No matter where you get your beauty info from—whether it’s magazines, social media or good ol’ word of mouth—it’s safe to say that the abundance of sources and information available at any given time has made things, well, pretty confusing at times. With so much info at our fingertips, it can be tricky to differentiate between what’s factual and what isn’t. This is especially true in the world of haircare, because so much of what we know about caring for our strands is passed along to us from family members and friends (who else remembers DIY mayo and egg white hair masks?) and we generally make changes to our hair routine less often than we do our makeup or skincare regimens. Keeping track of legit advice, and when to make changes to your product rotation or daily routine, can sometimes feel like a game of broken telephone.
To set the record straight, once and for all, we tapped two pro hairstylists to share their knowledge about the most common hair care tips and tricks. Read on below to learn from the best of the best, and ensure we’re properly caring for our strands.
True or False: Trimming your hair regularly will make it grow faster
False. “Trimming your hair allows your hair to grow healthier, not faster,” says owner of JouJou Hair Studio, TV beauty expert and celebrity hairstylist, Janet Jackson. “Trimming your hair on a regular basis helps get rid of split ends, [which does] make hair look healthier. Regular trims help maintain hair length, but do not [speed up] the timing of hair growth.”
According to celebrity hairstylist Matthew Collins (whose work you may have seen on the likes of Mandy Moore and Camila Mendes), skipping trims can cause existing split ends to travel further up your strands, causing more and more breakage and wreaking havoc on your growing-out process. That being said, “it’s important not to cut your hair at home during this time,” says Collins. “You most likely won’t be using sharp [enough] scissors, which could leave a damaged end that’s likely to split up the shaft even more than a natural split end would.”
True or False: Your hair gets “used to” products, so you have to switch them up every few months
False. “Most of the time what happens is that product companies may change the product ingredients or formulation,” says Jackson. “Then you, as a consumer who is unaware of the change, notice that your hair is no longer reacting to the products as it used to.” Jackson says that she has recommended products to clients over the years and then had to take back the recommendation because the product is no longer the same. Her pro tip on how to tell if a formulation has changed? “If a product line changes its packaging or branding, it’s usually an indication that they have changed something [about the formula]. So if your hair is ‘getting used to’ a product, I urge you to compare the ingredients of the newly bought product to the older one.”
If that’s not it, and you’re noticing that your favourite product is acting “different,” have you considered that maybe the weather has changed? “Seasons and weather changes affect how our hair responds to [products], so different times of year may require different products that are helping to combat certain hair issues,” says Collins. This can include treating increased frizz in the summer and dryness in the winter.
But “generally speaking, the only time you’ll truly need to switch things up [in the hair product department] is if you’ve been using a drugstore product that contains too much silicone. This can create instant smoothness and high shine, but over time it can leave a wax-like build up on the hair shaft, weighing it down,” which you may perceive as your hair “getting used to” the product and no longer “working.”
True or False: When you pluck a grey hair, two more will grow in its place
False. “More hair won’t grow after plucking,” says Collins, “but often you will notice the greys more [because the new hair] sticks straight up, as opposed to laying down and blending in with the rest of your hair.”
“If you pluck a grey hair, a grey hair will grow back in its place,” says Jackson. “As to more growth? That is truly a myth; it’s one hair per hair follicle. But if you keep plucking that hair over a period of time, you may end up with a bald spot.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
True or False: Washing your hair every day is damaging
It depends. “Washing your hair too often can be damaging to some hair types, especially if your hair does not produce enough sebum,” says Jackson. Unless you have super-fine, straight hair that gets oily easily, you probably don’t need to be washing every day. This is especially true (and important!) for curly, thick or textured hair types.
“Regardless of how often you wash, it is important to make sure you’re using a shampoo and conditioner that hydrates your hair.” Jackson, Canadian hair educator for Maui Moisture, recommends choosing a brand that focuses first and foremost on hydration. She suggests Maui Moisture, which starts with hydrating aloe vera as the base ingredient in all its lines and offers different collections for different hydration levels, depending on your hair type and needs.
Collins says that you do need to watch how often you’re washing your hair “when using tools with high heat output” as they can cause extra dryness. “You’ll want to stretch [the time between] washes as long as possible, so dry shampoo should be your best friend.” If you’re a diehard heat styling fan, using tools specifically designed to use lower temperatures (like Dyson’s range of hair tools) can help.
True or False: Blasting your hair with cold water before you jump out of the shower will add shine
False-ish. Doing a cold-water rinse at the end of your shower does have some benefits. It helps to close your hair cuticles, says Jackson, which can make hair less frizzy, and therefore appear to have more shine to it. Cold water rinses are also a good way to maintain colour-treated hair, while also using a shampoo and conditioner formulated for colour-treated hair, of course. Doing both things will help slow down the process of your hair colour fading and make it look shinier.
One thing to watch out for, though, is jumping to a cold water rinse before you’ve properly and thoroughly rinsed out your shampoo and conditioner. Collins warns that cold water is less effective than warm water when it comes to rinsing out product residue, so it could end up being counter-productive, since leftover product will weigh your hair down and make it look dull.