The myths are developed partially by the hair industry for marketing purposes to sell products and also from a misunderstanding of hair growth as we began to grow our hair after reconstruction (era of Madame CJ Walker, who happened to also use marketing ploys to sell her products.)
- Trimming makes your hair grow: false.
Trimming makes the hair neater and even; it is a maintenance step. It can also be used to cut away damaged parts of the hair strand to reduce or stop breakage but it does not affect hair growth.
- Split ends split all the way up the hair shaft: false.
Split ends do not break evenly. When the hair splits it breaks or tears off. Now this may lead to continuous breakage because of a weak hair shaft but it will not split evenly all the way up the shaft- and if it does (which is unlikely) trimming wouldn’t help it anyway. Once we stop doing damaging things to the hair that cause split ends they will be kept to a minimum.
- Don’t wash your hair too much or it will dry out your hair: false.
Its not how often you wash your hair that dries it out but what you wash your hair with. If washing the hair dried it out Caucasians would be bald because they wash their hair everyday. Water is the number one moisturizer. Wash hair with pH balanced shampoo. Frequent shampooing with black hair is important because we put products on our hair daily to replace lost moisture. One shampoo is sufficient but sometimes two is needed if there is a lot of product/dirt build up. The first shampoo won’t lather much because of the natural oils on our hair. If you are shampooing your hair more than twice a week one shampoo each time is enough.
- Products that contain “vitamins and minerals” help to grow and strengthen the hair: false.
These ingredients have no impact on the hair shaft. Vitamins and minerals should be taken internally to have an influence on the hair.
- Grease makes our hair grow: false.
Hair grease does nothing but coat the hair and has no effect on the growth. Stimulant ingredients in products cause the cells beneath the scalp to divide more rapidly. Madame CJ Walker’s original formula; petroleum base lubricated hair protecting it from breakage; other manufacturers wanted wealth leading to influx of products in the market now.
- We have to oil our scalps: false.
We put too much emphasis on the scalp. Oiling the scalp is not necessary because of our sebaceous glands that produce sebum. Slightly acidic oil that lubricates our strands closest to the scalp and guards against lost moisture. Ends of the hair still lack moisture and susceptible to breakage. We need oil to lubricate our hair but we don’t need to oil or grease our scalps. We need to moisturize our hair daily. Moisturizer should contain water, oils for lubrication and to seal in moisture, stimulant (encourage cell replication) optional humectants (pulls moisture from the air). Heavy greases, pomades or products that contain petroleum and mineral oil just coat the hair but do not moisturize it. Avoid leave in conditioners and products with protein for daily application. Too much protein has a drying effect.
- Leave in or instant conditioners are good enough to condition the hair: false.
Intensive conditioners are important to protect and strengthen the hair especially if its chemically processed. Leave ins dry out the hair and instant conditioners rinse out and temporarily give the appearance of healthy hair. Often contain wax to fill cuticle openings to light bounces off to give it a shiny appearance. Conditioner should strengthen (have protein) lubricate (oils) stimulate scalp circulation (stimulant). Protein is the only thing that attaches to the hair strand and becomes a part of it. It’s absorbed into the cortex to replace lost protein and improve the strength and elasticity of the strand. It can also seal split hair to prevent the condition from getting worse.
- Scarves, wool caps and cotton pillowcases will break your hair: false.
Hair breaks because it is excessively dry or abused. These items will absorb some of the moisture from your hair and lead to dryness over time, especially if moisture is not replaced on a daily basis. If your hair is already dry and damaged, then these accessories can contribute to the breakage when hair strands get caught in the fibers.