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… 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.


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

Kaila P

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

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 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


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.

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’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?


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?


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.


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?


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


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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.