5 Tips to Grow Your Hair Longer
Before we get started, what causes hair growth?
Before figuring out how to grow hair faster, it's important to know how hair even grows in the first place. That way, we can find ways to enhance the factors that contribute to our hair growth.
Hair growth occurs beneath the hair follicle, in the root of the hair. The root is made up of protein cells, which group together to produce keratin. Keratin is what makes our hair, well, hair. Blood vessels flowing through the scalp provide nourishment to the hair root, feeding them to keep the hair growing. Eventually, the hair will push through the scalp, where it can grow into our long, luscious, hair. Oil glands are also produced by our hair follicles, which makes our hair moisturised and shiny.
Now that you know how hair grows, how do you lose hair?
Losing small strands of hair is normal. In fact, most people lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair daily. About 10% of the hair on your head is in its resting phase; meaning hair that is meant to fall off to leave room for new hair to grow. So don't be alarmed if you find strands of hair on your shirt or your pillow throughout the day.
Other factors can come into play when you are dealing with more excess hair loss. Illness, age, and genetics are factors we cannot control. Thinning hair and hair loss become more common as we age. Some people are more susceptible to losing hair than others simply because of their genes.
Don't let that discourage you though. There are multiple factors to hair loss that are totally controllable, such as our stress levels, sleep, and nutrition.
5 Tips to Grow Longer Hair!
1. Massage Your Scalp
Massaging your scalp increases blood flow, which is essential for bringing in nutrients to the hair follicles. Our blood carries nutrients that are vital to hair growth, such as protein, iron, and vitamin C. These nutrients promote hair growth and make our hair strands stronger. Plus, it's a great way to unwind and relieve any headaches!
To do this, simply place your fingers on your scalp and begin applying pressure to your scalp. Move your fingers in a slightly circular motion and move throughout your head. I like to start with my hands near my temple, and move my way throughout the middle and towards the back of my head. Do this for 4-5 minutes daily.
2. Eat more protein and a healthy diet
As previously mentioned, hair is made completely out of protein, so obviously it makes sense to eat more protein. Incorporating protein-rich foods like lean meat, fish, eggs, and lentils into your diet will make your hair grow longer and stronger. Eating foods with vitamins such as iron, zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are also important. Not only do they make your hair better, but your skin and nails as well.
Also, drink lots of water! You've probably heard this a million times by now, but water is absolutely crucial to being healthy. Water keeps you hydrated and flushes out toxins, and they nurture the nutrients needed for hair growth. 8 cups a day is ideal, but only drink water when you need to.
3. Wash Your Hair Less
Washing your hair too frequently dries them out and strips them from their natural oils, slowing down hair growth. These natural oils are essential to making your strands strong and healthy. Limit your shampooing to 3-4 washes a week, and if you can, cut it down to only once a week. Set up a schedule to decide which days you wash your hair and which days you don't. If your hair gets greasy in between washes, dry shampoo is the quickest and easiest way to soak up any extra oil.
When you do wash your hair, use a gentle shampoo that is paraben-free and won't dry out your hair. Apply shampoo to your scalp only and let it lather, and let any suds and extra product slide down your hair as the water rinses the shampoo away. Also, never, ever, forget to use conditioner after using shampoo! This is absolutely one of the worst things to do to your hair, as conditioner helps lock in and restore any lost moisture from shampooing.
4. Reduce Your Use of Heat-Styling Tools
Flat irons, curling wands, and hair dryers will damage the hair shaft and leave your hair dry, damaged, and straw-like if used too frequently. Your ends will be more prone to split ends and breakage, and leave your hair brittle and straw-like. Heat damage will not only slow down hair growth, but will severely impact the quality of your hair. It can affect the natural texture of your hair, especially if you straighten it everyday. When trying to achieve a smooth and silky mane, stay away from heat tools as much as possible!
If you must use heat, always apply a heat protectant spray beforehand to minimise any damage. Overexposure to the sun can also cause heat damage, so wear a hat if you are going outside on a sunny day.
5. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils such as argan oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and many more can become saviours when it comes to our hair. Oils act as a coating to your hair shaft, protecting them from heat damage and locking in any moisture, leaving them hydrated and soft. They have lots of vitamins that aid with hair growth, such as iron, vitamin E, and proteins. Different oils will have different results for your hair, but all of them have great benefits. Coconut and argan oil are great for dry and brittle hair, while castor oil is known to be great for hair growth.
To use these oils, simply apply a few drops to your hair and leave in for 30 minutes to an hour, and wash off with shampoo. For added moisture and benefits, leave overnight and wash in the morning. It is recommended that you only add oil to your scalp if you have very dry hair, and it's fine to just add to the strands of your hair. Alternatively, you can add the oil after washing your hair, adding just a little bit to the palm of your hand and rubbing to the ends of your hair while it's damp.
Extra tips for longer hair
- Take hair supplements and vitamins. While you might be eating a healthy diet, you might not be getting all of the essential vitamins needed for sufficient hair growth and healthy hair. Vitamin supplements for fish oil, zinc, iron, vitamin C, and Vitamin D can help if they are lacking in your daily diet. You can also take multivitamins specific to hair, which can come in the form of pills and gummies.
- Don't brush your hair when it's wet. Hair is fragile and very prone to breakage when wet, so avoid brushing it. If you must brush your hair while it's wet, use a fine tooth comb or a brush made for wet hair. Another tip would be to brush your hair before washing it to prevent it from getting too tangled while it's wet.
- Avoid putting your hair up. Putting your hair up in tight ponytails decreases the blood flow to your scalp and makes your hair prone to breakage and shedding. If you do put it up, don't tie it too tight and place your ponytail in different spots of your head every time. Try using clips, scrunchies or braiding your hair when you need to keep them away from your face.
- Take frequent trims. While trimming your hair doesn't necessarily help it grow longer, getting frequent trims gives it the appearance of healthy and longer hair. It will be harder to grow nice hair if your split ends keep growing longer. A trim every 3-4 months is recommended to prevent split ends.
- Use a silk pillowcase. Silk pillowcases won't tangle your hair as much as cotton, preventing breakage and making it easier to comb.
- Don't be so stressed! Stress is our number one enemy in life, which affects our health, relationships, quality of life, and of course, our hair. Hair growth slows down when we are stressed. If you find yourself too stressed, relax and find ways to de-stress, whether it be reading a good book, listening to music, or yoga. Also make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. This is where most of our hair growth and repair occurs.