If there was a magical pill that could miraculously make our hair grow more quickly, chances are, it would fly off the shelves. But until such a wonder is discovered, the best chance we have to attain long, luxurious tresses is to focus on certain health, lifestyle, and haircare choices. 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. Get your head in the game with these tips.
Eat your hair nutrients
The old saying "you are what you eat" is true, including when it comes to our hair. In an interview with Allure, dermatologist Frederic Brandt notes that the B vitamin biotin promotes healthy hair growth by elongating the hair follicle and stimulating the cells. Aim for 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 milk, fish, and dairy products, provide additional hair-healthy nutrients. Folate is essential too; it's found in whole grains, beets, and berries.
Avoid heated hair styling tools
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. Heated styling tools help us get gorgeous curls, waves, and straight styles but it's important to lay off them, as well as 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 City 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.
Follow these healthy habits
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 (silk is good) 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.
By following these simple steps, your tresses will be long and ultra-healthy in no time.
Stacey Kole was managing editor of the International fashion and beauty publication Savvy where she penned stories on all things beauty and style, while writing cover stories on such celebrities as Victoria Hudgens and Julianne Hough. She continues to write for a variety of online fashion, beauty and health publications.