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Ethnic Hair Myths We All Grew Up Hearing ...and Some of Us Believing

by Calynn Lawrence


Growing up, every woman of color was taught a code of hair care that was not always the most reliable or healthy for your hair. Although those rules may have been honestly thought to be true, time has proven them incredibly incorrect! This article will reveal ten ethnic hair myths that need to be shattered!

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Don't Wash Your Hair

This myth likely came from the fact that too much shampooing can indeed dry out any hair type, especially coarse hair. However, there is no need to avoid the sink like the plague ladies! Washing ethnic hair at least twice a month is mandatory for healthy hair growth. 

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Not only does this promote blood flow to the scalp but it cleanses the hair of heavy impurities. Choose a shampoo that is moisturizing to avoid as much dryness as possible. But, do not avoid shampoo all together. Imagine going weeks without showering your body! It's the same principle.

You Can Sweat Out Your Relaxer

Scientifically, it is impossible for the sweat from your body to revert a relaxer. The chemicals in a relaxer are designed to permanently straighten the hair. If your hair happens to return to a curly state, it is because the relaxer itself did not work correctly or because your new growth has simply grown out. Because of this, you want to make sure you pick the appropriate strength of relaxer when treating the hair so that you achieve the desired results!

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You Must Grease Your Scalp

This practice is timeless, however, it is quite pointless. The idea behind greasing the scalp is to moisturize and avoid dandruff. Yet, applying such a thick substance to the scalp does nothing but suffocate it. Grease is used as a sealant to go on top of moisturizing products . It is not the moisturizer. To hydrate the scalp, use a hair oil instead.

Cutting Your Hair Helps it Grow!

This myth seems like it logically would not even be a popular belief. However, it still remains. Cutting the hair does not make it grow. Trimming split ends on a bi monthly basis minimizes breakage and thinness, but it does not accelerate the growth of your hair. Therefore, it's great to get trims between 4-6 times a year.

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You Aren't Allowed to Use ''White People" Products

Many ethnic women were taught that using hair products that aren't specifically targeted towards ethnic women will damage your hair. This is completely untrue because everyone's hair is different. Different textures react differently to different ingredients. To exclude the majority of hair products simply based on the woman on the bottle is acting out of ignorance and can cause your hair to miss out on a potentially beneficial product.

The March Wind Will Snap Your Hair

The idea that the evolution of seasons takes place during the month of March between Winter and Spring has some special property in its winds that cause breakage in ethnic hair. This is totally twisted! What you do want to avoid is exposing your hair to harsh elements such as snow and heavy rain. These things can cause a strain on the ends of your hair and cause them to become thin.

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Sponge Rollers are Great for Preserving Curls

This has got to be one of the biggest lies that we were told as children. Sponge rollers should be banned from every ethnic woman's cabinet! Why? Because a sponge absorbs moisture and rolling the hair with them will suck the moisture right out. This results in frizzy morning curls and dry ends. That is not the style you are going for when styling the hair.

It's Okay to Use Heat on a Regular Basis

Heat is meant to be used in moderation. If you grew up being taught that its acceptable to use heat more than once a week, you have likely been damaging your hair for years. When heat is used, it is temporarily altering the texture of your strands. After so long, you develop what is called “heat damage” where your hair is permanently straight and loses all of its natural texture. This results in limp, lifeless, hair that is prone to dryness, thinness and breakage.

Afro Hair Isn't Presentable

Old school etiquette taught women of those days that Afro hair was unkempt and unpresentable. However, it is absolutely beautiful to embrace your God-given hair texture. It is no reason to feel pressured to chemically alter your texture just to fit in or blend with people who just happen to look different than you do. Everyone is beautiful just the way they came into the world, natural. That is not to say that those who relax their hair aren't lovely as well.

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Your Hair Can't Grow as Long as Women of Other Backgrounds

This is the most common and most uninformed notion of them all. Many ethnic women grew up believing that they could not achieve tumbling lengths of gorgeous hair just as a White woman could. This is because ethnic women were not educated on how to properly take care of their specific hair type. Because it is so unique, it requires a different type of tender loving care than someone else's hair. Instead of going through so many chemical processes and thermal procedures, trying to mimic a texture that is not yours, you should spend time learning what your hair wants and needs.

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Now that you know what is and isn't true, work hard to apply this knowledge to your hair acre regimen and your hair will surely prosper!