Left to right: Cristina, Devri, Susonnah, and Frances

We often receive questions from readers looking to care for biracial hair, grow their hair faster, or reverse heat damage. We hope to provide as much factual information as we can to help you find the solutions you’re looking for, so we gathered a few of the most common hair myths in the community. 

Hair can be “bi-racial”

When seeking hair care advice on the internet, the best descriptions to use include the following: coarse, fine, wavy, curly, coily/afro-textured, dense, thin, virgin, color-treated, dry, brittle, soft, voluminous, long, short, and medium. Often I hear someone describe his or her hair or child’s hair as “biracial.” As someone who is trying to provide hair care help, this does not give me any helpful information. Knowing your racial or ethnic lineage does not help determine your  hair care needs. As an example, the NaturallyCurly editors pictured above are all biracial, with parents from different races, ethnicities, countries, and continents, and none of them have the same hair texture.

Describing one’s hair by race is common and often well-meaning, but it can limit your receptiveness to who gives you advice. For example, every woman in this photo loves Kinky-Curly Knot Today and so do I, but I am not biracial and neither are editors Evelyn (4b“> and Nikki (3c“> who are also Black Americans like me who love this product as well. Also, the term “biracial hair” does not accurately refer to a certain curl pattern, as I have seen biracial children with 4c hair, which I assume is not generally perceived to be “biracial hair.” I’m not sure the origin of this term, but it needs to go the way of other disproven hair care myths.

Mayonnaise and eggs are a protein treatment

The base of mayonnaise is oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon. It has been a common practice to mix this with EVOO and eggs to create a DIY protein treatment, but in reality it is not an effective protein treatment. Proteins must be hydrolyzed to attach to the hair’s cuticle and the proteins in mayonnaise and eggs are too large. This does not mean that you cannot benefit from the oil and vinegar in the DIY concoction, but if protein is what you’re looking for, then you may have to purchase an actual protein treatment that a chemist has formulated to strengthen your hair. 

Read more: Why Eggs and Mayonnaise Don’t Work

Hot air opens the hair shaft and cold water closes it

The reason why deep conditioning under a hooded dryer provides soft, moisturizing results is because the heat helps certain ingredients to adsorb, not absorb, to the hair shaft. Adsorption is just attaching to the surface of the shaft, as opposed to absorption which is when substances enter the shaft. Adjusting the hair’s pH levels is what opens and closes the hair’s cuticle. Cold water doesn’t close the cuticle either, but making sure to stroke your hair downward and not tousle it while washing is a great way to avoid damaging the hair’s cuticle from rubbing against the grain.

Read more: Opening the Hair’s Cuticle for Better Deep Conditioning and Everything You Need to Know about Deep Conditioning

Products make your hair grow

Nothing will make your hair grow. A healthy lifestyle consisting of a balanced diet, exercise, clean scalp, and low stress levels are how you ensure that your body is performing at its best to properly nourish your hair’s follicle. There are cases where the follicle has been damaged and a dermatologist and trichologist can properly diagnose and treat the problem, as scalp conditions can affect your scalp’s ability to foster and grow hair. Aside from that nothing can expedite the growth process. When products make claims to grow your hair, what they really mean is they can moisturize and strengthen your strands so that it breaks less often and you retain length. Also, there are certain ingredients that can stimulate growth by encouraging blood flow to the scalp, but this does not increase your hair growth rate.

Shiny hair means healthy hair

This could not be further from the truth. If your hair is coily, it is less likely to have shine. According to chemist JC from The Natural Haven, kinky hair consists of individual strands that have torsions, making it hard to reflect light. This is extremely common among Type 4 hair, but is not limited to that curl pattern, and it does not mean that the hair is unhealthy.

Products will make your hair curl

Curl definers like, gels, mousses, and creams only capture your natural curl pattern; they do not create curl definition. With Tumblr pages and Instagram feeds full of 3b and 3c curls, it can be easy to grow hair envy, but everyone does not have curl definition. The best way to discover whether you have curl definition is to observe your hair with water in it. If cluster and curls do not form, then you naturally do not have curl definition and that’s ok. Not having curl definition is only an indication of damage if you used to have curl definition and it cannot be recovered. That is an indication of damage, as your hair can be experiencing a protein or elasticity problem.

Read more: How to Tame Frizz, According to Science

Dying your hair dark will make it healthy

If your hair has been lightened with bleach and is experiencing breakage, dying it brunette will not revive its health. The protein bonds have already been dismembered and cannot be restored, just like any other chemical damage. Changing the color for aesthetic is your prerogative, but when it comes to the health, all you can do is maintain it as you transition to virgin hair.

Heat damage is reversible

Heat damage is irreversible. There is no such thing as heat training. If doing a moisture treatment and protein treatment “restored” your curl pattern, then you never experienced heat damage. Another important note is that heat damage does not just manifest in straight pieces. Sometimes it is a loosened and frizzier hair texture with excessive dryness, so do not think that because your hair does not look relaxed, then it must not be damaged.

Read more: Can Your Hair Recover from Heat Damage?

Which hair care myths do you want to dispel?