While there is no doubt that black women are forward-thinking trendsetters, there’s a plethora of misconceptions in our community about what it takes to maintain our beauty. We’ve gone into myth-buster mode and are giving you the true information you need to maintain your pretty and your sanity.

1. Black don’t crack.

While it seems as though brown skin is resilient to age lines and wrinkles, this is largely in part to proper skincare. Having skin that can stand the test of time takes more then good genes. It’s true that dark skin produces melanin which helps prevent aging due to ultraviolet light (UVL) and melanin also provides a natural SPF of about 14. However, you should know the minimum requirement for dark skin is SPF 30. There are new developments in sunscreen that contain minerals, antioxidants and plant extracts which can all enhance your skin’s aesthetics—no matter the shade.

2. The tighter the style, the better.

I shutter every time I see a woman with a head full of super-tight braids or twists. For some reason, there’s a false standard set that the tighter the style, the longer it will last and the better it will look. A hairstyle that’s too tight could contribute to severe hair loss and scarring. Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) is a type of permanent scarring hair loss which is seen primarily in African American/Caribbean women who may have a family history of hair loss. Most of the affected have had hair relaxers for many years or report having very tight extensions with “add-in” hair that puts additional weight on the already stretched and weighed down hair follicle. Scarring and permanent alopecia usually ensues as a result.

3. Black women’s hair grows slower than women from other races.

The rate of growth for black women’s hair is no less than women of other races. On average, every person’s hair grows at least 1/2 inch per month which is about 6 inches per year. Yes it’s true that you can experience more or less growth depending on how you take care of your hair, but growth doesn’t discriminate based on skin color.

4. Dirt don’t hurt.

There’s an urban legend in our culture that says black women shouldn’t wash their hair frequently. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Dirt makes your hair grow.” It drives me crazy! It’s true that oil is healthy for hair but product build-up and dirt are far from beneficial to your scalp and tresses. Hair should be washed at least once every 7-10 days. This isn’t a rule that’s set in stone. You know your hair better than anyone else so if you have to wash your hair more often during this timeframe, then go for it. It’s true shampoo can rid hair of beneficial oils so try a sulfate-free, well ph-balanced formula to avoid dry, brittle results.

5. Labels don’t matter.

You only get out what you put in when it comes to treating your hair and skin. That’s why it’s important to read the labels of the products you use. Just because there’s a black face on the packaging, doesn’t mean that the people behind the brand look like you. It also doesn’t mean that all of the ingredients are ideal for your beauty needs. Do your research and avoid products with harmful ingredients.

What are some other beauty myths you’ve heard or even believed in the past?

-Margaret Francois

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  • Keshia

    Thank you for the hair one jeez, of our hair grows just fine, but due to over processing(relaxers) and over all ignorance of what practices work many women don’t attain length.

    • Curlycurry

      I heard African hair cuts (breaks?) off. I’m a rare Asian with naturally curly hair trait and mine does that too especially when I’m washing it (which I do once a day in winter and twice a day in summer usually) and when I use a comb instead of boar hair hair brush. I saw a video on youtube by African American lady who recommended silk scarf wrap at night for hair that cuts, tried it and now my hair is less frizzy but it’s still anti-gravity on humid days.

  • Beks


  • Treece

    Thank you for mentioning the one about washing hair! That is a bold-faced lie from the pits of hell. I don’t know where we got that one from….walking around with smelly hair full of build-up. Gross

  • Miranda

    I wash my hair when my scalp starts to itch and that usually takes 3-5 days. I could stretch it a little longer, but if I don’t wash it, at least I have to wet it to ease the itchiness a little

  • beanbean

    YES to the “labels don’t matter.” I can’t tell you how many times my mom has told me to put down a shampoo because it doesn’t have a black woman’s face on the label. I tried to tell her that black people didn’t make this shampoo and it has the same ingredients in it as other shampoos. Just because something is in the ethnic hair section doesn’t mean it’s GOOD for black hair. I’m looking at you petroleum/petrolatum. And please ladies wash your hair, Grease/dandruff buildup is not cute. Wash your hair as needed whether it be every 8 days or every 3, we all have different hair.