Hair not growing as quickly as you’d like? You’re not alone. Women have been looking for ways to speed up the growth process for centuries. Now with years of research at our disposal, we know what you can start doing today to get that Rapunzel-like hair you’ve been dreaming of. Here are the best hair growth tips for 2016 (and beyond).
Probably the easiest way to help your hair grow is to drink plenty of water. Water is a key source of energy for every cell in our body, especially those responsible for healthy hair growth. If your roots are dehydrated, your tresses will become brittle, dry and rough, and your hair growth cycle could be thrown out of whack. Roots (aka follicles) are the only way that your hair can receive water, so drink up. Hydrated hair is happy hair.
Conditioner Is Your Friend
Here’s an easy rule to follow for hair growth: every time your hair is wet, condition it. Good conditioner helps replace the fatty acids and protein on the outside of the hair shaft, which are key for hair growth. It will also seal the cuticle to prevent damage from heat styling, the environment and other sources. Make sure to use an all-natural conditioner with the key vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy looking hair.
Don’t Shampoo Every Time You Shower
The purpose of shampoo is to wash away dirt and product buildup, so it’s really good at cleaning. So good, in fact, that it can also wash away essential natural oils that keep hair strands soft and healthy if used too often. Only shampoo every few days when you feel your hair needs it. And when you do shampoo, lather up at your scalp and let the suds slide down the strands as the water rinses it away. More gentleness, more growth.
Studies show that protein should be a major part of a diet for hair growth, but if you want to get the best hair growth results, focus on the seafood. Marine proteins are superior to regular proteins like beef and chicken for hair growth because they contain essential fatty acids that boost keratin, the key protein in hair. Get more of your protein from water dwellers like oysters, salmon, and clams. If you can’t get your hands on fresh seafood, try a hair growth supplement that includes a marine complex that acts like the essential fatty acids found in marine proteins.
Essential Oils Are Your Friends
The best essential oils condition hair, soothe your scalp and promote a healthy environment for optimal hair growth. Certain oils, like horsetail plant oil, help to improve blood circulation to your scalp. The more blood that can get to your follicles, the more nutrients they’ll have to grow. Massaging essential oils into your scalp is like a detox that energizes the roots and helps supercharge your follicles.
Trim Those Ends
Even if your hair is well-nourished, it won’t be as long and full as it should be if it’s prone to breakage and damage. Trimming damaged ends every 6-8 weeks will ensure that your hair looks healthy and is not weighed down by split ends. It won’t necessarily make your hair grow faster, but minimizing damaged hair will make it look thicker, fluffier, and a whole lot more fun to play with.
Brush With Care
Fact: Ripping out your locks when you brush will not help your hair grow. When you detangle wet hair, start from the bottom and work your way up using shorter brush strokes. Instinctively we go from the scalp down, but that just brings small tangles into one large knot and you can lose a lot of hair. Better yet, avoid brushing or combing wet hair altogether and wait until it is dry. Also, try a boar bristle brush, which is better at distributing your scalp’s natural oils and is more gentle than synthetic alternatives.
Rethink Your Bed Sheets
This is a tip that usually gets overlooked. If you want to help your hair grow while you sleep, ditch your cotton pillowcase and replace it with one made of a soft, silky material like silk or satin. Cotton pillowcases cause a lot of friction that can have you waking up with tangles that you’ll have to tear apart with your brush. Silk, satin or sateen (which feels like satin but is made from 100% cotton or rayon) will prevent frizzing and roughing of the cuticle. Less breakage, more growth.
Stop Wrapping Your Hair in Cotton Towels
We know it’s fun to walk around the house with a giant towel wrapped around your wet hair, but you need to stop. These huge cotton towels can cause a lot of breakage. Your hair gets caught in the woven fibers and those tiny little strands that we’re trying to treat delicately often break off. Look for microfiber hair towels, which are totally fine for you to wrap around your head like a turban.
Move Your Ponytail
You may be asking, “But where else would I put it?” Slightly moving where you tie your ponytail can help protect the integrity of your hair strands. The same pull in the same spot everyday can weaken your hair strands and stop them from growing. Move it up, down, left or right by a few centimeters to help hair grow out damage-free.
Stop the Heat Abuse
Your hair can burn just like your skin. You just can’t feel it. Excessive heat from flat irons can damage both the inner core and the outer coating of your hair strands. Over-applying heat when it is already dried makes it brittle, dull, dry, and prone to breakage. When you do need to straighten your hair, make sure to use a heat protectant and, if you can, Teflon-coated irons.
Never underestimate the damage you can do. Keep heat tools below 410 degrees Fahrenheit, and please keep your heat-styling devices and chemicals away from your scalp. Slightly fuzzy roots is better than permanent hair loss.
Cold Water Rinse
If you can handle the brief moment of shock, rinsing hair with cold water at the end of your shower can make hair look less damaged and healthier. Cold water tightens up your cuticle which minimizes oily scalp, and makes your strands less easily penetrated by dirt and other toxins. Tightening up the cuticle also helps prevent moisture loss and heat damage, and it even prevents frizz. To further the effects of cold, try blow-drying hair on the coolest setting instead of blasting with heat (which you already know is a no-no).
Ditch the Cigarettes
There are plenty of reasons why you should stop smoking. Add potential hair loss to the list. Smoking restricts the blood vessels, which drastically reduces the amount of nutrients that reach hair follicles. What’s more, research has shown that toxins from smoke may damage the DNA of the hair follicle. Kick the habit, save money, grow longer hair. We know it’s not easy, but now you have one more reason to quit!