By Sharon J. Yi, Refinery29
.Of course, there are bigger things to worry about than how to get something that naturally grows to grow faster. Last I checked, the ozone layer is still thinning, which carries more of a global threat than our own volume loss of the aging-hair variety. But (yes, there's a but), for those of you who feel trapped in a bob that just isn't you anymore or an overgrown lob that refuses to extend past the awkward shoulder length where it flips out, we get it. There's no shame in treating your hair woes whilst caring for non-#firstworldproblems.
In the spirit of tackling an issue you can actually fix, we talked to hairstylists, scalp experts, and nutritionists to get the full-360 guide on how to make your hair grow longer, faster. Now, put down the aerosol hairspray, and read on.
Tip #1: Loosen your hair tie.
This is a doozy. "One of the worst things you can do is tie your hair back too tight with an elastic band," says Joseph Chase, stylist at The Argyle Salon & Spa in L.A. Instead, use a fabric tie, which won't cause breakage - and it looks better, too! This goes for hairstyles as well. Stylist Angelo David Pisacreta of Angelo David Salon, says, "Wearing hairstyles that require excessive pulling, like a tight ponytail or cornrows, can damage hair and create unnecessary stress to the follicles."
Tip #2: Maintain a clean, healthy scalp.
"While hair growth is mostly determined by genetics, it won't hurt to use hair products that'll promote a clean scalp to allow hair to grow easily," says Pisacreta. It's all about finding the right products for your hair type. A clarifying shampoo removes any residue buildup on the scalp. While shampoos with volumizing properties can create an illusion of growth, like Sebamed Scalp Activating Shampoo, which removes buildup and supports blood circulation in the scalp. Increasing circulation has been proven to quicken hair growth by stimulating the hair follicles. Brush your hair with a boar-and-nylon bristle brush, like an Angelo David Brush. Tip #3: You are what you eat - or your hair is at least.
Pace says, "Your hair needs the same well-rounded diet that provides all the recommended vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed for good bodily health." That means a balanced mix of protein, iron, and zinc improves the health of your hair - and quickens growth.
- Fatty acids, like omega-3s, are crucial for hair growth, since they make up 3% of the hair shaft. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, almonds, flaxseed oil, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
- B vitamins, including B-6, B-12, and folic acid, are all important to your hair's health. Good sources of B-6 include bananas and potatoes (both white and sweet), while citrus fruit and tomatoes are packed with folic acid, along with whole grains, beans, and lentils.
- Iron helps increase blood circulation to the scalp by carrying oxygen to the hair follicles. It's found in eggs, spinach, and other dark greens.
- Zinc helps prevent hair loss, so stock up on our favorite aphrodisiac: oysters.
- Major sources of B-12 include meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
Tip #4: Take supplements.
While you should be getting your nutrients from a well-balanced diet, you can also help fill any gaps with vitamin-specific supplements. Biotin is a popular supplement to take, since it promotes stronger hair and nails by aiding cell growth.
Tip #5: Remove emotional stressors.
We all know how destructive stress can be to our health, so it's no surprise that it stunts our hair growth as well. Nutritionist Nicolette Pace says, "A significant stress of some sort can create a change in your body's routine, physiological functions, and can cause a disproportionate number of hairs to go into the resting phase at the same time. A few months later, all those resting hairs will shed."
RELATED: Top-Secret Beauty Cheats Straight From The Pros
Tip #6: Start exercising - seriously.
Daily exercise improves circulation throughout your body, including your scalp, which can result in faster hair growth. Work out a few times a week.
Tip #7: Trim your hair.
While, yes, trimming won't speed up the growth process, it will prevent split ends, which can ultimately break your hair, making it shorter. Pisacreta suggests getting a trim every two to three months.
Tip #8: Drink a lot of water.
Staying hydrated is essential for hair to grow. Rita Hazan of Rita Hazan Salon, says, "Our bodies are like plants. If we stay hydrated and nourished, we will be healthy all-around!"
Tip #9: Use restorative hair products.
Some of the best hair products we can use to quicken hair growth are natural-based products that don't have a lot of chemicals or sulfates. Chase recommends the Rene Futerer Complex 5 treatment, which "is an amazing way to improve the overall health of your hair by stimulating the follicles to promote growth. You can also try restorative products, such as Davines Hair Building Pack, which helps hair grow out healthier and brings it back to its natural healthy state."