If you’re anything like me, you got engaged and almost immediately realized you had to improve your hair growth. Besides that, you realized you had keep it healthy in order to have that picture perfect look!
Or maybe you never put too much thought into keeping your hair healthy until your Pinterest boards started filling with gorgeous styles. I’m guessing that, like me, you’re probably interested in healthier, stronger hair now.
Now, I do not boast to have a magic spell or potion to make your hair grow “longer and faster.” However, I do know some of the tried and true ways to help keep your hair healthy and support your hair growth efforts!
Before reading any further, this article is a little long. Looking for something easier to digest? Check out these posts, instead!
The Best Comprehensive Guide to Better Hair Growth
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1. Get a trim!
If you haven’t gotten a cut in a looooong time or it’s been over a month, the best place to start is getting a trim. Now, I’ll dispel the myth here that getting regular trims triggers your hair growth. From all that I’ve read and heard from reputable sources, this just isn’t true. (For other hair myths, check here.)
What a trim does is makes sure that none of those dead, dry breaks travel up your hair. No more breakage? Healtheir, stronger strands and improved hair growth. If you don’t get regular trims, you run the risk of dead ends splitting your hair all the way up to the roots – yikes! So do yourself a favor and every 6-8 weeks, trim between an 1/8 to a ¼ of an inch off of your hair!
2. Get an anti snap
This probably isn’t a necessity for all women, but if your hair is anything like mine (prone to exponentially more breakage as the hair lengthens), then take the advice a hairdresser gave me and splurge on anti snap.
What anti snap does is condition the ends of your hair while it is still damp to prevent any extra breakage. It’s a little like hair oil. I use Redken Anti Snap. It may be worth it to ask your hairdresser about anti snap products and see what brand they recommend.
Despite the price, my bottle lasted close to my entire engagement – so roughly a year. And I kid you not – it made a major difference in the health of my ends. It really did support my efforts to improve my hair growth!
3. Take care of your scalp!
Please do not underestimate the importance scalp care in supporting hair growth! The healthier your scalp, the healthier your hair. Now, taking care of your scalp branches into many categories, so bare with me:
Only wash every other day.
Trust me. I have an oily so for years I struggled with the idea of only shampooing every other day. Wouldn’t I look like I hadn’t showered?
The reality is that for the first week or so, you might look a touch oilier on no-shampoo days than on days you do shampoo. That said, your body happily adjusts to the new habit. You’ll look perfectly normal every day in no time!
So why is this important for healthy hair? The oils your body produce are important for strong and healthy hair. Over-shampooing removes those oils from your scalp and creates brittle hair that’s prone to breakage. We already know that’s a no-go from strong, long wedding hair.
Like I said, I was skeptical at first, but once I got into the habit I honestly started noticing a difference in my hair. Now I wouldn’t trade shortening my shower times on those off days for anything! I will say, it wasn’t an overnight change, but probably within a month I started noticing that my hair was breaking less and staying healthier for longer. That meant improved hair growth!
Still unsure? I recommend doing your own reading on this! Start here!
Who knew that it really mattered how you shampooed? As it turns out, the recommendation for shampooing is not as straightforward as “lather, rinse, repeat.” In fact, most recommendations are to lather up the scalp and ignore the ends.
Again, it comes down to your natural oils – you get excess oil build up on your scalp after a couple days, so that’s what you need to focus on with your shampoo. Over-shampooing the strands of your hair strips it of the oil it has the proper amount of. That leads it to – you guessed it – brittle hair that breaks easily!
So next time you lather up, focus on your scalp. When you rinse, the run-off will catch any extra dirt, chemicals, or oil the rest of your hair doesn’t need.
In addition to shampooing correctly, be sure to condition correctly.
If shampoo only goes on the scalp, can you guess where conditioner goes? On the ends!
Alright, so the talk of the day is excess oil in your hair, right? Well, if you shampoo to get the extra oil off of your scalp, layering on the condition can be incredibly counterintuitive. How so? By heaping oils and moisturizers onto your skin that don’t belong there.
Instead, condition the ends of your hair to replace moisture that may have been lost after shampooing. Be sure to leave the conditioner on for long enough. (Most bottles recommend about 5 minutes, so I typically condition then wash my body and face before rinsing it out.) Also try to condition whenever your hair gets wet to lock in that moisture!
Moisturized hair = better hair growth
Use the right products.
It’s so important to use the right products. What do I mean by that? Well, not all shampoos are created equal – they’re just not. Does that mean you have to drop a lot of cash on a bottle of designer brand hair wash? Absolutely not. Just be mindful of what you’re looking for.
For instance, do you have dandruff or scalp acne? Don’t be embarrassed – I’ll come right out and say that I’m an unfortunate owner of the latter. If you have either, use a dandruff-focused shampoo. It contains the right chemicals to re-balance the oil on your scalp and prevent both irritating symptoms. No special needs? Then you’re probably free to use whatever products you like.
Just make sure that whatever you do, you have a clarifying shampoo of some sort tucked away to be used about once a week. Ask your hairdresser for a recommendation!
Use the right temperature of water.
Before I say anything on water temperature, I ask that you keep an open mind.
Open? Ok. Then here’s the recommendation:
Rinse your hair and scalp with cold water.
But wait! This does not mean you have to take a cold shower! (Although power to you if you want, I hear it’s supposed to be healthier for you.) What I do mean is, at the end of your shower, let cold water run over your head for a couple seconds or so. If you’re like me, you can maneuver your body out of the way so only your head gets wet.
What this does is close those follicles and pores on your scalp to lock out the excess bad stuff and lock in the good stuff you just worked so hard to re-balance.
After getting into the habit of this, you’ll probably notice the cold rinse is not nearly as bad as you thought. It’s just for a few seconds, and I promise you it is so worth it. My hair feels amazing once it dries after a shower – it’s soft and free of breakage. Was it an overnight change? Of course not, but it was certainly a worthwhile change.
Like I said, “moisturized hair = better hair growth,” applies here for “balanced hair = better hair growth!”
The last tip I have here is about your ponytail – or more broadly, any updo you put your hair into.
As much as I loved braids and make quick use of a messy bun, I learned that consistently pulling my hair back was and irritating my head/follicles. What did this mean? I was getting scalp acne and some serious breakage.
It takes commitment to cut out easy updos from your style, but it’s 100% possible. And you don’t have to cut them out entirely. Just try not to wear your hair up on back to back days. Try really hard to change how tightly you pull your hair back if you do (low and loose is a good idea). Ladies, alligator clips and headbands are your best friends now.
4. Be kind to wet hair.
It can be difficult to be kind to your wet hair, but your hair is most vulnerable to breaking when it’s wet. Some of the best things you can do for your wet hair are as follows:
It’s tempting to wanna scrunchy up that hair with gusto, but all that twisting and pulling can break your hair. So can throwing your hair up in a towel. The strands get caught in the threads and consequently pull and rip.
Therefore, squeeze as much water out of your hair as you can before stepping out of the shower. Then do the same thing once you have your towel. You’re less likely to have unwanted breakage this way.
Use a comb!
Please, whatever you do, use a comb when brushing through wet hair. Combs are made to deal with wet hair better than brushes are. This is just another tip to help you avoid those unwanted breaks.
And remember, also, to work the comb from your ends up to your roots. That way you’ll keep from pulling out massive chunks of knotted hair!
Air dry, or else use low heat.
Heating up your hair causes breakage, so the best mode of drying your hair is air drying. Not sleeping on it, mind you, because that has the same effect as wrapping your hair in a towel.
Try your best to let your hair air dry as much as possible, even if you’re still going to sleep on it or use heated tools. This should help give it enough time to avoid unnecessary breakage.
Less breakage = better hair growth!
5. Use the right brush.
So you shouldn’t brush your hair when it’s wet, as we just discussed, because that’s when you use a comb. But when your hair is dry, can you just use any brush?
Unfortunately, the answer is, no, not really.
So why not?
Most brushes are plastic or have hard bristles that do not help distribute any of your natural hair oils. That leads to build up on your scalp, and, as I’m sure you know by now, breakage. The best brushes for your hair are boars’ bristle, which are nowadays becoming cheaper and cheaper.
What boars’ bristle brushes do is distribute oils from your scalp all the way down your hair, preventing you from looking oily. The softer bristles similarly prevent hair from catching too often and breaking off or snapping. Are you still going to need to clean hair out of your brush? For sure, but hopefully it won’t be because a strand needlessly broke off halfway down your head!
These are five, in-depth tips that I came across in my panicked research during my early engagement. Believe it or not, they have all made major differences in my hair growth.
I can go longer between trims because my ends don’t snap as easily. I no longer look greasy and unkempt on my days off from shampooing. And my hair is generally softer and stronger. I didn’t have “miracle” hair growth, but my hair did lengthen a number of inches during my engagement and gave me the length I needed for an updo that made me feel amazing on my wedding day.
So feel free to give these tips a try, and let me know how they work for you!