I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years, so trust me when I say that I have been asked every hair-related question you can possibly think of. But truthfully, there is very little research or “science” behind a lot of your hair-related inquiries. (Don’t confuse that with product testing, because that is a completely different ball game!) Perhaps the lack of facts is why there are so many myths and mysteries about what’s good or bad for your hair and scalp. You’ll be surprised to learn how your genetics play into most of your concerns! From hair loss to hair colour to hair styles—here are answers to your five most frequently asked questions, so we can get you and your hair off to a happy and healthy 2018!
WHAT CAN I USE TO MAKE MY HAIR GROW FASTER or LONGER?
I know this is not the answer you are hoping for, but the truth is, there isn’t anything that will make your hair grow faster or longer. There is no magic potion. There is no industry secret—it all comes down to genetics. But if you know how hair growth works, perhaps that will shed some light on what’s going on up top.
PRO TIP: What goes in your body is often more important then what goes on your hair. It takes a lot of nutrients and energy for the body to grow hair so make sure your iron, zinc, vitamin D and B12 are all up where they should be as they are all crucial in hair growth and health.
Hair Growth 101
There are three phases in the hair growth cycle:
The anagen phase is the growth phase. The hair follicle will stay active for about three to seven years depending again on your genetics and age (the cycle gets shorter as we age). During this time, your hair should grow an average of half an inch every 30 days. Some people stay in the anagen phase longer than others, which is why one person can grow their hair all the way to the floor, and others are left with nothing but a Rapunzel dream.
The catagen phase is the short transition between growing and resting. This is when your body sends a signal that the anagen phase has ended and the telogen phase will commence. This will last for about three weeks as the follicle begins to form a “club hair” (a hair that is cut off from its blood supply under the scalp). During this time, the follicle will form a keratinized “bulb” around the end of the hair that it is about to shed (the white “bulb” you see at the root of a fallen hair).
The telogen phase is when the hair follicle enters a three-month resting state. The club hair will eventually fall out and the follicle will rest before starting all over again with the anagen phase. Each follicle is capable of producing several hairs in its lifetime.
WHY IS SO MUCH HAIR FALLING OUT?
The average person loses between 100 to 150 strands of hair per day! If one of my clients is concerned about hair loss, I ask about their daily hair routine to help determine if the “excessive” hair loss is indeed just average hair loss, which it often is.
If you wash your hair every second or third day (or longer!), or if you wear it up in ponytails and buns a lot and perhaps don’t brush it often, then all the hair that is falling out has simply intertwined itself with the hair still attached at the root.
Therefore, when you do go to wash and style your hair, you could be dealing with several days’ worth of fallen hair—upwards to 500 or more strands!
When it comes to male pattern baldness or natural thinning, genetics are often the cause of excessive hair loss. Pregnancy can be another factor. If you feel that your hair loss is still well above average, please consult your physician or a dermatologist who can help assess the situation.
WILL PLUCKING ONE GREY HAIR MAKE TWO GROW BACK?
Each hair follicle on your body is only capable of producing one strand of hair at a time, making it impossible for two strands to grow back in a single follicle. There is absolutely no truth to this old wives’ tale, but you should know that the damage you may cause to the hair follicle from plucking any hair, in general, could be irreversible. Plucking out a single strand is enough trauma to send the follicle into shock, killing it instantly. Dead follicle, means “no more hair” so think twice before reaching for the tweezers!
CAN I COLOUR MY HAIR WHILE I’M PREGNANT?
My professional opinion on this number one asked question is yes! But let’s clear up the confusion about the actual concern about hair colouring during pregnancy. While many women worry about the chemicals seeping into their bloodstream through the scalp after the colour is applied, the real “danger” actually lies in the ammonia fumes. But that’s not a pregnancy concern, that’s a human being concern.
We are all aware that inhaling ammonia fumes is not good for you, and most major salons have heavy duty ventilation so the amount of fumes you are actually taking in (given your infrequent and short time in the salon) is safe, minimal and non-toxic. If you’re still feeling uneasy, opt for an ammonia-free colour, which most professional brands are switching to these days or try a different technique while pregnant. Instead of an on-scalp colour, try foils to keep the direct contact with the scalp to a minimum.