8 Hair Growth Myths & Why You Souldn't Fall For Them
Updated: Jun 15, 2019
We all have heard the myths about how to quickly grow your hair – eat these foods, skip the blow dryer, don’t wear a ponytail, blast your hair with cold water, and so on. But most of these tales are just that: myths. Here’s the scoop on what works – and what doesn’t – for those of you who want to grow your hair long or to grow your hair quickly.
The Myth: Eat this food and watch your hair grow
The Truth: Your mom may not have been telling the whole truth when she said your hair would grow long if you just ate all your vegetables. While a healthy, balanced diet that contains a sufficient amount of iron and protein is necessary for hair health, there’s not a magic food that will help your hair grow.
The Myth: Air-drying will make your hair grow faster than blow drying will
The Truth: There isn’t much difference between hair drying and blow drying for those of you trying to grow your hair. If you use a hot dryer, you actually could weaken your hair, causing it to break. But this breakage has nothing to do with the rate that your hair grows. Air-drying can help protect your hair from excessive heat, but so can turning down the temperature of your blow dryer and using a protective heat-styling product.
The Myth: Stress or fear will make your hair turn gray and stop growing
The Truth: The “I was so scared my hair turned white overnight” is the stuff of fiction and scary stories. Your hair will turn gray as you age, or might turn gray at a young age because of your genetics, but it will not turn gray because of stress or fear. Gray hairs begin to present themselves when your body slows down its production of melanin. If your body produces no melanin at all, then your hair will turn white, whether or not you are stressed.
The Myth: Trimming your hair will help it grow
The Truth: Your hair grows at its own personal pace. The pace of your hair growth is based on your genetics and, in part, on your overall health. Trimming your hair in itself does not make your hair grow – but it does prevent split ends from forming. Split ends can travel up the length of the hair, damaging your hair and making it seem as if your hair is not growing fast enough. Regular trims can actually help make your hair look longer if you are prone to dryness and split ends and if you want your hair to grow out. A good vitamin designed for hair growth can also improve the health of your hair.
The Myth: Rinsing your hair with cold water will soften your hair or speed up its growth
The Truth: An extra rinse can help remove excess conditioner, but water, cold or otherwise, can’t impact your hair in any way, other than get it wet. The belief that cold water will somehow close the cuticle of your hair and render it smooth and shiny just isn’t true. Your hair, once it grows out from your scalp, has no living cells, so it doesn’t react to temperature. The best way to get those shiny, smooth strands is to use a good conditioner and to rinse well.
The Myth: Your hair will stop growing once it gets too accustomed to your shampoo
The Truth: All shampoos are made with different ingredients that, in turn, provide different benefits. Unless there is a prescription ingredient in your shampoo, it won’t impact the growth of your hair. You may need to switch your shampoo occasionally if your hair changes with the seasons. For instance, you may find that a shampoo with beneficial, hydrating ingredients, such as jojoba oil, is useful for the dry days of winter. However, that same shampoo may leave your hair feeling heavy, or even oily, in the middle of the summer. You don’t have to make changes because something in your shampoo has changed. You only want to switch shampoos when something has changed in your routine or environment.
The Myth: Wearing a ponytail will make your hair fall out or slow down its growth
The Truth: The average ponytail will now hurt your hair, even if you wear the same one every day. However, a severe braid, ponytail, or bun worn regularly can cause damage, which usually appears at your hairline. Don’t pull too hard if you’re worried about thinning hair, but, otherwise, you need not worry about wearing a loose pony or a messy bun whenever you want.
The Myth: Lots of brushing is essential for hair health and hair growth
The Truth: Too much brushing can actually damage your hair. You may have heard this myth from your mother or grandmother who grew up with the advice that lots of brushing made for healthier hair, but this simply isn’t true for everyone.
Some brushing is good for your hair because it distributes the natural oils in your scalp down the individual hair shafts, and, in this way, prevents breakage. Too much brushing, though, can remove those same beneficial oils and, so, result in overly dry or overly frizzy hair that is prone to breakage. The “just right” amount of brushing is different for everyone, so don’t feel like you must brush a certain amount each day to improve the health of your hair.
As long as you are maintaining your health and you are eating a balanced diet, your hair has everything it needs to grow. Your actual rate of hair growth is dependent upon numerous factors, including genetics – which you can’t change. What you can do is take steps to prevent breakage. In many cases, what you believe is slow-to-grow hair is hair that is actually breaking off at the ends. Allowing the time for your hair to grow, having the patience for your hair to grow, and protecting your hair from damage, using natural beneficial oils are the best ways to get the look you want.