Colour and care: Familiar hair myths debunked

Catherine Zeta-Jones may have been blessed with thick hair full of natural movement, but for the rest of us it's hard enough making sure our crowning glory looks glorious without old wives' tales getting in the way. So it's time to debunk the ones we believe the most...

Washing hair strips it of its natural oils
Hair needs cleansing just as skin does. It's the damage that can be caused by drying – rubbing hair too vigorously with a towel roughens the cuticle, while drying on high heat and speeds suck out moisture, as do heated appliances – that started this myth, so take care after washing and you can shampoo as often as you like.

Dry hair needs extra conditioner
The same 50p-sized blob is enough, whatever hair's condition. You'll only need extra conditioner if hair's super long. It's coverage that counts, so just make sure you distribute it through with a wide-tooth comb. And it's not possible to over-condition, either – it all rinses away anyway. If hair feels limp after washing, you've either not rinsed properly or you've used the wrong formulations for your hair type.

Vinegar in the final rinse gives hair extra shine
This comes from the days when soaps left an alkaline film on the hair that needed neutralising with an acid rinse. This is unnecessary with today's far more advanced shampoos and conditioners as they leave no such residue.

Dandruff is the result of a dry scalp
Actually, oily scalps are more likely to develop dandruff, which is caused by an overgrowth of yeast that normally lives quite happily on the scalp. So you can't catch it, either.

Hair gets used to the same shampoo
Hair's dead, so it can't become bored with something. If a product feels as if it's not 'working' any more, it's probably because the needs of your hair have changed. It's become dry, for instance.