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Exploring myths, musts for your mane

You can fake long locks with hair extensions, but it'll cost you. Or you can shear your locks into a face-framing pixie cut, a la Emma Watson, but bear in mind, confidence is key.

But if it's long, healthy hair you're after, there are things you can do, and mistakes not to be made, on the road to growing and maintaining lush locks.

Myth: Cuts speed growth

Not true, say experts, although cutting hair may give the appearance of longer locks thanks to the removal of dry, brittle ends prone to splitting. On average, hair grows one-half to three-quarters of an inch per month, so if you snip less length than that on a monthly basis, you can maintain hair health without affecting the length of hair.

Must: Sleep like a queen

Surround yourself in silk, or at least switch your pillowcase from cotton to silk, and you'll reap the benefits of longer, healthier hair. A cotton pillowcase can tug on hair (and skin) without offering any forgiving "slip" because of loosely knit cotton fibers. Silk, on the other hand, does not tug on hair, skin or lashes, allowing for less hair loss as you sleep … and less wrinkles to boot.

Must: Care for your scalp

Hair growth begins at the follicle, and that's why scalp care and treatment are the cornerstones of a solid hair care routine. Nioxin, a company known for its award-winning thinning-hair products, offers a product called "Scalp Renew," known as a scalp microdermabrasion treatment. Scalp Renew not only promises to unplug clogged hair follicles but also increases blood circulation to the scalp, via scalp massage. Some experts say that by increasing blood circulation at the scalp, hair growth is encouraged. Find a salon that offers Nioxin products and services near you at Nioxin.com.

Must: Pop a pill

The word on the street is that the supplement Viviscal really works for thickening hair and promoting hair growth. True, you'll have to pop the pill daily for at least three months to begin seeing results, and at a price of $119.95 for a three-month supply at Viviscal.com, long locks don't come cheaply. Nevertheless, a host of industry hair care experts — think Orlando Pita and Garren — and celebrity users such as Reese Witherspoon have gone on the record to say that Viviscal is actually effective at promoting hair growth.

Myth: Brush, brush, brush

Brush hair at least 100 strokes a day to maintain its health. Or don't, because the fact is, according to experts, this long shared hair care "must" is actually a myth. So while 100 brush strokes may have worked for Cinderella, in the real world, brushing hair minimally with the proper tools is the best way to maintain long locks. Brushing causes friction, which potentially damages the hair follicle leading to frizz and breakage, and that's no happy hair ending.

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of prettycity.com.

Exploring myths, musts for your mane 05/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2013 5:52pm]

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