Beauty Myth Busting: What It Really Takes to Make Hair Grow Faster
We know, we know. The last thing you want to hear right now is that your natural rate of hair growth is tied to your genes.
But it’s time to face the facts.
“It’s not actually possible to make hair grow faster,” trichologist – that’s a hair growth expert – Dan Lyons told Get the Gloss.
“What is possible, though, is to make sure that it’s growing at its maximum natural rate by caring for it properly and by limiting the breakage and over-processing.”
Even if you weren’t dealt the “speed demon” card in your genetic makeup, there’s plenty you can do to encourage healthy, strong hair growth. And that’s way more important than growing hair “quickly.”
Let’s get into it:
Change Your Frame of Mind
You’ve heard us say it before, but it bears repeating: healthy hair grows from the inside out.
Another way of putting this? Even if you’re taking good care of the hair you already have, if you’re not eating enough protein or taking your vitamins, your hair won’t be as strong as it could be.
Like Ellery implies, when your hair is less prone to split ends, breakage, and thinning, it grows in fuller – and healthier – than hair weakened by bad diets and even worse habits.
A hair-healthy diet should include plenty of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins, suggests Natasha Burton at StyleCaster, who lists hair-healthy foods from salmon to sweet potatoes.
And when you reach for your vitamins, make sure you have plenty of Vitamin B and biotin on hand.
“Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines,” explains Nicole McDermott at Greatist.
“Each has its own specific benefits — from promoting healthy skin and hair to preventing memory loss or migraines,” she adds.
As one of the B-complex vitamins, biotin helps with improving the overall strength and health of your hair follicles.
“We do know that biotin improves the protein infrastructure of the keratin that makes up hair and nails—though there’s not much data regarding what role biotin plays in hair and nail growth,” dermatologist Rebecca Kazin told Women’s Health.
But for women who have biotin deficiencies – or for women prone to breakage – this crucial B-vitamin could help lead to stronger, healthier hair.
Eating a hair-healthy diet chock-full of protein, Vitamin B, and biotin will help new hair grow in stronger and fuller than ever.
That means you will notice a change in your hair more quickly than you have in the past – even if you haven’t actually pushed down on an imaginary accelerator.
But how do you take care of the hair you already have to promote and encourage growth?
Simple! Here are three easy steps for preventing breakage and making your locks healthier than ever:
1. REGULAR TRIMS
When you hear advice to get a trim, it’s not because the trim will “make your hair grow faster.”
That’s not actually possible, says Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a practicing trichologist in New York City.
“Cutting the hair will have no influence on its rate of growth,” Phillips told HuffPo. “That is predetermined genetically.”
More importantly, trims will eliminate split ends, which contribute directly to harmful breakage that can even affect your hair follicle.
“When you don’t trim regularly, hairs can split right up the shafts and break off, even though the follicles are still in the growth phase,” writes Hannah Morrill at Real Simple. And that will slow the growth of your hair!
Remember, length doesn’t do you any good if the length you have is unhealthy – and makes your hair weak.
Strong, healthy hair will always look and feel fuller – and even longer – than thin, lifeless locks.
So don’t be afraid of your stylist’s scissors! Ask for a trim every 3 to 4 months if you’re trying to grow your hair out – that’s the period at which hair begins to develop split ends.
2. CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION
According to beauty writer Samantha Freeman, strong hair is also well-moisturized hair.
“Shampooing your hair every day can create dry and split ends—but that doesn’t mean you should skip conditioning,” cautions Freeman at Women’s Health. “Without it, your hair can become dried out, prone to frizz and breakage.”
Generally, the trick here will have to do with your hair type. Some types of hair – like curly, thick, or natural hair – require more moisture than other types, so you have to adjust your conditioning strategy to fit the bill.
To treat curly, thick, or dry hair, “you would need a heavier, thick conditioner to add moisture where it’s lacking,” explains stylist Brian Brady at StyleCaster.
Think avocado & shea butter, nourishing sunflower oil, or formulas that contain conditioning vitamins like Omega-3s that will moisturize your hair without creating extra build-up.
3. BEWARE HEAT
Your hair follicles are incredibly sensitive to heat – and that includes the temperature of your shower.
By rinsing quickly with cold water at the end of your shower, suggests Samantha Zabell at Good Housekeeping, you can actually help your follicle recover from the assault of hot water.
“While warm water opens a hair’s cuticle to allow shampoo and conditioner to do their job, cold water helps to close the cuticle and seal in moisture from the conditioner — which helps your hair look shiny and healthy,” writes Zabell.
And when it comes to drying your hair and using heat tools, the more directly you apply heat, the more you put your hair at risk for breakage.
“Think of your daily routine in terms of dos and don’ts,” Ron Williams, the education director of Phyto Universe, explained to Refinery29.
“For instance, don’t overuse heat-styling tools such as hot rollers, irons, and blowdryers. Also, don’t use chemical treatments at home or leave hair uncovered when exposed to the sun; both can result in permanent damage.”
Even if you’re carefully conditioning your hair – and eating a hair-healthy diet – excessive heat styling and chemical treatments or relaxers can undo all your hard work.
Promote Scalp Health
With all this focus on hair health, it’s easy to forget that the scalp needs a little TLC, too.
After all, a healthy scalp provides the ideal environment for producing the thick, lustrous locks on your Pinterest board.
“Hair follicles need natural oils from the glands that surround them to function,” hair restoration surgeon Robert Dorin explained to Prevention. “If you have a dry, irritated, or unhealthy scalp, the hair your follicles produced will likely be drier and less manageable, too.”
If you have a dry itchy scalp, try a dandruff shampoo a few times per week to get back on track, along with an essential oil treatment at night to improve your scalp’s overall health.
If you tend to use a lot of hair care products, the name of the game for you will be “exfoliation.” Yup, that’s right – you can, and should, exfoliate your scalp.
“An exfoliating scalp mask will thoroughly cleanse the scalp and lift any unwanted build-up and scale,” Cunnane Phillips told Prevention.
And since you only need to exfoliate once a month to see a difference, it’s totally worth the extra step in your beauty routine.
When you’re stuck in a cycle of frustration and despair, it’s not always easy to hear “just wait and see.”
Luckily, when it comes to promoting lustrous hair and a well-moisturized scalp, there’s plenty to do.
From piling healthy ingredients into your grocery cart to upping your conditioner game, you’ll never feel like you’re just sitting around by following our hair-healthy plan for stunning growth.