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Healthy hair care quiz: Myths and facts

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Getting your hair cut more often makes it grow faster.

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Getting your hair cut more often makes it grow faster.

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The hair grows from the hair bulb, which is embedded deep in the skin tissue. Once it appears it is effectively dead. Cutting it removes splitting ends, which may make it appear to grow faster, as it is not breaking off. There is nothing that can speed up hair growth. The speed of growth is dictated by our genes.

 

However, cutting hair does keep it looking healthy and fuller by getting rid of frayed, split ends.

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About how many hairs do you lose each day?

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About how many hairs do you lose each day?

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Most of us have about 100,000 hairs, and it's normal to lose as many as 100 of them every day. Shedding a lot more than that can be a sign of a physical problem, so seek medical advice or speak to a trichologist or a dermatologist who specialises in hair if you have concerns. Otherwise, don't fret over a few lost hairs after shampooing or brushing. New ones will grow in their place.

How often should most people shampoo?

How often should most people shampoo?

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Many experts say that unless your scalp is particularly greasy, it's not necessary to wash your hair every day. However, European hair is ideally washed and conditioned daily, according to The Institute of Trichologists. Most of us who live in towns and cities have dirt in the atmosphere. We wash our bodies and clean our teeth at least once daily, so why leave the hair dirty? This also applies to hair that has lots of products used to style it, which should be removed to prevent drag on the comb and possible hair shaft damage. African-Carribbean hair is normally washed and oiled every one to two weeks in the European climate. For Asian hair, shampoo as often as required for clean and healthy hair.

If you pull out a grey hair, two more will grow in its place.

If you pull out a grey hair, two more will grow in its place.

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Your grandmother was wrong. Experts say there's no truth in this old wives' tale. Your hair won't go grey faster from plucking – and you may also actually like the grey look. This myth possibly arises due to the fact that the hair is beginning to grey slowly. So when one is pulled out several more are soon noticed.

How do you keep curly hair healthy?

How do you keep curly hair healthy?

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Chemical treatments put stress on your tresses. Lots of people choose to embrace their curls, rather than risk damage by wielding the straightener. A hairdresser can show you how to use a diffuser to avoid curls turning into frizz. Meanwhile, styling products can help hair dry naturally and avoid heat damage. Easing off on the straightening does not mean you shouldn't use a heated straightener – it means don't use it on too hot a setting, and keep it moving. Never use these on damp hair as the water in the hair shaft can boil, causing the hair shaft to shatter.

When can razor cutting hurt your hair?

When can razor cutting hurt your hair?

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If done with a new and sharp blade, razor cutting can give your style a softer look. You can tell whether your hairdresser is using a sharp blade by how much it pulls on your hair. Duller blades will tug on your hair and the haircut could be uncomfortable. Don't feel bad about pointing it out to your stylist. After all, you both want to keep your hair healthy and make sure you walk out of there looking good!

 

Any type and length of hair can work with a razor cut as long as you have an experienced stylist. Tugging and discomfort indicates either the hairdresser's inexperience of razor cutting or a blunt blade.

It's not safe to dye your hair when you're pregnant.

It's not safe to dye your hair when you're pregnant.

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When you dye your hair, some of the chemical can get on your scalp and penetrate your skin. Most research suggests a small amount of dye isn't harmful to a developing baby, but the NHS says many pregnant women wait until after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when any risk is lower.

 

If you dye your hair yourself, use gloves, leave the dye on for the minimum time, and work in a well-ventilated room. You also may want to try pure vegetable based dyes.

You can mend split ends.

You can mend split ends.

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Despite what some hair products may promise, you can't mend ends once they split. To banish them, get regular trims and work on keeping your hair healthy.

Sleeping on braids and ponytails can damage hair.

Sleeping on braids and ponytails can damage hair.

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Anything that can pull the hair, can cause root tension and possibly hair shaft damage. Sleeping on braids and ponytails can damage hair. This is due to movement whilst asleep when the hair can be stretched and therefore weakened. Hair extensions also cause this problem. If you need to tie it back, the Institute of Trichologists advises doing so with one of the 'knitted' scrunches – and avoid elastic all together.

Brushing 100 strokes a day keeps hair healthy.

Brushing 100 strokes a day keeps hair healthy.

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No need to be that dedicated! Overbrushing can cause wear and tear on your hair. You can end up with breakage and split ends. The Institute of Trichologists says brushing long hair should never be carried out until all tangles are removed by combing with a wide toothed comb. The blood supply to the scalp is prolific; therefore the stimulation by brushing is not necessary.

Keratin straightening treatments are safe.

Keratin straightening treatments are safe.

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It's the formaldehyde and its equivalents in some of these treatments that raises concerns. EU scientists say formaldehyde is an irritant to the eyes and respiratory tract. Cancer Research UK says it is known to cause cancer. Formaldehyde should be restricted to 0.2% of any cosmetic product. However, higher concentrations have been found, raising concerns for hair dressers breathing it in.

 

If you have a keratin treatment, ask what's in it. However, the pack may not tell the whole story. Methylene glycol is formed by dissolving formaldehyde in water, so formaldehyde itself may well not be on the packet.

 

Alternatively, consider investing in a good hair straightener.

You should never use 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.

You should never use 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner.

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What's important when choosing hair products is making sure you pick the ones for your type of hair, such as dry, curly or colour-treated. The Institute of Trichologists says a two-in-one shampoo is OK when you are in a hurry, but the separate products are generally more effective.

If you're pregnant, your hair will be likely to:

If you're pregnant, your hair will be likely to:

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The hair grows fuller during pregnancy due to the raised hormones which cause the hairs that would normally fall at the end of the growth cycle to live longer and remain in place. Hence the heavy shedding of hair after giving birth.

How do you protect hair from the heat of straighteners?

How do you protect hair from the heat of straighteners?

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Heated electrical hair straighteners do little harm to the hair when used properly, according to the Institute of Trichologists . The straightener should always be kept moving. Holding a straightener that's too hot, for too long, on the hair shaft when wet can cause the water inside the hair shaft to boil. Make sure the hair is dry and conditioned before using straighteners.

The only way to moisturise your hair is when it's wet.

The only way to moisturise your hair is when it's wet.

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You add water when the hair is wet. You retain that water inside the hair shaft by using a conditioner. If the hair dries out rapidly due to dry air or strong sunshine, then use a leave-in conditioner as well as a conventional one. The Institute of Trichologists says that if you add oil to fine European hair, it will loose its body and become limp and lifeless looking. Oils are excellent for African-Carribbean hair. Asian hair is thicker and can lose more moisture, so may need extra help for dryness and split ends.

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