Ever since I started my love affair with bleach I’ve become a hairdressers nightmare. I can’t stand roots which means my hair’s been treated pretty badly over the years. Having highlights every 6 weeks and sometimes dabbing in-between has caused a lot of damage. Although it’s been long my whole life, around 15 years ago it was in such bad condition it ended up being shoulder-length. I remember a hairdresser telling me it would probably never grow.
I really wanted long hair and as I wasn’t prepared to give up the blonde I knew I had to find another way. These days it’s very long and although the colour is work in progress I’m really happy with the length. In the pic below I had just had it curled with straighteners but my hair is naturally poker straight so usually looks even longer and quite smooth and sleek (check out my Insta and you’ll see what I mean!).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to tell you that I think I have perfect hair (far from it), but after all this time I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere and I believe if I can do it anyone can! So if you’re wondering how to grow your hair long then read on because I’m about to share all my tips and tricks with you….
Use Oils. Ever since I started using Moroccanoil I cannot tell you how happy my hair is. I use a tiny bit just after I’ve shampooed and then an even smaller amount when it’s dry just to leave it soft, silky and to tame any fly-away hairs. It also helps to add shine, combat dryness and is brilliant for reducing damage caused by blowdrying or on the rare occasions that I use heated tools. It smells amazing too. Sometimes I randomly apply it to my hair in the middle of the day just because of that alone. Moroccanoil is undoubtably one of the main reasons my hair has grown pretty long and no matter what other products I’m using I’ll always have a bottle of it on my shelf.
Be Kind. I never pull or tug at my hair or rip out knots. I use a leave in conditioner to tackle them instead. My current faves are Paul Mitchell Strength Super Strong Liquid Treatment and Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Treatment (perfect for adding protein). If I find I’m getting really knotty hair then I put it in a braid at night. I also make sure I use the Tangle Teezer (a special brush that’s designed to be used on wet or dry hair) every day to avoid unnecessary breakage where possible. If I don’t have this to hand then I make sure I have a wide-toothed comb to use when it’s wet.
Get Regular Trims. Up until recently I was having my hair cut every 8 weeks and it’s helped it to grow really long. It’s easy to fall into the trap of skipping them because you want to grow your hair (it’s actually a phase I’m going through at the mo!) but this may not be the answer. Having your hair cut helps to remove split ends, which if left to their own devices can split right up the hair shaft and cause breakage. This breakage can lead to shorter hair. I worked in a few hairdressers when I was younger and we always recommended having regular trims every 6-8 weeks. If your hair grows about half an inch a month (this is the average) then having quarter of an inch cut off every eight weeks should lead to nice healthy hair that’s growing longer than it would if left to split and break.
Have T-Section Highlights. I only ever get a full head of highlights once a year which means I have a whole load of lovely natural, un-bleached hair right in the middle of my head. This means my hair is a bit thicker than it would be otherwise and it makes a massive difference to how long it grows. The rest of the year it’s t-sections all the way.
Avoid Excessive Heat. Heated hair tools can be bad for hair so I avoid them whenever possible. I let my hair dry naturally if I’m not going out anywhere and always try to reduce heat by having my hairdryer (I use the ghd Aura which they kindly sent me just in case you’re wondering) on the lowest setting possible. As I said previously, I’m lucky that I have poker straight hair so don’t need straightners. If you’re using heated hair tools then I would make sure you invest in some good ones with tourmaline plates which are designed not to hurt your hair and always use a protective spray.
Healthy Eating. I think it’s true that we are what we eat (and drink!) and when it comes to growing hair this is no exception. I try to drink lots of water to flush out toxins and eliminate any dryness from dehydration. When I do, my skin and hair certainly thanks me for it. I find that eating the nutrients my body needs has helped my hair to grow quickly and it’s much stronger. Getting the right balance of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin A, iron, vitamin B and Vitamin E has been essential, but I believe there’s something else that’s helped my hair to grow, and that’s Biotin which I’ve been taking as part of a multi-vitamin for a good few years now.
Indulge in Head Massage. I love to have massages and was always taught that stimulating the scalp increases the blood flow to that area. This in-turn nourishes the follicles, bringing nutrients to the hair, therefore making it grow faster. As I spend a fair amount of my time in salons or at the spa I think this may well have helped me too. Any excuse of course! Also when I’m at home I will spend a bit of time massaging my shampoo and conditioner in as well. My current faves are from the Paul Mitchell Extra Body range.
Sleep Well. I suffer from anxiety a little and years ago when I had it really bad and was having CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) I had to educate myself about sleep. Apparently Melatonin and Cortisol levels are regulated by good sleep cycles and both affect hair growth. If your body doesn’t get enough sleep then processes like hair production can shut down. I had to work out what amount of sleep is suited to me so I could make sure I get the right amount each night. It turns out I need around 9 hours (which seems like loads) so I try to make sure I have this amount each night. If I’m struggling to sleep then I up the amount of exercise I’m doing as I find this helps me to sleep too.
Exercise. Talking of exercise, I try to do it regularly as this promotes good blood circulation around the body which carries the vitamins and minerals that my scalp needs to help fuel hair growth. This was something I learnt at beauty school, but is probably quite well known now. Exercising helps sebum to be produced and spread out more evenly, keeping my hair healthy and nice and soft. A bonus is that it also helps to reduce stress.
Avoid Stress. I think a little bit of stress is good for us but when people suffer from it severely survival mode sometimes kicks in and the body only produces what it needs to survive. When this happens hair growth can stop altogether. Luckily this isn’t something I’ve suffered from as having CBT has helped me to manage stress. However, if you find yourself going through a stressful time and your hair is falling out I would advise you not to assume that it won’t grow back. Loads of clients had this in the salon and often once the stress was eliminated from their lives their hair grew back.
The best tip (and obviously the one I haven’t taken on board myself) is not to over-process your hair in the first place. Hair dyes, relaxers, and perming are all treatments that can lead to over processed hair. The more you have, the higher the chance of damage. Every chemical treatment contributes to possible damage of the hairs cuticles (the outside layer of each hair). As the damage goes further inside, it will be getting weaker and more elastic. If only I could take my own advice.
Do you have any good tips that I’ve not mentioned here?
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