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The Blogs Made Me Do It: Some of the Worst Natural Hair Advice Online

Avatar • Sep 10, 2014

 

 

(note: This is in no way a jab at The Blogs Made Me Do It, a wonderful DIY blog. Try her orange pound cake sugar scrub recipe –it’s amazing.)

The internet is a beautiful monster. We have instant access to a wealth of knowledge, information, people and resources. Getting the word out about anything is only a few clicks away.

But there is a dark side.

There are no fact-check filters to dictate what is regarded as true or ill-informed. I’m sure we’ve all used google to seek answers to some of our natural hair questions. Results from various blogs all over would pop up and what do we do? Take take that advice as gospel and run with it until we realize the advice was off-base, ill-thought out, or just plain bad.

If you’re anything like me, realizing how ridiculous you were for not knowing better garners a good chuckle or two.  Don’t take offense if you used to believe any of these things were true. I’ve done some crazy and outright ridiculous things to my hair (like dump oat flour in it) based on Google search results.

Get ready to laugh, because without further delay, I present to you some of the worst advice and myths circulating the web (some of which I feel victim to early in my transition):

1. Never trim your ends.

Have you been seeing the hashtag #teamnoscissors everywhere? I have. Just to be clear, these ladies aren’t hiding the shears for months at a time, they’re doing away with them permanently. As in never trimming their ends. The ends of your hair are the most damaged and weathered due to age, mechanical stress, and how little sebum they receive from your scalp. Old ends split, cuticles crack and lift, or outright break — leaving you with jagged, uneven, rough-feeling, and thinning ends that cause detangling nightmares. While there are no set guidelines for when to trim, the idea is that at some point you have to rid yourself of those ends. It can be every 3 months, or even once a year. But it has to happen some time.

2. Dirty hair grows faster.

I don’t know where this tidbit of “advice” originated, but it’s well past time to lay it to rest. There is absolutely nothing about leaving your hair full of dirt, sweat, buildup and oils that accelerates growth. I believe this misinformation may be confused with the results of length retention while protectively styling. Less frequent washing means less frequent manipulation, which leads to less opportunities for breakage, tangles and damage. We all know the benefits of protective styling several times over — but absolutely none of those benefits stem from not washing your hair. In fact, not washing your hair regularly may cause more problems than it solves.

3. Your hair can be “heat trained”.

The notion of heat training comes up every so often in the natural hair community. Heat training is often articulated as regularly applying direct heat (i.e. flat ironing) to hair and over time the frequent application of heat affords the hair the ability to be straightened and sleek with ease and minimal reversion. Now here’s where things get fun: heat “trained” hair often mimics the behavior of relaxed hair. It does not revert to its natural state and is either bone straight when wet, or has a limp/loosened curl. Relaxers chemically alter the protein bonds in the hair, re-arranging them into a straight shape. Repeated high heat use from a flat iron does the same thing — with the added feat of irreversibly melting the proteins in the hair. Hair altered in this manner is damaged — there is no other way around it. Heat trained hair is damaged hair. Even if it’s not splitting, breaking or thinning, it is damaged. Doesn’t curl or kink back up like the rest of your hair? Damaged. Sorry ladies, this one may be a tough pill to swallow — but take it from someone who transitioned for 21 months from severe heat damage.

4. Trimming your ends will make your hair grow faster.

On the opposite end of the #teamnoscissors spectrum is the #teamscissorseveryotherday. I’m kidding, I made that hashtag up. But there are is a circle (albeit small) of ladies who believe regular trims accelerate your hair growth. Let’s put this one to bed right now: the scissors in and of themselves will not make your hair grow any faster. Regularly trimming your ends and ridding yourself of damaged, splitting and breaking ends does boost your ability to retain length — provided that you take care of your hair and ends post trim. Since the ends will no longer be there to split up the shaft, thin, or break, you will be able to retain more length — giving the illusion that your hair is growing faster. Plus, evenly trimmed ends just look healthier.

5. Your hair will become immune to products if you use them for too long.

Your hair is not a living, breathing organism. Aside from the bulb at the root, it engages in no biochemical activity. Your visible hair that you wash, deep condition, style, and share on Instagram (maybe that’s just me) is actually no more than a collection of dead cells and keratin. In spite of the fact that some days it appears to be to the contrary, our hair does not literally possess a mind of its own (some of you may beg to differ…lol). Therefore, it stands to reason that our hair cannot grow immune to to a particular product, or set of products. If it seems like your hair product has randomly “stopped working”, more than likely something else is at hand. Maybe the manufacturer switched the formulation and didn’t tell anyone (or maybe they did and you ignored it). Or, you began using the product differently, or as a part of another product combination and the new combination doesn’t mesh. A more likely possibility is that your hair is suffering from a cumulative buildup effect from your products, and needs to be clarified/cleansed. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the love for the product that we neglect other areas of our regimen.

For example, I have an on again, off again affair with Aussie Moist Conditioner. I love it for about a month and a half, then hate it. The moment I start hating it, I realize that it has been over a month since I’ve used shampoo and my hair probably needs a deep cleaning to get the gunk up so I can start fresh. Which takes me to my next point…

6. Never use shampoo.

Back in ye olden days of the online natural hair community, shampoo was to be avoided. Practically any shampoo you could get your hands on was laden with sulfates that stripped the hair, rendering it dry, crispy, fuzzy, and prone to breakage. In 2014, we can seriously say that the tide has turned in terms of shampoo. There are TONS of sulfate-free shampoos and shampoo bars that can be utilized to gently and thoroughly used to cleanse the hair. Beyond that, hair can benefit tremendously from a thorough shampooing every so often to rid the hair and scalp of product and oil buildup. Besides, did you know that shampoo makes your conditioner work better?

7. You can use products to create texture or “get your curl back”.

One of the most common questions I get when I share photo grids of my transition is, “I did xyz to my hair and now my curl is gone. What can I do to get it back?”

 

 

My answer, although articulated more gently and thoroughly always starts with “nothing.” I don’t care who told you, but there is absolutely nothing you can do to get your texture back after it has been heat damaged. Particularly if you’ve been damaging it at high temperatures, on a regular basis, for long periods of time. No product, deep treatment, rinse, or reconstructor is going to bring your hair back. The only thing you can do is start anew, adopt healthy hair practices, forgo the heat and remain patient while new hair grows. Now, if you made a one-time mistake and want to deep condition, rehydrate, reconstruct and send your hair into bounce-back ICU, be my guest. In some rare cases, it *may* work. However, if you’ve been flat ironing your hair like crazy for the past 5 months and decided you want your curl back, you’re likely out of luck. My apologies if this seems rude or harsh, but this is something that I see plenty of folks dance around and recommend products for. As much as I love being a product junkie, I cannot in good conscience recommend products/treatments to undo heat damaged hair — because there are none. #teamhonestlyspeaking

8. You have to follow xyz method to the letter or else it won’t work.

Whatever method, whatever routine or regimen, whatever philosophy — none of it is set in stone. More often than not, bloggers and vloggers (myself included) are simply sharing what has even effective for them personally. None of it is to be taken as gospel. Every head of hair is different. Some of us have more time to tend to our hair than others. We all have different product budgets and preferences. Taking all of that into consideration, why would you follow so and so’s method to the letter without a second thought? There’s more than one way to deep condition, trim and do a roller set. Make this natural hair journey work for you!

9. Baking soda relaxes the hair.

This myth stems from the notion that because relaxers have a high pH (10) and baking soda has a high pH (8–9), they will serve the same function. Well, if that were the case, relaxer sales would have plummeted further than they already have! From a scientific perspective (nod and high-five to Jc of The Natural Haven) hair exposed to alkaline products (like baking soda and shampoo bars) does exhibit some changes (cuticle lifting). This change is corrected unaided within 45 minutes to 3 hours, but can also be rectified with a rinse out or deep conditioner. Even with the cuticles lifting, the hair will not be relaxed or loosened.

10. Black hair doesn’t grow.

Umm, yeah. Okay. This website isn’t called Black Girl with Long Hair for nothin’. The next time someone tells you that Black hair doesn’t grow or can’t grow past a certain length, kindly direct them to Naptural85. Boom. #dropsmic

What is the most terrible or outlandish advice and information you’ve ever seen, read, heard, or been given? Sound off in the comments!

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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Dee HinesMiss ThangAliyah MorrisonAJHSBabe Recent comment authors
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Thick Nigerian Hair
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Thick Nigerian Hair

Or direct them to KimmayTube, LongHairDontCare (RIP), Fusion of Cultures, etc. #repeatedlydropsmic lol

melanie washington
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melanie washington

I used to believe number five but your right once you clarify it magically works again unless they have changed the formula.Thts why I hate when a bottle says new look bc sometimes that means new formula also.

Jacky
Guest
Jacky

One of the most terrible natural hair advice that I’ve gotten online was to leave my natural hair in a ponytail/puff for a week without moisturizing it. The logic behind this was that if your curls are still noticeable after this process, you have 3c hair but if they’re not so visible after the process, then you have 4a hair( it was an attempt to distinguish 3c hair from 4a hair ). The advice was terrible and a lot of people sounded off about it in the comments section and refused to take such bad advice and I didn’t take… Read more »

BayouPrincess
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BayouPrincess

I agree with everything except #6! It took me 2 years to figure out that for my particular head of hair, shampoo is the “debel”! I stopped using sulfate-free shampoo and my hair stopped being crispy. The clay wash is everything!!

Jacky
Guest
Jacky

A fellow clay wash user? It’s nice to meet you.

I also stopped using shampoos and switched to clay wash because of the bad effects that shampoos had on my natural hair. I haven’t tried sulfate-free shampoos yet and I don’t feel like trying them because, like you said, the clay wash IS everything.

Nisha
Guest
Nisha

I’m with you. I haven’t used shampoo in a very long time. My hair responds so much better to clay washes.

Redseouls
Guest
Redseouls

Yep! My hair and scalp love the clay too!

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

I have totally fallen in love with the Moroccan Oil shampoo and conditioner by Suave. I used to stay away from brand names easily found in a place like Walmart…and ONLY used to shop in “Black Hair Care Stores”…but THIS one I will gladly make an exception for! I used to have a lot of problems with tangling after shampooing…but this one not only leaves my hair tangle free.…but my curls are way more defined and softer!

Christina J
Guest

Yes! It had to be said…loved the article!

Chanda
Guest
Chanda

Nothing wrong with co-washing but I need my shampoo (in order to feel clean). A sulfate-free one usually does the trick and if you use oils and conditioners afterward (or a pre-poo) there’s no reason for your hair to feel stripped. I admit I don’t trim as often as I should but that’s just laziness on my part.

Darlyn
Guest
Darlyn

I agree, Chanda. I tried co-washing before and my scalp was NOT a fan. I haven’t gotten my hair trimmed because I can’t afford it (tried doing it myself and failed miserably).

Darlyn
Guest
Darlyn

One of the worst myths that I’ve been told:

If you have dandruff, then that means that your hair is growing”.

LCM
Guest
LCM

Yep! I grew up with that one!

Chanda
Guest
Chanda

When I was coming up it was called “growing dandruff”.

Bumper1959
Guest
Bumper1959

Although baking soda may not ‘relax’ the hair in the true sense that a recognised chemical relaxer would, it did make a noticeable change in the condition of my hair. After washing with baking soda (followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse) and putting my hair in twists (on two occasions over a period of 8 weeks), my hair was noticeably flatter and less bouncy. I honestly thought I had ‘ruined’ my hair. However, after several applications of ‘Aphogee two step treatment’ over time, my thick bouncy coils were restored. No more baking soda for me!

Juanita
Guest

THANK YOU!! It is seriously about time that somebody allowed themself to be honest about “heat training” and how silly a concept it is. I mean, for real people.

Whether you want to flat iron your hair to the gods or not is your business but don’t try to ‘pretty it up’ and make it sound like it’s some sort of delicate balance between heat and hair. No sweetheart. lol. No.

AJ
Guest
AJ

YES!!! I’d had this same convo with a friend, explaining to her that all “heat training” does to your hair is gives you slowly applied heat damage! Like you, I don’t knock the next chick for picking up a flat iron every now and then since I appreciate the variety of our hair, but I do knock a chick who won’t call it like it is, because they want to feel like they are being innovative. It’s like calling a duck a small swan, just because it makes them feel better.

naps#1
Guest
naps#1

yep #10

TeamNaturalMKE
Guest
TeamNaturalMKE

Oil moisturizes your hair”. As far as I know, most oils seal and coat the hair, and only a couple that I’ve read can actually penetrate the hair shaft, so why do people keep saying this? Drives me batty! Is there something I don’t know?

Dee*
Guest
Dee*

And shea butter. Every time I hear this I just roll my eyes.

Robin
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Robin

“You can repair your split ends.” I’ve heard that one so many times, from so many people who refuse to trim their split ends. It doesn’t help that some major hair/beauty companies throw claims of “repair” at people. Sure, you might be able to temporarily mask split ends — say, wear them in a protective style — but the longer you leave them attached to your head, the more likely the splits will travel up your hair shafts. Nowadays, people say it’s actually possible to repair split ends via a Brazilian blowout treatment. Well… it’s just a temporary fix (something… Read more »

Edens Sahara
Guest
Edens Sahara

1. I agree and disagree: I agree with not trimming your ends if you DO NOT use HEAT. NO hair dryers, NO flat irons, NO tongs. We all know that the ends of our hair are the oldest and therefore the most fragile and so blasting our hair with heat or singeing our hair with hot plates is going to dry out the ends causing them to split and break. However, without harmful heat, there will be no damage to your ends especially if you are protecting your ends with protective styles. For the person who doesn’t use any heat,… Read more »

Adia
Guest
Adia

once you say “give science a back seat,” everything else is your opinion and not based on fact and makes it easy to refute everything you say

Edens Sahara
Guest
Edens Sahara

So you believe everything said in science is FACT? LOL ~ ok… explain to me why apes are no longer evolving into men and women.

Aadnois
Guest
Aadnois

Humans didn’t evolve from apes; humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. Evolution is not an immediate process- even if apes were evolving into humans, you wouldn’t see it in your lifetime, or your children’s children’s lifetimes.

AC
Guest
AC

This is why evolution needs to be taught seriously in school vs. just plain creationism. We are not descendants of apes, we share a common ancestor with them that we evolved from. I’m going to direct you to this…http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/faq/cat02.html please take a look at it and maybe even some more sites/books etc that explain evolution.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Yikes! I’m a bit embarrassed that it seems like so many people do not understand the evolutionary process whatsoever. This is why science-based education is a much needed thing in our country.

AJ
Guest
AJ

Keep in mind; you are comparing believing facts to believing a theory. Facts are supported by evidence, tested and proven, that’s what makes them facts. Theories are just thoughts that may make sense, may have some logic to them, but cannot be proven or disproven. This is all to say that you kind of went off on a whack tangent when you tried to compare hair that has been trialed and proven to be dead, (whether you personally like the word or not, it is what it is) and the evolutionary theory of man and ape (which doesn’t state that… Read more »

Dee Hines
Guest
Dee Hines

I don’t use any heat on my hair and use frequent protective styles but my ends still need to be trimmed. There is more than just heat that causes damage to your ends. I only trim about a quarter, to half an inch every three months or so, but it still needs to be trimmed.

Dee
Guest
Dee

My favorite of all time: ACV for everything! I use it as a light spritz with water and coconut oil when I’ve been working out but just washed my hair the day before and then gently rinse with water just to alleviate buildup but I don’t think it solves all problems. I’m more likely to drink a tablespoon of it than to put it in my hair.

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

Don’t blame blogs for dirt makes your head grow nonsense. That myth predates the Internet. Btw products can stop working based on weather conditions. That is why I and most naturals I know a don’t use the same producs in winter as summer.

AJ
Guest
AJ

I think that she was pinging more on the “hair becoming immune” issue being the reason product doesn’t work rather than if product can actually stop working or not for any reason at all.

Reallythough
Guest
Reallythough

I tune out a lot of the nonsense although I have seen some crazy stuff out there, even one DIY hair treatment that called for the use of peanut butter lol. I retained length when I was relaxed because I was easy on my hair and kept it simple and still do the same now that I am natural. I think so much of the BS comes from the the quest to achieve long hair immediately after a BC and some people are willing to absolutely anything to get long hair ASAP.

Dana
Guest
Dana

Ok let’s get this straight. Relaxed hair is damaged hair. Texturized/text axed hair is damaged hair and colored hair is damaged hair. I am not saying that “heat- trained hair isn’t damaged but what’s wrong with it being an alternative to relaxers and texurizers if the hair stays on your head? I have had severe heat damage in the past too and just like people who have left relaxers in too long and had their hair fall out, mine fell out too, but that does not discount it’s viability as an option. Also the authors views of how heat training… Read more »

HSBabe
Guest
HSBabe

@ Eden Sahara Everything on d bidy of a living humqn bidy is alive. Hair feeds from the body. That is the hair changes with diet, pregnancy and every changes in the body. Our hair is alive. Science is still learning. Dead things dont feed. Hair feeds. Hair drinks. Hair gets stressed when the body is stressed. No part of the human is dead while d human is still alive. But the body might be sick in serious illness. This is reason we should not apply hot appliances that we cant put on our skin on the hair. It causes… Read more »

Miss Thang
Guest
Miss Thang

Hair does not “drink,” it absorbs. So does a sponge. Are sponges alive? Hair gets stressed but that does not mean it is alive. I can stress this cell phone by dropping it which may cause damage, but it doesn’t cause the cell phone to “die” because it is not alive.

Aliyah Morrison
Guest
Aliyah Morrison

Every time people say black hair don’t grow I show them a picture of my grandma with her long natural hair , talk about my favorite hair crushes and show them pictures and show them random pics I have on my phone of long hair black naturals . I also tell them to goggle long hair natural black woman or search it on youtube . Pretty soon when my natural hair grows long they will be saying oh you must be mixed black hair dont grow long especially since you dark skin or is that a weave you lieing that’s… Read more »

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