Once upon a time, the writer of this article had a hard time trying to grow out her hair. It was healthy, religiously conditioned and shiny. Still, those stubborn locks refused to grow past my shoulder blades. Having tried everything, at some point I’d had enough. I arrived for my appointment with Phil (the most brilliant hair stylist I’ve ever known), sat down in his chair and bravely said, “Let’s cut it all off.” Everyone in the posh salon seemed to gasp and look our way, but he didn’t even blink. Phil knew that once my mind is made up, there would be no turning back. For many years we’ve bravely experimented with many different cuts, colors and styles. “Halle Berry?” he asked. I smiled and nodded.
My new pixie haircut was uber fun. It allowed me to wash, dry and style my hair in a matter of minutes. For many months thereafter, I’ve kept up my short and spunky hairstyle. As more time went by, I started to miss longer hair. However, I didn’t miss the quest of trying to get it to grow faster and longer. During my routine doctor’s visit, I casually complained about my hair refusing to grow past a certain point. His response changed my hair forever. I will now pass this advice onto my readers, combined with my own tips, developed through years of trial and error.
First and foremost, start taking prenatal vitamins. They’re very strong and may upset your stomach, so make sure to take them once a day, with your biggest meal and a full glass of water. Any brand should work just fine, because the content of all prenatal vitamins is pretty much the same. Some prescription brands have more Folic Acid in their formula. You can add some extra Folic Acid supplement your new vitamin regimen to make up for the difference, but that is optional. I’ve tried many different kinds (prescription and over-the counter) and grew to like a store brand by Safeway Select. You can buy them very inexpensively (approximately $20 dollars for 180 pills) in the vitamin aisle at any Vons store. Various brands of prenatal vitamins are also available at many pharmacies and grocery stores.
If money is no object, you can try another supplement that many of my Hollywood friends swear by: Viviscal, which is sold at Walgreens for $49.99. This is a secret weapon for many movie stars and entertainment industry insiders. It contains proprietary “marine protein extract” to improve the condition of the hair and make it grow faster. I will review this product on Makeup Kitty, once I’ve had the chance to use it for a sufficiently long enough time period to form my own opinion.
Take Biotin once a day. Recommended daily dosage is 5,000 mcg. You could start with a smaller dosage and gradually build it up. You can buy Biotin in any pharmacy for approximately $12.99.
Make sure there is plenty of protein in your diet (fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts, soy and legumes).
Get enough sleep and do your best to avoid stressful situations. Even silly things (like horror films and rollercoasters) could impact your stress level, so do everything in moderation. Meditate, play with your pet and enjoy your favorite hobbies to unwind. Studies show that spending time with your cat or dog lowers the level of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) and increases production of serotonin (a chemical associated with well-being). Pet owners typically have lower blood pressure and a 40% lower risk of dying from any cardiac disease than people who don’t own any pets.
Your hair growth is affected by your metabolism. By exercising regularly, you can speed up your metabolic rate, which in turn will help your hair grow faster.
Avoid fad diets. Don’t subject your body to anything that might send it into a sudden “survival” mode, because it’s being deprived of necessary nutrients.
If you’re heat styling your hair, don’t turn your appliance to any setting above 300 degrees. If your hair is fine or fragile, the temperature may need to be even lower. Always use a heat protector beforehand. Heat styling could cause your hair to break off, which would defeat the purpose of growing it out. Don’t do it more often than once a week. Desperate for Hollywood curls? Opt for heated rollers, rather than curling wands and irons – rollers are far less damaging.
Gently massage your scalp with clean hands every night, as you’re getting ready for bed. It will increase the blood flow to the area, improve circulation and in turn, stimulate hair growth.
Don’t brush your hair too often, as this could cause breakage. If your hair is tangled, spray it with a detangling spray and then gently comb through, starting at the ends. After you’ve washed your hair, never brush it wet. Apply some leave-in conditioner and let your hair air-dry for a while. Then use a wide-tooth comb (not a brush). When your hair is almost dry, you can blow dry it with a paddle brush. Always hold up the hair near the roots with one hand, while brushing it with the other. If your hair is quite long already, brushing it without sufficient support could cause you to unwittingly pull hair out from the root. Use a soft, natural boar bristle brush. If money is not an issue, Mason Pearson brushes are the best. They cost on average $190.00 dollars at Neiman Marcus. On a more economical level, Kashuk Tools Hair Brush (cruelty free boar bristle/nylon mix) by Sonia Kashuk is also wonderful. You can buy it online or at your local Target for $15.79.
Keep your hair clean, but don’t wash it too frequently. Washing hair every 2-3 days is sufficient for most people. I’ve experienced great results with John Frieda’s Root Awakening Hydrate and Nourish Shampoo and Conditioner. You can use dry shampoo in between washes, to make sure your hair doesn’t look greasy. Couple of hours before washing your hair, warm up some virgin organic coconut oil between the palms of your hands and apply it to the ends of your hair. Argan oil also works wonders on your hair and skin. Pre-conditioning your hair before washing it will help improve its condition and minimize split ends. Deep condition your hair at least once a week. When your strands are covered with the mask or conditioner, wear a shower cap. This will make the treatment work its magic even better.
Get your hair trimmed on a regular basis, to prevent split ends from traveling further up the shaft. This won’t make your hair grow faster, but it will help it look healthy and stay long.
Avoid putting your hair up in a tight ponytail or a braid. This could put too much stress on the roots of your hair, causing it to break or fall out. Stick to loose, easy updos that don’t pull or tug on your hair.
If your hair is on a longer side, place it above your head when sleeping. Keep in mind that cotton pillowcases can cause hair to drag and break. Pillowcases made of silk or satin are ideal. If money is no object, there is plenty of silk and satin bedding at any department store. If you’re on a budget and own a sewing machine, you could simply buy some silk or satin fabric and make your own pillowcase at the fraction of a price.
Do not use permanent extensions. They pull and tug on your own hair, causing the thinning of your own hair and even possible bald spots. If you want to use extensions while your hair is growing out, stick to temporary clip-ins.
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