5 Mistakes You're Making If Your Hair Isn't Growing As Fast As You Want
Growing long, full locks is by no means an easy task. And for many of us, our hair just gets to a point where growth just, well, isn't happening anymore. What gives? Well, there are a few mistakes you may not realize you're making.
Mistake 1: You're not adequately removing buildup.
Buildup—be it from natural oils, products, dirt, or the like—wreaks havoc on your scalp. The primary issues are inflammation and clogging the hair follicles (they often, too, go hand-in-hand). Both of these things can severely limit hair growth and even cause hair loss. Essentially the buildup suffocates the pores, making it difficult for lush, thick strands to flourish.
Mistake 2: You're not taking supplements.
Like all things dealing with your body, you need the proper nutrients to flourish. Your hair, being made up of the protein keratin, needs amino acids. One easy way to get amino acids is through collagen supplementation.* Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are essentially short chains of amino acids, many of which are used to build hair. When you take a collagen powder, your body is able to absorb the peptides, where they travel throughout the body. In skin, they are able to support your cells' fibroblasts to create collagen and elastin1.* Your hair can use them to create stronger, healthier strands.*
mindbodygreen's grass-fed collagen+ also contains biotin, a form of vitamin B that helps encourage hair growth as well. It is believed to naturally promote healthy hair growth because it is involved in the production of keratin, the main component of hair.* In one small study, women with thinning hair reported significant regrowth when supplementing with biotin as compared to those given a placebo.*
Mistake 3: You're not massaging your scalp.
Scalp massages may seem like a frivolous add-on, but they are actually shown to improve hair growth. The idea is that by physically stimulating the area, you are encouraging blood circulation. And with blood comes nutrients that your body needs to grow hair. In fact, a small study even showed that scalp massages in men increased hair growth2, likely due to increased circulation. And, also, there is plenty of research about the benefits of massage therapy3 in general: It's said to decrease cortisol and increase serotonin and dopamine.
Mistake 4: You're not tending to the ends.
OK, we know that hair growth starts at the root, so it seems weird we're encouraging you to pay attention to the ends. But the logic is simple: Even if you do everything to encourage healthy growth, it means nothing if you keep on having to snip away at all that damage on the bottom. You need to be tending to the whole of the hair shaft.
Mistake 5: You're heat styling daily.
Using a flat iron or blow dryer every so often isn't going to ruin your shiny strands. However, daily use—especially without protection or using the tools on the highest setting—is troublesome. Heat styling works by breaking down your hair's bonds and then rearranging them to a different shape. You do this enough and your hair will become severely damaged, resulting in breakage and even loss.
And the problem with this is that you can't fully repair damaged hair. You can improve the look of it (by, say, adding shine), but you cannot fix the bonds, as hair has no innate ability to repair itself. So as a preventive measure, it's best to skip daily heat—even try air drying.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.