5 Myths about Trimming, Brushing and Shampoo


via CNN.com

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

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, 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 thoughts on “5 Myths about Trimming, Brushing and Shampoo

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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 every other month” *gagging*

  4. 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 sebaceous glands compensate by producing more oil.

    I don’t know the science behind this so I can’t say this for sure, and I’m definitely not advocating that people go long amounts of time without washing their hair, but their could be some basic truth behind it.

  5. “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.

  6. 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!

  7. “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…

  8. 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 and I doubt this is for afro hair.

  9. 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!

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