We've all been there: You're in the salon, discussing a potential new cut, and your stylist admonishes that, no, that would
never work on you. Or, while getting a blowout, you watch the pro's jaw drop when you own up to using whatever shampoo came in the huge, cheapo bottle at Costco. As a result of all that behind-the-chair judging, we tend to walk around with certain beliefs about what our hair needs, doesn't need, or will never, ever do.
Well, we hate to be all dramatic, but you've probably been lied to. Hair myths are one thing, but in our experience, it seems that some hairstylists seem to throw around commands and rules that we should maybe just take with a splash of salt (spray). To get down to the bottom of it, we asked a few of our personal hair Yodas to set the record straight on some of the common tall hair tales we've heard. Read on, and breathe easy. We'll get to the bottom of this hairy situation, once and for all!
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If you've ever been shamed at the salon for still using the drugstore shampoo you fell in love with in middle school — we feel you. Not everyone has the desire, nor the funds, to support a pricey product habit.
The pros agree that, at the end of the day, if you love the results that you get from your trusty Tresemmé, there's no shame in stocking up. The most important thing, according to NYC hairstylist Nora Croft, is knowing your ingredients, and actually reading the label. "Even more expensive products will list their 'star ingredient' (such as argan oil), as the sixth ingredient, following a bunch of un-pronounceable [ones]." Just because a product is expensive doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work better for your hair.
No matter whether you go high or low, hairstylist Sasha Alekseyeva of Woodley and Bunny recommends selecting a gentle shampoo that won't strip your hair of essential oils. And, to ensure that your conditioner is actually absorbed, squeeze out excess water before applying it — all of that moisturizing goodness will simply slide off of waterlogged strands.
"Ask your stylist or educate yourself about anti-aging products if you use hot tools or color your hair," says Croft. Those things, along with your environment, all contribute to free-radical damage (aging) which leads to split ends.
Ah, the hair commandment we block out every time: Thou shalt get a cut every four to six weeks. Um...we're sorry, but who other than Ms. Kardashian has the time and money to hit the salon that often?
Alekseyeva assures that most women don't need to get their hair cut nearly that often — it all depends on the state of your hair, and what you're aiming to do with it. "Honestly, I'm never going to try to tell a woman with healthy, low-maintenance hair that she needs a haircut every six weeks," she says. "Women who barely heat-style or color their hair can actually go for five to six months without a trim." But, not so fast: If you're prone to split ends and want to keep growing out length, it behooves you to keep up with those trims. Split ends can travel up your hair shaft, so the longer you go without a cut, the more length you're likely to lose when you finally take the chair.
Okay, so our hair pros are a little bit split on this one. According to Croft, when done correctly (correctly being the operative word), layers can add the illusion of more volume by creating space between each hair. "No layers on super-fine hair pulls everything down to the same line, drawing attention to the thinness and flattening the top," says Croft.
On the other hand, Alekseyeva assures that if your hair isn't super-fine (or, if your hair is fine, but you have a lot of it), you don't necessarily need layers to add volume. When it comes to fine hair, more important than the cut itself, according to Alekseyeva, is the method by which the hair is cut. "Fine hair should always be cut dry," she explains. "When fine hair is damp, the strands clump together, and the stylist can easily cut too much, leaving you with 'holes' in the haircut." Cutting fine hair dry maintains the "perimeter" of the hair (meaning, the ends), assuring that you don't end up with scraggly and sparse-looking layers.
If you're a fine-haired girl, it's possible that a hairstylist has told you at some point that your hair "can't handle" being grown out past a certain point — and that, according to our pros, is a load of baloney. Croft has our back:
"Nobody should 'always' do anything. She goes on to say, "If your hair isn't stringy or breaking off, and if it looks good, then don't worry about going any shorter." If you do want to grow out fine hair, take extra care of your locks: deep conditioning, frequent trims, and skip the heat styling as often possible.
We're all going a little dirtier, thanks to the no-poo movement, with the assumption that suds are drying out our strands. The truth: Any damage or dryness from your shampoo pales in comparison with the damage from the extra heat styling that goes with it. So,
if you're washing and conditioning every day, but are air-drying your hair, you don't have much to worry about.
That being said, if you're a frequent shampooer, you'll want to make sure that your suds are as gentle as possible. Alekseyeva recommends a super-natural, gentle shampoo such as Goldie Clary Sage Shampoo — it's packed with essential oils that will condition your hair as you wash it.
This tip we kind of understand: If we spent the better part of an hour masterfully shaping a head of hair, we would forbid the client from taking scissors to their own locks, too. However, Alekseyeva assures that
if you have a simple haircut and tend to be prone to split ends, you can lightly dust your ends yourself — as long as you have super-duper sharp, hair-specific scisscors. "Scissors that are at all blunt can actually split the hair even more, which will just result in more damage," she warns. So, if you know you have a tendency to pick or pull at split ends, invest in quality shears to remove the splits before you're tempted. And, for the love of all things holy, put down the kitchen shears — you're not doing your hair any favors with those things.
Trimming the ends will, sadly, not make your hair go Rapunzel anytime sooner, according to Allen Ruiz,
Aveda's global artistic director of hairstyling. "Getting regular trims definitely keeps your ends looking healthier, but it does NOT make hair grow faster." What trims do, as stated earlier, is prevent split ends from traveling up the shaft of your hair. So, keep up with the trims to save as much length as possible.
Many of us have likely put the myth of 100 brushstrokes a day to bed along with our Marcia-Brady dreams of waist-length locks. However, the idea of "distributing your hair's natural oils" is still something that's considered good for your hair, leading many ladies to pick up a brush in the name of moisture. However, says Ruiz, if you have fine, curly, or fragile hair, the damage caused from brushing may not be worth it. Rather than trying to brush the scalp's oils all the way to the ends of your hair,
it's a much better idea to invest in an ends-specific moisturizer. We're loving Kérastase's new Touche Perfection.
If you spend any time backstage at Fashion Week (or read the beauty recaps), you've probably learned that hairstylists love them some dry shampoo. They use it for volume, they use it for texture — they basically use it to solve all the world's ills. Therefore, you've probably been tempted to march right out, buy whichever pricey brand they recommend, and spray it with abandon on the regular in the hopes of achieving runway-worthy strands. Whelp, we hate to burst your bubble, but
you probably have products in the pantry that can do the job just as well, says Alekseyeva. "You can use baking soda or cornstarch to soak up oil and add texture — no need to invest here." Plus, powdery, matte hair might look cool on the runway, but slightly nuts in real life. We're sticking with a good volumizing spray, instead.
Which brings us to one of Alekseyeva's pet peeves: When hairstylists tell their clients that they need a bajillion styling products to get good hair. "No one needs a leave-in conditioner, a styling spray, a texturizing spray, a styling cream, and hairspray," says Alekseyeva.
If you have the proper haircut, you should really only need one or two stylers to get a perfect look — say, texturizing spray for wavy hair, and a styling cream for curly — plus a basic hairspray when you need more hold. "Hey, most of us live in cramped apartments," says Alekseyeva. "Space is tight, so you don't need 10 products that do essentially the same thing!" Preach, sister.
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