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16 Hair Myths and Facts

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

beautiful young woman with long, healthy looking blonde hair

1. Using the high heat setting on your blow dryer, flat iron, or curlers is safe.

Hair Myth. Never use the highest heat setting on your flat or curling iron. Even some blow driers should only be used on warm. Using a lower heat and taking smaller sections is much safer and gentler on your hair. It will take longer to dry, but your hair will thank you for it.

2. Color takes better on dirty hair.

Hair Myth. This is one of the most common myths in the beauty industry that people still believe. Decades ago, when permanent hair color came out, the chemicals were much harsher than now. Back then, you needed natural oils to protect your scalp from getting irritated. Hair color has come such a long way, and the color treatment takes best on clean hair, free of any build-up or products.

3. Coconut oil is good for your hair.

Hair Fact. Coconut oil can add moisture and strength to hair. Just be careful because a little goes a long way, and you may need multiple shampoos to get it out of your hair. Coconut oil works best on course, curly hair.

4. A dry scalp causes dandruff.

Hair Myth. There are many reasons for people to get a flakey scalp. In most cases, it's just dry skin and needs some moisture. Sometimes, it's caused by using too much hairspray or another "stiffening" product like gel or mouse. However, a dry scalp is not dandruff. It has just gotten rolled into that term over the years. Real dandruff is typically found in overly oily hair when the skin cells clump together because the scalp isn't properly scrubbed when washed. Sometimes, these clumps form almost like scabs and can be slightly painful when scratched off.

Psoriasis can also cause flaking. You should see a dermatologist if you notice excessive flakes or have an itchy scalp to get a proper diagnosis.

5. Fix dandruff by oiling your hair.

Hair Myth. Using an oil on diagnosed dandruff may make things worse. If you have a dry, flakey scalp that is not dandruff, using oil can help soothe and hydrate the skin, which may prevent further dryness and flaking.

6. You should wash your hair every day.

Hair Myth. Shampooing your hair every day can be very drying to your hair and scalp. Plus, our bodies are really good at adjusting to what we do to it. If you shampoo every day, your scalp will actually produce more oil to compensate. If you shampoo less, your scalp will adjust and produce less oil. As we age, we produce less and less oil, so for some people, it's appropriate to only shampoo once a week or even less often than that. However, the average person should wash their hair every 2 to 3 days.

On the other hand, if you wash your hair too infrequently, less than twice a month for some ethnicities or less than twice a week for different ethnicities, you risk inflammation and overgrowth of yeast that naturally live on the scalp that can cause a fungal skin infection and even dandruff.

To learn more about factors to help you determine how often you should shampoo your hair, check out this article by the Cleveland Clinic, Here’s How Often You Should Wash Your Hair.

7. Sleep with your hair up.

Hair Fact. Keeping long hair "contained" while sleeping is best to prevent friction that may cause breakage. A braid is the best option. For hair that is too short to braid or wear in a low ponytail, a silk or satin pillowcase will allow hair to slide without causing friction.

8. Brush your hair 100 strokes a day.

Hair Myth. There is no exact number of times you should brush your hair in a day. All hair types need different things. Hair that tangles easily may need more brushing. However, to keep your curly hair looking its best, comb it only while wet to prevent it from getting too puffy. Note that it is possible to overbrush your hair, causing it to break, and using the incorrect brush can also cause damage. The average person should thoroughly brush out their hair once or twice a day, using a natural boar bristle brush on dry hair and a WetBrush or wide tooth comb on wet hair.

9. Stress turns your hair gray.

Hair Myth. Although stress can affect the body in many ways, typical day-to-day stresses won't directly affect your hair. However, severe, prolonged stress may cause excessive shedding. It can, however, affect the pigment-producing cells that give your hair its natural color. Also, intense trauma, such as a car accident or any other type of injury, can cause hair to change in color or texture.

10. Split ends can be repaired.

Hair Myth. Once hair splits, the only way to "repair" it is to cut it. The split pieces will eventually break off if you don't cut it. The broken hair causes hair to get thin and stringy at the ends. Keeping up with regular trims will prevent split ends from forming, allowing your hair to grow longer and healthier.

11. If you pluck a gray hair, more will appear in its place.

Hair Myth. Plucking a gray hair won't make more grow back, but I don't suggest doing it anyway. Plucking hair can cause trauma to the follicle. So, would you rather have gray hair that you can color or no hairs?

12. Change your shampoo and conditioner every couple of months.

Hair Fact. Your hair may "get used to" a particular shampoo after a while and may not respond as well as at first. I suggest switching shampoos after going through 1 or 2 bottles. So, roughly every 2-3 months, depending on how often you wash your hair.

13. Air drying your hair is better for it than heat styling.

Hair Fact. All heat styling is drying to some extent. Certain products can help prevent damage, but nothing can eliminate it. Instead of blow drying your hair every time you wash it, let it air dry occasionally, maybe on the weekends.

14. A cold rinse will make your hair shinier.

Hair Fact. Using cold water on your hair has some great benefits. The cuticle layer of hair reacts similarly to pores in your skin. Heat opens them up, cold closes them. Using cold water when rinsing out your conditioner is a great way to help seal the moisture into your hair.

15. You can smooth frizzy hair with water.

Hair Fact and Myth, depending on the hair texture. For someone with naturally straight hair, dampening and sliding your hands over your hair will likely calm the frizz and flyaways. However, this is the last thing you want to do for someone with curly hair who spends a lot of time straightening their hair. Instead, for fine hair, a light spritz of hairspray should hold things down, and for course hair, a few drops of oil would be your best bet.

16. Your hair stops growing past a certain point.

Hair Fact. Everyone's hair has a "breaking point." For some, it may be just past their shoulders; for others, it could be just past their behind. Your hair's breaking point depends on your hair texture, thickness, lifestyle, hair color, and even your diet, which can affect how your hair grows. Even though it'll continue to grow from your scalp, most people's hair gets to a certain point where it starts to get split ends and breaks off. Even with regular trims, for some people, no matter what they do, they can't seem to grow their hair past a certain point.

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