Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hair Care Myths: Fact or Fiction?

Brushing your strands 100 times a day can lead to hair damage. Photo: Alamy

You've undoubtedly been told that shiny hair requires 100 brushstrokes every night and that plucking a gray hair will only result in two more growing back, right? The beautiful-strand seekers in all of us have tried our share of urban legends when it comes to hair care. But experts say don't believe everything you hear.

To find out which myths are true and which ones deserve to be washed down the drain, we consulted with two top industry gurus. Here are the real facts and fiction behind great-looking hair:

Myth: Brushing 100 Times a Day Keeps Your Hair Healthy
False: If you ask Kenneth Tepper, celebrity stylist at Pierre Michel Salon in New York City, frequent brushing does bring your natural oils from the scalp down to the dry ends of your hair where they are needed, but excessive brushing can also lead to breakage. Skip the 100 strokes and go for about 15 to 20. That will be more than enough, says Tepper. And always use a 100-percent-natural boar-bristle brush, never pull and be gentle.

Myth: Stress Will Make Your Hair Fall Out
True: Stress reduces blood circulation at the scalp and a healthy scalp needs blood flow. "I just had my hair professionally analyzed," says Tepper, "and the analysis expert asked me if I was under stress. I responded, 'Duh!!! I live in New York. Who isn't stressed?'" Tepper was then shown a strand of his hair under a microscope that was bent at the root -- a sure-fire indicator of stress. So eat right and de-stress, otherwise it will show up on your hair!

Myth: Shampooing Every Day Keeps Hair Clean and Healthy
False: Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Tepper. Only very oily hair needs a daily washing; everyone else should find a way to refresh their style in between shampooing to avoid depriving your ends of vital oils. Try rinsing and conditioning every other day instead of shampooing daily.

Myth: Swimming Pools Will Turn Your Hair Green
True: But only if you're a blonde. Chlorine can turn lighter shades of hair a scary green tint -- especially if your locks were dry to begin with. To keep this from happening, apply conditioner to hair before diving in. This will seal the cuticle so your strands won't absorb the harmful chemicals.

Take a break from sudsing up. Photo: Alamy

Myth: Ingredients Like Semen, Eggs, Mayo and Olive Oil Are Your Best Conditioners
False: Keep those home remedies in the refrigerator and in the bedroom and away from your hair, said Tepper. While adding moisture of any sort can be beneficial, even the drugstore type of conditioners have certain ingredients like keratin and amino acids that are better for your hair. Besides, egg protein and mayonnaise oil molecules are too big to get inside the hair.

Myth: Coloring Your Hair While Pregnant Is Bad
True: All-over dyes are not recommended, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy because the chemicals can get into your system. Highlights, on the other hand, do not touch the scalp, therefore there is no absorption into the body. To be safe, only do off-the-scalp highlights or lowlights if you decide to color, advises Mark Garrison of New York's upscale Mark Garrison Salon.

Myth: Cold Water Makes Hair Shiny
True: A cool rinse will close the hair cuticle enabling it to reflect light better, so turn the shower to cold and think warm thoughts!

Myth: Dandruff Is Contagious
False: Most people do not have real dandruff, they have a flaky scalp from cold weather and too much heat at home. "It's a dry scalp, not a virus or infection," said Garrison.

Myth: Standing on Your Head Makes Your Hair Grow Faster
True: Getting more blood flow to your scalp is always good, but it might be more easily achieved by massaging the scalp. "You might fall and hurt yourself, then who cares how long your hair is," said Tepper.

Myth: Shaving Your Head Will Make Your Hair Grow Faster
False: Going for a G.I. Jane look will not give you thicker, faster growing locks, so put away the razor. When the head is shaved, your hair will grow in together and all at the same length, making it appear thicker, but it's not. Even if you're not taking it all off, cutting the hair does not make it grow back quicker.

Blondes don't have all the fun. Redheads have more sex according to one study. Photo: Alamy

Myth: Plucking Gray Hairs Will Cause More to Grow
False: Plucking will only make you bald. You will actually destroy the follicles if this is repeated over and over, according to Garrison. You will want that gray hair one day, so save it!

Myth: Cutting Hair During a Full Moon Will Speed Up the Growing Process
False: Some astrology followers believe that cutting your hair during the new moon or the first phase of the moon, when the light is increasing, will make hair grow back faster, but it won't. Said Garrison, "This may be more psychological."

Myth: If You Cut Your Hair on Friday the 13th, a Family Member Will Die
False: Just like some people believe black cats and walking under ladders can result in years of bad luck, this is another silly superstition. Even so, Garrison said jokingly, "I'm afraid to try!"

Myth: Dye Your Hair Red and You Will Have More Sex
True: Blondes may have more fun, but redheads have more sex according to one study. Once you go red, you may never want to change your head!

Myth: Using Vodka on Your Hair in the Sun Will Lighten It
False: "Drink it instead," said Garrison. "Don't waste it on disappointing results."


Hair News Network

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