Everyone wants hair like the models in the shampoo commercials - long, shiny, healthy and beautiful. But the reality of the matter is getting that kind of hair can be difficult to achieve for the average person. Flat irons and curling irons can break and damage hair, not to mention the frizziness and dryness that comes from perms or coloring your hair. Well, don't give up just yet. There are many things you can do to get and maintain long and healthy hair, without having to spend hours at the salon.
How Can I Make My Hair Grow Faster?
On average, hair grows approximately half an inch per month. Unfortunately, there is no magic potion that will make it grow faster overnight. If you want long hair, you're just going to have to play the waiting game. However, there are some things you can do to make your hair healthier, and healthy hair is much easier to grow.
- While it may seem like taking two steps forward and one back, if you trim your ends often, your hair will look and feel much healthier. Trimming just half an inch to an inch every 6-8 weeks can keep split ends from creeping up.
- Massaging or gently rubbing your scalp can increase the flow of blood and nutrients to your scalp, which can help your hair grow a little quicker. Exercising is also a good way to increase blood flow to the scalp and it also reduces stress, which is a direct cause of hair loss.
- Although seeing gray may make you want to pull your hair out, don't. Yanking out gray hairs can damage the follicle, and even leave a scar or cause infection.
- If you want long and healthy hair, lay off of the perms and bleach. Those chemicals are harsh and damaging to hair.
- Watch out for hair-dos that cause stress to your hair. Braids, tight buns and ponytails can weaken hair and even break hair, as can elastic bands. If you have to put your hair up, use a coated ponytail holder that won't snag or pull your hair.
- Although some African-Americans may be leary of washing their hair too often, they are recommended to wash their hair every 7-to-10 days to prevent bacteria from growing on the scalp. If you're worried about losing moisture, use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
- To brush or not to brush? Some say brushing hair causes damage, others say 100 strokes keeps hair healthy. The truth is, brushing your hair before styling is the best way to go. It helps get rid of any loose hairs that have been shed, but brushing your hair too much, especially when it's wet, can break or rip out hair from the scalp. When brushing, make sure to use a comb, and start at the ends and work your way up.
- Be careful with heat-based tools such as blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons. All of that heat can dry out the scalp and burn your hair if you don't protect it. Use a heat protectant spray or a conditioning spray before applying the heat.
- During the hot months of summer, your hair will grow a little bit faster due to hormone changes but it can also shed more during the summer, depending on the amount of sun exposure your hair receives. The bottom line is, don't rely on the summer heat to increase the length of your locks.
Another key to healthy hair is eating a well-balanced diet. Certain nutrients are excellent for the hair including:
- Omega 3s: these are good for the scalp and can keep it from drying out. Good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are fish and nuts.
- Vitamins A and C: both are needed to produce sebum, the natural oil that's secreted by hair follicles. Dark green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are good sources of both vitamins.
- Protein and Biotin: both are vital for hair growth and a lack of biotin can make hair brittle and breakable. Beans and other legumes are good sources of protein and biotin.
- Selenium: this mineral is also important for the scalp and can be found in mushrooms, brazil nuts and certain types of fish such as salmon and halibut.
Eating a nutritional diet keeps your hair healthy from the inside out, and using the right haircare products can keep your hair healthy from the outside in. The key is to use products that are right for your hair type. Pantene and Garnier Fructis both make hair products that are specifically designed for curly, straight, frizzy or damaged hair, and everything else in between. Products that contain coconut oil or grapeseed oil are also good for caucasian hair and emu oil is good for African-American hair.
Achieving hair worthy of a hair commercial may seem like an impossible task, but it can be done. By using treating your hair right, feeding it the right nutrients and using the right products, your air will be just as long and healthy as Rapunzel's.