The first thing I noticed was the smell. Pungent--like a waterlogged ashtray filled with cigarette ashes and broken accordion-like cigarette butts. Then came the itching--ever so slight yet enough to throw me into a panic. I rushed to the shower to wash out the newest *all natural* hair hack guaranteed to darken your hair without harmful dyes or chemicals. After washing my hair about ten times to make sure all the mixture was gone, I read the label a little more closely. Not only did it list in real tiny letters that the product causes skin irritation, I found out that it was also not ethically sourced. In this day and age of social media influences, natural hair care gurus are everywhere posting recipes and concoctions guaranteeing instantaneous results. There are no instantaneous results. There are no quick fixes to make your hair grow or in repairing damaged hair.
The internet can be a wondrous place. It has multitudes of uses from researching topics to learning new recipes, the internet is a vast source of information. However, problems can arise when the people posting the content are paid undercover representatives posing as bloggers or worse yet--amateur chemists. There are so many things that can go wrong when trying a hair hack (like desperately trying to wash out a hair mask before your scalp has an allergic reaction and all of your hair
falls out). Here are some five simple tips to ensure you not only get the result that you desire, but you do not end up losing money or hair.
Read the comments and fine print
Until recently, social media influencers and gurus were not required to disclose that they were paid for the products they rave about. They are employed by companies to promote and sell products under the guise of demonstrating their favorite products for hair tutorials. According to Media Marketing for Dummies social media influencers can get paid between $175 to $5000 per post. They are given a script and they are coached every step of the way. So the newest mask, herb treatment, and/or product is just another commercial and that may or may not work on your hair the way it does on the media-sales person. Which bring us to our second point...
Your hair is uniquely yours
The way a product reacts on 3B hair is different from 2B hair. Let's be clear, I am not casting judgment. I am not stating that one is better than the other-- but I know that products used on a 2c/3a hair type will work differently on my 3c/4a hair type. Many media-sales people promise spectacular results that may be specific to their particular texture or growth cycle. The ugly truth is nothing will really make your hair grow faster. The growth cycle of your hair is genetically predetermined. With that being said.....
There are no quick fixes
No product will make your hair grow faster. That is the same as saying drinking green Gatorade will change the color of your eyes. Hair growth is linked to genetics. While we can not make the hair grow faster by applying products, taking pills or putting the latest herbal salad concoctions on our head--we can maximize growth by getting regular trims and alternative protective styling. We can also make sure both our bodies and our hair are healthy. Exercising and drinking plenty of water is a great
place to start.
Do a patch test
Before you try some new hair hack, apply to a small portion of your hair and examine the results. Although this can be tricky if you are trying to measure progress over time, it is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, testing small portions of your hair will help you to better assess the results objectively. You should also contact the manufacturer to see if they sell sample sizes. If it is something you are making start with the smallest size first. This will save you time, money, and effort.
While it is good to experiment to find what is best for you and your hair, the best hair hack is patience. Your hair will grow when both you and it are healthy. Keeping it moisturized, trimmed regularly, eating healthy, wearing low manipulation styles, and patience are the easiest and best hair hacks you can find.
Have you had a bad experience with a hair hack? Please send us a video, picture, or line to share your experiences. What did you learn? What were the results? What would you do differently? We would love to hear from you!
Singh, S., & Diamond, S. (2015). Social Media Marketing for Dummies. Hoboken, New Jersey: J Wiley and Sons.