Common Hair Myths & FAQs by Mr Iain Sallis, Trichologist

Mr Iain Sallis, Trichologist

Hairdressers are the keepers of knowledge about hair for their clients and over the years have come upon some pearls of wisdom about hair which are based on what they learn from their own experiences.  This is the natural way we learn as human beings but unfortunately when the same common ideas come up against scientific testing they fall flat!  So next time you talk to someone about hair, ask yourself where did they get that knowledge from, is it a scientific fact or a hair myth?

Here are some of my favourites:

Is it true that your hair grows faster when you have it cut?

Absolutely not!  Your hair is dead, it has no nerve ending or blood vessels (this is why it doesn’t hurt when you have your hair cut).  Your hair cannot respond to things that happen to it, so when you cut the ends there is no way of the root knowing it has been cut.

If I stop washing my hair will it wash itself?
Let me ask you this, if you stop washing your face will it wash itself?  Same thing!

Does brushing your hair 100 times before bed make it more shiny?
No!  It will rough up the cuticles unnecessarily and make it duller.

If you eat our crusts will your hair go curly?
No I’m afraid that crusts cannot curl you hair, your hair curls due to the shape of your hair (in a cross section) which is largely genetics and the difference in the amount of protein fibres between one part of the cortex (Ortho’cortex) and the other side (Para’cortex), again genetics!

If I leave my conditioner on overnight will I be conditioning it more?
Conditioner is basically an emollient (it does the job of our own sebum, just in a more cosmetically acceptable way).  A conditioner will only penetrate so far into the hair, so there is a time limit on how effective it will be, but leaving it on overnight will ensure you get the maximum benefit from your conditioner.

Does rubbing my hair with a towel really damage it?
If you do it very vigorously yes, your hair is very prone to damage when it is wet because it is full of water and it’s ‘tensile’ strength is depleted until it is dry.  Rubbing it will cause friction between the hairs and will rough up the cuticle causing the hair to become damaged (spilt ends, knotting etc..) so be gentle with your hair when wet!

Will anything mend my split ends?
A good cut!  Nothing else will mend split ends, which is when the cuticle of your hair is almost non–existent, exposing the cortex of your hair which is unravelling causing a frayed end which can travel up the hair as a giant split.

Can hair turn grey/white overnight?
There is a ‘grain’ of truth in this.  This was documented with people like Anne Boleyn before her execution.  Extreme stress such as this may cause Alopecia Totalis (where all the hair on the head falls out).  Studies have shown that white hairs are less prone to this action, so in some cases the ‘coloured’ hair falls out leaving the ‘white’ hairs behind.  Hey presto, you’ve turned white overnight, but it does not happen as quickly as that, it may be over a few days or a week…but we all know how people like to exaggerate!

If I pull out one grey hair will two grow in its place?
No, otherwise there would be millions of bald people tweezering their thinning hair!  If only growing hair back was that simple.

Is colouring your hair during pregnancy bad for you?
Extensive investigations are ongoing but up to now have concluded that the risk of a foetus being contaminated by the chemical in hair dye is negligible, always ask the stylist to perform a patch test on you, as the body does react differently when pregnant.  It’s better to be safe than sorry and if in doubt have highlights so that no colour touches the scalp.

Does washing your hair everyday dry it out?
You can wash your hair every day if you wish without a real problem, just use a good conditioner. Your main problem would be from styling your hair every day, if you use heated appliances on your hair such as straightening irons everyday, this could seriously damage your hair, not the washing bit.


Could wearing my hair pulled back tightly cause baldness?
Yes it could, never put your hair under extreme tension for prolonged periods of time; this may cause Traction Alopecia which may eventually lead to Scarring Alopecia where the hair does not grow back!

Will lemon juice bleach my hair?
Not really, lemon juice is a mild acid and acid has the effect of closing the cuticles of the hair making it more shiny and smooth.


Will the swimming pool turn my blonde hair green?
It depends what swimming pool.  Indoor pools would not make your hair green, outdoor pools may. It’s the copper in the pipes transporting the water to the pools which cause the hair to go green (not chlorine itself).  So in hot countries, outdoor pools (due to evaporation) have a concentrate of copper salts in the water which is easily absorbed by porous.  Damaged hair, then it goes green!
Can stress make your hair fall out?
Extreme stress can have an effect on the hair, a death in the family, divorce, serious life changing times.  These will have an effect on the hair but not instantly, it will take several months to show.

Will rinsing with cold water after a shampoo make my hair more shiny?
It will close the cuticle of the hair quickly, so in theory it would make it a little more shiny, but enough to warrant cold water over your head.

Will my hair develop ‘product immunity’ if I keep using the same shampoo and conditioner?
No.  Your hair is dead, it does not know what you are using on it, what changes is your perception of the product you are using.  So the first time you think “Wow this shampoo is wonderful”, you don’t expect the wow factor the 50th time you use it and by the 100th time you may think ”It’s not as good, my hair must be used to it”.  It’s all in your head!
Why don’t I have the same hair colour I had as a child?
The cells which produce the colour of your hair (and all pigmentation, called melanocytes) do not get to full strength until your teens, more melanocytes equal more pigment, more pigment equals different colours being produced.  That coupled with the quality of the hair as a small child, which are usually smaller in diameter; make for the hair produced as an adult being darker or a different colour.


Male Pattern Baldness: The Facts
The proper name is Androgenetic Alopecia.  There is also a Female Pattern Baldness and to confuse the situation either sex can suffer from either pattern.

It is caused by a genetic predispositioning to certain hormones in the body, not raised testosterone levels.

Hats, products or hairstyles have no determination on the amount of hair you will lose.

Medication and some types of laser therapy can delay a problem but there is no cure, remember you’re trying to change what is essentially part of your genetic make-up, it’s like trying to change your eye colour with medication.

Nothing from a hair company or a natural food store will help, save your money on things like this and perhaps seek an expert opinion first.

If you’re worried about your hair, why not book an appointment with Mr Sallis today. Just call 0114 263 2114.

Date: 24/08/2015
By: technical