When it comes to our hair, skin, and nails—there’s a lot of fact and a lot of fiction. I remember being told that if I brushed my hair 100 times every night before bed that it would grow faster, and there I was about 10 years-old; brushing my hair repeatedly because if 100 was good, then 200 must be better! And then there’s the old “if you pluck one gray hair two will grow in it’s place” tall tale. Experts and medical professionals agree that this is just not true. Here, two of P&G’s leading hair experts try to help debunk some of the myths commonly associated with our haircare products. Beauty scientist Teca Gillespie and celebrity hair stylist Hallie Bowman shed some light on five often debated beliefs:
Myth 1: You should change your shampoo every so often because your hair gets used to it.
- Teca says: Hair is technically dead and cannot get “used” to a product. Shampoo will always do its fundamental job of cleaning the hair, and while your hair may feel different when you change your shampoo, you’re not giving your hair a ‘break’ from your normal washing regimen. Consider whether you have selected the right product for your hair type. Also, consider your styling regime – are you regularly using waxes and gels that cause build up? Most women don’t realize that something environmental or chemical may have changed the way their hair responds to a product (e.g. a change in environment humidity or temperature, new color treatment, grown out cut, etc.)
- Hallie says: Hair texture changes over time from factors like puberty, pregnancy, and aging, which affects how hair reacts to a shampoo. Mechanical tools can change the way products perform on hair. For example, if you’re styling your hair with tools more regularly and use straightening irons and heated curling irons more often, it can potentially create more damage that will alter how your hair looks and behaves. Don’t forget about seasonal changes. Factors like cold winter air coupled with central heating indoors can make hair brittle and dry, whereas the same hair may suffer from frizz when faced with the summer’s heat and humidity. If your hair reacts to factors like the above, you may want to reevaluate your hair care regimen to accommodate the changing needs of your hair.
Myth 2: You should not wash your hair every day.
- Teca says: This myth originates from the harsh clarifying shampoos that were being used prior to the technological revolution of conditioning agents in the 1980s. Improvements in light conditioning agents used in shampoos and conditioners led the way for a frequent washing regimen. Today’s products are tailored for specific needs and hair structures, so shampoos take off only dirt, sebum and styling products, and don’t really “strip” everything off your hair and scalp. While there are dry shampoos and other products that can give a quick fix to manage hair that’s not washed, it’s important to remember that not washing your hair may cause other problems.
- Hallie says: Healthy hair looks better and is easier to style than unhealthy hair. Frequent shampooing can help you achieve a better style by reducing breakage that can leave hair looking thinner and more damaged. Dry shampoos don’t do your dirty work for you. They do get rid of excess oil, but don’t give hair life. I relate dry shampoo to applying face powder because it manages shine on your face, but you really need a cleanser to actually clean your face and provide that clean look and feel.
Myth 3: Hair washing doesn’t affect your scalp.
- Teca says: When you skip a hair wash, your scalp pays the price. Sebum, the naturally occurring oil on your scalp, can build up quickly and provides an environment for fungal organisms to grow on your scalp, quickly causing itchy scalp and even dandruff symptoms.
- Hallie says: Skipping hair washing can even result in serious hair condition called Seborrheic Dermatitis, a common, inflammatory skin condition that causes flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on oily areas such as the scalp or inside the ear. It’s not a pretty look. Trust me, I know from firsthand experience!
Myth 4: It’s not necessary to condition regularly because it causes buildup of silicone on hair.
- Teca says: Silicone and fatty alcohols are a girls best friend! Shampoo and conditioners now use small particles and high tech ingredients that provide your hair the ultimate protection against damage from heat styling, chemical treatments and even the harsh environment. Conditioning benefits are only temporary and don’t build up, as the ingredients will be removed during the next wash. For this reason, it is important to use a matching shampoo and conditioner, as the shampoo has been designed to effectively clean what the conditioner has deposited. Not to mention, the particle size of silicone has come a long way over the years. For instance, at P&G we have over 20 years of silicone research. We optimized the actual particle size of the silicones and how they deposit on the hair shaft, so your hair feels super soft, silky and protected from root to tip.
- Hallie says: If you feel your hair is weighed down from conditioner, you are most likely using the wrong formula for your hair type. Drier hair that needs an extra dose of moisture can benefit from an intensive weekly moisturizing hair care treatment. I always recommend distributing it evenly throughout the hair, but I tell my clients who have very damaged hair to leave the treatment on the lower half of their hair for longer.
Myth 5: Two products with identical ingredient lists will perform exactly the same.
- Teca says: Just because two products have the exact same ingredient lists, it does not mean they are the same product or that they will perform the same; in fact, most likely they will act differently. Most shampoo’s ingredient lists do not show the level of a particular ingredient, and only shows the ingredients in rank order from most to least.
- Hallie says: Consider that the recipe for egg nog and custard uses exactly the same rank order of ingredients, but in very different amounts. One is also cooked, the other is refrigerated. Two very different results. In hair care technology, the complex patented processes to make the formula which can change the “recipe” outcome.
Very interesting stuff! Tell us your hair myths below…