For those of us not blessed with good hair genes, the struggle to grow your hair past a certain length is real. Long, strong, Rapunzel hair is the stuff our beauty dreams are made of. Pregnancy hormones are one of several things that can make your hair grow faster — my hair has grown down past my shoulders exactly two times in my life and both were when I was pregnant. Along with your genetic makeup, certain medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, your age, hair type, and overall health all contribute to how fast your hair grows. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck at your plateau length. There are things you can do to optimize your hair’s ability to grow longer and stronger. From ensuring your hair health from your root to tip; to nourishing it from the inside out and getting on the right hair care routine, these are the hair growth tips you need to achieve the long hair of your dreams.
The quest for faster-growing strands starts with a quick assessment of your current situation. So before we get into what will make your hair grow faster, let’s take a look at the reasons it’s not growing fast.
Any of the following can be the reason your hair isn’t growing and should be addressed first and foremost.
photo by @karlibobarley
1. Start with a clean scalp
A healthy scalp is vital to healthy hair. Dead skin cells, sebum, sweat, bacteria, product, and pollution build up on the scalp. This can cause inflammation and flaking in the form of dandruff, eczema, or psoriasis. Once a week massage your scalp with a scalp scrub. Exfoliating acts as a nourishing scalp massage to stimulate blood flow.
2. Get regular trims
It may seem counterproductive, but if you want long healthy hair you need to trim it regularly. Although this won’t make your hair actually grow faster, regular hair trims get rid of split ends. Eliminating the breakage also gives the appearance of hair that is growing faster. Time to book an appointment with your hair stylist!
3. Resist the urge to lighten your hair
Going from a darker to lighter shade causes chemical damage to your strands. Once the cuticle of the hair is damaged, you get breakage and split ends. If you’ve been trying to grow your bleached hair out to no avail- your lightening habit could be standing in the way. If you’re suffering from chemical damage, load up on the conditioner and check out our previous post How to Repair Damaged Hair.
4. Brush your hair before bed
Running a brush through your hair before bed helps to distribute your hair's natural oils. It also helps increase circulation, which helps make your scalp healthier. Another pro tip? Coat your ends with argan coconut oil before bed!
5. Avoid heat styling tools
The same way bleach can damage your strands, so can heat. If you’re trying to add length, lay off the hot tools. Rock air-dried hairstyles as much as possible. But if you must use heat, decrease the temperature, and always use a hair primer.
photo by @karlibobarley
6. Skip the daily shampoo
Shampooing your hair every day strips it of its natural oils, drying it out. This can eventually lead to breakage, which is the opposite of what you want. Shampoo your hair two to three times a week to allow your hair to hydrate and repair itself.
7. Finish your shower with a cool rinse
A steamy hot shower isn't just bad for your skin, it's rough on your hair too. Try to keep the water temperature of your shower lukewarm, and turn it cooler for the last few seconds before turning the shower off. The cool water helps to seal the cuticle and strengthen your hair: stronger strands have a better chance of reaching their maximum length.
8. Be gentle with wet hair
Hair is especially susceptible to breakage when it's wet. Use a microfiber hair towel or old jersey cotton tee to gently ring out the excess water after washing and conditioning. And if you have any knots post-shower, make sure to use a wide-toothed comb or brush made specifically for use on wet strands. Brush from the ends down, and gradually work your way up.
9. Tweak your hair care routine
It might be time to up the ante on your hair care game. For some people struggling with slowly growing strands, hair loss products can help tremendously. Add a hair growth serum into your hair care routine to reduce thinning and hair loss and improve its density. And if you’re not already using a weekly hair mask, it’s time to start!
10. Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Silk is easier on hair than traditional cotton pillowcases. Sleeping on silk causes less friction on your hair as you move around in your sleep. Investing in a silk pillowcase will help you avoid tangles and breakage, and the less breakage your hair experiences, the longer your hair will be.
11. Eat the right foods
Foods high in protein as well as vitamins A, C, and E, minerals like zinc and iron, and omega-3 fatty acids all contribute to the health (and growing ability) of your hair. The following foods can help your hair grow faster:
12. Take supplements
If your diet isn't supplying you with enough nutrition, supplements can help. There are six key nutrients we need to help hair grow longer:
The struggle to grow your hair out when you're waiting for it to grow is real. But that doesn’t mean you can’t speed up the process. If you want longer hair, our tips will help you achieve the long, strong healthy strands of your dreams. In the meantime, until you get your extra length, add some volume and read our previous post on How to Add Volume to Hair.
by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor
cover photo by @hihoneysalon