With celebrities like Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart, and — most recently — Kate Hudson, shaving their heads this summer, the most obvious thought is: “Their hair is going to look amazing when it grows back.” The other is “Should I shave my head, too?” There’s an old wives’ tale that has led many of us to believe that shaving your head makes your hair grow back stronger and healthier. My parents even subjected my sister to a close crop for that reasoning when her hair grew in thin and fragile as a kid. Others who have dyed their hair every color of the rainbow have tried the big chop to start fresh. Taking this into account, I asked dermatologists and hair loss experts the age-old question: “Does shaving your head make your hair grow back healthier?”
All more or less answered with, “lol no.” The exact response from Nicole Rogers, a dermatologist and hair-transplant surgeon in Metairie, Louisiana, was “NO! Don’t do it!” Also, Neil Sadick, a New York City–based dermatologist, tells Allure: “This is a myth.” The only time Allure has ever gotten as strong of a reaction from experts is when we asked them if semen doubles as an acne treatment. Spoiler alert: it certainly does not. Don’t smear that stuff on your face, and don’t shave your head in hopes of strengthening your hair. So the short answer to “Should I shave my head?” is only if you want to look as chic as the latest crop of celebs with buzz cuts.
When I asked them to explain the logistics, they broke it down like this: Shaving your head will help remove damaged hair that has been affected by heat styling or coloring. However, “[a shaved head] will not affect the hair shaft or growth cycle,” Sadick says. In fact, hair grows from within. “It’s the makeup of your body and cells that decide the quality of your hair,” explains Lucinda Ellery, a hair loss specialist with studios in Los Angeles and New York City. “It can be effected emotionally through stress and anxiety and from lack of the correct nutrients within the body, but shaving [off your hair] won’t make it come back better or stronger.”
With this in mind, a shaved head will grow out exactly the same was it was before, Rogers says. “When your new hair grows in, it will ultimately look just as unhealthy if you treat it the same way you treat your existing hair,” she adds. Now that’s a reality check. She suggests doing less to your hair in regards to heat styling and applying chemicals like bleach, relaxers, and hair dye to make it look healthier. Instead, focus on adding moisture to your hair on a daily basis.
As far as pills and potions go with the latest collagen-infused products that support hair health, “This isn’t a situation where one solution fits all,” Ellery says. “As yet, nobody has developed a pill that will guarantee amazing and beautiful hair — if they had, they’d be richer than Bill Gates!”
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Now, watch Jessica Williams review weird beauty products:
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