The internet is a treasure-trove of tips on caring for curls. There is so much readily-available information that it is easy to confuse subjective guidance with facts. Bad advice can be just as responsible for keeping you from obtaining healthy hair as harsh chemicals and heat styling tools can, so it’s time to debunk a few myths.

Myth #1: You only need to cut your curly hair once (or twice) a year.

Very few of us can maintain our hair health without at least a few minor trims per year. Even with treating our waves, curls, and coils with the utmost care, environmental stressors such as sunlight, pollution, hard water, and indoor heating and cooling systems can cause dryness, breakage, and frizz. If your hair thrives with one annual haircut, count yourself among the lucky few. However, if you are experiencing problems such as: dry ends that require copious amounts of moisture to curl, a loosening of your curl pattern, hair that refuses to clump, an angry and inflamed scalp, or mats that are impossible to comb through, treat yourself to a trim. Without those dry ends dragging your curls down, they will spring up, and your hair will have more body and look healthier.

If you are transitioning but not ready for the big chop, trimming your hair every 6-8 weeks will be the fastest route to what your hair is meant to be. Nourish your scalp and new growth in tandem with the trims, and you will be amazed at the results when your transition is complete. Your true curl pattern is the one closest to your scalp, not the dry ends that are too damaged to curl.

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Image Source: @naturallycurly

Myth #2: You can cut your own hair.

I know this myth likely originated from Curly Girl: The Handbook, where Lorraine Massey provided some techniques for trimming curly hair. In 2001, when the book was first published, there were far fewer stylists trained in cutting curly hair than there are now. At that time, often curly hair experts were the ones who were best able to straighten hair and make it free of frizz. Haircuts on curly hair were the same cuts given to straight-haired clients, and curls were blow-dried and flat-ironed into submission. Many curlies who wanted to embrace (or at the least stop fighting) their natural texture found themselves having to care for their hair at home or drive hours away to see a Ouidad or Devachan-certified stylist. The times have changed and now there are many more stylists who love and work with hair with texture. While you can trim your bangs, and perhaps snip off a few split ends near your face, you need a stylist’s trained eye for the overall shape of the cut and to remove dry ends and damage that you can’t see. If you need help finding a salon in your area, our Salon Finder has you covered.

Myth #3: You can cleanse your hair with conditioner.

I have often heard YouTubers talk about the “no-poo” method, and state that it is cleaning your hair without shampoo and using conditioner instead. Along these same lines, I have also seen tutorials where curly newbies are running conditioner through their un-shampooed, wet hair and calling this a co-wash. Both are incorrect. Slathering conditioner on wet hair and rinsing it out is moisturizing hair, not washing it. If you want to cleanse your hair, you need to use a shampoo, cleansing conditioner, co-wash, or clarifying treatment. These products contain ingredients that help remove dirt, impurities, and dead skin cells from the scalp, and product build-up from the hair. While you can soak up a bit of excess oil from your scalp by massaging some conditioner into it, gently exfoliating with your fingers, and then rinsing it out, it is a temporary fix that will not replace a good shampoo.

Image Source: Getty Images

Myth #4: You should not be washing your hair more than once a week.

To be fair, for some of us, this is an absolute truth. The thicker, denser and curlier your hair is, the less frequently you need to wash it, and if it is finer or thinner you may need to wash it more often. However, there is no one golden rule when it comes to hair cleansing that applies to every single curly, and if you don’t wash your hair enough it will become flat, greasy, and curls and waves will not clump properly. If you wash it too much, it will be dry and frizzy. Washing your hair when it needs to be washed is key. Click here for some tips.

Myth #5: You can use heat on your hair so long as you don’t stretch it.

Oh, how I wish this myth were true. If it was, I would crank up my hairdryer to high to cut down my diffusing time. Alas, heat always leads to some damage. Now, I know that none of us has all day to wait around for our hair to dry, so if you must use heat, use it as little as possible, and always protect your hair with a heat protectant.

What hair myths have you abandoned since transitioning? Please share them in the comments. Click here for more debunked myths.