Does a haircut make your locks grow faster? Does nail polish prevent nails from breathing? Does having a tan make sunburn less likely? Here, we determine what’s factual and what’s fake news.
Myth: Washing hair daily makes it greasy and oily.
FALSE: “There’s nothing wrong with washing your hair every day, but I suggest using a gentle product, because after 24 hours, it’s very rare your hair is dirty,” explains Denis Binet, hair artist and spokesperson for Pantene. Do your roots get greasy quickly? It’s mostly due to the friction of your fingers passing through it. So try to avoid combing through your hair with your hands a hundred times a day, and space out regular washes to regulate sebum production. If after three months you don’t see any improvement, consult a dermatologist.
EXPERT ADVICE: In the case of oily hair, dry shampoo is an excellent alternative to shampoo, but it doesn’t replace it. “It can help you out for a day, and that’s about it. You’ll need to wash your hair to eliminate particles and residue to avoid any build-up,” recommends Binet.
Myth: Getting a trim makes your hair grow faster.
TRUE AND FALSE: Hair naturally grows at a rate of about 1 to 1.5 cm per month, and cutting the ends won’t change anything. “That being said, if you do have more fragile, brittle hair and the ends are prone to splitting, that can slow down hair growth, so getting a trim if you’ve got breakage will get your hair's growth back to normal speed,” says Binet.
EXPERT ADVICE: To encourage growth, the hair care consultant for Pantene suggests washing hair and scalp with a good shampoo, using a leave-in treatment once a week and caring for the ends with a daily conditioner. “People with straight hair should dry it well using a blow dryer and round brush and those with frizzy or curly hair should gently pat it dry with a towel,” Binet adds.
Myth: Having a tan makes sunburn less likely.
FALSE: Your skin is golden and you’ve managed to make it through the sum- mer without a single sunburn. First of all, well done! But is this a reason to forget about sunscreen? No. “A tan is a not a form of UV protection,” says Dr. Abdulla. “To protect skin from the sun, you need waterproof, broad spectrum protection with an SPF of at least 30. UVA rays, responsible for premature aging, exist no matter the season or weather...and can even penetrate windows!” So yes, you can get a golden glow, but you can also get a sunburn, a couple wrinkles and maybe some sun spots, too.
EXPERT ADVICE: With all the sunscreen choices out there, it’s no wonder many of us feel lost. “Mineral filters are recommended for sensitive skin, but are less photostable (some ingredients don’t protect as well when exposed to the sun), and less resistant to water and sweat than a sunscreen with a chemical filter,” says the dermatologist.
Myth: Constantly changing your skincare routine avoids it becoming ineffective.
FALSE: “According to the skin’s cell turnover cycle, there needs to be a minimum of 28 days to see the effects of any product, and up to six months for certain ones, especially those that fight spots and hyperpigmentation,” reveals Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Sonya Abdulla. The key is patience. Before giving up on a product, make sure you’ve given it enough time for it to work and its effects to be seen.
EXPERT ADVICE: The needs of our skin vary depending on environmental stress, season and age. “If you’ve found a routine you like after a month, don’t go changing it, but adjust the level of hydration and richness when the seasons change,” explains the dermatologist.
Myth: White spots on nails indicate calcium deficiency.
FALSE: White marks or lines are not a sign of calcium deficiency; they're a sign of injury to the nail bed, which provokes a disruption of the nail’s keratin layers. There is no miracle cure...so to see these white spots disappear for good, don’t over-consume lactose, just patiently wait until the nail grows out.
Myth: Nail polish prevents nails from breathing and growing.
FALSE: “It’s a myth: nails don't need to breathe!” declares Sigourney Nuñez, North American education manager for nail polish brand OPI. In fact, the oxygen and nutrients necessary for nails to grow comes directly from our blood system, so a manicure will not stunt nail growth at all.
EXPERT ADVICE: Dreaming of growing long nails? Avoid biting them and massage nails with cuticle oil so that the product penetrates the nail bed. “This will stimulate blood circulation and encourage growth,” says Nuñez.
Myth: Shaving body hair makes it grow back thicker and coarser.
FALSE: For lack of time, the razor is our best friend...until we're stuck in that never ending cycle of trying to maintain silky smooth legs. Though shaving doesn’t change hair's thickness, colour or rate of regrowth, it does gives hairs a blunt tip, making them seem more stubbly.
EXPERT ADVICE: Try waxing, which allows the hair to grow back with its natural pointed tip. Laser hair removal or pulsed light technology are both more expensive than shaving or waxing, but they have much longer lasting effects.
Myth: Hair grows faster in summertime.
TRUE: Like a coniferous tree loses its leaves in the fall, only to regain full bloom in the spring, our hair reaches peak season when it’s hot outside. “Even if it’s a result of hormones, heat stimulates the skin and encourages growth,” explains Laurence Boucher, head aesthetician at Montreal spa Espace Nomad. Seems as if we’re a lot more like our ficus plant than we thought!