I am forever trying to grow my hair super long.
After my breakage disaster of 2015, I have tried countless tricks, tips, and techniques to speed up growth and I will say this: there is no miracle. If you want longer hair, you are going to learn patience--and probably experience frustration--like never before. Even if you like the length you are at now, perhaps you want your curls to be as healthy as they can be! Here are some things I do now to ensure my hair grows as healthy and long as possible.
Take a hair vitamin
I have tried several different brands, but Viviscal Hair Supplements are my absolute favorites; I have been taking them religiously since fall 2014 now. They help hair grow in thicker and healthier, but not necessarily faster. While it isn't a replacement, hair vitamins can be a good addition to a healthy diet. Do talk to your doctor before adding a supplement in to your routine.
Minimize your heat usage
Since all heat, including diffusing, is somewhat damaging, minimizing its usage will help significantly in maintaining the hair's health and preventing damage. If you must diffuse, use a heat protectant spray. And for straightening? If you are growing out damaged hair and really want your curls to be as healthy as possible, just don’t do it.
Wash less often
Washing curly hair too frequently can really dry hair out. I usually wash two or three times a week--three times a week is rare--so that natural oils from my scalp can have a chance to make it through my hair. If you must wash more often, be sure to use a hydrating shampoo or co-wash. And in my opinion, the combo of a dry shampoo and a refresher spray on non-wash days may very well be the best pairing since peanut butter and jelly!
Take a break from hair coloring
It’s my personal choice, but I have not colored my hair in over two years now. (Side note: This has saved me a nice $1,000 a year!) Obviously, hair that hasn’t been chemically treated is usually healthier hair. If you really want to permanently color your curls, make sure you go to a professional who knows what they are doing! Also, try to find someone who uses ammonia-free and/or oil-based dye. Last but not least, please do not let them overlap color on top of color--that’s just asking for breakage down the line.
Trim when you need it
I know, it sounds counter productive to trim often if you want to grow your hair long, but you don’t want your split ends to travel up your hair shaft. Severe breakage will mean that you need to cut more hair off when you finally do go in for a trim. While I do not believe in following an actual schedule for trims, I go when my hair tells me to; I usually wait until the splits look bad or if I notice more shedding. On average, I go for trims every 3 to 4 months and use the 'search and destroy' method to get rid of bad splits in the meantime. Also, never let a hairdresser come near your curls with a razor--that is a disaster waiting to happen.
Deep condition regularly
I feel like I mention this in every single article I write, but deep condition with and without heat. Depending on the ingredients, it will help restore moisture, add hydration, give back protein, and strengthen your hair to make it much more manageable. Additionally, deep conditioning will lessen your frizz, mend damage, and the list goes on. Using certain conditioners heat can amplify the benefits. My favorites are Ouidad Deep Treatment Restoration Therapy (with heat and always sealed with moisture), DevaCurl Heaven In Hair, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Masque, Inahsi Naturals Mango Hemp Restorative Hair Masque, and most of the SheaMoisture masques.
Oil your scalp
Almost every night before I wash the next day, I sleep with a hair growth-encouraging blend of essential oils applied to my scalp. I like to massage it in for a few minutes to really stimulate the follicle and attract blood flow to the scalp; and it feels great, too! My current favorites are Up North Naturals 8 Oil Blend and Mane Choice Growth Oil.
Detangle your curls
A wide tooth comb or our fingers are the best detangling tools. Remember when detangling: start from the bottom of the hair, working your way up the length. Trying to drag the comb through from scalp to the end will cause the comb to get stuck in the hair--the results won't be pretty. It might take some extra time to detangle more carefully, but the reward of long, healthy hair is worth it.
Protect your hair at night
I sleep on satin pillowcases since they cause less frizz than regular pillowcases do. I also like to sleep with my hair in a pineapple. The combo helps prevent my hair from getting too knotty and tangly during the night, which can cause breakage and length loss. If my hair is feeling particularly dry, I will use a small amount of a moisturizing cream or spray before bed. Jane Carter Solution Curls to Go Leave In has been a recent favorite of mine.
Keeping the hair properly moisturized will help with breakage (which leads to length). The drier your hair feels and looks, the more moisture it needs. I deep condition in the shower when my hair is wet and leave it in as long as possible, and use a regular conditioner as a leave-in on days I don't wash. A refresher spray with a water-based leave-in adds moisture daily to leave my hair soft, hydrated, and healthy. DevaCurl One Condition Decadence or Raw Curls Curly Hair Conditioner are both great.
Pay attention to ingredients
The more products I used that do not contain sulfates, non-water soluble silicones, parabens and heavy waxes, the healthier I have noticed my hair becoming. Start using products with natural moisturizers, healthy oils, butters, and vitamins. I also notice that when I do not use products with heavy silicones, my hair isn't as frizzy and is more manageable.
Drink bamboo tea
I drink a cup of bamboo tea every single day. Bamboo is one of the strongest plants on earth and is high in silica, which is essential for healthy hair. Since what we put in our bodies reflects in our hair, drinking the tea helps hair stay stronger, and it is also great for skin.
Your hair is essentially made up of what you put in your body. The better you eat, the better your hair. I recommend plenty of fruit, vegetables and protein! I can write a whole article alone just on this topic...no, really. Comment below to let me know if you want it!
To sum it up
Following healthy hair habits will pay off for longer, stronger, healthier hair. Remember that the average human hair grows about a half an inch in a month; you might experience more or less but there is not one miracle way for hair to sprout inches overnight.
For more helpful articles like this, sign up for our newsletter!