FLOTUS And RiRi’s Hairstylists Debunk Common Summer Hair Myths
Whether you sport ‘The Rachel’ every season or swap hairstyles like Taylor Swift switches BFFs, we've all fallen pray to horrible hair fads.
But heavy is any head that wears an unhealthy crown due to follicles fables. (Yeah, we wax poetry about hair.)
It's one of our most prized possessions, the ultimate accessory (besides this), so it's about time we learn some hair do's and don’ts from the people who know hair best.
Elite Daily phoned Ursula Stephen, hairstylist who counts Rihanna — yes, she’s responsible for The Bob — Laverne Cox and Taraji P. Henson as clientele. We also spoke to Johnny Wright, who handcrafts First Lady Michelle Obama's royal mane, to debunk the myths and teach us best practices for healthy summer hair.
Myth: Heat damage is only caused by hot tools.
We toss our flat irons and blowdryers to a hair drawer abyss in hopes of curbing heat damage, not even thinking summer sun can do just as much frying. As Stephen says:
Like your skin, sun can fry and dry your hair if you leave it exposed, especially if you have color treated hair.
What you should do: TBH, no one wants to tote around a full arsenal of hair goods. But if you're planning on getting vitamin D wasted, it's best to stay ready.
“Definitely [have] a hat or scarf, a heat protectant spray that has sunscreen in it and maybe a leave-in conditioner cream or spray with you,” Stephen advises. “Depending on your hair type, style and texture, the spray-on ones are great because they're not as messy and have good coverage. But if you have thicker hair, it's better to have the creamy, conditioner-like ones.”
Wright suggests carefree bed-head style to beat the heat. “I always tell women to pull their hair up into a messy top knot, the not-so-perfect coif. It just reminds me of the freeness of summer — makes the hair a little sun-kissed, too.”
Myth: Conditioning-only is better than shampooing.
This myth is best served with a grain of salt. Co-washing, short for conditioner-only washing, is neither true nor false, depending upon what your hair needs.
“I'm not a co-wash kinda girl, but I get why women do it,” Stephen tells us. “If you have natural hair or hair that tangles or is frizzy, co-washing keeps it soft for a longer period of time. If you use a cleansing shampoo, it strips hair and dries it out a little bit. It's cleaning your hair of all the toxins and all the products that build up on the hair strand.”
What you should do: Hair regimens aren't one size fits all. If your hair is most manageable during that oddly dirty period, skip daily washes, pin it up and go. Take note: Only opt for co-washing if your strands can stand a few extra shower cap days.
Myth: Wash your dyed hair pre-pool dip.
Don’t get bent out of shape about breakage on this one. It’s more about avoiding green, Grinch-like tresses.
If you’ve recently colored your hair, Stephen advises to “let the cuticle rest” and steer clear of chlorine. She adds, “When you just process your hair, the cuticle is still open and fresh,” which can cause an unwanted color change.
But if you really can’t avoid going into the pool, then Stephen suggests “coating your hair with conditioner.”
What you should do: Be sure to shampoo your hair post-pool as soon as possible.
“The quicker you get the chlorine off your hair, the better,” Rihanna’s mane woman says. “And they have swimmer shampoos that are targeted toward girls who swim a lot.”
In general, if you commit to color at any point, pull back on using heat products, especially in the summer. Cover it, up your use of conditioners and opt for a quality hair mask. “I always describe masks and conditioners as the 911 and the 311 of hair care,” she says.
Wright, on the other hand, says SoftSheen-Carson Hydra Steam treatments are what his clients enjoy. “It keeps the color more vibrant, more rich,” he explains. “And it also helps to keep the moisture intensity in the hair.”
Myth: Eating a meat-based diet helps your hair grow.
Both experts recommend plant-based diets for women who want healthier, continuously-growing hair. Stephen credits avocados as a major game-changer.
“I eat more avocados and I can see the difference.” Stephen says.
“You are what you eat,” Wright agrees. “Just add more vegetables to your diet, period. I’ve noticed hair is stronger, healthier and maintains more natural moisture.”
What you should do: Keep a balance. Whether you're chowing down cow or keeping a rabbit-friendly diet, don’t skip on your hair’s molecular needs. It's best to grub on various food rich in everything from iron, zinc and biotin to vitamins A and C for shine and thickness.
“Take vitamins,” Stephens adds. “They're definitely a plus because you still want healthy hair. But if you're not meant to have super long, thick hair, it's just not in your genes.”
Myth: Cold water rinses are the secret to great hair.
“There's some truth to that,” says Stephen. “Cold rinses do enhance a certain type of shine, and it does preserve the color of your dye.”
What you should do: To maintain shine and volume, make you hair regimen like your summer beverage: a cocktail. “I use an SPF spray or a humidity spray and the Versatile Styling Foam by Motions,” Stephen reveals. “It's better to find that product that you can reapply during the day.
And did you think we didn’t ask about that superstar client…?
When Rihanna and her henchman suited up to take down her accountant’s wife in “Bitch Better Have My Money,” it’s assumed Ursula’s hand were on deck.
“I did not do the video,” she reveals. “But I got all the scoop from her. For years, we always reference things like “Kill Bill” and movies like that, and BBHMM got it right.”
“I've been working with Rih for 9 years now, so we talk about her hairstyles all the time, whether I’m there or not,” she added. “We started this together so it's just an evolution of everything we've done.”
Subscribe to Elite Daily's official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don't want to miss.