Whether you went too short at your last salon appointment or simply have slow-to-grow hair, extending the length of your hair is one of those processes you just can't rush. But let's be honest—that hasn't stopped anyone from looking for ways to grow hair faster.
That's why we rounded up these hair care tips from hair stylists and dermatologists who are giving you the lowdown on how to encourage healthy hair growth.
1. Keep your diet in check.
You've probably heard the saying "you are what you eat" a time or two, and in the case of your hair it couldn't be truer, says Kiyah Wright, a celebrity hairstylist and the founder of Muze Hair. "What you put inside your body definitely has an effect on its outer appearance, that includes the appearance of your hair," she says. "A poor diet high in cholesterol, fat and sugar can slow or prevent adequate hair growth, making hair appear brittle, thin and frail."
Instead, Wright says you swap skip processed and fried foods for fresh produce and lean protein, like chicken and fish, to encourage healthier hair growth. And, of course, drink plenty of water to keep hair hydrated from root to tip.
2. Avoid yo-yo dieting.
If you want your hair to grow, then you'll want to cut the back-and-forth with your diet, says Dr. Lindsey Bordone, a dermatologist at ColumbiaDoctors and assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center.
"This can cause your body to think you are entering a period of famine and will ultimately lead to hair thinning," she says, adding that stress and lack of sleep can also negatively affect hair growth.
3. Try a multi-vitamin.
Wright says that while she typically leans on a balanced diet to keep hair healthy and strong, she also incorporates a multi-vitamin into her routine. She recommends Purvana, a supplement that includes biotin, a vitamin known for encouraging healthy hair, skin and nails growth.
4. Skip hair growth shampoos.
They might sound promising, but Bordone says hair loss shampoos aren't worth the price tag.
"Hair loss shampoos or shampoos that claim to grow hair are not in contact with the scalp long enough to have any effect," she says. "Wash-off products for the scalp would have no ability to be absorbed in any significant quantity to change hair growth patterns."
5. But consider a medicated shampoo.
If hair thinning has become a problem for you, then Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a Boston-based dermatologist, says you might want to consider an over-the-counter medication with Minoxidil — like Rogaine or hers Minoxidil 2% — that can be applied topically and is FDA-approved to help regrow hair.
6. Don't pull gray hairs.
You might have heard that plucking gray hairs can stimulate hair growth, but Hirsch says that is not the case. "In fact, in some cases, such as postpartum hair regrowth, the hair will sometimes start gray and then darken in color," she says. "Plucking them just means you have lost a hair."
7. Get to the root of the problem.
Speaking of hair loss from pregnancy — or even as the result of a hair loss condition like alopecia areata — and how to treat it during the postpartum phase, Edward Tricomi, a master stylist and co-owner of Warren Tricomi Salons, says you might want to consider a Capillus laser treatment cap to stimulate growth.
"Capillus is a medical grade laser therapy treatment that reverses the natural process of our hair thinning," he says. "This new laser therapy form brings options to those suffering from hair loss by getting to the root of the problem. It stimulates and energizes the cells within the hair follicle to promote thicker and healthier hair."
8. Use the right products.
Encouraging hair growth also means using products that protect the hair and enable them to do exactly that. Cynthia Diersen, a CHI Hair Care creative artistic team member, recommends keeping a thermal protectant on hand, like BioSilk Silk Therapy and CHI Iron Guard Thermal Protectant Spray.
9. Don't take the Marcia Brady approach to hair care.
Sure, it might seem like the 100-strokes-per-day is solid advice for keeping hair healthy, but Hirsch says it's not really the case. In fact, she says, it can cause the opposite effect — it will likely just damage your hair.
10. Don't bother with essential oils.
Bordone says you can also skip applying essential oils or castor oil to your scalp as a way of stimulating hair growth. "This would be likely to cause an acne-like eruption from clogging the hair follicles and does not improve hair growth in any way," she explains.
11. Skip the suds.
While extra bubbly shampoo might seem like a good idea, Hirsch says that it can actually be damaging. "Bubbles are actually a by-product of the detergent ingredients in many shampoos that contributes to the bubbling, which itself can cause damage to the hair," she says.
12. Don't overwash hair.
You've probably heard this one before but it's one that bears repeating: You don't need to wash your hair every day. In fact, Hirsch says three times a week is ideal and it will help hair continue to grow healthfully. "Each time you shampoo you are stripping the natural scalp oils that nourish the hair growth process," she says.
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