The key to growing hair long and strong is keeping it as healthy as possible. That means avoiding dryness and breakage at all costs, and although it may seem counterintuitive, getting regular trims. Damaged hair will not grow well or look good, so here’s how to maintain its health.
Lay off the heat
Hot tools (blow dryers, curling irons, straighteners) wreak havoc on strands, especially when used in excess. Since for most of us, they can’t be avoided, try to at least lessen the amount you use them. You can let hair air dry before straightening or curling to eliminate the heat from the blow dryer, or try using heat-free curlers overnight.
Shampoo strips the hair of the oils that keep it healthy, so shampooing less frequently can help keep strands from drying out. If you can’t cut back on shampoo, at least try a shampoo that’s moisture-intensive and sulfate free.
Harsh brushing, ponytail holders, cotton pillowcases, and towel turbans can all cause massive breakage. Brush hair gently, and use a wide-tooth comb on wet hair. Avoid tight, elastic ponytail holders at all costs (never sleep in them!), swap your cotton pillowcase for a gentler silk one, and quit wrapping the towel around your hair.
Get regular haircuts
It might feel hard to let someone take scissors to the hair you’re trying so hard to grow, but cutting off the split ends at the very bottom early is key to growing long hair. If those splits start reaching higher up the shaft, the breakage will be impossible to reverse.
Treat your hair
Give your hair a nice conditioning treatment or masque once a week, and it will thank you. Allow the strengthening and moisturizing ingredients ample time to really soak into your strands, and if you have the time, put a shower cap on to allow the heat of your head to help the treatment really penetrate.
Most of all, be patient
Average hair grows less than half a millimeter a day, so you’re not going to see dramatic results by next week. Hair growth supplements may seem tempting, but they can have side effects, and time and patience is really all you need. Just treat your hair right, and you should be seeing longer, stronger hair within a couple of months.