So, you want long, or longer, hair? You may feel like you’ve been letting your hair grow forever and not seeing any results. Chances are that your hair IS growing the average half-inch a month, which – keep in mind – is not very much, but it does add up – if your hair doesn’t break off.
The secret to long hair is keeping it healthy. And keeping hair healthy requires that you take care of the hair on the outside of your head and from the inside of your body. This means keeping your tresses hydrated and strong, as well as nourished. Nourished hair is achieved by supplying it, through diet and supplements, with adequate vitamins and nutrients.
If you haven’t had any luck growing your hair long, try these easy to follow and effective tips for longer and stronger locks this year.
Go smooth with silk and satin
Silk or satin pillowcases have a softer surface that is less likely to cause hair tangles and frizz the way cotton does. “Silk or satin pillowcases help minimize friction, which helps prevent breakage,” says Erik Emblen, owner of Devana Salon in Denver, CO. Bonus: silk and satin are also easier on the skin, leaving you crease-free in the morning. Plus, it feels great to rest your head at night on a cool silky pillowcase.
Pay attention to your scalp
It all starts with the scalp. So, paying attention to your scalp health is integral to hair health and growth. One of the best and most enjoyable ways to care for your scalp is to gently massage it while shampooing. A scalp massage helps loosen dead skin and hair product accumulation that can clog hair follicles. Even better, it increases blood flow, relieves stress, and stimulates hair growth.
Ditch your elastic rubber bands
Many of us grab an elastic band or keep one around our wrist to tie our hair up in a pinch. Or, it’s our go-to style for working out. Elastic bands cause breakage, warns Emblen. Instead of rubber bands, look for something softer and gentler. Silk hair bands, for example, work on your hair in the same way silk pillowcases do. Hair ties, headbands, and soft scrunchies will do the job as well.
Take hair vitamins
Nutritionist Belen Maldonado says that nutrition has a vital role when it comes to hair health and skin, too. “The most important nutrients are biotin, copper, selenium, and zinc. With a balanced diet, these nutrients should be obtained in the right proportion, but the average person doesn’t eat properly – and supplements can help,” she says. Look for hair growth vitamins that have all of the nutrients mentioned above as well as vitamins C, D, and E, and magnesium and iron.
Cut hair for growth
It does seem counterintuitive to cut your hair when you want it longer. However, once your hair develops split ends, breakage is inevitable, and there is no reversing its course. Therefore, Emblen recommends a hair trim about every 12 weeks to cut away the scraggly, split, or dead-ends to prevent breakage and make your hair look fuller and better.
Eat this and that
Maldonado stresses the importance of a protein-rich diet. “One of the most damaging points for hair is eating too little protein,” she warns. Additionally, she recommends sipping on bone broths and consuming lean meats and foods rich in vitamin C to stimulate collagen production, a vital amino acid for hair and skin elasticity.
Rinse in cold water
Have you ever heard that you should rinse your face in cold water to close your pores and make your skin look smoother? Well, a cold-water rinse at the end of your shower seals your hair cuticle, the scaly outer layer of your hair, and makes your hair look smoother “By using cool water to seal down the cuticle, you minimize tangling, lock in moisture, and add shine,” says Emblen.
Make sure your hair is hydrated
Dry hair looks terrible and is prone to breakage. Use conditioner every time you step into the shower to add and lock in moisture. It’s not a bad idea to leave some conditioner in your hair, says Emblen, to seal the outer cuticle. Choose a product that helps strengthen, moisturize, and prevent hair breakage. Consider adding a weekly deep conditioning treatment or oil treatment such as argan or coconut oil.
Stay away from bleach
It may be a popular saying that blonds have more fun, but bleached blonds also have more hair breakage. Bleaching your hair opens up the cuticles on your hair strands, which causes significant damage, especially if you have dark hair. Furthermore, color-treated hair is more likely to develop split ends and break off. So, maybe give up the platinum for a while?
Go easy on the heat
Common hair styling tools such as flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers can wreak havoc on your mane. Heat has been proven to damage the surface of your hair and decrease moisture. If you’re committed to getting more length, consider air-drying your hair or not using a heated styling device every day.