If a magic pill could miraculously make hair grow more quickly, odds are it would fly off the shelves. But until such a wonder product is discovered, certain health, lifestyle and haircare choices can improve the overall health of your tresses. Even though hair growth cycles are essentially fixed, tweaks to your routine can strengthen your locks for a stronger -- and ultimately longer -- head of hair.
Mind Your Nutrients
What you put into your body has an affect on your hair. In an "Allure" magazine article, dermatologist Frederic Brandt notes that the B vitamin biotin promotes healthy hair growth by elongating the hair follicle and stimulating the cells. Take 5,000 micrograms a day or eat a diet rich in nuts, avocado and salmon. Foods with B6, such as kale and broccoli, and vitamin B12, which is found in nut milks, fish and dairy products, provide additional hair-healthy nutrients. Folate -- found in whole grains, beets and berries -- also aids in promoting healthy hair growth.
It may seem counterintuitive, but trimming your hair 1/4 inch every eight weeks is key to maintaining -- and gaining -- length. While trimming does not increase the rate of growth, a trip to your stylist keeps your split ends under control, preventing breakage down the line. Lay off the heated styling tools, harsh color treatments, hair extensions and blow-drying whenever possible. These can damage your tresses and ultimately make your hair shorter due to breakage.
Turn To Treatments
According to New York dermatologist Francesca Fusco, treating your scalp with products that contain essential oils helps to nourish and bolster hair health. Fusco also recommends a one- or two-minute scalp massage to stimulate circulation and promote growth. Warm up oils like coconut, avocado or olive for an extra luxurious experience. Deep conditioners that contain both protein and moisturizing properties also help to strengthen hair while reducing brittleness.
Smoking can hamper circulation and lead to slower hair growth, while high stress levels spike cortisol and can cause hair to shed. Along with a healthy diet, regular sleep, meditation and exercise can help mitigate the effects of stress. When you sleep, rest on a soft pillowcase and avoid putting your hair in elastic bands. Instead, wrap a scarf around your head or pull up your tresses in a cotton scrunchie to protect your hair from tangles and breakage.