Updated: Jun 10
1. Washing your hair with cold water makes it shiny
I actually tried this the other day - not through choice I should add, we ran out of hot water... I can confirm that my hair looked exactly the same, in fact possibly a bit drier. There is no evidence that hair cuticles are "left open" bu hot water, and in fact to get a good clean hot water is actually beneficial as the hotter it is the more efficient it is at removing dirt (this is why we wash our clothes in hot water, not cold). There is some evidence that if you have particularly frizzy or curly hair a cooler rinse can be beneficial very hot water can elevate the cuticles, but this is really at the margins so I don't think I'll be stepping out of my lovely hot shower just yet..
2. Shampoos are damaging - you should let you hair self-clean
I remember this fad in the 90s with the more "hippy" types but now the millennials have caught on too. The general consensus is that shampoo science has moved on and many of the ingredients have changed from harsh foaming chemicals and are now much gentler on the hair. Not washing your hair with shampoo can also cause damage to your hair as it can leave dead cells and potentially increased levels of oils and bacteria, all causing damage. Another good reason to keep using shampoo is that you wont have to go through the "smelly" phase which I am assured only lasts "a month or so" - a month of smelly hair - NO THANKS!
3. Trimming your hair regularly will make it grow faster
This myth always confused me growing up - how on earth could I ever grow my hair long if I kept trimming it all the time? And it turns out I was right. Your hair grows from the roots, so trimming hair makes no difference at all to how quickly it grows. Having a trim may make your hair appear less thin and straggly at the ends but it doesn't affect how quickly it grows - that is determined by the overall health of your follicles and scalp etc. The usual recommendation if you're growing your hair is to get a trim every 12 - 16 weeks.
4. You shouldn't use conditioner if your hair is oily
This seems logical but in actual fact conditioner and natural oil that your body produces are two quite different things. While it is generally acknowledged that no one should put conditioner on at the roots, particularly if you have oily hair, as this can weigh it down and make your hair look a little bit lank you should definitely use conditioner regardless of your hair type. Conditioner is essential to add nourishment and hydration to your hair.
5. It's better to air dry your hair than blow dry it
This one really surprised me - turns out that if you leave your hair wet it causes your hair to absorb the water, swell and put pressure on the proteins that keep your hair looking healthy. Obviously we know that heat also isn't great so try to minimise both by using a turban and keep blow drying settings on low.
6. Plucking a grey hair will make more grow in its place
We've definitely all heard this one, but actually it's complete myth. Apparently one hair follicle means one hair - they can't suddenly start sprouting more hairs otherwise there would be some argument for pulling all your hair out - just think how thick it would grow back! No, grey hairs are largely genetic and down to less melatonin production which unfortunately reduces with age. Plucking hair is still best avoided as it can damage the hair and make the offending grey hair grow back erratically. So, best to embrace it or get a hairdresser on the case quickly!
7. Stress causes grey hair
How many times did you parents tell you you were "turning them grey"? Well, I'm afraid it's not true - there is no scientific evidence that stress leads to more greys. However, stress can cause your hair to fall out and so it may be replaced by a grey hair prematurely that was waiting to come anyway. Unfortunately there's nothing we can do about greying as it's largely genetic. (I blame my dad!)
8. Changing your shampoo and conditioner regularly is good for you hair
I have to say I have tried this and I couldn't see any benefit. I suspect this myth comes from people who change to a product that is more suited to their hair type. Hair is actually not living so it can't "get used" to a particular brand of shampoo. If you find a brand that works for you then it's definitely worth sticking to it. In fact, the longer you use it the better the effect will be.
9. Split ends can be fixed
Do you remember those TV ads showing a hair magically being repaired by a particular brand of shampoo. Well, that was definitely all marketing, once a hair has split there is no way of glueing it back together! The only way to wave goodbye to split ends is to wave goodby to them, permanently, book in with your hairdresser as soon as possible!
10. Brush your hair 100 times a day to make it healthy
DEFINITELY NOT TRUE! In fact, excessive brushing causes damage to hair. Sorry Gran, this ones one old wives tale we'll definitely be ignoring.