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5 Myths About Black Hair Care

• Jan 16, 2013

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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,” (

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17 Comments on "5 Myths About Black Hair Care"

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


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… :/

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.


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.


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.

Ugonna Wosu

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

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 »

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


great mythbusters–thanks for posting them.


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


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

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… Read more »

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…


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

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 »

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.

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