Having practiced trichology for over 50 years, I have heard a fair few misconceptions about hair in my consultation rooms, ranging from the misguided to the downright absurd. I thought I would share the more common ones, and, as we are in the height of summer, they shall be summer themed, too!
Myth: Sitting In The Sun is a Healthy Way to Lighten Your Hair
Truth: While UV rays will not do as much immediate damage as pouring bleach solution onto your hair, the chemistry behind it is still much the same. The sun degrades your hair’s protein structure, leaving it brittle, dry and prone to split ends and breakage. Marry that with chlorinated and salt water and you have quite the recipe for disaster. If you enjoy the ‘sun-kissed’ look, leave your hair unprotected in the sun for small amounts of time, and then apply a waterproof protective moisturizing cream, such as my Swimcap. This will give you the best of both worlds!
Myth: Applying Oil Moisturizes Dry Hair
Truth: Certain oils can definitely help moisturize and soothe dry skin, but apply them to your hair and you’ll just end up with very greasy locks. In order for oils to have an effect on your hair, they need to be applied in an emulsion. If not, they will simply sit on top of the cuticle and not penetrate it. Hair moisturizers are most effective when applied in a cream form, and then left on for a minimum of 20 minutes. Almost all my clients with bleached hair, and/or hair past shoulder length; use my multi-award winning pre-shampoo conditioner, Elasticizer, once to twice per week in the summer.
Myth: Shampooing Dries My Hair
Truth: If you find the summer has dried your hair, do not reduce the amount you shampoo to ‘remoisturize’ it. Time and time again I hear this, and it always has negative results. Your cortex’s water content is largely responsible for your hair’s elasticity, so the act of shampooing actually adds hydration. During shampooing, a small amount of water passes through the cuticle into the cortex, and is then sealed in when you smooth the cuticle with conditioner. Just like your skin, strands of your hair can become dehydrated and dry – and shampooing helps to replace lost moisture. I will say this though: You may want to change the conditioner you use to a heavier one during the summer. If you have very fine hair, applying the product sparingly to the mid-lengths and ends is all that is needed. I recommend Moisture Balancing Conditioner for those with fine, yet processed or overly brittle hair.
Myth: A Summer Juice Fast Will Rejuvenate My Body and Hair
Truth: This myth is a more recent one that I have heard, and one which couldn’t be more wrong! While initially a week or two of ‘juicing’ may make you feel lighter and brighter, the long-term effects on your hair, and body, are terrible. Firstly, your hair is a non-essential tissue, yet also the second fastest growing tissue your body supports. This means that your body never prioritises its energy requirements and any disruption to nutrition, as well as any rapid loss of weight, often results in your hair shedding 4-6 weeks after the fast. I can literally set my watch to it. Secondly, your hair is composed primarily of protein, and so removing protein from your diet will certainly have a detrimental effect on your hair.
About Philip Kingsley.