When you’re trying to grow your hair thicker and longer, the process can take forever. According to The American Academy of Dermatology Association, hair grows about six inches annually. Still, frequently that growth feels minimal — especially when most folks lose 50-100 hairs each day.
While it seems that for some women, enviably long hair just happens, tweaking certain aspects of our day-to-day haircare regimen must be made for the rest of us.
There are fast hair growth secrets and home remedies that even grow hair thicker. Whether using a different hairbrush, adjusting how often you use your hairdryer, adding foods to make hair grow quicker, or vitamins to the mix, Check out these pro tips for naturally growing hair!
1. Get frequent trims
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want healthy long hair, you need to get regular trims. “While haircuts don’t make your hair grow any faster, they get rid of split ends that break your hair,” explains Michael Dueñas, a celebrity hairstylist for Aloxxi in Los Angeles. “Eliminating the breakage indicates that your hair is growing faster.” After all, a split end that breaks can lead to your hair losing length — not to mention shine, volume, and smoothness.
2. Resist the urge to go blonde
As chic as platinum hair looks, going from a darker shade to light blonde could stand between you and your longest-possible hair. “When the hair’s cuticle is damaged from bleach, you can have more breakage or split ends,” explains Elizabeth Hiserodt, senior colorist at Cutler Salon. “The fewer chemical treatments, the better your hair will grow.”
3. Distribute your hair’s natural oils
Going to bed with unbrushed hair may seem tempting when you’re tired, but giving your hair a few quick strokes can be great for its health. “Starting at the scalp, use a boar bristle brush to distribute your scalp’s oils evenly onto your hair, so it stays naturally moisturized,” recommends Meri Kate O’Connor, senior colorist at Tabb & Sparks Salon in Santa Monica, CA. Bonus: This simple step each night helps increase circulation, which helps make your scalp healthier.
4. Eat the right foods
Having long, strong hair doesn’t just depend on which products you put on your hair; it also depends on what you put into your body. “To promote hair growth, you need to ‘feed’ the hair from the inside,” explains Francesca Fusco, M.D., a dermatologist in NYC. So what foods make hair grow quicker? Those high in protein are the building blocks of hair, including meats and other sources. “Try increasing your protein intake with foods like fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains,” she recommends.
Even if you’re not a meat lover, you should still aim to maintain a diet high in protein for hair growth. Dr. Fusco says that women who don’t get enough of it often experience “more hair shedding,” Dr. Fusco says. In addition to foods high in protein, vitamins A, C, and E, minerals like zinc and iron and omega-3 fatty acids can also contribute to healthier hair, the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Nutrition Lab advises.
5. Skip the daily shampoo
You’ve likely heard all the testimonials attributing great hair to going “no ‘poo,” but do you know why it helps your hair? “Shampooing your hair two to three times a week allows your natural oils to penetrate your hair, hydrating and to repair itself,” explains Ken Paves, a celebrity hairstylist in L.A. For thicker and fuller-looking hair fast, choose a formula labeled “volumizing” or “thickening.”
6. Hydrate and condition your hair frequently
According to G.H. Beauty Lab pros, coating your strands in a silky deep conditioner or hair mask can help prevent damage while detangling strands. Slather on a store-bought or DIY hair mask from root to tip once a week: One with cinnamon can stimulate blood circulation to encourage more potent, longer hair in no time, says Liana Zingarino, a hairstylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in New York City.
7. Keep your showers more relaxed and focus on scalp care
A hot shower can dehydrate your skin — and it’s also rough on your hair. “Turn the water temperature down when cleansing,” recommends Paves. But give your scalp a little extra love: Give it a mini massage as you shampoo to deeply de-gunk and help boost circulation.
8. Pay attention to your skin
It’s easy to see shiny hair initially and assume a hair product is working for you, but nutritionists recommends taking a closer look — at your scalp. “What the formula is doing to your skin is generally what it’s doing to your hair,” he says. “Does it make your skin feel dry, stripped, heavy, waxy, sticky, or greasy? Or does it feel soft, hydrated, silky, and supple?” Treat your hair the way you would treat your skin — after all, it’s another part of you! If your hair follicles are clogged and congested, there’s no way it can grow as efficiently.
9. Consider what’s happening below the surface
Underlying causes may be contributing to your hair’s slow (or lack of ) growth. One in four American women reports thinning hair — and that doesn’t count those born with wispy or sparse strands. “Hair that’s naturally thin in diameter [fine] or sparse is genetic,” says Joyce Davis, M.D., a dermatologist in NYC. “Hair loss is often hereditary (or androgenic) thinning, which tends to be patchy.” Another common type is telogen effluvium (T.E.), all over shedding due to hormones or health issues such as thyroid or autoimmune disease and anemia.
10. Add a vitamin to your morning routine
If your diet isn’t supplying you with enough nutrition, a supplement could make a difference. “Look for a multivitamin formulated and labeled ‘for hair, skin, and nails,'” Dr. Fusco suggests. “Those contain important vitamins like biotin and C and B that support hair health.” Bonus: You may get better skin in the process!