8 Damaging Hair Care Myths Debunked

When I was a child, I had beautiful, flowing locks down to my waist. Everyone complimented me on my hair. One day, someone convinced me to get a haircut. And then the salon overdid it. My hair fell only to my armpits. I was six years old. Over a decade later, at age twenty-one, I was still struggling to grow back my beautiful hair!

I had been trying to get my hair back since almost the day it was cut off, but no matter what I did or tried, I couldn’t get it much further than my shoulder-blades. I started despair. What if I never could have long hair again? Had I missed out on some kind of special window when I was younger? Was I just doomed to short hair?

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If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve been going through a similar experience. Maybe you’ve looked up hair myths and truths on the internet, done everything your hairdresser has told you to do, and still no results, just brittle, damaged hair that breaks no matter what you do, and hair that seems to have reached its terminal length way too soon.

The reality is, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding how to grow your hair out and make it long and strong. I went through a lot of trial and error and made numerous mistakes along the way. I followed a lot of common advice which completely mislead me.

I don’t want you to go through that. I want to help you learn what really works and what doesn’t work. My goal is to help you get strong, healthy hair that resists breakage and grows fast. (and help you avoid all myths about hair growth) When you keep your hair healthy and strong, it naturally gets long on its own. And if you’re wondering, yes, I did eventually get past that mid-back hurdle. My hair now falls past my hips, and is longer even than it was when I was a little girl. I got all that length back and then some, and I’m still adding inches, slowly but surely! I’m back to getting a ton of wonderful compliments on my hair, and it’s stronger, softer, and silkier than ever.

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How did I do it? A huge part of it was just unlearning all the myths about hair I’d ingrained over the years! Let’s debunk some of those damaging hair care myths right now so that you can get back to growing your hair successfully. Odds are if you just stop making the same mistakes I did, you will start seeing some progress at last!

A lot of these myths are considered “common sense,” but don’t make sense at all!

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Myth #1: Trimming your hair makes it grow faster.

Fact: Trimming your hair has no impact on the rate of growth. All trimming does is cut off the ends of your hair. Growth doesn’t happen at the ends, it happens at the roots. Hair grows at around a quarter of an inch per month. Why do so many people believe trimming literally makes hair grow?

At a guess, it’s probably because hairdressers always tell us to come in for a haircut every six weeks and get an inch or two off to accelerate growth. The reason they tell you this is so that you will get rid of your split ends—and so that you will pay them more money! When should you get your hair trimmed and how often? I will talk about that later when I get around to maintenance tips! Oh, and for the record, you do not really need to go to a salon at all with long hair unless you want your hair cut and styled. If you have long hair, or even medium-length hair, cutting it yourself is pretty easy!

Fact: Trimming your hair has no impact on the rate of growth.

Myth #2: You can add several inches to your hair every month if you know what you are doing.

Fact: No, you can’t! There are tons of people out there claiming they have the ultimate secret to hair growth that will add 3-6 inches per month, but this is impossible. You can speed up hair growth slightly, but you are not going to put much more on than that quarter of an inch a month discussed above. If your hair really were growing that fast, there would probably be something supernatural at work.

While we are at it, do the math here. For the sake of argument, let’s say you managed to put on a half an inch of length each month (which would be quite good), In six months, you would have put on three inches if you did not trim your hair. Now imagine you got half an inch off every 6 weeks. In six months, you would cut off 2 inches. You would only have put on an inch in total. And now imagine your growth rate is only the typical quarter of an inch per month. You bet—your hair would actually have lost half an inch.

And you wonder why your hair isn’t growing.

Myth #3: Brushing your hair with 100 strokes a day will make it grow.

Bonus: Download these 10 Aloe Vera Hair Gel Recipes for longer, stronger and healthier hair you’ll fall in love with.

This myth says that brushing your hair with 100 strokes will move oils around from your scalp, pushing them down to your roots. Not only is 100 a totally random number, but it doesn’t work. It actually causes breakage and frizzing. If your hair is in poor shape to begin with, this will make it much worse very fast.

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Brush your hair enough to get it untangled, and no more. While you are at it, be sure you clean out your comb daily.

If you are using a comb that has hair stuck in it, it is not going to be as effective, and it will just cause more tangles and problems.

On that note, always remember to start combing your hair down at the ends and then work your way up toward your scalp. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but it really is the only approach that works. If you start at the top and work your way down, you will just push tangles further and further down your hair, making them worse and worse until they form serious knots. Instead, work out the tangles at the bottom, and then move up and work out the next tangles up. This will be a lot more effective and less damaging.

Brush your hair enough to get it untangled, and no more. While you are at it, be sure you clean out your comb daily.

Myth #4: Your hair has a terminal length.

 This one is not exactly a myth—more of a poor choice of words. The concept of terminal length is this: Once your hair reaches a certain length, it is done growing. Each person might have a different terminal length, but the terminal length is set in stone and that is that.

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The reason this is not exactly true is that the phrase should be “terminal time.” Human hairs all have life cycles where they grow, rest, and then fall out. Genes do impact the length of your hair’s life cycle, which scientists estimate is something like 3-6 years of growth. As you can see, researchers really do not know a lot about “terminal time.”

The point here though is that how long your hair grows before falling out is based on how quickly and efficiently you can get it to grow within the “terminal time” of its life cycle. If your hair is unhealthy, slow-growing, and poorly cared for, each hair is not going to get very far before it falls out. If however your hair is healthy, grows quickly, and is well cared-for, it will get much longer before falling out. So yes, we all have limits for our hair growth, but no, the limit is not set entirely in stone. You can change your terminal length if you can get your hair healthier and take care of it better.

Myth #5: Expensive shampoos and hair care products are good for your hair.

This is a myth you have been sold by your hairstylist, by hair care ads on television which show you gorgeous flowing locks, and even by the packaging on your own commercial shampoo and conditioner. Turn over those bottles and you will see compelling sales pitches about nourishing ingredients and restoring moisture and healing broken hair shafts.

It all seems very believable, and you probably figure that the higher the price tag, the better the product is that you are using. In reality, however, commercial shampoos dry out your hair. That’s right! They are actually making your hair worse. They are pulling moisture right out of your scalp, and upsetting your natural production of sebum. Then they sell you the conditioner so you can reverse the damage. Of course, this really does nothing but get you hooked on a cycle which wastes money and upsets your scalp more and more.

Seriously, let go of this misconception and you will not only save a ton of money over the course of a year, but you will also be able to enjoy much healthier hair! In fact, if you just wait a few months after switching to healthier products (or even going “no poo”), your scalp will balance your sebum production, and start producing the moisture you need all on its own.

Commercial shampoos dry out your hair.

Myth #6: You should wash your hair every day.

Depending on the products you are using, this might have one of two likely results.

This will either cause your hair to be all dry and your scalp to itch and flake, or your scalp will try to compensate and overproduce oil, causing your hair to get all greasy. Either way, it is not a result you are looking for. Also, it means hard water gunk will probably build up in your hair, causing tangles and breakage.

Myth #7: If you continue using the same shampoo, it will stop working.

 This myth actually has a pretty simple explanation. Commercial shampoos leave a coating on your hair. When you switch shampoos, the new shampoo strips away the coating left by the old shampoo, and your hair actually looks and feels better for a while. Then of course the new shampoo leaves a new coating, and the cycle starts all over again. If you use a natural shampoo which does not leave a coating on the hair shaft though, you will be able to free yourself from that cycle. Your hair will always look and feel great.

Myth #8: You can repair split-ends.

If you have seen products advertising that they can repair split-ends, that is false advertising! Once a split end forms, there is nothing you can do to reverse it. All you can do is trim off the split end. If you do not trim it off, the split end will just get worse until the hair breaks. Do not get taken in by products that promise the impossible.

If you have seen products advertising that they can repair split-ends, that is false advertising!

Now you know 8 of the most pervasive and damaging hair myths and misconceptions. Knowing what is true about hair and what is false helps you to make smarter decisions. Next time you are tempted by a $30 bottle of commercial shampoo, maybe you will skip it in favor of a natural hair care product. You will no longer wash your hair every day, switch shampoos every few months, or brush your hair with 100 strokes a day.

But you also won’t give up. Your hair may have reached its current terminal length, but all is not lost! When you stop your bad hair care habits and adopt healthier alternatives, you strengthen your hair and help it grow faster. This means it gets longer before it falls out—and you get a new terminal length. Like I did, you may discover your hair can get a lot longer than you originally thought. Your window of opportunity hasn’t passed—it’s right now, so embrace it!

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