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FEATURES Nov 5 2012 6:37PM

Getting to the Root of It: Breaking Some Common Hair Myths

by Jessica Gray, HairGetsKinky.com

One of the most terrifying things about going natural can be finding out that some of the things you’ve been doing to your hair for years are oh-so-wrong. Many hair myths get passed down from generation to generation and no one really stops to question them. We accept them as common knowledge and move on. Some of these myths are harmless and others are the source of our hair misery unbeknownst to us!

I know I’m not the only one who grew up believing some foolish things about my hair, so I ran to the streets of Twitterville to see what hair myths YOU all had heard and took some time to clear things up a bit.

“If you don’t wash your hair, it grows faster.” —@kinkyhairaffair

False. Keep those strands fresh and clean, ladies! When gunk builds up in your hair, it creates a barrier for nutrients in your products that are trying to penetrate the hair. Then none of the good stuff that helps your hair stay healthy and grow can actually get through to your hair! Few living things thrive in filth!

“I thought my hair couldn’t be long because I wasn’t mixed!” —@Miriam_Martine

This is a sad misconception that people still believe. Fortunately, there are plenty of beautiful long-haired kinky girls out there smashing this myth to smithereens. Black girls CAN grow long hair. Your ethnicity has nothing to do with it!

“Your hair won’t grow if you don’t trim it.”

Whether you trim your hair or not, your hair is still going to grow from the roots. The real issue is that when you don’t maintain your ends with a timely trim, you can experience breakage from split ends and knots that went unattended. This means you won’t be retaining length, making it appear that your hair is not growing.

“You can heat-train your hair.” —@HGKWW

Many people believe that over time, with regular heat application they can “train” their hair to hold straight styles longer. What they fail to realize is this is just slowly causing heat damage. If your hair stays straight when it gets wet, it is not because it has learned to “behave” and withstand moisture. It is because your hair has been damaged to the point where your natural curl will no longer show.

“Don’t wash your hair more than once a month as it will dry out…only Europeans do that!” —@Fronique

I understand that sometimes shampoo can feel a little harsh on your hair, but that’s why the hair gods also gave us conditioner. If you keep that hair conditioned, you can wash it almost every day if you like! Some prefer to co-wash, which involves rinsing the hair with conditioner, in-between shampoos, to avoid the drying effect some shampoo products can have when used too often. Either way, just know that frequent washing is not just for our straighter-haired sisters!

“High heat daily is okay and necessary.” —@JessTizzle
“The flat iron would have to be on the highest setting to flat iron my hair.” —@LenaloveXO

Please don’t do this. If you can’t figure out how to get your desired look without frying your hair, please just go see a professional. Once you go past 400 degrees, you’re in the danger zone. If you’re applying heat at home, make sure you have heat protectants on hand! To avoid daily heat, try wrapping and pin-curling your hair overnight to make the hairstyle last longer.

“Brushing my hair 50 times each day before I went to sleep would make it grow.” —@dj0nes

Constant brushing isn’t recommended for anyone, whether your hair is bone-straight or super-coily. That much brushing can result in split ends and massive breakage. It is not necessary.

“Grease your scalp!” —@afroclique

Gone are the days where I slathered grand amounts of thick petroleum oil on to my poor scalp. Some people still use grease and it works for them, but many of us have discovered that lighter oils are more appropriate and effective if we must use something on our scalp.

“Locs cannot be taken down/combed out.” —@CurlyNuGrowth

Believe it or not, locs are not as permanent as people may think. Most people think that the only way to get rid of locs is to cut all of your hair off. There are actually methods that allow the person to comb out their locs by loosening the matted hair! I know a few people who have done it, and I was shocked when I learned that was possible.

“I thought my Nigerian hair was stronger because of the tight curls.” —@raesanni

Contrary to common belief, curlier, kinkier hair is fragile. The bends in the hair make it more likely to snap if you are not gentle with it. I’m sure many of us let our hair be mercilessly combed and brushed before because we thought our hair could take it, but no. All of that tugging leads to nothing but breakage, breakage and more breakage. Handle your kinks with care!

“Water is bad for Black hair.” - —@Ms_ELA
I remember hearing things like water dries your hair out in the same breath that same person complained that their hair was dry. But what has more moisture than water? Yes, water can cause a hairstyle to revert. And yes, that can be unfortunate. But your hair needs water whether you’re drinking it or using a water-based moisturizer.

What hair myths did you use to believe? Did you know about any of the ones listed above? Share your hair myths below!


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