If you’ve ever stood in front of the mirror, tugged at your hair and willed it, dared it, to grow, then you understand the particular frustration that comes with hair that just won’t get any longer.
Whether you’re regretting that bold pixie cut or just wish you could change up your look without splurging on extensions, making your hair grow faster is tricky. But it’s not a lost cause: Improving hair’s health and feeding your body the right nutrients for healthy hair will put you on the path to longer, stronger strands.Everyone has a specific hair cycle for every hair on her body, notes Dr. Francesca Fusco, CLEAR Scalp and Hair Dermatologist, so some women will have hair that grows quickly, while others may have a much longer cycle. One product, Latisse, works by extending the growth cycle of eyelashes. But unfortunately, there’s nothing out there that does the same on your scalp.“There is no documented pill that I know of which will dramatically speed hair growth; however, with supportive scalp and hair care, your hair will grow strong, resilient and healthy,” says Dr. Fusco. Contrary to popular belief, getting frequent trims will not influence how quickly your hair grows either (sorry!).Although there’s no magic pill you can pop or serum you can apply that’ll transform you into Rapunzel, there are other ways to influence your rate of hair growth. It’s possible you have an underlying issue: you’re not getting the right nutrients, your hair is weak and therefore breaking at a certain point, or maybe your stress levels are so high it’s interrupting your hair growth.
By honing in on these factors, you can boost hair health and give your locks a little extra encouragement.
Healthy Scalp, Healthy Hair
“The scalp is the skin that hair follicles sit in,” says Fusco, and it’s where each follicle receives its blood supply, allowing it to grow strong. If you show your scalp a little TLC and make sure it’s nourished and healthy, then your hair will in turn be healthy, stronger and more resistant to breakage, allowing it to reach new lengths. (See scalp care picks below.)
Bolster Against Breakage
Assess your hair’s health. If it’s dry or damaged, that means it’s probably breaking before it can reach a certain length, giving the illusion that it grows slowly. “Daily hot tools, chemicals, constant traction from extensions—could all put excessive stress on hair causing it to break,” says Dr. Fusco. Check for split ends or even tiny nodes midshaft, which can also indicate weak points in danger ofgive your strands a better shot at growing long and strong, cut back on the reckless styling that can lead to breakage. Heat style less often, brush gently and use a moisturizing and reparative hair mask to hydrate hair and nourish the scalp—where hair gets most of its strength.
Load Up on Nutrients
If you’re low in specific nutrients that are essential for hair health, supplementing can help. Look for a multivitamin that’s formulated specifically for hair, nails and skin (it’ll say on the label) to make sure it has these important nutrients for hair health: B vitamins, biotin, cysteine, vitamin C.“Protein is hair’s best friend,” says Dr. Fusco, as are omega-3 fatty acids. Reach for healthy protein such as eggs and fish and avoid fasting or yoyo dieting. These can deprive your body of these essential building blocks for a healthy scalp and hair.
We already know too much stress is bad for health and beauty, but did you know there’s a known connection between stress and hair loss, too? “When it is constant it can cause spiking of cortisol levels and this can contribute to increased hair shedding,” says Dr. Fusco. To relieve stress and its damaging effects on your hair, try meditation, regular exercise, keeping a regular sleep schedule, or any other activity that you know will help ease your stress levels.