Hair Myth or Magic?

Ever wonder whether those hair tricks you’ve heard about really work or if they’re just old wives tales? We’ve separated myths from realities:

One hundred nightly strokes with a hairbrush will make your locks healthier.
Sleeping Beauty may have spent hours brushing her silky tresses, but in real life, excessive brushing causes split ends and hair breakage, says Mauricio Ribeiro, a hairstylist at B2V Salon in West Hollywood, Calif. Don’t lay off the brush altogether, though; a minute of bedtime brushing distributes natural oils from roots to ends, helping you avoid an oily scalp and dry tips. Ribeiro recommends using a paddle brush with synthetic and natural boar's hair bristles for optimal grooming. The nylon bristles grip the hair, and the natural ones impart shine.

A half-inch trim makes your hair grow faster.
This is a common misconception, according to Allen Edwards, hairstylist to such celebs as Brooke Shields and Kirsten Dunst. A trim won’t boost growth; however, it will eliminate split ends. And since the average head of hair grows at a rate of about half an inch a month, it won't take long for the length to return.

Fresh lemon juice plus sun equals natural sun-streaked highlights.
While the juice of a fresh-squeezed lemon will subtly lighten your locks in the sun, the combination of the lemon’s acidity and damaging UV rays will dry out your hair and may even make it brittle enough to break, says Ribeiro. Instead, use an easy brush-in home highlighting kit or have your colorist add subtle highlights. A few streaks placed in the areas where the sun would naturally hit, like the bangs and small pieces around the crown, will create natural-looking sun-kissed tresses. 

Mayonnaise can double as a great deep-conditioning mask.
Yes, the oil, egg yolks and vinegar in mayonnaise will serve as an organic, natural conditioning treatment, says Diana Schmidtke, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist who has worked with George Clooney and Josh Duhamel. Distribute the mayo evenly through your hair with a wide-tooth comb, cover your mane with plastic wrap and leave it in for 15 minutes. To help the mayo penetrate the hair shaft, run a blow-dryer over your hair for the last couple of minutes, making sure not to overheat the plastic wrap. Shampoo immediately afterward.

Sprinkling baby powder on thin, limp locks revitalizes a flat head of hair.
"This is one of the oldest tricks in the book," says Schmidtke. The powder will absorb hair oils and return a bit of volume to your mane. To avoid looking like Marie Antoinette, be sure to use only a pinch of powder. Or check out the aisles at your local beauty supply shop for colored powders.

Pull out one gray hair, and two will grow back.
"The only thing that will make your hair more gray is worrying about the gray you already have," jokes Edwards. In fact, gray hair occurs when melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in your hair follicles, stop producing pigment. Genetics determine when this will begin to happen. Not a fan of gray? Apply a semipermanent color that lasts for six to 12 shampoos.

A cold rinse after shampooing leaves your hair shiny.
Yes, you can shiver your way to shinier tresses, says Christopher Dove, co-owner of The Doves Studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Cold water flattens the hair cuticle, creating a smoother, more light-reflecting surface. 

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will decrease hair frizzies and keep your blowout intact.
It can certainly help. “A silk pillowcase won't absorb your hair’s natural oils or mat your hair while you sleep,” says Schmidtke. “So your style will have more staying power.”

Best Celebrity Hairstyles: Summer 2013

If you’ve been wearing your hair in a ponytail all summer long, it’s time for a change. Not that there’s anything wrong with the pony -- we all love it! -- but why not celebrate hair’s incredible versatility? Here are four great looks from four of our favorite celebs. At least one of these is likely to work for you.

Rachel Bilson: Half Updo

Doing the red-carpet rounds during the summer heat wave for her new movie The To Do List)

She may play a geeky virgin in The To Do List, but Aubrey Plaza looked smart, polished and sexy at the Los Angeles opening of the flick. Like Bilson, she went short and strapless -- in a creamy-white Calvin Klein dress -- and skipped the jewelry. And she, too, showed off a hairstyle that was guaranteed not to wilt on even the steamiest night. Plaza’s tousled bob is modern with a slight edge.

Love it? Good news: This is a look that works on just about everyone and takes you everywhere, from the office to running Sunday errands. What it takes to pull off this choppy, longer version of the bob is, for starters, a good cut -- you want strategically placed long layers and uneven ends.  Apply a texturing spray or cream from roots to ends, blow-dry with a large round brush, and if you want more volume, wrap a few random sections around a large-barrel curling iron.

 Cate Blanchett: Deep and Sleek

The only thing brighter than the pop of paparazzi’s bulbs at the premiere of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine was Cate Blanchett’s gleaming hair. Parted deeply on one side and pin straight)

At Comic Con in San Diego, Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence showed off a do that looked interesting from every angle: wispy bangs in the front, a braided updo in the back. To copy the braids -- whether or not you have bangs -- start with day-old hair and prep with a texturizing paste or cream. Divide your hair into four to six 1-inch sections at the crown and hairline, and hold with clips. Gather the rest into a ponytail; braid loosely and wrap into a bun. Next, braid the 1-inch sections. Wrap each section into the braided bun and pin. Let some strands escape -- they will, anyway! -- to keep the look just slightly messy. Finish with a generous mist of hairspray. 

The New Approach to Hair Care

Discovering the skin care line that works best for you is like finding the brand of jeans that are perfect for your body: It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that it’s a life-transforming experience. With the right skin care products, problems you once thought you’d have to live with forever -- zits or big pores, brown spots or blackheads -- are finally beaten. The result is not just a clearer, more glowing complexion, but also a more confident you.

Get ready for the same experience when it comes to hair care products. The new approach to hair care is borrowing a page from savvy skin care regimens: pro-active products with research-driven ingredients that offer advanced care for hair woes that until now seemed unsolvable. Some of these expert new potions replenish your follicles, scalp and strands with specialized ingredients, like caffeine and panthenol, that you already use to keep your skin radiant.

“I love all the new technology that we’re seeing in hair care products,” says Jet Rhys, a San Diego stylist and hair educator who has witnessed firsthand how these innovative products can restore hair health. “Hair is an extension of our skin so it makes perfect sense that some of the same key ingredients used in skin care will be able to turn back the clock on our hair too. Healthy, well-nourished and well-hydrated hair will be youthful, shiny and bouncy!”

The Road to Hair Ruin and Back

In the last few years, researchers have gained a better idea of what happens to hair as it ages. “We’re now understanding that the hair we’re producing as we age is different, and it has different needs,” says Jeni Thomas, senior scientist with Pantene. Around the time we hit 40, hair begins to have less density and diameter. It appears thinner and can be more susceptible to damage, inviting dullness, dryness, split ends and frizz. 

Birthdays aren’t the only factor that can leave our tresses looking stressed. Heat styling and chemical processing, like hair coloring or straightening, can lead to severe hair damage. These commonly-used processes leave strands weak and vulnerable to even more damage. It’s a frustrating cycle that until now left seriously wrecked hair pretty much beyond repair. But scientists have now formulated ways to address hair damage at the cuticle cell level, undoing years of hair abuse and protecting your strands from future damage.

New Hair Care Products and Ingredients

What types of ingredients can you expect to see in this new array of hair products? Scan the labels and you’ll recognized ingredients you already use to enhance your skin: caffeine, panthenol, ceramides, green tea, salicylic acid, retinols, peptides, antioxidants and more. And the way these ingredients are being delivered will also sound familiar. There are now day creams and night creams, BB creams and CC creams, overnight treatments and exfoliators for your hair and scalp.

To reap the benefits of these new breakthrough formulas, you may need to add an extra step to your hair care regimen. But those 30 to 60 seconds you’ll spend applying a strand-thickening spray, a split-end remedy, a deeply hydrating mask or a keratin-repair elixir can take your hair from fried to fabulous. Embrace the innovation and prepare for compliments!

Gorgeous Hair Color All Summer Long

Along with bronzed cheeks and peachy lips, gleaming hair is key to summer’s easy, breezy beauty look. But between UV exposure and swimming in chlorine pools or saltwater surfs, hair can take a beating. And that’s especially true if it’s color-processed.

So we asked two pros to answer your most pressing summer hair color questions so you can maintain a gorgeous hue from June to August. Frank Dino is the co-owner of TINT, a color-only salon in Santa Monica, Calif., and Dr. Jessica Krant is a dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology in New York City. Here’s what they said.

Should I take my hair color a shade lighter in the summer?

If you’re going to be sporting a tan (make it a faux one to protect your skin!), you might want to adjust your color to provide contrast. Think of how your hair would bleach naturally if you didn’t protect it from UV rays, and go for that shade.

Should I save highlights for winter?

If highlights give your hair a dimension you enjoy in the winter, you’ll want to carry this through to summer, too. A few lighter pieces framing the face are all you need for a natural surfer-chic look. If you’re a blonde, opt for champagne streaks. If you’re a light or medium brunette, have your colorist add some ribbons of dirty blonde. Darker hair will look sun-kissed stunning with light brown and caramel highlights. And for hair that sparkles under the summer sun, think about adding a glossing treatment the next time you visit your salon for a cut or color.

I know the sun can damage my skin. Can it harm my hair color as well?   

Hair definitely gets damaged by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Those UV rays scorch the hair shaft, drying it out and causing the normally smooth cuticle, or outer layer, of our strands to get rough. What’s more, UV rays break down hair’s pigments, fading color or turning it brassy. New research shows that UV rays cause hair to lose protein too. The result of all this is hair that’s lacking shine, strength and vibrant color.  

How does chlorine or saltwater damage hair?

Chlorine, which is a component of bleach, dries out strands by its caustic chemical nature, stripping away your hair’s natural protective oils. (Blonde hair turning green in the swimming pool, by the way, isn’t actually caused by chlorine but by copper molecules from other pool chemicals.) Seawater stresses hair and skin in another way. The heavy salt content draws water molecules out of hair in an attempt to try to dilute the salt. The result: dehydrated hair shafts.

What’s the best way to protect my hair during and after a day spent poolside or surfside?

Doff a hat! A hat will not only protect your tresses, it will also shield the scalp skin that gets exposed when hair is wet from sunburn and lower your risk of skin cancer. Before you go for a dip, try to saturate your hair with clean water or leave-in conditioner. That way it won’t absorb as much saltwater or pool chemicals. To replenish your parched strands, it’s a good idea to switch to a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Just make sure the products you choose are recommended for color-treated hair. You can usually find this information on the back of the bottle.

The 13 Greatest Celebrity Hair Makeovers

It’s easy to fall into a hair rut, especially for celebrities. After all, it’s scary to show up on the red carpet with a brand-new hairdo when you know thousands of tweets will be flying within seconds offering spare-no-feelings judgments on your look.

Still, it’s good to shake things up now and then, whether you’re an A-lister or the first lady. We asked hairstylists across the country to share the celebrity hair makeovers they’d like to see. Maybe their suggestions will inspire you to try a new look too!

Kate Middleton
The Duchess of Cambridge is very beautiful, but her look is a bit dull. Kate has beautiful eyes and a great face shape, so a multitude of styles will work for her. My absolute favorite look for Kate would be a sleek, chin-grazing bob with a wispy bang, like Katie Holmes wore years ago. This cut would give her a little edge, while still looking like royalty.
-- Brittany Brudzinski, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago

Sofia Vergara
Did you know that Sofia is a natural blonde? I think she would look gorgeous adding some balayage ribbons of golden butterscotch. I love her hair long, but it would be nice to switch up the style a bit here and there with a top bun or a side braid twist.
-- Jet Rhys, owner of Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego

Vanessa Hudgens
She rocks the fun and flirty hairstyles, but I’d love to give Vanessa a more refined look with a slicked-back ponytail. This hairstyle is simple, easy to do and adds sophistication at any age.  
-- Nicholas Penna, owner of Salon Capri in Boston

Taylor Swift
Taylor’s look hasn’t changed much over the years. She always looks very sweet, and I think it’s time for a slightly less innocent look. I would love to see Taylor with a wildly layered bob and bang, like Debbie (Blondie) Harry from the 1980’s.
-- Brittany Brudzinski, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago

Megan Fox
Megan is so beautiful, but her long, extra dark hair is severe. I would love to see her hair more layered in a lighter cinnamon-brown color with soft light brown tones mixed in.
-- Kevin Gatto, owner of Verde Salon in Collingswood, N.J.

Amy Adams
Amy Adams has been rocking her exquisite red hair for years now, and she always seems to knock red-carpet styles out of the park. I would love to see her add some dimension to her color come summertime -- a few blonde highlights could really change up her look a bit and refresh her style.

-- Julia Papworth, Hollywood hairstylist

Britney Spears
Unfortunately, Britney has been struggling for years trying to find a look that flatters her beautiful features. I would love for her to remove the extensions and wear a layered, long bob, like Nicole Richie. The length will be youthful and sexy, and if she leaves the house without styling her hair, it will still look great messy.
-- Brittany Brudzinski, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago

Snooki is known for her over-the-top hair, but she can tone it down a bit and still keep the drama she wants. I’d give her an A-line, chin-length bob. This hairstyle works perfectly with her face shape and will really make her cheekbones pop. She can even add a little spunk to her bob with a few peek-a-boo highlights at the bottom.
-- Nicholas Penna, owner of Salon Capri in Boston

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer would look amazing with short hair. Her features allow for a lot of malleability, and with her complexion she can also pull off brunette or darker blond hair. I wouldn’t give her a pixie cut but rather a fresh choppy cut with face-framing layers -- kind of a happy medium between a pixie and a short bob. And I would take Jennifer’s hair a bit lighter with this cut to keep the look fresh.
-- Hiro Kitayama, owner of Salon Hiro in Chicago

Miley Cyrus
I would love to see Miley with long, shoulder-length hair again in a softer color. I think she looks her best as a warm light brunette with caramel highlights! And, some soft waves would make her look much more sophisticated.
-- Kevin Gatto, owner of Verde Salon in Collingswood, N.J.

Olivia Wilde
Olivia is absolutely stunning with ice-blue eyes and a fair complexion. Her current length is great because it softens her square jawline, but I would take her hair color to a more fiery red. I would alternate sections of intense orange blond with ruby red. This vibrant combination will accentuate her blue eyes and allow her to wear bold royal blue colors.
-- David Barron, owner of Barron’s London Salon in Atlanta

Jennifer Aniston
Jen's hair is always polished, and she’s had the "it" cut for years. It would be so much fun to see her shake things up a bit with bangs cut deep into the temples to accentuate her eyes and chin. Those bangs against her long “brond” hair would look stunning!
-- Jet Rhys, owner of Jet Rhys Salon in San Diego

Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart has been looking better and better at every event. What would really push her into the next level would be a slightly shorter, more polished haircut. Kristen seems to gravitate towards less fuss, so a lob haircut could be easier for her to maintain, while at the same time looking more polished in photographs.
-- Julia Papworth, Hollywood hairstylist

Photo: Getty Images