Ever wonder whether those hair tricks you’ve heard about really work or if they’re just old wives tales? We’ve separated myths from realities.
One hundred nightly strokes with a hairbrush will make your locks healthier
Sleeping Beauty may have spent hours brushing her silky tresses, but in real life, excessive brushing causes split ends and hair breakage, says Mauricio Ribeiro, a hairstylist at B2V Salon in West Hollywood, Calif.
Don’t lay off the brush altogether, though; a minute of bedtime brushing distributes natural oils from roots to ends, helping you avoid an oily scalp and dry tips. Ribeiro recommends using a paddle brush with synthetic and natural boar’s hair bristles for optimal grooming. The nylon bristles grip the hair, and the natural ones impart shine.
A half-inch trim makes your hair grow faster
This is a common misconception, according to Allen Edwards, hairstylist to such celebs as Brooke Shields and Kirsten Dunst. A trim won’t boost growth; however, it will eliminate split ends. And since the average head of hair grows at a rate of about half an inch a month, it won’t take long for the length to return.
Fresh lemon juice plus sun equals natural sun-streaked highlights
While the juice of a fresh-squeezed lemon will subtly lighten your locks in the sun, the combination of the lemon’s acidity and damaging UV rays will dry out your hair and may even make it brittle enough to break, says Ribeiro.
Instead, use an easy brush-in home highlighting kit or have your colorist add subtle highlights. A few streaks placed in the areas where the sun would naturally hit, like the bangs and small pieces around the crown, will create natural-looking sun-kissed tresses.
Mayonnaise can double as a great deep-conditioning mask
Yes, the oil, egg yolks and vinegar in mayonnaise will serve as an organic, natural conditioning treatment, says Diana Schmidtke, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist who has worked with George Clooney and Josh Duhamel.
Distribute the mayo evenly through your hair with a wide-tooth comb, cover your mane with plastic wrap and leave it in for 15 minutes. To help the mayo penetrate the hair shaft, run a blow-dryer over your hair for the last couple of minutes, making sure not to overheat the plastic wrap. Shampoo immediately afterward.
Sprinkling baby powder on thin, limp locks revitalizes a flat head of hair
“This is one of the oldest tricks in the book,” says Schmidtke. The powder will absorb hair oils and return a bit of volume to your mane. To avoid looking like Marie Antoinette, be sure to use only a pinch of powder. Or check out the aisles at your local beauty supply shop for colored powders.
Pull out one gray hair, and two will grow back
“The only thing that will make your hair more gray is worrying about the gray you already have,” jokes Edwards. In fact, gray hair occurs when melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in your hair follicles, stop producing pigment. Genetics determine when this will begin to happen. Not a fan of gray? Apply a semipermanent color that lasts for six to 12 shampoos.
A cold rinse after shampooing leaves your hair shiny
Yes, you can shiver your way to shinier tresses, says Christopher Dove, co-owner of The Doves Studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Cold water flattens the hair cuticle, creating a smoother, more light-reflecting surface.
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will decrease hair frizzies and keep your blowout intact
It can certainly help. “A silk pillowcase won’t absorb your hair’s natural oils or mat your hair while you sleep,” says Schmidtke. “So your style will have more staying power.”
In addition, silk pillowcases can truly affect how many tiny creases your facial skin gets from lying on a pillowcase during the night hours. Natural silk decreases the formation of the fine lines on your face! Wow, double benefit from the silk alone – hair and skin benefits! Who would have thought?!
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Bonnie Steele is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the author of the romantic guidebook Best Places to Kiss in Southern California.