5 facts about hair growth:
- Hair grows at around 1.25cm per month.
- Age, health and genetics can all impact hair growth.
- We naturally lose between 50 to 150 strands of hair a day.
- There are around 100,000 hairs on our head.
- Around 80% of our hairs are growing at any one time.
How many times have you vowed to grow your hair out but ended up having to cut it even shorter to get it back healthier? You’re not alone.
As someone who has spent the best part of the teen years and 20s trying to grow their hair out, I understand the pain all too well. But, it does mean I’ve debunked a lot of myths and sorted out what actually works for growing your hair.
To save you all of those hours of scouring how to grow your hair faster guides, I’ve taken the hair growing tips that actually work and put them all here for you.
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash
7 Easy Ways to Grow Hair Faster & Healthier
1. Sort out your diet.
Your health relies heavily on what you eat and drink, including your hair, skin and nails. The good thing is, it can be really simple to make a few lifestyle changes, and a balanced diet is good for our entire bodies.
Note: Before making any adjustments to your diet, please consult a professional, such as a doctor, dietician or nutritionist. Some vitamins may not be safe for consumption with certain illnesses or medication.
Top Dietary Tips for Hair Growth
Eat Your Greens
If you’ve watched Billy Madison as many times as I have, you’ll know chlorophyll is what gives plants their green colouring. What you may not know about chlorophyll though is that it contains many vitamins linked to hair growth, and it may even slow down the production of grey hairs.
As for if it really works, I did notice my hair falling out less, was thicker and did grow a little while I was going through a broccoli-obsessed phase. In fact, the changes were noticeable enough for me to do some research and stumble upon this little tip.
- Green beans
- Collard & mustard greens
Drink Enough Water
Our bodies are made up of 60 to 80% water. In everyday life, we lose water by sweating, urinating and supporting our vital functions. So, when we aren’t recuperating our loses, our body looks after our organs for keeping us alive first, and then everything else.
When there isn’t enough water to go around in our body, our hair can become dry, brittle and lacklustre. This then leads to our hair slowing down its growth cycle, and you’ll need to do one of those long-hair-ruining cuts.
As well as drinking water, you can also help stay hydrated by eating foods with high water volume (such as watermelon). Remember, you also shouldn’t be consuming too much water as this can also be bad for your health.
Use the Medibank daily water calculator to see how much water you should be drinking on an average day. When you’re sweating more, ensure you adequately rehydrate.
Monitor Your Biotin Consumption
While research on the effects of biotin and hair growth are limited, there have been a few studies. A 2015 study saw women with thinning hair given an oral marine protein supplement or placebo for 3 months. At the end of the experiment, the women who took the supplement saw an increase in growth in the areas of hair loss, as well as less shedding.
The good news is, if you’re eating a balanced diet, you should be consuming enough biotin already. If you’re not, here are a few foods to help you bump up your levels:
- Egg yolks
It’s best to consume these foods raw, where possible, as heat can lessen vitamin levels.
Track Your Protein Levels
While protein malnutrition has been linked to thinning and loss of hair, studies have not been done exclusively on supplementation, so results are inconclusive. However, if you’re one to not eat a lot of meat or other protein-rich foods, it’s still worth discussing with your doctor.
Snack on Those Omega 3s
A 2015 study on the effects of essential fatty acids and hair growth demonstrated supplementation of Omega 3 and 6 did in fact provide efficient results. So, what can you eat to help add in some of these hair-improving nutrients:
- Fatty fish (salmon, trout, sardines, etc.)
2. Go get a full blood test.
If there is no obvious reason for your hair growth to be slow, or the hair follicles themselves to be brittle or lacklustre, it’s worth speaking to your doctor about getting a full blood work done.
While many people are often concerned about a deficiency in a micronutrient (like iron), being in excess can also lead to issues, including hair-related concerns. So, a full blood test can rule out either of these being an issue.
Studies on the effectiveness of vitamin supplementation and hair growth is commonly run using subjects with alopecia, a condition causing partial or complete loss of hair on the body. As alopecia is an autoimmune disorder, the results of these studies can be difficult to translate into a non-subjected person.
For this reason, I won’t be making any suggestions on common micronutrient deficiencies. I also recommend not Googling them as the information online can be very misleading if not read and understood in full. Speaking to your doctor should be your first step.
3. Build a relationship with a good hairdresser.
There is a common misconception that to grow your hair, you should stop trimming it. How can your hair grow if you keep cutting it off, after all? However, what happens is your split ends and damage gets worse and worse, and instead of a centimeter of hair trimmed off, you now need a few inches.
Hairdressers undergo years of training to be able to work on your hair, and will keep training and learning all of their professional lives. If anyone knows how to help you grow your hair faster and healthier, it’s them.
Once you find a good hairdresser, stick with them. When they recommend a feather trim to snip off split ends every 8 to 12 weeks, keep your appointments. If they suggest you switch hair products for a specific reason, listen to them.
A good hairdresser will also know how to keep you from cutting your hair off out of boredom. Yes, you’ll be tempted to many times. But a new colour, a few layers or a different shape at your ends will keep you away from the scissors. I even went blonde, then pink, while growing my hair and it’s in better condition now (and longer) than it was when we started—all because I trust my hairdresser.
Also, who doesn’t love a good scalp massage?
4. Listen to said hairdresser about the hair products you use.
“My $3.00 shampoo and conditioner does just as good as the $40 ones.” Actually, your cheap products are lying to you. It’s common knowledge in the hair and beauty community that cheap hair products are laden with chemicals and all other sorts of nasties to make your hair look shiny and smooth. Over time, these products will make your hair heavy and difficult to manage, and can impede the health of your hair and hinder it growing faster.
It’s worth also thinking about what you’re getting for the price you’re paying. For $3.00 a bottle, do you think the manufacturer can afford to spend the money on the good-quality ingredients? Probably not.
When choosing hair products, talk to your stylist about what will work for your hair type. Someone with naturally curly hair should not be using the same as someone with pin-straight hair, and same again with virgin versus coloured hair. You should also invest in a good-quality hair mask and use it as recommended by your hairdresser.
Tips for Finding Good Hair Products
The job of shampoo is clean your hair by stripping out the natural oils (sebum) and dirt. Too much build-up on your scalp can restrict the flow of sebum from our follicles, restricting the growth and health of our health. But, you also don’t want too much sebum, which is where washing comes into play.
However, stripping your hair of its oils makes it dry. Cheap, poor-quality shampoos will contain sulphates and other nasties to make your hair look conditioned. What’s actually happening is these cheap vanity fillers are weighing down your hair and clogging up your follicles, making it necessary to wash your hair more often.
On the other hand, higher quality (more expensive) shampoos will a majority of the time be using better quality conditioners to coat the hair. These will give the soft feel without weighing down the hair, reducing how often you need to wash. You’ll normally need less of the product to make your hair feel clean.
If you work out the cost per wash, you may be surprised how affordable ‘expensive’ shampoos really are.
Conditioner is there to moisturise your hair after shampooing and provide a bit of a protective layer against the elements of everyday life. Again, when choosing a conditioner, it comes to your hair type and ensuring you’re using one with the best quality ingredients.
Avoid conditioners will silicones, parabens and sulphates as these will just weigh down your hair, which we know does not promote hair growth.
There have been many reports around lately about dry shampoo being bad for your hair. But is it true and will it impede your hair’s growth?
Dry shampoo does not clean the hair like shampoo; it simply soaks up the oil. This means that product is all going somewhere—your scalp. As we learnt above, clogging up your scalp reduces sebum flow, which duh, of course you want dry shampoo to do. But, those oils help keep our hair happy, healthy and in good condition to grow. Uh oh…
Aerosol products also contain alcohol, which can dry out the hair. Double uh oh…
Look, you can still use your dry shampoo, but do so only when actually needed. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to wash your hair, try a slicked back style, just like Kim K.
If you’re putting any type of hot tool near your hair—be it a curler, straightener, rollers, dryer—you need a heat protectant. They work by putting a barrier between your hair and the heat tool, so it does less damage to the hair shaft.
And yes, before you ask, there will be silicones and other filmy type ingredients in most heat protectants. This does mean you’re going to get some build-up. But, it’s better to be using them than not in this case.
With this in mind, you only need a minimal coating of heat protectant for it to do its job. So, use it carefully so you don’t get too much of a product build-up and end up with greasy-looking locks.
5. Learn how to style your hair without heat.
Part of your hair growth journey will be reducing how often you need a trim. You’ll still need one every 8 to 12 weeks regardless, but more split ends and damage means bringing this down to 6 weeks. And every 6 weeks will be like you haven’t grown your hair at all.
But what’s the point of growing out your hair if you can’t style it with heat products? You can still use them, but do so sparingly. And all those good-quality products you’re now using and regular salon visits will help tremendously too.
You can also style your hair without hot tools. Here are a few of our favourite hairstyles you won’t need any heat styling tools for:
No-Heat Voluminous Waves
- Wash, apply products and blow dry, but stop when your hair is still a little damp.
- Turn your hair upside down and braid loosely.
- Fasten with a tangle-free hair tie.
- Go to sleep.
- In the morning, take out the hair tie, shape out the braid and part your hair where preferred.
- Apply a little frizz-taming product and you’re done.
Heatless Loose Curls
- While blow drying your hair, finish off when your hair is still damp at the mid-to-end lengths.
- Put on an elasticated headband that wraps around your entire head.
- Divide your hair below the hairband into two separate pieces.
- Twist each pieces around the headband, away from your face.
- Use a few few bobby pins to hold in place.
- If you plan on sleeping with this style on, wrap a silk scarf around your head first.
- When hair is dry, untwist hair and run your fingers loosely through the curls to separate.
- With damp hair, take a small portion of hair and wrap around two fingers as you would after curling with a curling wand.
- Pin into place with a bobby pin.
- Repeat all over your head.
- Once your hair is dry to touch, remove each bobby pin and unwind your hair.
- Loosen each curl with your fingers.
6. Rethink your hair drying and sleeping routine.
What do you do when you get out of the shower with wet hair? Chances are you give it a quick rub with a towel and then twist it up into a turban. You may air dry your hair or blast it with a blow dryer. Sound familiar? Well, this could actually be leading to breakage, damaging your hair and causing more frequent trims.
A 2011 study actually revealed that blow drying hair only damages the outer layer of the hair shaft. On the other hand, it showed that hair exposed to being wet for long periods (such as air drying) damaged the material that holds hair cells together. So, it may actually be better for your hair to blow dry your hair on a long temperature using a heat protectant intended for wet hair drying.
As for the turban, the harsh twisting and tension on wet hair can lead to hair loss over time. You want to be extremely delicate with wet hair, and not be causing any friction.
The same goes for when you sleep. It’s recommended you sleep with a silk pillowcase to reduce friction on the hair, as well as put hair in a loose, low braid or ponytail using a tangle-free hair tie before bed.
Hair Drying Tips
- Gently squeeze excess water from your hair with your hands before leaving the shower.
- Take a towel and, again, squeeze your hair—do not rub!
- Apply any pre-blow dry products, including a heat protectant.
- Brush out your hair using a wide-tooth comb, holding your hair to start at the ends, gently working through the middle, before working out knots at the root.
- Blow dry your hair on a low temperature.
7. Cheat and get hair extensions.
This is probably not the answer you were hoping for, but if you want fast results, hair extensions or wigs are your best bet. Having hair extensions in, and properly caring for them, will also give your hair time to grow out. Just be sure to get those feather trims and cleansing washes in between maintenance visits.
However, hair extensions are not a one-style-fits-all kind of deal. Some will be better for thin hair, while others will have more or less upkeep. To find your perfect fit, visit your local hair extension specialist.
4 Most Popular Types of Hair Extensions
You will need a professional to apply microbead extensions, if they’re your perfect fit. Microbead extensions are applied to tiny sections of hair close to the scalp, with a layer of hair to cover. The individual extension strand is attached to the real hair section using a loop and microbead.
As microbead extensions can move 360 degrees in all directions, like your real hair, they can easily be tied up.
Again, you’ll need a professional for tape-in hair extension application. Instead of the miniscule bead strands, tape extensions use larger widths of hair, taping the extension close to the scalp.
Tape-in hair extensions are known to be one of the more affordable hair extension solutions.
Weave / Sew-In
If you don’t want the hassle of special brushes and products, sew-in hair extensions may be for you. As the hair is sewn into a braid of your own hair along your scalp, they are very easy to maintain.
If you’re one of those people who wants long hair one day and short hair the next, clip-in extensions are for you. The clips are sewn into a weft along the top of the hair, allowing you to clip them in close to your scalp so, when applied properly, are invisible to the eye.