Certain unexpected practices are good for your hair, such as only washing it 1-2 times a week, since it’s a better way to help preserve Black hair’s natural moisture. But other hair care behaviors and treatments aren’t necessarily as great for the health of your hair.
So which hair habits are better to just avoid?
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True or False: Use mayonnaise and olive oil to deep condition your hair.
Depends on your hair type. While kitchen staples like mayo and olive oil do contain moisturizing properties, not everyone should use it on their hair.
“The success of this treatment depends on the type and texture of your hair,” says Doug DiCanio, a stylist at Blow in New York City. “If your hair is fine, limp or sparse, you’ll see a greasy or heavy result. But if you have thick, coarse and extremely dry hair, mayo and olive oil can be a low-cost alternative to deep conditioning treatments, so long as you apply them correctly.”
He suggests distributing one tablespoon of either ingredient into clean, damp hair, concentrating on the ends. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and then thoroughly rinse with a gentle cleansing shampoo.
True or False: Don’t dye your hair if you’re pregnant.
Depends on the hair dye ingredients. According to Amy Burkett, MD, ob-gyn residency director at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio, no studies have conclusively proven hair dye is dangerous to a developing fetus.
“In general, pregnant women need to be concerned with what they’re exposing their body to. The big concern for me is that some hair products contain formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen that I’d recommend any woman, pregnant or not, steer clear of.”
Formaldehyde will be noted on a product’s ingredients list, so to be safe, choose a dye that doesn’t contain it, opting instead for one that has as many natural ingredients as possible, such as henna-based dyes. If you go to the salon for color, ask your stylist what ingredients are in your hair dye, and see if there’s a more natural option to pursue.
Dr. Burkett also recommends avoiding all hair dye during the first trimester of pregnancy, since that is when a fetus’s basic neurological development occurs.
Note: It’s important to also remember that formaldehyde an also be found in Brazilian keratin hair-straightening treatments.
True or False: Change up your shampoo and conditioner for better results.
False. If your tried-and-true shampoo and conditioner don’t seem to be working as well as they used to, don’t rush out to pick up new brands. Contrary to popular belief, hair doesn’t “get used to” products. Instead, build-up and residue is usually to blame for products not working as they should.
“Some shampoos and conditioners can leave behind residue, which might make it difficult to see results over the long term,” says DiCanio. “Use a clarifying shampoo once every two weeks to remove excess build-up in your hair, and you should be able to see continued great results from your favorite products.”
True or False: Cutting your hair will make it grow faster.
False. While regular trims are a great way to keep your hair healthy, monthly snips won’t turn you into Rapunzel.
“On average, hair grows about half an inch every month regardless of whether or not you trim it,” says Jenny Cho, a stylist for Suave Professionals. “While cutting ends will prevent damage and encourage stronger, healthier hair, it doesn’t tell the roots to grow faster.”
However, healthy hair may appear longer, since it’s free from dry, damaged and broken ends. So visiting your salon every eight to 12 weeks is still the key to maintaining healthy, long locks.