woman with poofy hair

As a girl infatuated with hair at a very young age, I cannot begin to describe the amount of hair tips, tricks and other things I have heard about hair care over the years. With the explosion of the internet information overload is at an all-time high, especially within the natural hair community. There are several hair care myths roaming around so here are four myths we choose to debunk. 

Is caffeine better applied or ingested for scalp stimulation?

Studies have shown caffeine as a key factor in the management of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), which is a hereditary and progressive thinning of the scalp. Caffeine stimulates the hair and helps the hair grow faster through blocking DHT, a chemical known to damage the hair follicles. However, if you want to see improved hair growth applying caffeine directly to the scalp is better than drinking 10 cups of coffee a day. The direct application penetrates faster than waiting for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream. According to the International Journal of Trichology, a recent study assessed the follicular penetration of topical caffeine in hair follicles and proved hair follicles to be faster route of drug delivery for topically applied drugs. Some topical delivery methods include coffee and green tea rinses, which are popular among women to help increase growth. Just remember to follow each rinse with a great conditioning regimen.

Read more: Caffeine for Hair Growth: Is it Better in Coffee or Shampoo?

Is solely co-washing ok?

This is probably one of the most debated topics among naturally curly women.  There are tons of women who have sworn off shampoo, but before you toss your bottle out of the shower there are a few things you should know. While conditioners are gentle enough to lightly cleanse, perpetual co-washing can lead to product buildup over time. Shampoos are formulated to open the hair cuticle and in some cases intensely clarify, resulting in clean hair and healthy scalp. Once product buildup is removed, your daily products will work properly and even better. Shampoos have gotten a bad rap over time because most contain harsh detergents that leave the hair stripped and dry, but the good news is as more women become hair health conscious, brands have formulated great shampoos to address that key concern. Most importantly think about your daily use of products. Do they consist of heavy butters, creams, and gels? If so, shampooing with a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo or a natural shampoo bar are better options. However, if you are set on co-washing until the end of time because your hair responds well to this regimen, then choosing a product that states “cleansing conditioner” or “co-wash” is vital. All conditioners are not created equal.

Read more: Top 30 Sulfate-Free Shampoos

Will clipping my ends help my hair grow faster?

I think we have all heard this statement at some point in our lives. “Trimming your hair makes it grow faster.” Well, that is not exactly true. What that saying really means is that trims enable you to retain length because split ends are removed. The rate of hair growth does not magically speed up after a trim, however, the amount of hair breakage is dramatically reduced. As a result the rate of hair growth and breakage is not counteracting each other in what I like to call the one step forward and two steps back syndrome. Hair growth is not the result of just one factor. Multiple things are responsible for growing healthy hair including genetics, hormones, diet, lifestyle, etc.

Other ways to retain length include proper detangling, improving elasticity, and protective styling.  

Can I use a daily conditioner to deep condition my hair?

Although both conditioners include treatment to the surface of the hair there is a difference between a regular daily use conditioner and deep conditioner. Regular daily conditioners are most commonly used after shampooing and require a shorter use time, typically 3 -5 min. before rinsing. Its purpose is to moderately absorb ingredients into the hair, conditioning the cuticle for it to lay smooth, reduce frizz, and as a result increase shine. Deep conditioners on the other hand should contain ingredients that actually penetrate the hair, nourishing not only the surface of the cuticle but also within the hair shaft. Ingredients to look for in deep conditioners include amino acids, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and penetrating oils like argan oil and avocado oil, just to name a few.  These ingredients help with repairing extremely damaged or chemically treated hair.

Read more: Daily Conditioner vs. Deep Conditioner

What are some other hair myths you have encountered?