You did it! You got the “Karlie Chop,” Jennifer Lawrence’s pixie, or even paid homage to Audrey Hepburn circa Roman Holiday.
Whatever your inspiration, you had your hair moment and it looked fantastic, but your once-flowing locks are now cropped short and you’re looking to restore them to their former glory. “It will always grow back!” you said, and it will — it’s just going to take some time.
We’re here to help you expedite that process, cut through the myths, and make it as painless as possible.
There are three main tricks when growing out your hair – maximizing healthy hair growth, preventing environmental damage, and repairing damaged hair.
Let’s dive in…
Step 1: DIET
There is no miracle hair supplement that will make your hair grow faster. Good, we’ve gotten that out of the way. What we can do for our hair is maximize our body’s own natural hair growth process by providing all the nutrients it needs.
Protein is essential for hair growth, making up about 91% of the hair’s fibrous structure, so making sure to get adequate protein each day is the basis of healthy hair.
The effectiveness of biotin is a much-debated topic in the beauty world. While many women swear by it, there’s been no scientific proof that it actually works. The supplement is said to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails with a standard dosage of 5000 micrograms a day.
It could work and it could be a marketing hype, but with barely any side effects and a relatively cheap price tag why not give it a try? Most people report healthier hair after 3-6 months on the supplement.
This is a supplement that seems to have a bit more of a cult following. Models and magazine editors seem to bill Viviscal as the Holy Grail of hair supplements, and rightly so as many report their hair feeling and looking healthier and thicker after taking it. Be aware — the supplement is also said to increase hair growth all over the body and the hefty price may scare some people away.
Other supplements that have seen some results: Lecithin, Zinc, Folic Acid, & Vitamin D.
Step 2: HAIRCUT
Cutting your hair does not make it grow faster but keeping it neatly trimmed during the grow-out process will make the hair appear much healthier. Split ends can really put a damper on otherwise beautiful locks and, if you’re not careful, could potentially spread up the hair shaft causing breakage higher up.
We recommend getting a trim (we’re talking millimeters) about every 3 months. Go to a stylist you trust and physically show them how much you want off — an half inch is very relative from person to person so showing them visually is your safest bet.
Step 3: CLEANSING
Use gentle cleansing products! Look for products that are sulfate-free – shampoos containing sulfates are much more abrasive on the hair and over time can lead to damage. Cutting back to shampooing a couple times a week also helps to alleviate stress on the hair. Most major brands now offer sulfate-free options. A dry shampoo can be used on days in between cleansings.
HOW TO SHAMPOO:
Treat your hair like silk! Concentrate the lather of the shampoo at the scalp of the head, gently massaging. Let the excess shampoo run through the ends, removing buildup in the process.
The roots of your hair are the newest part of strand and can take more abuse than the ends, which have been on your head for much longer.
Step 4: CONDITIONING
You can condition every time you shower! Often conditioner is enough to slough off some of the old product buildup on your hair in between shampoos, just steer clear of the roots, as this will weigh your hair down.
A weekly conditioning mask is also a great option. Leave it on for about 10 minutes in lieu of your regular conditioner. Masks containing protein are great for the hair, but be careful not to abuse them as too much protein can cause the hair to be brittle – use these a maximum of twice a week.
Conditioning is essential for healthy hair and a must if you’re coloring your hair or using hot tools on a daily basis.
Step 5: POST SHOWER
When drying your hair with a towel – blot, blot, blot. Haphazardly drying your hair can cause it to tangle and get damaged.
Brush your hair while wet with a gentle brush. The Wet Brush or the Tangle Teezer are great options and won’t break the bank. When brushing out tangled hair, start with small sections and brushing downwards, and working from the bottom and up the head.
Things to keep in mind when using…
1. HEAT TOOLS
If blow drying, prep hair before with a heat and UV protectant. This will shield your hair from the intense heat of the dryer and the UV protector will continue to work to prevent damage from the sun as you go about your day.
If your dryer has a temperature control, switch it to the lower setting or give those strands a break by air drying and skipping the dryer completely.
2. HAIR ACCESSORIES
The accessories you use in your hair can also have an impact on the health of the hair. Use accessories that grasp the hair firmly, but not so tight as to cause breakage. Accessories that are wider (e.g. scarves, bandanas, headbands) distribute the tension placed on the hair over a greater area, causing less breakage than a thin ponytail holder. Also, changing the location of your ponytail from day to day will also alleviate breakage over time.
A word of warning on extensions — while this may seem like the quick fix, many types of extensions are glued or bonded directly to the hair at the root and cause breakage. Extensions are never cheap, so make sure your extension specialist is knowledgeable and comes highly recommended. Many offer free consultations so you can discuss options before committing.