About a year ago, I decided to grow out the Chanel bob I’d had for almost 3 years for a longer and more youthful do. Now, I am still waiting for my Rapunzel locks, but I’m happily past the middle phase (amen) and gaining length steadily. The road up to this point has been difficult—everyday, I’d think about chopping my hair off again-- but the thought of a perfectly wavy and long school-girl ponytail keeps me on track.
Waiting for your hair to grow is enough to make any girl go crazy, but extensions are pricey, and ultimately can damage hair, causing you to wait even longer for voluptuous locks-- plus, I want my hair to be thick and shiny once it’s long, not stringy and damaged! Well, I’ve done some research on what actually works, and have a foolproof plan in place for growing my hair to my desired length even faster. If you also find yourself in the middle phase-- or worse yet, just starting out with an outgrown pixie (eek!)—follow these steps! You’ll be setting yourself up for a long and healthy mane that would make even the Kardashians envious.
Eat Meat. No, seriously -- Hair is mostly made of keratin, which is a protein. Therefore, in order to grow hair, you must eat more protein. Work meat, fish, eggs, nuts, soy, and beans into every meal (if you can) to help pump up your protein intake.
Braid It, Don’t Burn It—Avoid pulling your hair up into a tight bun, excessive curling, or hair drying. Heat causes the most damage over time and can stent your growth. If you can manage it, try to let your hair dry naturally, or use the coolest setting on your dryer and make sure it’s not over-heating. This goes for dying your hair too. Stick to your natural hair color while you are growing your hair out. If you absolutely detest your natural color, using a light color glaze like John Freida’s Brilliant Brunette.
Take Your Vitamins – Vitamin B specifically. Not to sound like your mom, but deficiencies in riboflavin and biotin have been linked to hair loss, so stocking up on Vitamin B foods like bananas, potatoes, oatmeal, and spinach will keep your hair healthy while you grow it.
Use a Silk Pillow Case -- Not only will you feel like a princess, silk pillowcases are actually good for your hair. Silk doesn’t cause the friction that cotton does – sure your 800 thread count Egyptian cotton feels great, but the fibers actually tug at hair strands as you move in your sleep, leading to breakage and split ends. Silk prevents your hair from tangling and it’s a natural heat regulator so it will maintain your body temp (who knew!?)
Skip a Wash (or Two) -- Washing your hair everyday strips it of its natural oils, which it needs to grow, so skipping washes is a great way to maintain healthy hair. If you have oily hair (like me) that looks like a hot mess on Day 2, use a dry shampoo (the dry powder works best).
Trim the Edges -- Sounds counterproductive, right? But getting regular trims will help you get rid of dry split ends, which can actually split to the shaft of your strands and cause more damage. Make sure your stylist knows that you are going to great lengths (pun intended) to grow your hair out. Don’t let them go scissor-happy with their layering.
Be Patient -- Don’t expect your hair to start growing like Cousin-It-status. It’s not going to. It takes years to add serious amounts of length. Just make a commitment to yourself and your hair. Go Long, Stay Strong.
Stop Stressing Out -- This is perhaps the toughest part of our daily routine, but stress does stent hair growth (not to mention unwanted forehead wrinkles), so relax, make sure you are getting plenty of rest, and say “ohm”.
Massage Your Scalp. Ever wonder why your hair feels so amazing after your hair stylist has pampered it? Massaging your scalp daily stimulates the blood flow and removes old skin cells at the roots, allowing new hair to sprout. Make sure you are massaging vigorously with the tips of your fingertips (don’t scratch at your scalp or you could end up breaking strands).