In the realm of hair care, numerous opinions have been passed down as gospel truth; however, the reality is often quite different. (Image by Arrangement)
A comprehensive hair care routine is as crucial as skincare, yet it is often overlooked. What’s essential is understanding what benefits the hair and, more importantly, what doesn’t. Dr. Renita Rajan, the first dermatologist to introduce cutting-edge Picosecond laser technology in India at RENDER Clinic and the India KOL for the advanced MRF device, Morpheus, which offers advanced applications for treating body skin laxity and acne scars, debunks common hair myths.
Keep your hair tied or in a braid
For ponytails, dreads, and braids, the common factor is the traction exerted on hair strands in these hairstyles. The front hair is usually the weakest due to hormonal influence in the frontal zone. Tight hairstyles, pulling hair back, and braids contribute to frontal tractional alopecia—a type of hair loss resulting from repeated trauma. This is considered permanent or long-term and challenging to treat. Repeatedly pulling and securing hair away from its natural direction of growth is not advisable. Standard double braids and tight hairstyles in schools cause significant frontal hair loss and breakage. Varying styles regularly is the best approach.
Avoid conditioner if you have thin or fine hair
I do not prefer leave-in conditioner. Fragile hair becomes more delicate when wet for extended periods. Therefore, I opt for a quick cleansing with shampoo and follow it with a leave-in serum when the hair is half dry. This approach saves water, time, energy, and product—most importantly, it is very hair-friendly.
100 brush strokes every day
The more we brush, the more fragile and broken the hair becomes. When explaining this to my patients/clients, I always use the example of an expensive silk saree—how delicately we handle it. Human hair is less strong than silk, yet we are so rough with our hair! (human hair is comparable to steel in terms of its tensile strength, 200-260 MPa, natural silk comes in at 400–600 MPa.) Yet, we treat our hair far more harshly than we treat silk. Use hair serums to detangle and a wide-toothed comb regularly. Occasional styling is okay.
Gap between shampoos and blowouts
The less wet the hair, the better it is for hair styling. Wet hair transmits heat to the scalp better. It is good to wait until the hair is about 60-70% dry before using any kind of heat styling.
Frequent hair trims ensure faster hair growth
There is no way that hair cut at the tip grows faster at the root. However, short hair is less tangling, requires less handling, and results in less traumatic hair loss. Also, the perception of hair fall is lesser since shorter hair makes less of a statement than longer strands everywhere, leading to less stress and reduced hair fall. Hair is healthier at the tips with regular (not necessarily more frequent) trims.
Your hair gets used to the same shampoo
This is not possible with the current formulation/surfactant systems that go into modern-day shampoos. It may have been a thing of the past with more deposits from unusual formulations in the West, but not something that has happened in our part of the world.
Your hair is shinier if you give it a last cold-water rinse
While a final cold blast may help reduce hair surface damage when heat styling the hair or after a blow dry by diffusing the heat, there is no data to say that a cold rinse is needed at the end of a hot shower. There is still water in the hair, so it should cool down quickly on its own, and the very high temperatures experienced with flat ironing and heat styling are not comparable to the temperatures that the hair gets exposed to in a hot shower.
"The more we brush, the more fragile and broken the hair becomes. When explaining this to my Patients OR clients, I always use the example of an expensive silk saree—how delicately we handle it. Human hair is less strong than silk, yet we treat our hair so harshly! Use hair serums to detangle and a wide-toothed comb regularly. Occasional styling is okay."
Dr. Renita Rajan, dermatologist