Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could turn that dry mop of split ends into a head of healthy, shiny strands without resorting to extensions, without spending a bundle, and without losing your mind? You can, if you follow these seven simple rules.
Rule 1: Eat Your ProteinHair growing guru Phillip Kingsley recommends to his clients seeking a growth spurt to start every day with a healthy dose of protein—which nourishes the follicle, helping to stimulate growth. He’s especially partial to eggs, which are full of strand-strengthening protein but also are naturally packed with biotin, a B vitamin that helps strengthen the core cuticle of strands.
Rule 2: Lay off the Heat
There’s no getting around this fact: Even if you have the most nano-riffic, maga-ionic, “conditioning” blowdryer/flatiron/hot-rollers this side of the Mississippi, daily repeated exposure to high heat temperatures damages strands. Period. The same rule can be applied to the temperature of the water you wash it with. Hot-hot water zaps the moisture of anything it comes into contact with, hair and skin especially. Ideally the temperature should be lukewarm, but no one wants to stand in a lukewarm shower (though your skin and hair will both thank you if you do.) If you must use hot water, try to make it the briefest shower possible. Same goes with hot tools — use sparingly, 3 times a week tops. Extend the life of blowouts with a little help from dry-shampoos (which mop up grease at the roots) and dry-conditioners (which soften and hydrate parched ends).
Rule 3: Condition Like Crazy
This might seem like obvious advice but women often forget the necessity for consistency with their hair regime. Stylists recommend a deep conditioning treatment for long hair like Pantene Beautiful Lengths Strengthening Therapy Masque 1 x2 times a week, as well as daily use of conditioning leave-ins like Oscar Blandi Jasmine Oil Serum and L’Oreal Advanced Haircare Smooth Intense Xtreme Straight Creme to prevent ends from snapping off leaving you with frazzled, uneven scraggles. For the most part styling products are notoriously moisture-zapping to strands, but recently there’s been an explosion of options that do double duty as both hydrators and stylers like Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray. Breakthrough formulas aside, it’s worth mentioning that whenever possible, lay off the products altogether, and give your hair a breather. Doing nothing is often the best thing you can do for fragile strands.
Rule 4: Stop Stressing Out
In one of the more ironic twists of life there is a direct connection between thinning hair/hair loss and bouts extreme stress. “It's not uncommon for women to suffer hair loss after the stress of a relationship breakdown,” says Dr Bessam Farjo, medical director of the Institute of Trichologists. When we are stressed, the brain produces messages all around the body that trigger a host of responses in the hormone and immune system, often including one that commands a halt in hair growth. Obviously “relaxing” during high-stress periods is easy to say, hard to do, but do try. Stress But when caught up in the cycle of stress, your body reacts by physically manifesting the stress in less-than desirable ways (other common side effects are weight gain and acne) that in turn compound your inner turmoil into inner-and-outer turmoil, making the whole thing that much worse.
Rule 5: Don’t Forget Your Scalp
Lets use a metaphor: soil is to grass as scalp is to hair. It’s from which your garden of shiny, healthy, Disney Mermaid-princess strands will grow from, so you must take good care of it in order to reap the benefits. The three factors that keep it healthiest are: stimulation, exfoliation and nutrition. Regular exfoliation is a great way to stimulate the blood flow of the scalp, which encourages growth, sloughs away dead skin and prepares the scalp for accepting more moisture. Add a few spoonfulls of sugar to your shampoo and massage into scalp with the pads of your fingers. Much like how you loofah for sweep away dead skin and reveal fresh radiant skin underneath, stimulate the circulation and will sweep away all the dead skin. Once or twice a week, apply a topical fortifier like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Anti-Aging Scalp Serum, massaging it directly into scalp with either your fingers or a scalp bush like Denman Be-Bop Massage Brush.
Rule 6: Pop Some Pills
Biotin: "Certain supplements really do promote hair growth, and the B vitamin biotin is one of my favorites," says Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist in New York City and Miami. You would have to take 5,000 micrograms (some pills contain that amount) a day for about three to six months before you'd notice a difference. "Studies have shown that biotin elongates the hair follicle, which makes hair grow faster. It also stimulates the cells that cause your hair to grow."
Viviscal: A blend of vitamin C silica compounds, horsetail extract, and a marine protein complex, according to the experts, it actually works. "Viviscal forces hair to grow quickly and makes it strong and healthy," says New York City hairstylist Garren. "Models use it a lot, because their hair is constantly beaten and tortured."