Two things always top the list of priority when it comes to what everyone wants for their hair; to keep it healthy and have it grow long. The desire to have long hair cuts across gender, age and race. Why is growing your hair long very elusive yet biologically the hair is designed to grow? There are things that we do which limit or entirely prevent our hair from growing to the long lengths that we all desire. However, it is entirely possible to grow your hair long and we have come up with a list of the top 10 secrets to grow your hair long.
1. Cut it Often
No one wants to hear that to actually grow their hair out they have to cut it up more often. Cutting your hair comes with many benefits, and when we say cutting we are talking about giving the ends a trim. Hair grows out from the roots and the oldest part of the hair is located at the ends. The hair at the ends has gone through extensive styling and coloring making it also the weakest part of the hair. It tends to fizz out quickly and is highly prone to breakage.
Cutting about half an inch off every other month will do wonders to your hair when it comes to growing it out. However, it is important to determine whether your hair is healthy or not. Healthy hair does not suffer from breakage or does not have brittle ends. Depending on your hair’s level of health, it might not require trims that regularly. Trimming your hair in the first place is often in efforts to get rid of the damaged ends that hamper growth. Once your hair’s healthy state is restored, you won’t need to trim it as much and all you have to do is give it time to grow out.
2. Wash it Less
Giving your hair a good shampoo session comes with benefits, but if you are washing it everyday you could be doing more harm than good. Washing your hair too much strips it of its natural essential oils that keep it moisturized and healthy. The recommended amount of times that you should wash your hair is twice or thrice weekly.
It is equally important to choose the right shampoo for your hair. Avoid sulfate-based shampoos, because they tend to be harsh and dry out the hair. It is also important to go for moisturizing shampoos to help with keeping your hair moisturized hence manageable. Conditioning your hair at least once weekly also helps with re-hydrating your hair.
How you wash your hair is equally important. Start by lathering shampoo starting from the crown and work your way to the back of the head. Distribute the shampoo generously. Do not rub the shampoo into the scalp; instead massage the shampoo into the scalp using your fingertips. Use a similar technique to condition the hair, but focus on massaging the conditioner on the last three inches of your hair.
3. Don’t Brush Wet Hair
If you choose to wear your hair in its natural state or in a perm, it is inevitable to comb it daily. However, it is important never to comb your hair when it is wet. After washing your hair, pat it dry using a towel and let it air dry before combing. Also, use a comb with a wide tooth and gently comb starting from the ends towards the roots.
To keep your hair from tangling up it is important to condition it often, and applying a leave in conditioner before combing should help to easily comb your hair. Practice ‘cool rinsing’ after washing your hair, meaning that you should use cool water to rinse your hair out instead of using hot water. Trimming your hair as recommended also does help in keeping your hair from tangling up.
4. Deep Condition Your Hair
It is inevitable that your hair will go through some level of damage, even if you are doing everything to prevent damage. When the hair gets damaged the result is that it starts weakening. To help keep your hair stay strong, and in a healthy state which in turn keeps it growing deep conditioning is the answer, it is important to have a deep protein conditioning done monthly. The protein treatment promotes hair strengthening, elasticity and resilience.
You can do the protein deep conditioning at home and there are variety of products that you should invest in to help with this. Look out for Moroccan and Argan oil deep conditioners as well as conditioners that are formulated to repair and restore the hair.
5. Change Hair Care Products
You might have to change your hair care products if any of them contains SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). It is one of the harmful products used to manufacture some shampoo brands and it is the same compound used in the manufacture of industrial engine degreasers and floor cleaners. Make it a habit to keep checking the ingredients of the hair care products you buy to make sure that they do not contain any harmful substances.
6. Scalp Stimulation Works
Stimulating the scalp has always been recommended as a good way to help nutrients get to the hair follicles. The follicles need these nutrients to promote hair growth. The best way to stimulate the scalp is through a scalp massage. You can incorporate a scalp massage into your hair care regimen by simply including it in your shampoo sessions. You can also have the scalp massages right before bed or before combing your hair. Use Moroccan and Argan oils for your scalp massage sessions. Have a scalp massage at least twice daily for maximum effect.
7. Raid your Pantry
There are everyday products in your pantry that hold the secret to hair growth. The Potato rinse, which you can create using leftover potato and mixing it with water, gives your hair the Vitamin C and A it needs. An alternative is to juice three potatoes and mix it up with 1 tablespoon of honey and one egg yolk. Use the mixture to rinse out your hair for the same results. Other pantry items that are good for your hair include onions (create an onion rinse by mixing it with water), Apple Cider Vinegar and egg treatments.
8. Eat for your Hair
Just like every other organ in the body, your hair requires proper nourishment to stay healthy and keep growing. This doesn’t mean going out of your way to completely change your diet, but simply including some of the known super foods that promote hair health and growth to your diet. The easiest way to start would be to drink more water. Add lead proteins to your diet including salmon and eggs for Omega-3/vitamin D and iron respectively. Walnuts and spinach are other food items that you should add to your diet for their richness in Vitamin E and Iron/beta carotene/folate respectively.
9. Go For Protective Hairstyles
The best way to allow your hair to grow is by letting it be and not fussing a lot about it. It is easier said than done when you have to comb/brush it daily and straighten it to achieve your desired look. However, wearing your hair in a protective hairstyle will go a long way in literally protecting your hair from ‘fuss-induced damage.’ Protective hairstyles include African braids, Cornrows and Human hair wigs. One thing to be careful about when wearing your hair in protective hairstyles is not to have the braids/cornrows tightened. Tightening pulls at the roots of the hair and this ultimately leads to irreversible hair loss.
10. Stop the Processing and Heat Styling
Having your hair in a perm or heat styling it daily does make it easy to manage. However, the processing and straightening does more damage than good to your hair. Blow-drying tugs and pulls at the hair making it one of the most damaging things to subject your hair to. Chemicals on the other hand alter the natural composition of the hair stripping it of its essential oils and over-processing eventually leads to hair loss. This is the reason a number of women are now going natural, because they have suffered from the negative effects of over processing and heat styling their hair.
However, if you feel like you simply must have your hair in a manageable state choose the lesser of the evils. Texturizers have been considered as a good alternative to relaxers particularly for people who are transitioning to natural hair. There are also a myriad of natural based items that you can use to achieve the same results such as avocado and egg treatments. Air-drying is always a much better alternative to blow-drying the hair. Twist-outs are good alternatives to curling the hair as opposed to using heat-based curling irons.