know for a fact the the cuti­cles of the hair lift and low­er based on the pH of the prod­uct, so how can we be sure that it can’t do the same based on the tem­per­a­ture of the water. Per­son­al­ly, I’ve nev­er seen much of a dif­fer­ence with my own hair, but so many oth­ers have that there must be some­thing there.


Is the use cold water to clothes the cuti­cle and seal in mois­ture after con­di­tion­ing a truth?


Mmn I don’t rinse my head that would be sil­ly but gen­er­al­ly use cool watered the ends
Maybe it’s a high poros­i­ty thing
Even before I stopped using heat my hair would get dry fair­ly quick­ly
I have to mois­tur­ize every day some­times twice if I’ve worn my hair out

Ugonna Wosu

dis­agree with your num­ber 3. Cool water does close the cuti­cles and pre­vent frizz and con­tributes to shine. I’ve seen it on my own head.


Also, just to clear up #1 for those who swear by this myth, trim­ming can help with retain­ing length, not gain­ing length. The amount of trim­ming is sole­ly depen­dent on how well you take care of your ends.


I nev­er believed any of these myths, but I think that is because of my long back­ground in health­care. They are all cor­rect. Some­times, peo­ple have a way of con­vinc­ing them­selves of cer­tain results based on what they hear from oth­er peo­ple. For the young lady who men­tioned that the fol­low­ing list does not apply to afro tex­tured hair, all hair con­tains no liv­ing cells and that applies to our hair as well. I’m not sure why any­one would think oth­er­wise. Regard­less of tex­ture, hair is still hair. :-)


I’m real­ly lonivg the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any inter­net brows­er com­pat­i­bil­i­ty prob­lems? A few of my blog audi­ence have com­plained about my site not oper­at­ing cor­rect­ly in Explor­er but looks great in Fire­fox. Do you have any solu­tions to help fix this issue?


I dis­agree… Hair is NOT hair… What works for some wont work for oth­ers as we know. The prac­tices of some­one with nat­u­ral­ly straight hair won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly be the same for some­one with kinky… And she prob­a­bly had the same raised eye­brow and real­ized this arti­cle was not for “us” like I did when it list­ed the myth about brush­ing 100 times… CNN? Smh

Why all of the thumbs down for Jessica’s com­ment, because what does CNN know about black hair, please!!! They bare­ly have black folks on the chan­nel, so why the fas­ci­na­tion with us all of a sud­den?? And Jes­si­ca is right to an extent, we can’t do our hair the same way that white peo­ple and oth­er races do their hair, so we just have to deal with it. All of this crap about we shouldn’t grease or oil our scalps, have to wash it x amount of times a week or month, accord­ing to who?? I say do what works… Read more »

And this thumbs up/down stuff on here is straight up stu­pid and juve­nile. This is the first hair web­site that I have been on where I have seen this crap!


I am talk­ing about the FACT that hair does not con­tain liv­ing cells, regard­less of tex­ture. I agree that Hair prac­tices are indeed dif­fer­ent, based on a num­ber of things.


Yet this page often sup­ports the cold rinse myth


I heard that wash­ing the hair infre­quent­ly helps it grow faster.


Didn’t work for me. Actu­al­ly the less I washed my hair (espe­cial­ly not sham­poo­ing) the more my hair shed. That goes to show you that everyone’s hair is dif­fer­ent.


Dirty hair prob­a­bly grows faster for peo­ple whose scalp pro­duces sebum and whose hair is bet­ter able to absorb that sebum. That’s my guess. I don’t know.


I dont think it’s the dirt, but the lack of manip­u­la­tion that ‘maybe’ allows more growth reten­tion.


I heard #3 once I start­ed tran­si­tion­ing and I nev­er saw a dif­fer­ence… I actu­al­ly felt like it made my hair hard­er to detan­gle. I nev­er liked doing it, so I’m glad it’s just a myth.


[…] 5 Myths about Trim­ming, Brush­ing and Sham­poo | Black Girl with Long Hair. […]


Im a bit con­fused on myth #3. I rinse my hair with cold water, but only to get rid of the (deep)conditioner, to close the pores on my scalp/hair and keep mois­ture in. Is that not true then?

#2. Once upon a time, I thought that sham­poo stopped work­ing (like antiper­spi­rant) after a while. What I real­ized was that build-up made it less effec­tive, so I’d occas­sion­al­ly use one of those harsh clar­i­fy­ing sham­poos. Much lat­er, I real­ized that cones were caus­ing the build-up. Once I removed cones from my life, my hair has been very hap­py. #3. When I was relaxed, I believed that cool to cold water made my hair shiny. At the same time, when I was relaxed, I only used three prod­ucts: sham­poo, con­di­tion­er, and styling mousse. Now, I’m not entire­ly con­vinced that it… Read more »

I don’t rinse my hair with cool water. I keep my hair prod­ucts and styling rou­tine sim­ple and my hair is grow­ing just fine and looks great.


I rinse my hair with cool (not cold)water and I per­son­al­ly feel the dif­fer­ence so I’m going to con­tin­ue doing that method. Some­times when I rinse with Warm water my hair feels clumpy, but using the cool it doesn’t and I’m using the same prod­ucts and same wash­ing tech­nique, so yeah that’s my two cents. =)


well, i have a QUESTION about 3. my hair absorbs oils now way bet­ter than it did when i first start­ed, years ago. so, i am think­ing some­thing must be going on at a cel­lu­lar lev­el??? so even though it may not REACT to hot/cold water, it does REACT to cer­tain prod­ucts???


I think it’s because your hair is old­er, hair usu­al­ly weath­ers or increas­es in poros­i­ty as it gets old and it absorbs stuff bet­ter.


So all that chat about apple cider vine­gar and çold rins­ing are false?
Why does my hair feel bet­ter with a çold vine­gar rinse than a warmer one?


Well I think it’s half true. The tem­per­a­ture may not mat­ter but pH can help lay down cuti­cle (same for aloe Vera). I don’t know why I didn’t real­ize this soon­er. Skin is alive and reacts to tem­per­a­ture, so why would we expect ‘dead’ hair to respond sim­i­lar­ly?


I and also my bud­dies were alcaulty ana­lyz­ing the excel­lent pro­ce­dures on your web­site and then unex­pect­ed­ly got a ter­ri­ble feel­ing I nev­er thanked the blog own­er for those tips. All of the young men became as a con­se­quence joy­ful to learn them and have extreme­ly been using them. Thank you for get­ting very kind and also for pick­ing out such extra­or­di­nary sub­jects most peo­ple are real­ly eager to learn about. My per­son­al hon­est regret for not express­ing grat­i­tude to ear­li­er.


Also , I have high poros­i­ty hair and use warm water and see no dif­fer­ence. I do use a poros­i­ty con­trol prod­uct that is pH bal­anced and works great for my hair


I use acv as a clar­i­fy­ing treat­ment before I wash my hair. It leaves my hair soft, clean and detan­gled. After, I co wash or do a mud wash, then deep con­di­tion with a steam­er and then I’m good to go. I don’t use cold water rinse anymore…didn’t like it and it only made my low poros­i­ty issues worse.


Agreed. Cold rins­ing isn’t for my low poros­i­ty hair.

Lillian Mae


For some rea­son, I doubt they are shat­ter­ing myths about nat­ur­al or afro-tex­tured. The only one that I believe applies to afro-tex­tured hair is prob­a­bly #1.