“You need to trim your ends every 6 weeks.”
“Braids help protect your hair from damage and your hair will grow faster.”
“Go to a hairstylist to get a good treatment instead of doing it yourself or you will damage your own hair.”
How many times have you heard these statements in your sister circle or from your mama and aunties? There are so many myths and “hair-ologies” out there that it’s often hard to figure out what is good for you. Let’s take a look at some of the most common hair myths out there and dissect whether or not there’s any truth to them.
Cutting Hair = Faster Growth
I touched on this topic in a previous interview with my hairstylist Cynthia King. Cutting your hair does nothing more than create a new hairstyle for you. Trimming your ends, however, can be beneficial to healthy hair and growth. This is because damaged ends are being removed and split or fibrillated ends have stunt hair growth retention. As noted in Cynthia's interview, you should only trim or cut your ends when necessary,otherwise you may be destroying potentially healthy hair. Doing regular trimswill improve the overall look of your hair and make it appear healthier in texture.
Blue Magic’s Magic
While getting glammed for New Year’s Eve with my sister, I was flabbergasted when she yelled out, “Do you have any grease so that I can moisturize my scalp?” I can’t recall using grease on my hair since wearing ponytails as a little girl. My mom would grease my scalp in between the zig-zag parts I begged for.
Grease products have a petrolatum ingredient that don’t moisturize your hair effectively. Instead, grease seals moisture in or out of your hair. Grease (and hairspray) should only be used to bond or seal the hair (i.e. buns, weave ponytails, laid edges) and add shine. Water based moisturizers, such as oils and leave in conditioner, are examples of products that actually hydrate and moisturize your hair.
Living At the Salon
I don’t know many girls who are at the salon every two weeks anymore. Thanks to hair blogs (like this one!) and YouTube, women have learned how to care for their hair outside of the hair salon. This saves money, and you're no longer trapped in a salon chair on a Saturday for hours.
Thank goodness for online hair gurus...
The reality is, your hair will grow as long as you care for it properly. Protein and moisture treatments, water-based moisturizers and limiting use of heat are some of the components that contribute to growing healthy hair with body. If your stylist is using the right treatments each week, your hair will grow. However, you're still responsible for caring for your mane at home. What’s the point of spending time at a salon for expensive hair treatments only to slack on your regimen at home?
Black Girls Don’t Have To Wash Their Hair As Often As Others
I didn’t know that black hair care was different until I spent four days at a retreat with my white high school peers and witnessed them with freshly washed (and oftentimes wet) hair every morning. I thought to myself, “Why do they wash their hair every day?” As a black girl, my mom paid so much money for my hairstyles that I couldn’t imagine ruining my fresh press and curl the next day with a wash.
Growing up, most of us were told that we only needed to wash our hair every other week. Contrary to popular belief, our hair needs and loves water. despite the various textures of black women’s hair and the lack of moisture retention many of us experience. It’s important that we cleanse our hair with sulfate free shampoo that doesn’t strip our hair of its natural oils and clear build up (dandruff). Leave-in conditioners are also a pro for most black hair textures as it provides additional moisture needed.
Braids Are The Best Protective Style
As easy as it is to manage braids and twists, they can be very damaging if not installed properly. Leaving them in too long can wear and tear on your hair, especially if you style your braids and twists often, pulling and tugging more than you should. Just like with a weave, underneath those braids is your natural hair that needs constant moisture and air to breathe! Make sure to oil your hair daily, wash if there’s buildup, and refrain from leaving your braids or twists in past the 6-week mark.