I'm A Beauty Editor & Here's How I Finally Got The Long, Healthy Hair Of My Dreams
Recently I saw a friend I hadn't seen since, well, last year. This was an unfortunate side effect of COVID-19 and quarantine since we're all seeing fewer people and with less regularity. While it was certainly not on the top of the list to chat about, she promptly brought up how long my hair was.
She's not wrong: My hair—through a combination of the tips below, as well as just fewer trips to the salon—is the longest it's ever been. For a visual: When I wear it down, it reaches the small of my back. I am normally one to default to long hair, as I think it works with my wavy-curly hair type and usually requires less day-to-day styling. But in the past year, I have quite literally reached new lengths.
But that's not all: It's also shockingly healthy. Usually when I attempt to add inches, I don't reach my end goal because the ends are tattered and dry. So when I make it back to the salon, my hairdresser is there with shears at the ready.
So what's different about my hair growth right now? I've narrowed it down to three points:
1. A daily collagen supplement
grass-fed collagen+ (unflavored)
The one-step beauty routine for youthful skin, healthy hair & strong nails, featuring biotin, vitamin C, E, & sulforaphane.*
As part of my daily coffee routine, I add two scoops of mindbodygreen's grass-fed collagen+ (often in the chocolate variety—it depends on the day). Collagen supplements are beloved in the wellness space for their skin and hair-healthy benefits.* For hair, this is primarily due to the fact that the powders are made of short-chain amino acids that provide our body with the nutrients we need to support keratin production, the primary protein in hair.*
But this particular supplement also includes biotin, a form of vitamin B that is famous for its hair-growth claims. See, it's thought to naturally promote healthy hair growth because of its starring role in the production of keratin.* (In fact, in one small study, women with thinning hair reported significant regrowth when supplementing with biotin as compared to those given a placebo.*) The powder also contains antioxidants—like vitamin E, C, and sulforaphane glucosinolate—to help neutralize free radical damage in the body. Like the skin, free radicals wreak havoc on the appearance and health of the hair. Research shows that excessive free radical damage can contribute to premature graying and hair loss.
2. Scalp massage with a lightweight serum
I have long been an advocate of scalp massages—not only because I find them to be a delightful way to end the day but because they are so good for your scalp and hair health. In fact, several studies have shown that regular scalp massages can help promote thickness and regrowth. They do so, researchers believe, because they promote circulation to the scalp, and with circulation comes oxygen and nutrients carried by the bloodstream.
And while I've long believed in the benefits of scalp massages—I hold tension in my scalp, because apparently that's a thing!—I haven't always been as diligent about my habit. Often, I'd skip it for sake of time and energy. But in the past year, I decided to make it a new habit that I stick with every evening. And the messages are nothing fancy either—clock five or so minutes a night before your shower or while watching TV, or even enlist your partner in the action. (Personally, I DIY it before bed, and I handle it just fine.) It takes a while—hair growth isn't immediate after all—but you'll notice a difference.
I've also found a brand-new serum that has made me enjoy it all the more: Nuele Hair Serum. It blends together jojoba, rosemary, moringa, argan, and clary sage (read: like all of our favorite hair ingredients), and the result is a thin, easy-to-use oil that packs in nutrients. Plus, the natural smell is crisp and refreshing, making the massage near spa-like.
3. Mastered my rinsing schedule
Finding a shampoo schedule that works for you isn't an exact science—it's an art that involves a delicate balance between your scalp, hair type, lifestyle, and just general preferences. But when you do, you can really reap the benefits of a clean (yet hydrated) scalp; conditioned, damage-free strands; and ideally minimal upkeep for you.
Well, after doing a deep dive into the question "How often should you shampoo?" I took a long look at my own habits and realized I might need to make a change or two. First up: I introduced co-washing one to two times a week with a specific co-washing conditioner. This dramatically improved my hair hydration (I have naturally dry strands) while still allowing me to refresh my curls regularly as well as manage scalp oils. Then, I made Wednesdays and Sundays my proper wash days with a sulfate-free shampoo (sticking to two days a week is the ideal balance for me I found). And in between my two wash days and one to two co-wash days, I leave it alone, limiting styling, product usage, and root sprays as much as possible.
If you're trying to grow your hair out, there are simple easy ways to encourage growth—that can easily fit into your daily habits and beauty routines. And just remember: Hair growth takes time and patience, but stick with it and you'll get the results you want.