As the owner of a mane that’s half the length of my body, I get my fair share of hair care questions. Today I’m sharing a few tips on how I keep my hair grow long and healthy. The most common questions I get are somewhere along the lines of “what’s your hair secret“, “do you wear extensions“, “how do you make your hair grow“, “what products do you use“? Well, girls, I don’t wear extensions.. that seems like a whole lot of time and money that I don’t have, and unfortunately, I don’t have a special ‘miracle grow’ hair product. What it really takes is patience, gentle hair handling, a few good products, and a healthy lifestyle to see noticeable changes. I’ve always had long hair, but over the last few years of taking good care of my hair and implementing the tips below, I’ve noticed a big difference in the length, healthiness, and shine. Several of you mentioned how your hair won’t grow past a certain length, but don’t give up – all it takes is a little switch-up from your old hair routine and you will have a long rapunzelish length in no time!
1. Be Gentle! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – the amount of high end hair products you use means nothing if you aren’t careful with the way you handle your hair. One of the most important steps to growing healthy long strands is being careful when you brush your hair – especially when it’s wet. The WetBrush has done wonders for my hair. It cuts the brushing process in half and also reduces breakage – wet hair is extremely fragile so be extra gentle with it starting from the ends and working your way up (this is one of the longest steps in my getting ready process!) TIP: I also brush my hair before getting in the shower to prevent wet hair tangles.
2. Shampoo & Conditioner 101: A few things about washing your hair I think are very important – Use shampoo and conditioner from the same line. They have a similar formula and you’ll get better results because the products are made to work together. I use It’s A Ten Miracle Moisture Shampoo & Miracle Daily Conditioner. The shampoo strengthens and adds volume, while the conditioner detangles, softens, and adds shine. Rinse your conditioner out with the coldest water you can stand – this closes the hair cuticle and locks down the scales, which makes it extra shiny. (Tip: Use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month to eliminate product build up, I use this clarifying shampoo.
3. Deep Conditioning:I deep condition my hair twice a week. If you have color treated hair (especially blondes), it is crucial to use some kind of reparative mask/deep conditioning treatment to restore moisture and fix damage on over-processed hair. I use two different deep conditioners – I think it’s important to rotate the two because both have unique benefits: It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask or Joico K-PAK Revitaluxe. I scoop a decent amount and work through my hair, wrap a hot towel around my head and leave it to work it’s magic for 10 sometimes even 20 minutes. Both of these leave my hair feeling extremely soft and they also protect against color fading. (Tip: After these treatments, your hair will feel a bit softer & weighed down. Give your hair the day off on days you use the treatments. Air dry & don’t use any heat products.)
4. Knotty Hair: You would not believe how long it takes me to brush my hair out after the shower. Don’t let my hair fool you – as long and healthy as it may look, it is SO much maintenance. I am very picky when it comes to detanglers, so trust me with these two: Moroccanoil works wonders and is by far one of my favorite hair products ever made (and the smell is incredible). I also use It’s A Ten leave in conditioner: Leave-in Keratin Treatment. It provides your hair with so many benefits and the big bottle lasts forever, these products are really a no-brainer ladies! (TIP: for a detangler and major shine booster, I use Kerastase Cristalliste.. one of my splurges for hair products – it’s called perfecting essence).
5. Blow Drying/Air Drying: So, obviously, the smartest thing to do if you’re wanting healthy hair is to let your hair air dry. I do this as often as I can and tie it up in a braid to let the moisture lock-in. Unfortunately, a wet braid is not the most fabulous hairstyle, so here are my blow drying tips: Remove as much moisture as you can by squeezing it out with a towel (DO NOT rub the hair vigorously with the towel, this will fray the cuticles and cause frizz and split ends). Use an ionic hair dryer (I used to use the one pictured, Rusk Professional 2000 Watt but now I use this one) least 8 inches away from your head, or as far as you can, on the ‘cool‘ setting. I always blow dry my hair upside down for extra volume. [Tip: ALWAYS make sure your hair is completely dry before styling. Your curls will hold way better and it will prevent against heat damage.]
6. Scalp Scrub: Scrubbing your scalp while shampooing for one full minute is actually very beneficial for growing out your hair. This stimulation of the blood cells on the surface of the scalp increases blood flow which stimulates growth and enhances the strength of your roots. Make this a habit every time you wash your hair in the shower. You should also do this one night a week using coconut oil. Use the pads of your fingers to massage the oil into your towel dried hair. Also, who has two free hands and would love to give you a head massage? Your man! This can also help with stress & headaches.
7. The Trim Myth: Getting a regular trim DOES NOT promote hair growth; this is one myth we’re all probably guilty of promoting. The sad truth is that the rate at which our hair grows is genetically pre-determined and chopping off the ends does nothing to encourage growth. However, trims to get rid of ugly split ends which can cause the hair to look thin and damaged. I trim mine every other time I get my hair colored. I color my hair about every 3 months – which means sometimes I only trim two times a year, so don’t fall for the ‘trims make your hair grow faster’ myth, just let it grow!
8. Dirty Does It: Washing your hair less means fewer chemicals, less heat, and less brushing. Washing your hair too often will wash out the essential oils that are naturally there to promote healthy hair and scalp. Washing 3 times a week is your best bet. I don’t know if it’s because I’m blonde or if I have oily hair, but it’s hard for me to go more than two days without washing. Your hair will eventually get used to not being washed every day, but in the meantime, dry shampoo is a no-brainer. It temporarily increases the width of strands plus helps them stand up at the root. I use ‘Not Your Mother’s‘ Dry Shampoo. [Tip: Dry shampoo also does an awesome job of hiding dark roots on blondes. When I’m close to a highlight appointment, dry shampoo is a lifesaver.]
9. You Are What You Eat: This is nothing new, a healthy lifestyle is reflected in everything from your skin to your body weight to, yes, you guessed it, YOUR HAIR! Clean eating, regular exercise, and tons of water are three things you need to start incorporating into your weekly routine your body & your hair’s sake. (I try to refill a grande Starbucks water 5 times/day – also very good for your abs). Green vegetables, especially kale, spinach, and broccoli, act as natural hair conditioners and shine boosters. Lean proteins such as eggs, chicken, and fish help maintain healthy hair growth. Salmon, avocado, walnuts, and greek yogurt are all “mane-munchies”. [Tip: Make sure you’re getting the right amount of ZZZ‘s each night. Your hair grows fastest at night and 8 hours of sleep will reduce stress and prevent hair from falling out, woo hoo.]
10. Heat Hazard: Avoid your curling iron, straightener, and blow dryer as often as possible. One of my best friends from high school is living proof that this is a miracle worker. I know it’s not the best look to go to work/school every day with a wet braid or bun, but if you’re dedicated to getting the hair you want – you have to do it and start from scratch! My friend went from frizzy hair just below her chin, to long beautiful hair past her boobs from not using heat tools for several months and wearing her hair in a wet bun with beneficial oils! [Tip: Most people set their heat tools on high when you can get the same effect by using them on medium – causing less damage.]
11. Beauty Sleep: Sleep on a satin or silk pillow case. Most of you probably sleep on a cotton pillow case that strips the moisture from your hair and is more likely to cause bed head. It doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference, but if you’re sleeping on one every night, it adds up. I usually sleep in a loose braid to avoid frizziness and knotting so I don’t rip any hair out when trying to brush through it in the morning.
12. Don’t tease your hair!! This does not look cute and completely destroys the texture of your hair. And be careful with ponytails – avoid tight hair ties that cause breakage. Since my pony tail can get kind of heavy, I try to only use thin loose hair ties.
13. Hair Vitamins:I don’t really believe in taking hair pills, but I do occasionally take fish oil pills that promote healthy hair and skin. In addition to preventing wrinkles, fish oil can boost your hair’s shine, prevent strands from drying out, and keep your scalp healthy.
So, like I said in the beginning (if you’ve made it this far!), there is no magic product or hair trick to getting long beautiful locks. I am sure the hair gods have blessed some of us more than others, but these are definitely all very important steps you can take to jump-start your hair growth process. The experts at Loxa Beauty have helped me over the past year pick out the best treatments for my hair type. If you want to talk to experts about what products work best with your hair type, go to www.LoxaBeauty.com. The website has trustworthy product reviews, the latest trends in hair and beauty, and tips from the experts.