There comes a time in every woman’s life when she will come across a hair myth. Whether it starts early on the playground or comes from standing around the office water cooler, Providence has determined that someone, some day, will give you advice about hair care and you will spend the rest of your life wondering if it is true. But it must be, right? Because she heard it from her older sister, and she heard it from her mum, and she heard it from Carol next door, and so the hair myth carousel keeps on turning.
But how do you separate the fact from the fiction? How do you work out which stories are old wives’ tales, and which are just genuine good advice? I decided to take matters into my own hands and ask the expert: my hairdresser. I’ll admit that the advice of one hairdresser may not be 100% bullet proof – it’s hardly a wide pool of data – but if it’s between him and that random girl I went to uni with who told me never to use conditioner, I’ll take the opinion of the person who cuts hair for a living any day of the week.
- If you pull out one grey hair, three will grow back in its place. According to Chris, this one is the hair myth he hears about the most – and it’s absolute rubbish. You may pull out a grey hair and then notice a few extra later down the line, but those extra hairs were going to grow there whether you had picked out the original one or not. If you don’t like your grey hairs and want to get rid without dyeing the whole lot, then pick away my friend.
- If you cut your hair shorter, it will grow faster. This is what started my conversation with Chris, as I’m trying to grow my hair and remembered my mum telling me that the shorter you cut it the faster it will grow. Again, this is another old wives’ tale that, when you think about it, makes absolutely no sense. Yes, getting it cut will encourage faster, healthier growth, but this is because you are cutting off the damaged bits at the ends – cutting any more than the bits that are damaged is just a waste. Chris says it’s better to go a bit longer between appointments than you usually would, and let your hairdresser know you’re trying to grow it so they know exactly how much to cut off – and no more.
- Dry shampoo will ruin your hair. It can certainly feel like this one is true – anyone who has skipped a shower and opted for dry shampoo instead can attest to feeling like a scarecrow by the end of the day. But Chris, in his professional opinion, actually extols the virtues of dry shampoo for giving your hair a bit of volume. I have a friend who says using talcum powder does the exact same thing, but Chris hadn’t heard of that. I guess the jury’s still out on that one…
- You should change your parting once in a while. I can personally attest to the validity of this one. I swap my parting over every few weeks and every time I do someone compliments my hair and asks if I’ve just had it cut. Why does it work? Flipping your parting to the other side of your head can help give limp or greasy hair a bit of a lift. Tried and tested by yours truly.
- If you stop washing your hair the natural oils will take over and clean it. This one is technically true, but Chris warns that it might not be worth the wait. It takes about two weeks of not washing your hair for your natural oils to kick in, but it won’t look like what we would call “clean” and it will also smell a little bit. For best results, Chris recommends washing your hair two to three times a week – no more, no less.
- You shouldn’t use conditioner or your hair will look greasy. This is something a girl at uni told me and I didn’t condition my hair for years, suffering through mainly post-bath hair-detangling sessions in the process. Chris advises that conditioner is fine to use, but in moderation. Don’t throw the whole lot on like you would shampoo – just put a bit on the ends to help with those nasty knotty bits.
Are there any hair myths you’ve heard over the years that we’ve missed? Any great hair care tips that you’ve tried and tested? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by Chloe Satchell-Cobbett, Deputy Editor, Liberti