All apologies to Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, but, no matter your race, sex, or station in life, a great head of hair is the ideal. And it can be so maddening to wait for your hair to grow out—whether you’ve been dying for really long locks or you just got a really terrible haircut. But if you’re interested in learning how to make hair grow faster, you’ve come to the right place.
While it’s technically true that you can’t magically kick your follicles into overdrive and add inches to hair overnight, you can implement some lifestyle changes that will result in noticeably quicker hair growth.
Without realizing it, over the years, your habits—how often you shampoo, what your diet consists of, even what type of pillowcase you like to sleep on—have stunted your hair’s maximum potential. By correcting course on bad habits and adopting newer, better ones, you can unleash it.
Basically, if you want to know how to make hair grow faster, the crux is this: It’s not about speeding things up. It’s about not slowing things down. Here’s what to do.
Load up on the right nutrients.
To truly learn how to make hair grow faster, you have to look inward—to your diet. According to Tasha Pinheiro, a professional hairstylist at Eufora Salon in Ontario, Canada, what you eat dictates how your body will look and feel—including your hair. “Take a multivitamin and get in substantial vegetable servings every day—avocados especially are your friend. Your hair is just like your skin and nails; when your diet is lacking in vitamins and nutrients, you will experience dull skin, brittle nails, and lackluster hair,” she says.
Foods like salmon, yellow peppers, oysters, eggs, and sweet potatoes are chock full of Vitamin C, zinc, and other fortifying elements that work together to make your hair grow longer. Additionally, Pinheiro notes the importance of soaking in some Vitamin D, as the rays from the sun can actually increase blood flow in your scalp, therefore making your follicles stronger. As for the items that you should cut out of your diet to increase hair growth, Sally Pansing Kravich, a holistic nutritionist and author of Vibrant Living, advises others to avoid ingesting too much caffeine, soda, or foods that contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
Massage your scalp.
To give your hair follicles and relaxation levels a boost, simply massage your head for two to three minutes while shampooing your hair, hairstylist Julianne Kaye told Bustle. This act, along with a few drops of essential oil on to your scalp, can stimulate blood flow and really help hair grow faster.
Also, to keep the health of your scalp intact, Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, warns that over-washing your hair can negatively affect your scalp. “Avoid over-washing so that your scalps microbiome remains intact and massage your head to increase circulation. Remember that the skin beneath your hair is just as important as the skin on the rest of your body,” he said.
Steer clear of heat damage.
While it’s doubtful that anyone rolls out of bed with every hair in place, using heat on hair every day can have a serious impact on mane health, eventually creating split ends. To avoid treating your hair so unkindly, try to limit blowdrying sessions to three to five times a week, and curling or flat-ironing sessions to only once or twice a week. Further, if you find that you can’t avoid using heat on your hair, begin adding repair masks and oils to your haircare routine a few times a week to keep the damage at bay.
Also, according to Pinheiro, using a heat-protecting spray on your hair can cut down on some of the stress that your blow dryer inflicts on your follicles. “If you’re going to heat style, make sure you use a good quality heat protectant, and also use the correct temperature setting for your hair type. If you have fine hair that just needs frizz control, you don’t need to crank that flat iron to 450º Fahrenheit! That setting is designed to smooth out the thickest, kinkiest hair textures—that’s way too powerful. Neglecting to use a heat protectant or using the right heat setting will lead to damage and breakage,” she said.
Stock up on deep-moisturizing products.
Following that same trend, in order to promote overall hair health, using masks, shampoos, and conditioners that contain the protein Keratin can work to increase the rate at which your hair grows. Perhaps the best thing about infusing keratin into your normal hair care routine is that it actually makes your hair stronger, protecting it from future damage. “A protein-filled and reparative shampoo and conditioner will strengthen your hair and fill in any damaged areas, ultimately preventing breakage,” says Pinheiro.
Wash your hair less often.
Constantly shampooing your hair is incredibly tough on your follicles, which are more likely to become damaged and defective if you wash your hair every day—and that’s bad news for hair growth. At most, you should be washing your hair only three times a week. By only washing your hair a few times a week, you’re preserving the natural oils in your hair, called sebum, which is secreted by the sebaceous glands to keep strands conditioned and healthy. So, in turn, washing the hair too often will strip these natural oils from your hair, causing the follicles to become dry and more susceptible to damage.
Of course, if you really can’t stomach the idea of going days without cleaning your mane, worry not: there’s a solution. On the off-days, a few sprays of dry shampoo allows your hair to retain the same volume and shine as it did right after a shower, without stressing out your scalp.
Get new pillowcases.
As it turns out, that cotton pillowcase that you rest your head upon every night could actually be wreaking havoc on your delicate strands. As opposed to other fabrics, cotton actually creates more friction against your hair, which might explain why you wake up every morning with your hair in knots. To avoid waking up with tangled hair, switch out your cotton pillowcases for a silk variety that won’t do any damage to your hair while you’re sleeping.
Lower your ponytails.
In order to help your hair maintain its strength and durability, switch your pony placement from high up on your head to a lower position. Simply switching where you secure your hair prevents the extra breakage and stress on your strands that can happen as a result of your favored higher placement.
Switch out your hairbrush.
Treat your hair with the utmost respect by switching out your drugstore brush for a boar bristle brush, as the bristles prove to be gentler on your strands and better work to distribute your hair’s natural oils. Further, be sure that you’re detangling your wet strands as gently as possible, working from the bottom up. (Brushing from the top down can lead to further hair loss.)
Take your vitamins (but get new ones).
While retaining key nutrients from food sources is the most effective way to go, you can give your hair an added boost by taking hair vitamins containing biotin and other needed proteins. “Supplementing with 5,000 to 10,000 mcg of biotin daily in addition to other supplements is the key. Marine collagen is also excellent for hair health and speedy growth and can be taken as a powder added to a smoothie,” said Fred Connors, a stylist and owner of Fred Salon in Halifax, New York. Not only do these vitamins enhance the strength of current hair follicles, but they also ensure that every new hair follicle comes out of your head more durable and healthy than ever before.
While, technically, you could go without a trim for as long as six months, as long as you’re in the habit of abstaining from heat and constantly lathering your hair in moisturizing masks, you should typically try to get a trim at least every 10 to 12 weeks. If you wait any longer, your split ends will likely travel up your strands, pushing your hairstylist to chop more damaged inches off your hair the next time you make it into the salon. “As long as you have a stylist that you trust and won’t rob you of length, getting a half inch taken off every 10 weeks will make a huge difference in how quickly you see hair growth. This will effectively eliminate split ends before they crawl up the hair shaft and break off at an undesirable length,” says Pinheiro.
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