Truth be told, some of that old-school hair advice you've heard from friends and relatives could be, well, just plain incorrect. Here's a professional reality check from leading stylists. Heeding their advice could make the difference between tired-looking tresses and fabulous, healthy hair.
1. Oiling Your Scalp Is An Absolute Necessity
Your scalp needs to breathe to function properly, so it's best not to clog hair follicles with heavy ingredients like petroleum jelly, mineral oil or lanolin. A dry or flaky scalp could be the result of using the wrong products. For example, shampoo with high alcohol content might dry out the scalp, or a too-heavy conditioner may leave a flaky residue. The last thing you want to do is put grease on top of flaky dead skin.
2. Your Hair Will Grow If Your Stylist Has Growing Hands
There is no magic when it comes to hair growth. It's a matter of biology. Depending on your hair's natural growth cycle, it may grow anywhere from a quarter of an inch to a half inch per month. So abandon the idea of "growing hands." Most likely, a stylist's ability to keep hair on your head is based on his or her understanding of how to care for your hair type, texture and special needs.
3. If You Want Your Hair To Grow Long, Don't Cut It
If you don't keep your ends trimmed--a quarter of an inch snipped every six to eight weeks--they will eventually unravel up the hair shaft, leaving thinner, more fragile tresses that will easily break. Regular trimming keeps the hair stronger.
4. With Locks or Braids, You Rarely Have To Wash Your Hair
All hair (especially the scalp) needs regular shampooing. The only way to remove bacteria, perspiration, product residue, pollution, etc. is via regular shampooing. Try a dry shampoo between your regular shampoos to freshen the hair.
5. Natural Hair Doesn't Need Much Maintenance
The late stylist and hair care guru Olive Benson used to tell me constantly: There is no such thing as zero-maintenance Black hair. Our hair is dry, often porous, so it needs regular detangling, moisture and conditioning to counter breakage and to thrive.