Rinse with cold water

Hair Myth #8: Rinsing your hair with cold water makes it more shiny

From 1 to 8, we are reviewing hair care myths that a French article on Yahoo! pour Elles set out to debunk. Did they get it right? Did their post even make sense? Well… We’ve decided as hair professionals, to give a hopefully better rendition of these hair myths. 

Today’s Myth: Rinsing your hair with cold water makes it more shiny

Rinse with cold water?

What Yahoo! pour Elles says:
A hair shaft doesn’t have any live cells, which means that it cannot be impacted by cold or hot water. To increase shine, pick a product with a silicone base or use oils that will moisturize your hair.

Comment from the Atelier Emmanuel Team:
Well, this is a tough one. Yahoo! pour Elles’ response is the current correct answer that you will encounter, despite that it  goes against what is actually a pretty robust hair myth. But, well, maybe there are a few “buts”….

This is our answer:

Technically, cold water will cause the hair cuticle to lay flat*; this creates smoothness and some shine. However, any benefit this brings is negated if you apply any heat, such as with a blow drier or flat iron. If you wanted to get the marginal benefit of rinsing with cold water, you would also have to air dry your hair to maintain it.

*(To geek out for a second, we’d like to point out that reaction to hot and cold is not contingent on cells being alive. Everything is affected by temperature from live cells to rocks.) 

So rinsing your hair with cold water is probably not worth the discomfort. Charles suggests that your  scalp may benefit from cold water, as it helps the pores contract. But, again, does the benefit outweigh the discomfort?

Lukewarm is likely a better option than either hot or cold water for both your hair and your scalp.

Rather than debate between hot water and cold water, it is worth considering lukewarm water, which avoids the disadvantages of either temperature extreme: it won’t strip your hair of oil, like hot water; it also won’t seal dirt and excess shampoo/conditioner to your hair the way that cold water can.


Bonus Myth Debunking! If you shampoo less often, your scalp will gradually produce less oil.
Shampooing habits might have no impact on the amount of oil your scalp produces. It has been argued that genetics and hormones determine oil production, not how often you shampoo. On the other hand, not shampooing frequently enough will lead to more dirt and oil accumulating on your scalp and hair follicles. This could cause inflammation and irritation that might stunt hair growth. It seems the trick is to be like Goldilocks and find the right frequency (and the right shampoo). Many people over-shampoo, so it’s likely going to be less often than you think.

Myth debunked? What do you think?

We hope you enjoyed our series on hair care myths! Thank you to Emmanuel, Charles, David, Martin and the other AE stylists who helped formulate our answers. Check out earlier entries by clicking the links below. If you want to find the best hair care practices and products for your hair, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation.

Hair Myth #7: You should always brush your hair from the roots to the ends

Hair Myth #6: If you keep using the same shampoo, it will become less effective overtime

Hair Myth #5: Wearing a ponytail causes your hair to fall out

Hair Myth #4: You should brush your hair 100 times every day

Hair Myth #3: Fixing Split Ends

Hair Myth #2: Trimming your hair helps it grow faster

Hair Myth #1: You should shampoo your hair every day.