How To Make Your Hair Grow Faster: 7 Natural Hair Growth Tips
To really encourage length, you have to think of it in two steps: Stimulate growth and keep the hair you do have healthy. The latter involves many of your standard hair care lessons, but the former takes a bit more work: You have to go internal. Here, seven science-backed tips to encourage hair growth—no matter your length goals:
1. Stimulate the scalp.
If you're looking for hair growth, start at the source: the scalp. First off, a chronically inflamed scalp can lead to hair loss or thinning. This happens because the inflammation starts to close off the hair follicle, limiting growth and eventually leading to shedding.
On the flip side, stimulating the scalp with regular massages has been shown to promote hair growth. Scalp massages encourage blood circulation to the area, which helps deliver vital nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicle. (Learn how to give yourself a tension-relieving scalp massage here.)
2. Take hair growth supplements, like collagen and biotin.
These two ingredients help promote hair health and growth by providing the body with the right building blocks for hair. Hair is made of the protein keratin, which has an amino acid profile including cysteine, cystine, serine, glutamic acid, glycine, and proline. Both collagen and biotin supplements, especially when combined together, have high amounts of many of these amino acids, meaning the supplements provide the body with the building blocks of keratin. Research backs this up, too, as studies show taking these supplements encouraged hair growth.
Not only that, but collagen can support your scalp in the same way that collagen can support skin health overall. (The scalp is skin, after all.) Hydrolyzed collagen peptides encourage the body's natural production of collagen, which is then delivered to the rest of the body like the scalp.
3. Protect it from physical damage.
This doesn't necessarily encourage growth, but it does protect the hair length you already have. Physical damage—caused by daily wear and tear, harsh brushing, or the shower—leads to breakage. And while the occasional snapped strand is perfectly normal, breakage-prone hair can make length nearly impossible. A few things to consider when addressing physical damage: Too-tight hairstyles can cause friction and pulling, so consider using soft hair ties as well as switching up your style regularly so you're not putting pressure on the same spot day-in-day-out. You should also always brush from the tips up—starting from the root is a recipe for breakage. Finally, be mindful of how you are shampooing and showering as hair is most vulnerable when wet. If you wash too aggressively you can cause knots and tangles that are difficult to get out (learn how you should actually be washing your hair, here.)
Also be mindful of how you wear it when you work out: Since most of us keep the hair out of our faces when moving, we often pull it tight. Too-tight hairstyles, like noted above, cause friction. Wear one of these styles—like a braid, for example—when working out to lessen damage.
4. Keep it moisturized.
Brittle hair breaks easier—so one of the easiest things you can do to keep your strands long and strong is to keep it moisturized. Everyone's hair needs are going to be different, of course, so for some a simple conditioner will do the trick, while others will need weekly hydrating hair masks and oil treatments.
5. Use antioxidants.
Hair ages just like the rest of your body: This is why people experience hair thinning as they get older. It also limits the speed at which your hair grows. One way that research has shown to help hair aging is antioxidants, as they fight oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals. Make sure you eat foods high in antioxidants or add a vitamin-rich supplement to your diet.
You can also use topical antioxidants, in the form of hair oils, serums, or sprays, which is especially helpful with free radical damage that comes with UV rays or pollution. Just look for oils that have a high antioxidant content, like vitamin E or jojoba.
6. Wear protective hairstyles.
While any tip on this list is applicable for any hair type, those with textured natural hair also likely need to wear protective styling from time to time. Protective styles are those that literally protect the hair's ends from damage while the hair grows at the root. A few examples include: box braids, twists outs, bantu knots, and flat twists.
7. Give heat styling a break.
If you are looking to strengthen and grow your hair, put down your hot tools. Heat styling works by breaking down the hydrogen bonds in hair—that's how it restructures and restyles your hair pattern (be it straightening curls or adding curls to straight hair). And when you do this too much, it causes damage. If you do use a hot tool, make sure to use a heat protectant that can stand the heat: Look for something that can stand up to 400*F (how hot some blow dryers and irons can get) or if you use natural oils, the higher smoke point, the better.
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