Hair is slow growing. The generally accepted rate of growth is around 1.27 cm a month, or just over 15cms a year. But this is a guide, not a rule, as it can vary due to many factors – think genes, hormone levels, age, and more. Each hair is in a different stage of the cycle of growth, rest and shedding too.
So anything you can do to encourage that growth – and keep the length you have now healthy and strong – will benefit your end goal of long, luscious locks.
Commit to regular trims
Cutting the ends of your hair doesn’t affect the follicles in your scalp, which determine how fast and how much your hair grows. So while cutting your hair regularly won’t make it grow faster, it does play a part in helping hair look healthy and full.
Getting rid of split ends reduces hair breakage, and breakage is what makes hair look thinner at the ends. Living with frayed, split ends instead of trimming will eventually cause the split to ‘travel’ up on each strand and break, which will not only make your hair look much thinner than it is but will also keep it from getting longer past a certain point.
Choose the right haircare
The right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type and styling desires is important. But once you’ve got that nailed down, further consideration of your growth goals should play a part too.
The easiest way to get it right, is to ask your stylist for a good haircare routine that will cover off both, but usually you’ll want a good mix of hydration and nourishment. Hydrate dry, brittle hair by using conditioner, deep conditioners, masks, hair treatments and oils. Hydrated hair is less prone to breakage. However if you have very fine hair, strands and your scalp can get weighed down, so be judicious with your choices.
Don’t forget your scalp
It’s a newer focus, but experts are almost unanimous that focus on caring for your scalp will pay dividends in the appearance and health and yes, length, of your locks. Scalp that is clogged with dead skin cells will have sluggish cell turnover, which means they wont be acting at optimum capacity, as the factory that grows your hair. That and you’ll be potentially be facing dandruff issues too.
How to ensure it’s being cared for? A gentle exfoliation using a scalp scrub occasionally can help.
Massaging regularly with your fingers or a scalp-massaging brush is another important approach to ensure good circulation. This helps boost blood flow to the area which contains a myriad of blood vessels that transport the all-important nutrients your hair needs for growth, protection, shine and suppleness. It also helps distribute beneficial natural oils through strands that will help protect from breakage.
Boost your diet with hair-nourishing foods
Nourish your hair from the inside by including loads of omegas in your diet, these are key in the production of healthy hair. Try including oil-rich salsas or pestos, oily fish and vitamin-rich anti-inflammatory tonics and juices. Foods that have high nutritional value like eggs, lean proteins like chicken and fish, leafy greens, and plant sources of omegas like avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are all useful too.
If you want a little extra support, there are a number of supplements aimed at supporting hair health and growth. To cover all bases, try a multi-vitamin that formulated and labeled for ‘hair, skin and nails’. These usually contain vitamins, minerals and nutrients including biotin, selenium and zinc, known to help with maintaining healthy hair follicles, where hair sprouts from. Some hair loss experts think an iron deficiency may also play a key part in growing, and keeping, healthy hair, and report seeing a high number of vegetarians and vegans as a result.
Consider the little, damaging habits
There are a number of little habits that may be undoing your quest for longer hair.
Vigorous rubbing wet hair with a towel can be one such action. Wet hair is at it’s most delicate and can be highly prone to breakage, so stick to a gentle squeezing motion instead. Leaving your hair up in a towel has the potential to be an issue too, given the the twisting, tension, and fabric-rubbing.
Of course one solution would seem to be drying your hair with hot tools. While care should be used, any tool that gets too hot is at high risk of causing damage. Make sure you don’t hold the dryer too clos and ensure it’s in good working order – older tools can get too hot. Prepping hair with a spray-in or cream heat protectant is a non-negotiable too.
Once hair is dry, brush gently with a good-quality hairbrush each day.
While not essential, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can also help prevent tangles and damage that breaks strands before they reach your desired lenght.