The 10 Biggest Hair Myths, Debunked By Experts

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Written by Georgia Gould

Updated: March 8, 2024

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When it comes to your hair, there are some crazy myths doing the rounds. How do you know what to believe when you’re bombarded with ‘don’t do that’ and ‘must do this’ on a daily basis?

Well, you figure out the BS for starters. Then you can pay more attention to the truths. Because who wants to waste time on stuff that either doesn’t work or, worse than that, might actually damage your hair in the long run?

Caught your interest? Then keep scrolling for 10 of the biggest hair myths we’ve ever heard… plus the real, unadulterated truth. 

1. The Hairbrushing Sweet Spot Is 100 Strokes A Day

We thought we’d kick off with one of the oldest hair myths of all: that brushing your hair 100 times a day makes it shiny and healthy.

Originating back in the day before conditioners were invented, it was believed that 100 strokes of your hairbrush was the exact right amount to distribute natural oils from your scalp through to the ends of your hair to help keep those ends soft and healthy. And honestly it kind of makes sense. But 100 times? Really? 

@thehealthyhur

Here’s what type of brush you should be using, based on your hair type! 😋 Choosing brushes can be so confusing when you have so many options like the paddle brush, boar bristle brush, and wide tooth combs! #hairbrush #hairtype #trichologist #hairtok

♬ original sound – Taylor Rose – Trichologist

The truth is, overbrushing your hair can weaken the strands and damage your hair – especially if it’s already thin and fragile. And if your hair is naturally curly? Well, let’s not even go there. 

Of course, brushing is important to help distribute oils, encourage growth and nourish the hair, but 100 times is excessive. Instead, invest in a really good, kind-to-hair boar bristle brush like a Mason Pearson and, depending on your hair type (curls don’t need as much brushing as straight hair) gently brush your locks two or three times a day to help distribute natural oils from your scalp through to the ends of your hair.

2. Frequent Trims Makes Your Hair Grow Quicker

Think about it, hair grows from the roots, the living element of your hair, not from the ends which are actually made from dead, hardened keratin. So how would having your hair cut more often bear any relevance to the rate at which it grows? It just doesn’t make sense. 

Of course, split, badly cared-for ends make your hair look thinner and more ratty, so it’s important to have regular trims to keep your hair looking thick and healthy.

But longer? Sorry, not gonna happen.

3. Shampoos & Conditioners Stop Working If You Continue Using Them For Too Long

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Contrary to popular belief, consistently using the same shampoo and conditioner doesn’t make your hair immune to their benefits. In fact, if you find products that work well for your hair type, it’s an excellent idea to stick with them because their positive effects will continue the longer you use them. 

Reckon you’re experiencing shampoo and conditioner burnout because your beloved combo is no longer giving your hair the same benefits as it used to? Then it’s not because they’ve stopped working, but rather that your hair’s needs have changed.

Perhaps you’re under more stress right now or are going through hormonal changes. Maybe you’ve moved to a new home and are experiencing warmer weather or harder water?

All these factors can lead to changes in your hair and scalp. And these changes often require different products in order to keep them healthy. 

4. If You Stop Washing Your Hair, It’ll Eventually Start Self-Cleaning 

Speaking of washing your hair, or more to the point, not washing your hair… don’t do that.

We’ve all found ourselves in that #dirtyhair corner of TikTok where people boast about how long they’ve left their locks between washes, ‘training’ it to look after itself. But is being part of the ‘great unwashed’ really that good for your hair? 

Well, it can be.. but mainly no. Bear with us here. The act of shampooing is about cleansing your scalp, not your hair. And your scalp has pores which can easily get blocked up with dirt, styling product, sebum and sweat. It makes sense, therefore, that if you don’t keep your scalp clean, it can quickly become irritated, leading to itching, redness and cruddy, damaged hair. 

@emilyalexaander

Another heatless hairstyle for dirty hair!

♬ original sound – emily alexander

So, what’s the real reason some people think their hair looks healthier from not washing it regularly? Probably because less washing equals less blow-drying and less heat-styling which can damage hair in the long-term if it’s not done with care. 

Everyone’s hair is different and there are many factors to take into account when deciding on how often to wash your hair. As a general rule, The Cleveland Clinic dermatologist, Shilpi Khertarpal recommends two or three times a month for African Americans and at least twice a week for other groups.

5. If You Have Oily Hair You Can’t Use Hair Oils

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If you have oily skin and an oily scalp even the thought of applying oil to any part of your body is off-putting. However, hair oils are a phenomenal way to target the mid-lengths and ends of your hair, injecting (no, not literally!) your strands with much-needed nourishment and moisturization, and helping to smooth out fuzzy ends.

Hair oils can work for you – no matter how oily your scalp may be.

Just look out for lightweight formulations like Verb Ghost Oil and avoid your scalp if you’re worried about overloading it. Concentrate on the ends of your hair only and you won’t regret it. Hair oils really can work wonders for the health and glow factor of your hair.

6. A Cold Water Rinse Makes Hair Extra Shiny

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According to experts at The Institute Of Trichologists in London, UK, there’s no evidence to prove that a final rinse with cold water closes down the cuticles and leaves your hair smoother and shinier. So there you go. 

Saying that, hot water is no better.

The best water temperature for washing and conditioning your hair is not too hot and not too cold – lukewarm, if you will. Warm water effectively gets rid of buildup on your scalp but it doesn’t strip away all those important oils that help to nourish and protect it. Ditto where your skin is concerned. 

7. Fine Hair Doesn’t Need Conditioner

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image via @eighmeighhh

Unless you never color, heat style or do anything to your hair, almost all hair types need conditioner to balance and moisturize the lengths and ends. Also, volumizing shampoos can be very drying, so go figure.

The key, whatever your hair type, is to find the right conditioner. And if you have fine hair, that’ll be one that’s free of heavy additives and rich oils that can over-condition and weigh down your hair.

Instead, look out for weightless formulations like Paul Mitchell Extra Body Conditioner which is specifically tailored to volumize and add bulk to fine hair as it nourishes and moisturizes limp locks. Apply it sparingly, avoiding the roots, and rinse well. Simple.

8. Hair Conditioner Repairs Split Ends

Newsflash: the only thing that can repair split ends is to have them chopped off.

Sure conditioners, oils, serums and styling creams can temporarily make them look less frizzy and dry, but the only way to ditch them for good is to get a haircut. The end.

9. Mom’s Dad Is To Blame For Hair Loss

We’re not sure where this one came from but it seems almost everyone believes that hair loss is passed down from your maternal grandfather. The truth, however, is that, yes heredity accounts for around 80 percent of the predisposition to baldness.

However, these genes come from both sides of the family – not just your mom’s. It’s also completely random between siblings.

So quit blaming your poor mother.

10. If You Pull Out A Gray Hair, Two Will Take Its Place

Whether you were 21 or 61 when it first happened, there’s no denying that seeing your first gray hair is a shock to the system. However, gray hairs are perfectly natural and they’re all part of the aging process – just like wrinkles, embracing comfortable shoes and developing a questionable taste in music. Jokes. 

But what do you do when you see your first white hair? Well, if the rumors are anything to go by, the last thing you should do is pluck it out. Do that and multiple grays will immediately take its place, right? 

Wrong. Only one hair can grow out of each follicle. Once it’s turned white, thanks to the pigment cells dying and producing less color, every hair that grows from that specific follicle will also be white – you can’t stop that chain reaction. However, only one hair will come through, not tons.

More to the point is that once you see a single gray hair, others will gradually crop up in different areas of your head. Because… life. And that’s OK. Embrace them or color them, gray hairs are nothing to be ashamed of.

Word of Warning

While plucking gray hairs might not encourage more to grow, it can damage the follicles and lead to long term hair loss. Best leave well alone.


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