Good grooming habits are important for personal hygiene and keeping your physical appearance in check, which is extremely important in day to day life. We’ve learned a lot about good grooming practices over the decades, and some common practices have fallen out of favour over the years as we gain a better understanding of grooming. That said, some long held beliefs are still prolific today and continue to be passed on as advice, even though modern science may now tell us that these seemingly ‘common sense’ pieces of advice are not actually true. Well-intentioned but untrue advice can have a negative impact on men’s hair and skin so it’s important to know how to discern the difference between fact and fiction! So without further ado, check out some of the top men’s health myths you might still hear about today.
Stress makes your hair grey
You’ve probably heard this myth on a semi-regular basis, the idea that stress can make you grey isn’t totally myth, it’s rooted in some truth but the idea that you can go grey overnight due to stress has never been reliably proven. What can happen, according to scientific theory, is that stress can make the body more susceptible to free radicals which can damage the cells that create hair pigment. Luckily you’re unlikely to turn grey after a bad day at work!
If you pluck one grey hair, two will grow back in its place
This is an old hair myth that’s likely the result of confirmation bias, it probably sprung up because people noticed more greys after plucking one out. Unfortunately grey hair is just a natural part of ageing and it doesn’t spread based on whether or not you ‘pluck’ out hair. You should also be careful of plucking hair out too regularly, as this can cause it to stop growing back. If your noticing grey hair, then it might be time to either embrace the silver fox look or see your stylist about some new colour.
Blackheads are caused by a dirty face
A common myth is that a dirty face will cause blackheads. Whilst dirt and oil won’t do anything good for your skin, a lot of people respond by washing their face too much. Scrubbing the skin or wash too often will strip the natural oils from the face and irritate the skin. Your skin will then respond by producing more oil which will clog pores and create blackheads. Balance is key when it comes to keep men’s skin clean, a more thorough wash a few times a week will keep skin clear.
Brushing your teeth after every meal
A lot of people will remember being told that they should brush their teeth after every meal, maybe your dentist has even told you to but it’s actually not a good idea! Brushing too quickly after a meal can actually accelerate the breakdown of tooth enamel, it’s best not to mix toothpaste and the acidity of food or drink. If you want to stop bacterial growth or plaque formation then wait thirty minutes after a meal before you brush.
Shampoo makes your hair fall out
This hair myth probably popped up because the shower drain tends to be where we notice hair fall but don’t be too quick to blame the shower. The hair your noticing washing out in your shower is hair that’s already shed, it’s just coming loose in the shower. Your hair is shedding all the time, it’s just that you usually won’t notice it quite so much outside of the shower. It’s definitely not your shampoo or shower that’s causing your hair to fall out. If you’re noticing a lot of hair fall the culprit is usually internal, rather than external factors. Medications, your diet or vitamin deficiencies can cause your hair to go into a shedding cycle. If you’re concerned, seek out advice from your doctor.
Brushing your hair a lot makes it grow faster
Brushing your hair too often can do more harm than good as it can damage the cuticles of your hair or cause it to fall out. Some people believe that they should brush a hundred times a day, but whilst brushing tangles out of hair, or stimulating the scalp can be good for stimulating growth and protecting hair, too much of anything can be bad. For most men, a quick brush once or twice a day is usually enough!
Anti-dandruff shampoos work how you’d expect
There are a few myths floating around about how dandruff shampoo’s work, and a lot of people will use them as a daily shampoo because that is how they are often advertised on television. Unfortunately, this can actually have the opposite of the desired effect. Whilst dandruff shampoo will do their job and reduce or eliminate dandruff when used sparingly, this effect reverses if the shampoo is used too often.
Using anti-dandruff products every day will dry out the scalp and could potentially cause more dandruff. To ensure you get the best results make sure you use a balanced approach with anti-dandruff products and alternate their use, preferably with products designed to hydrate the hair. It’s important not to skip conditioner when using anti-dandruff shampoo.
Use a lot of shaving cream
In the past it might have been important to slather on the shaving cream to get a great shave, but nowadays advanced in the emollients and lubricants used in shaving creams means that less is more. Only a small dollop of shaving gel or cream is usually required to get the perfect, close shave. Using too much will impact on your ability to see where you’ve shaved, and it can cause your razor to slip preventing you from getting a close shave. Getting just the right amount of shaving cream is an essential factor in getting the perfect shave, too little or too much shaving cream can ruin your grooming routine.
Hats can cause balding
This is one of the sillier beliefs that is still regularly espoused by some people out there – the idea that hats can make you bald! This one is definitely, unequivocally false. If this was the truth, imagine how bald everyone living in hot countries would be! Balding is most often associated with genetics, unfortunately some people inherit the gene. Where hats or head gear might have a relationship with balding is when they are too tight. Friction can cause hair loss or bald spot in some cases, although your scalp will usually recover after a while.
You don’t need moisturiser if you have oily skin
For people with oily skin the last thing they usually want to use is moisturiser. It’s a common belief that adding moisturiser to oily skin will just make it oilier, but that’s no actually the case. Moisturiser is designed to seal in your skins natural moisture and prevents it from getting dried out by the elements. If you have oily skin it’s still important to moisturise, because oily skin will usually respond to dryness by producing more oil. Keeping skin hydrated and balanced is important for healthy skin and hair.
Colouring hair is bad for it
It’s not untrue that bleaching your hair can be quite damaging. Lightening hair penetrates into the hair shaft and usually strips of some of the protective layer of the hair follicle, making it thinner and more brittle but conversely, darker colours actually build on the strand and can make hair thicker. Darkening hair can make your hair shinier and healthier, so colouring hair isn’t always a bad thing.
You should shave your face in downward strokes
Some people believe that you should shave downward to reduce irritation, which is a good tip but it’s most important to follow the direction of hair growth which could involve shaving upwards, downwards or sideways.
Your shampoo will stop working if you don’t switch regularly
A common myth that many men believe is that their shampoo will stop working if they don’t switch it up regularly and change shampoo and conditioner formulas. Some people believe that their hair and scalp will get used to their products and stop working after a while. This myth might have developed because of product build-up, which can cause shampoo or conditioner to have a different effect on hair.
If you’re noticing that your products don’t seem to be working as well as normal, you might just need to try a clarifying shampoo and conditioner to strip out any extra product that might have built up on the scalp and hair. Switching routines in itself is not necessary, but it might be worth it if you’ve done something to change the condition of your hair, like bleaching it. If you’ve changed something about your hair since purchasing your previous products then that might be why you’re noticing your products aren’t working in the same way as you’re used to.
Chocolate causes acne
This a common piece of advice that you might have been given as a teenager by your parents, or even in health class. This particular myth, often presented as ‘fact’ might be the result of a desire to keep teenagers, but it’s not strictly true. Whilst sugar can have an inflammatory effect on the skin, a bit of chocolate now and again is definitely not the cause of severe acne or breakouts.
Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker and stronger
This is an old myth that has been proven false. Shaving your hair can cause the ends of the regrowth to be blunt which can give the impression that hair or stubble is thicker, but it actually hasn’t changed in thickness or density.
Dirty hair grows faster
Some men believe that their hair will grow more quickly when it’s not washed too regularly. The general idea behind the myth is likely that oil production and hydration prevents hair from getting dry and brittle. Dry hair can cause breakage or cause hair to snap off at the ends but don’t start skipping showers just yet because dirty hair doesn’t grow more quickly. Letting hair get dirty will just cause you to feel greasy and smell bad, and oil in your scalp can stop your hair from growing out properly.
Strong hair growth happens when hair is kept clean and healthy.
There are a lot of common myths about hair and grooming that men are told that can cause damage to the condition of the hair or skin. Some myths have their basis in fact, but many beliefs are old wives tales that can actually cause more damage than they prevent which is why it’s important for men to understand what’s true and what’s not when it comes to grooming. Following the advice of health experts and researching the best methods for caring for the hair and skin will keep men looking anf feeling great and can help battle the signs of aging.