5 Popular Hair (and Hair Product) Myths, Debunked
May 17, 2022
From magazine articles to Instagram Reels, there’s more haircare content in our orbit than ever. But when you start getting mixed messages about product benefits or the best nighttime routine, it’s hard to know who (and what) to believe. Place your trust in the Alterna team — we’re disproving five common hair myths that have probably already infiltrated your feed.
Myth 1: Silicones are bad for your hair, full stop
You may have heard that silicones are bad for your hair, but that’s not nearly the whole story. The truth is that certain types of silicones are not ideal for certain hair types. Let’s discuss.
First, what are silicones? On paper, they’re synthetic rubber-like polymers derived from crystal quartz, and in hair products, they’re a group of ingredients commonly used as a smoothing or anti-frizz agent. Silicones work by attaching to the hair shaft and locking in moisture that your hair craves — this is why you may notice seemingly instantaneous shine and softness when you use a shampoo, conditioner, or styler with silicones in it. Alterna’s Replenishing Moisture products, for example, incorporate high-quality silicones to help the hair retain luscious moisture (among other benefits, like providing humidity protection).
But, like most things in life, silicones aren’t perfect — while they provide that sleek look and feel, certains types can also “weigh hair (especially curls) down and prevent other moisturizing ingredients from penetrating into your hair shaft,” according to Byrdie. Over time, continual use of some silicone-based products can lead to buildup, which in turn can lead to annoying issues ranging from itchiness and flakiness to dryness and dullness.
Luckily, it’s not all bad news — you just have to be aware of which silicones you’re dealing with in your daily routine. Generally, beauty products may contain silicones and can provide different results. Alterna products are formulated with silicones that are water-soluble, very lightweight, and don’t weigh the hair down (examples include dimethicone copolyol, stearoxy dimethicone, and behenoxy dimethicone). Other silicones (like cetyl dimethicone and cyclomethicone) are the ones that will stay in your hair even after you rinse.
Myth 2: Brush your hair generously at night
Like with many old wives’ tales, you’ll want to proceed with caution if you’ve been told to brush your hair 100 times before bed. We’ve touched on this topic previously, and here’s our conclusion: Brushing your hair at night has benefits, but don’t get carried away! Too much brushing can weaken your strands and cause them to loosen at the root. A light brushing, on the other hand, will help distribute the oils down to the ends of your hair (as opposed to letting them accumulate at your scalp) and release any tangles you’ve acquired throughout the day — so aim for 10 to 15 brush strokes before hitting the hay. (You can see our full recommended nighttime hair routine here.)
While we’re going over brushing basics, did you know that “less is more” during your waking hours, too? When you brush your hair frequently throughout the day, you’re actually telling your glands to produce more sebum (oil), which can make your hair look greasy — so do it only when necessary.
Myth 3: You can treat wet hair the same way as dry hair
As we’ve mentioned before, wet hair is incredibly fragile — even if you have abnormally thick or strong strands — so it’s crucial for us to debunk this myth. You must avoid rubbing, wringing out, and brushing wet hair, all of which can rough up the cuticles, increase frizz, and lead to damage.
To reduce the amount of tangles that materialize post-shower, brush your hair thoroughly before you wash it. For the most delicate drying routine, use a towel to oh-so-gently remove excess moisture and then detangle carefully with a wide-tooth comb. (For a detangling assist, spray Alterna’s Caviar Replenishing Moisture Priming Leave-In Conditioner on finer hair types or Caviar Replenishing Moisture Leave-In Conditioning Milk on normal to thicker hair types.) And if you use a blow-dryer, wait until your hair is about 80% dry before blasting it with warm air.
Myth 4: You shouldn’t wash your hair every day
This one’s a trick question, because the best wash frequency depends on your hair type. You may have read articles or seen TikToks promoting a minimalist approach to hair washing — they’ll recommend shampooing only every other day or even just once a week. But your hair is a unique combination of texture, length, and other properties that, after decades of dealing with it, you know better than anyone else. We repeat: Only you know how frequently you should shampoo.
For a starting point, follow the most simple guideline ever: When your scalp starts to look greasy, wash it. Explore Alterna’s range of collections to find the right shampoo for your hair type and preferences; if you seek protection from color fade, daily stresses, and future damage, Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner have your name all over them.
Myth 5: Your hair loves hot water
This myth is false, too — which is unfortunate, because who doesn’t love a long, steamy shower? So relaxing, especially before bed. But hot water opens up your hair cuticle, allowing moisture to escape and ultimately drying out your hair; it can even encourage your scalp to start producing more oil, which is a big yikes. Factor in its potential color fading properties and you’ll understand why prolonged exposure to hot water is not ideal for anyone’s hair.
But don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you take exclusively ice-cold showers. Our solution is a compromise of sorts: Switch to a medium or lukewarm shower temperature, especially when you’re washing your hair. Then rinse your hair in warm to cool water and, if you can bear it, finish with a blast of cold water at the end to help close up the cuticle. This will lock in the moisture, help your hair appear shiny.