Healthy Hair Report: Get Longer Hair

While good genes play a part, gentle handling can go a long way toward growing long, healthy hair.

According to a recent Unilever study, hair that is about shoulder length (around 9 inches long) has, after two years, gone through 411 washes, 6,171 brushes, and 10 bleaches, and had approximately 19,122 split ends and 36,206 breaks. With that in mind, we asked experts for advice on solving your three biggest hair issues.

Length

The Problem:
Seriously, could it grow any slower?

The Fix: While good genes play a part, gentle handling can go a long way toward growing long, healthy hair.

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1. Find your hair's inner strength by packing your breakfast plate with protein (the lowest supply of amino-acid-rich blood flow is in the a.m.). Says Matt L. Leavitt, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Florida: "Hair is made of a protein called keratin, so not having enough in your diet could eventually cause hair to weaken," which means it's more likely to break off prematurely. According to New York trichologist (an expert in hair and scalp health) Phillip Kingsley, the best protein powerhouses are eggs, meat, fish, and cheese, which also contain complex carbohydrates and minerals that help build keratin.

2. "All of my clients yse the Viviscal Hair Growth Program," says David Babaii, an L.A.-based stylist and a favorite of Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. The $50 pack of protein-rich twice-a-day pills is a staple in his hair kit.

3. While the gold standard of kick-starting dormant follicles into overdrive has long been topical, FDA-approved minoxidil treatments like Rogaine (which stimulates a growth factor that holds hair "hostage" in the active-growth phase), there may be a new hair Miracle-Gro on the block. According to Leavitt, the first set of clinical trials to use the same lash-enhancing ingredients found in Latisse on the scalp have been completed. (Next stop: FDA.)

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4. Kingsley suggests stimulating growth naturally by simply massaging your scalp when you shampoo: The movement helps increase blood flow to hair follicles.

5. Just like you can make your legs appear long and lean in a sick pair of YSL platform heels, you can extend the appearance of your strands too. First, dry all of your hair except for a wide Mohawk-like section on the top of your head, then pull that hair straight up toward the ceiling as you blowdry "to create the illusion of length, elongate strands, and eliminate any bend," says Gwynne Mims, a NYC stylist. Use a round brush and you'll still have nice movement.

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