I normally don’t write about beauty, but today I felt inspired (perhaps it was the two inches I got cut off earlier today – a massive haircut for me!).
I often get asked how I have grown my blonde hair so long and kept it healthy, while still getting my hair colored every few months or so. Many women tell me that they are frustrated because they cannot grow their hair past a certain length – while there may be some truth to that (especially for colored and blonde hair, which is naturally more difficult to grow long) – I think people have more control over the length of their hair than they think they do. I’m no hair or beauty expert, but here are a few things I have learned are important for healthy hair (and the healthier your hair is, the more likely it is to grow) over the many years of having long locks (and no – I do not have extensions!).
- Regular scalp massages
Many people see (or hear) me doing this and ask me what the hell I am doing to my hair – yes, it may look strange – but who cares! My best friend’s mom taught me this trick nine years ago and I now swear by it. Hair growth starts from the root (so despite what many people may tell you, getting trims is NOT going to help your hair grow! It will only prevent split ends. Giving scalp massages will, however. See #9.)
Massaging your scalp increases blood circulation, thereby stimulating the hair follicles, strengthening the hair roots and encouraging growth. I recommend doing this multiple times per day, for at least a minute – or until your hands start getting tired.
2. Healthy diet and lifestyle
This one is obvious but what you put in your body is going to have a huge effect on the outcome of your skin and air. Maintaining a diet rich in fruits and veggies (think: brussel sprouts, spinach, avocados, nuts, berries, salmon, oats etc.) is crucial to hair growth and healthy hair.
I hesitate to state the obvious, but exercising, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep and not stressing are also important. I have definitely heard stories of people who are so stressed out that their hair starts to fall out! Don’t let it get even close to that point.
3) Biotin supplements
I take one Biotin (a form of Vitamin B) pill per day, which is supposed to help maintain healthy nails, hair and skin. I’m not sure how much it really does, but can’t hurt, right?
4) Be gentle with your hair
I prefer combing (not brushing) my hair (from the bottom up) when it’s dry – first I use a wide tooth comb and then a narrower tooth comb. My hair gets super tangly easily, but I try to do this every day, so more tangles do not accumulate. If you are going to use a brush, be sure to brush your hair only when it’s dry (and less vulnerable to damage) and use a wet brush.
Do not tear at your hair – or you will only increase breakage! Comb (or brush) gently. And again – start at the bottom (roots) and work your way up.
Use hair clips or ties that will be gentle on your hair, like the ones below:
5) Don’t wash your hair every day
I wash my hair once or twice a week – and I have finer hair, so if I can do it, so can you! Washing your hair too much depletes it of the natural oils that I believe are essential for hair growth. Some people say that they have to wash their hair every day otherwise it will be greasy – I say, it’s all about what your hair is used to. If you stop washing it every day, your hair will adjust and over time, not be so greasy every day. If you have to, you can also use dry shampoo as an alternative to washing.
When you do wash your hair, be sure to wash it with lukewarm/colder water – hot water dries out the hair.
6) Go easy on the blow-drying/straightening/curling etc.
I also only blow dry my hair about once a week – only if I am going out or feel I need to. It’s important to let your hair dry naturally – and, it’s common sense that using excessive heat on your hair will lead to breakage.
If you are going to blow dry, be sure to invest in a good blow dryer. A hair stylist once told me that using a cheap blow dryer will lead to more breakage (because hotter air than normal comes out, which, needless to say, is not good for the hair). Also, use the little top that sticks on the end (whatever they are called!) – those decrease breakage as well.
7) Use a water filter for your shower
Get this: showers do not use filtered water. Which means that you are washing yourself in chlorine-infused water (albeit, not that much…but still) – gross, right? Luckily, there is an easy solution. You can buy a shower filter for as little as $30 on Amazon.
Here’s why this is important: Unfiltered shower water leads to rougher, drier skin and hair – and also strips blondes of their color. Many people say that as soon as they use a shower filter, they have found their skin and hair to be softer – and blonde highlights do not disappear right away! Good news all around.
8) Invest in quality products
This means no Pantene Pro-V, Herbal Essences etc. Be sure that you are using high quality products (I prefer sulphate-free products), like Kerastase, Bumble & Bumble, Loreal Professionnel, MoroccanOil, Pureology etc. I like to switch it up but I am currently using Redken for color-treated hair shampoo and conditioner and Kerastase chromo rich hair mask once a week.
Using a hair mask once a week will help to prevent breakage and keep hair healthy. Again, quality is important. I have used cheaper hair masks and find that my hair feels no different after. While I may spend more money on Kerastase, my hair feels silky smooth after – at least I know it’s getting the job done! Trust me, it’s worth the investment. Also, since you only need to use it once a week and a little bit of product goes a long way, one small bottle should last at least six months or so.
Color tip: I also shampoo once a week with Joico purple shampoo. Purple shampoo is important for color-treated blondes to keep their highlights looking bright and not brassy.
9) Trim your hair less
I have heard numerous people (even my hair stylist!) tell me things like “I get trims all the time, I don’t know why my hair won’t grow!”
Many people seem to think that more trims are better. But if you trim your hair every six weeks or every 2 months, how do you ever expect it to grow? On average, hair grows half an inch per month – so if you are trying to grow it out, I would trim it only half (or quarter of an inch even) every three months. If you take good care of your hair, you might even be able to wait longer. I normally get it cut when I feel it is necessary. I got a trim a month ago and another trim today because I felt my hair was looking stringier than normal. But I normally wait at least three months between trims.
I agree that trims are important – and it’s definitely much better to have shorter, healthier-looking hair than long, stringy hair – but don’t be too trim-happy or your hair will never really grow (or if it does, it will take half a lifetime to get super long).
Remember, trims do not stimulate hair growth/do not make your hair grow any faster- they DO help prevent and get rid of split ends, which will keep your hair healthier – but hair growth starts at the root, so if your hair stylist tells you that trims help your hair grow, that is simply false.
10) Protect, protect, protect!
If you are using heat products, be sure to use heat protectants beforehand so there is less damage done. If you are going outside in the sun, wear a hat! Just as they aren’t good for the skin, UV rays are not good for the hair either. If you are going in the pool, wear a swim cap – or wet the hair beforehand and it will soak up less of the chlorine.