Does the “Greenhouse Effect” Really Increase Hair Growth?

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By Chinwe of Hair and Health

What is the “Greenhouse Effect” (GHE) Method?  In short, it involves sleeping with a shower cap over your hair (or just wearing one for a long period of time) in order to encourage a steamy, warm environment – hence the name “greenhouse effect” – that increases hair growth.  This method was popularized by Mika and Juvaun, and is, what I would call, the new “growth bandwagon.”

But wait … isn’t this just another name for the “Baggy” Method? No.  The “Baggy” Method focuses on helping the hair retain moisture and thus length; it also requires the use of a moisturizer and/or conditioner prior to “baggying”.  In contrast, the GHE Method focuses on growth from the scalp, and only natural oils or butters may be applied to the hair prior to putting on a shower cap.

So now you are probably asking: Does this GHE Method actually increase hair growth?  Well, given the many testimonies from relaxed and natural ladies, it appears to do so … but does it actually work?  Let us take a closer look at some of the claims people have made about the GHE method:

1. Increased sebum production “nourishes the hair and helps it grow”

Sebum, as many of you probably know by now, is a substance that is secreted from the skin for the purpose of lubricating the skin and hair.  The sebum that comes from the scalp can be thought of as a “natural oil treatment,” if you will.

So, how does this relate to the GHE method?  After period of wearing a shower cap, the heat from the head produces a warm environment under the cap.  When the cap is worn for hours at a time, the scalp may begin to produce more sweat and sebum.  Now, sebum can help with length retention and alleviating a dry scalp, but can it help with actual growth from the follicles?  I doubt it can.  (Check out this interesting study on vellus hair growth and sebum excretion: Blume U, Ferracin J, Verschoore M, Czernielewski JM, Schaefer H. “Physiology of the vellus hair follicle: hair growth and sebum excretion.” British Journal of Dermatology, 1991 Jan: 124 (1): pp. 21-28.)

2. The heat increases blood circulation in the scalp, thus increasing hair growth

The application of heat to the back, leg, or other part of the body can stimulate blood flow to that particular region.  (That is just the physiology of the human body.)  Thus, the heat that is produced with the GHE Method may help to stimulate blood flow to the scalp.  Our blood carries vital nutrients to various parts of the body, so it would make sense that more nutrients might be reaching the follicles of the scalp with the GHE Method.  With increased nutrients follows optimal hair growth?  Possibly.

3. It helps to retain more moisture, which “boosts hair growth”

In addition to heat production there is condensation (that is, water vapor transforming into liquid water) in the shower-cap environment.  Because our natural hair loves moisture, the GHE method can be good for replenishing and retaining moisture.  That in turn can help with length retention, but what about hair growth?  I have not found any information that supports a relationship between moisture and hair growth from the follicle.

4. The sweat and steam detoxify the scalp

As mentioned earlier, the warm environment created with the GHE method can induce sweating.  However, the main purpose of sweat is to regulate the body’s temperature (by cooling the body upon evaporation); sweat does not “detoxify” the body.  We have organs within our body – liver, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys – that take care of that task.  Additionally, sweat is primarily water with just a small amount of elements and minerals (none of which are toxic), such as iron, calcium, and sodium.  That being said, the GHE Method more than likely cannot detoxify the scalp.

So, after examining each of these claims, does the GHE Method really help the hair grow?  Well, it is possible given a stimulation of blood flow to the scalp induced by the heat formed from wearing a shower cap for a prolonged period.  However, you might really not know until you try it for yourself!  You can read more about the method here.

Ladies, have you tried the GHE Method?  What has been your experience?

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Chinwe

Chinwe

Hails from a great city in the Midwest and will forever be a Bears fan.

 

43 thoughts on “Does the “Greenhouse Effect” Really Increase Hair Growth?

  1. When the air is dry my dries out fast, the green house effect keeps my hair moisturize which helps my hair from breakage. I use a little water a natural oil cover with pastic cap but a scarf on and go to work or anywhere when I get home I take them off hair nice and soft and moisturized.

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  2. I have tried the GHE and I do it after every Aphogee protein treatment to put the moisture back into my hair. I can’t say weather out has worked when it comes to length but it makes my scalp and hair feel better. My new growth is always softer and it makes for easy comb after the oil has soaked into my hair from the heat.

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  3. Applying this method at least 5 times a week, has definitely allowed my to retain 8 inches of hair growth with regular trims in 1 year. Allowing me to go from NL to APL, after being stuck at NL for two whole years and my 3C hair is a 100 times healthier and less frizzy than it was before.

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  4. Nice article, but you don’t sound like you wanted to write it. I read it and feel a lot of doubt concerning the article and that you don’t believe that the method can grow hair. I don’t know if I’m making sense. But very helpful information :)

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    • yes your right i felt the same way too it was like she was doubting if GHE really works for the hair but she made us understand what exactly is GHE and what it does for our hair

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  5. I feel like dropped a bit of science on this bandwagon. I feel like while so many people say going “natural” is a movement and so on, people treat it like a fad and will try just about anything including putting “anti-fungal cream” on their hair to make it grow. I am glad someone wrote what I was thinking about the basic facts of GHE. I think like any other method, we should examine if this good for us as individuals and as a group. Thanks for providing much needed insight.

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  6. I don’t know about how it affects the scalp, but anyone that’s ever had a cast for a while can confirm that the hair under that cast grows a lot faster than it should and is actually very disturbing. So it could be true for the hair.

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  7. So heres a wrench. I have a problem with dandruff. Dandruff is a fungus and it likes darkness and moisture. I feel that this will simply worsen that problem.

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