Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams dispels Common Hair Myths



Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams

Hair myths are all too familiar and our conversations about hair are littered with them.  They are almost like a piece of oral history and now we can’t distinguish the truth from the tale.  Most myths are developed partially by the hair industry for marketing purposes to sell products and also from a misunderstanding of hair growth as we began to grow our hair after reconstruction (era of Madame CJ Walker, who happened to also use marketing ploys to sell her products.) Lets explore some of these myths:

Trimming makes your hair grow: false. Trimming makes the hair neater and even; it is a maintenance step. It can also be used to cut away damaged parts of the hair strand to reduce or stop breakage but it does not affect hair growth

Split ends split all the way up the hair shaft: false. Split ends do not break evenly. When the hair splits it breaks or tears off. Now this may lead to continuous breakage because of a weak hair shaft but it will not split evenly all the way up the shaft- and if it does (which is unlikely) trimming wouldn’t help it anyway. Once we stop doing damaging things to the hair that cause split ends they will be kept to a minimum.

Don’t wash your hair too much or it will dry out your hair: false. Its not how often you wash your hair that dries it out but what you wash your hair with. If washing the hair dried it out Caucasians would be bald because they wash their hair everyday. Water is the number one moisturizer. Wash hair with pH balanced shampoo. Frequent shampooing with black hair is important because we put products on our hair daily to replace lost moisture. One shampoo is sufficient but sometimes two is needed if there is a lot of product/dirt build up. The first shampoo wont lather much because of the natural oils on our hair. If you are shampooing your hair more than twice a week one shampoo each time is enough. And don’t forget to deep condition and lubricate your strands so that they don’t dry out.

We have to grease our scalps: false. We put too much emphasis on the scalp. Greasing the scalp is not necessary because of our sebaceous glands that produce sebum. Sebum is a slightly acidic oil that lubricates our strands closest to the scalp and guards against lost moisture. The ends of the hair still lack lubrication and this makes them susceptible to breakage. We need oil to lubricate our hair but we don’t need to oil or grease our scalps. We need to moisturize our hair daily. A good moisturizer should contain water, oils for lubrication and to seal in moisture, a stimulant (to encourage cell replication) and humectants (an ingredient that pulls moisture from the air) is optional. Heavy greases, pomades or products that contain petroleum and mineral oil just coat the hair but do not moisturize it. In addition, if you have any type of flaking you do not want to use grease on the scalp thinking it will alleviate the problem. Grease will only plaster flakes to the scalp and cause the problem to get worse.

Scarves, wool caps and cotton pillowcases will break your hair: false.
Hair breaks because it is excessively dry or abused. These items will absorb some of the moisture from your hair and lead to dryness over time, especially if moisture is not replaced on a daily basis. If your hair is already dry and damaged, then these accessories contribute to the breakage when hair strands get caught in the fibers.


What hair myths do you need the facts about?

Meet Our New Guest Contributor: Dr. Kari Williams, Trichologist

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kari Williams at the “A Night Out with Shea Moisture” event that was held back in September. Dr Williams, a trichologist, shared with us that evening her journey to studying in the field of trichology (scientific study of the health of hair and scalp) and the causes of common scalp disorders that women, specifically African American women, face. I was so impressed with the wealth of knowledge she shared and how effortlessly she explained the field of trichology to us, being that most of us were not exposed to this area of study before the event! I’m so honored that Dr. Williams has agreed to contribute bi-weekly guest posts covering the topics of scalp and hair health. Keep posted as I know that she’ll be sharing great and useful information!

Meet Dr. Kari Williams

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About Dr. Kari Williams

An expert on hair and scalp disorders, Dr. Kari Williams is possibly one of the most distinguished hair care practitioners in the country because of her advanced studies and application.

She has earned degrees from three respected universities.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts from the International Institute of Trichology and a PhD from the Élan Center of Trichology.  Trichology is the scientific study of hair and scalp disorders.  Dr. Kari is also a licensed barber, professional hair designer and natural hair care specialist.

She has been invited to train at various beauty colleges and regularly holds seminars for parents and stylists to educate them on scientifically proven methods that will prevent hair damage, reverse hair loss, proper hair products, application of the appropriate technique of braiding, hair extensions, hair weaving and non-surgical systems. She has appeared on BET’s My Black Is Beautiful, featured on and contributed to Essence magazine.

When she isn’t consulting or training, she is serving her clients at her salon, Mahogany Hair Revolution Salon and Trichology Clinic in Beverly Hills.

What Is Trichology?

Trichology is the scientific study of hair and scalp disorders and studies the growth, anatomy and physiology of the hair shaft and follicle. Many people wonder when it is appropriate to contact a Trichologist. Well, if you need solutions for hair loss, thinning, breakage, baldness, scaly problems, itchy, dry and/or oily scalp, a Trichologist can assist you.  Many problems of the hair and scalp may be an indication of, or a result of systemic conditions.  A Trichologist works closely with other professionals such as family practitioners, medical doctors, nutritionists, dermatologists and other Trichologists.  The basis for correct treatment is an accurate diagnosis, which begins with a good consultation.

“I have found that there is a definite need in the natural hair world for direction, and a return to practical education about curly, tightly coiled hair.  Consumers have turned to each other for advice and instruction on how to care for their natural hair.  Outlets like Youtube have been great at generating interest in going natural, but they lack the expertise of a natural hair professional.  We really need to understand what our hair can and can’t do so that we can have realistic expectations.  Accurate information is required in order to break down the hair myths that have permeated our culture for so long.  Since there is no formal education on care for curly or kinky hair, many cosmetologists don’t have enough knowledge on how to deal with our hair. Never fear, Dr. Kari is here and healthy natural hair is my specialty!  In my next post I will discuss breaking down some of those hair myths so we can get back to the root of hair health.”

If you all have any scalp or hair – related questions for Dr. Williams, please email them to me at mae@naturalchica with SUBJECT: [Dr. Kari Williams] or post them as a comment below. We look forward to more information from Dr. Williams!