Hair Care Tips
14 Hacks for Getting Longer, Thicker Hair Fast
As someone who’s notorious for chopping off their hair only to regret it immediately, I’ll be the first person to tell you that there’s no way to grow your hair overnight. but it still isn't going to change the fact that hair only grows a half an inch every month—and that’s only if your hair is already in a super-healthy state with minimal split ends, If you feel like your hair isn’t growing fast enough, there are a handful of things you can do to help speed up the process a bit.
1. Apply hair-growth oils regularly
Don’t hate me, but consider this your reminder that there’s no such thing as a magic oil that’ll grow your hair super long overnight (remember: half an inch a month is the standard). That said, the majority of hair growth oils are loaded with hydrating ingredients that help create a healthy foundation for your scalp and hair (aka the key to getting longer, thicker hair over time).
One of the most popular hair-growth oils? Castor oil, which is loaded with vitamin E, fatty acids, and minerals.“Castor oil is not only anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, but it also helps maintain moisture,” Michelle Blaisure, certified trichologist from Bosley Professional Strength, has told Cosmo. So even though it won't necessarily grow your hair, it won't hurt to try either. Once a week, gently massage a few drops of castor oil through your scalp and hair to soak up the benefits.
2. Try caffeine treatments to grow hair
Turns out caffeine is a really excellent ingredient if you’re trying to grow your hair longer. And, no, I’m not talking about drinking an extra cup of coffee every morning—I mean adding a caffeine-spiked hair product to your styling routine. According to dermatologist Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD, caffeine not only helps stimulate blood flow to your scalp (which is v essential for hair growth), but it also counteracts DHT, the hormone responsible for hair loss.
Heads up that you won’t see a difference in your hair density or length overnight, though—caffeine usually takes two to three months for results to kick in. So start using one of these shampoos, scalp serums, or leave-ins ASAP if you're after longer, thicker hair:
3. Focus on scalp care for hair growth
If you’re trying to grow your hair fast, you need to pay attention to your scalp. “The two most important layers of the skin in relation to the scalp are the dermis and the epidermis—the dermis contains our hair follicles, glands, nerves, blood vessels, collagen, elastin fibres, and fat cells,” says Bridgette Hill, trichologist and colourist at Paul Labrecque Salon and Skincare Spa. “Introducing proper scalp care into your hair care routine will impact the rate of hair growth and the health of your hair fibre.”
When you take care of your scalp, you're actually ensuring that blood and nutrients can easily flow to the hair follicle, which then helps minimize shedding and loss, says Hill. So, what exactly does scalp care look like for you? Well, for starters, you’ll want to invest in a scalp oil, mask, or serum.
“I prefer oils or cream-based masks versus grainy exfoliants," says Hill, "since the rough ingredients in scalp scrubs can actually create micro-abrasions on the scalp, which can lead to the production of harmful bacterias and fungi." Uh, not ideal at all. “Instead, use an oil or mask with scalp-stimulating ingredients like peppermint, tea tree, or citrus-based oils to help increase circulation and 'decongest' the scalp."
BTW: While you're at it, go ahead and buy a scalp shampoo to use after your treatment (think: something clarifying if you’re dealing with buildup, something lightweight and hydrating if you’re dealing with excess oil). Hill suggests giving yourself a “proper shampoo" once a week, i.e. where you apply the product directly on your scalp—not just your hair—letting it sit for five minutes before rinsing and conditioning.“You can even buy a hair-colour applicator bottle at a beauty supply store to help easily distribute the shampoo through your scalp.”
4. Trim your hair to maintain length
Ah, the age-old beauty debate. Even though experts are divided on the concept of trimming your hair to make it grow faster, one thing’s for sure: If you’re after long, healthy-looking hair, frequent trims are non-negotiable. Living with frayed, split ends will eventually cause your hair to break farther up on the strand, which will not only make your hair look way thinner but, you know, also keep it from ever getting longer past a certain point.
Hair Growth 101, Hair Care Tips
“Your hair will actually be shorter un-cut than it would be if you were to get consistent trims,” Townsend says. He suggests asking your stylist to take just an eighth of an inch off your hair every 10 to 12 weeks to prevent split ends before they even start.
5. Consider hair-growth vitamins
Okay, lemme preface this by saying hair supplements are not a miracle cure and definitely shouldn’t be taken without talking to your doctor. I know, sorry, but hair vitamins aren’t actually regulated by the FDA, meaning they can contain any ingredients they want and can claim whatever they want.
If you follow a somewhat balanced diet, your body is typically already loaded with the hair-strengthening ingredients you’ll find in supplements (think: biotin, folic acid, vitamins D, A, C, and E), and doubling (or tripling!) your dose won’t actually make a difference. “Your body only keeps what it needs and then it gets rid of the rest,” says Burg.
That said, if you don’t eat balanced meals or you’re in an intense period of stress or trauma, you might not be getting the proper amount of nutrients you need to grow healthy, long hair. If that’s the case, “your body will shut down your hair growth first and redirect nutrients and energy to the organs that need it most,” says Burg, which can leave you vitamin deficient.
If you think you might be vitamin deficient, you could be a solid candidate for supplements, but make sure to first check-in with your doctor. You’ll want to make sure you’re taking the right amount (and type) of vitamins and that they won’t interact with any medications you’re currently taking. If you’re in the clear, these are some of the internet’s favourites:
6. Shampoo less to lock in moisture
“It’s shocking to me how many people skip conditioner when showering, which is the worst thing you can do for your hair—especially when you’re trying to grow it long,” says Townsend. (Hear that? Please, load up on the conditioning hair masks to prevent those split ends.) “In reality, it’s actually shampoo that you should be skipping as much as possible.”
Here’s why: The purpose of shampoo is to wash away dirt and product buildup, but most shampoos are filled with harsh soaps called sulfates, which strip away natural oils you need for long, healthy hair. When you do need to cleanse your hair, make sure to choose a sulfate-free shampoo (I swear by Aveeno Pure Renewal Hair Shampoo or Ogx Coconut Milk Shampoo) and only lather up at your scalp, letting the suds slide down the rest of the hair as the water rinses the formula away.
7. Rinse hair with cold water to make it grow
According to Townsend, washing your hair with cold water at the end of your shower can give an added boost of hair-growing power. “Coldwater lays down the outer layer of your hair more smoothly, which helps prevent moisture loss, snags, and heat damage,” he says. “You only need to do it for a few seconds, but this one extra step can make a huge difference over time.” Yeah, cold showers suck, but anything for longer hair, right?
8. Load up on conditioner to avoid hair breakage
Let’s just say your conditioner should be your best friend when you’re trying to grow your hair fast. According to Townsend, you should moisturize your hair every single time you get it wet in the shower. Over time, “colouring and heat styling cause strands to get thinner at the bottom,” he says, which can lead to more breakage and shorter lengths.
So to get your ends back to good health, load up on conditioner, which helps replace the lipids and proteins inside the hair shaft as well as seal the outer cuticle. Basically, it’s your first defence against the damage that threatens your long-hair goals.
9. Try DIY deep-conditioners for hair growth
If your hair is shoulder-length or longer, it’s already about two to three years old (weird, right?), which means it likely needs more TLC than a normal conditioner can give. And that’s where DIY deep-conditioning masks come in. “I make a natural oil treatment and give it to all my clients to use pre-shampoo,” Townsend says. And trust me: It’s very easy to do at home. Just mix together the following ingredients for his easy hair-oil recipe:
1 cup unrefined coconut oil, 1 tablespoon each almond oil, macadamia nut oil, and jojoba oil
Because oils can leave behind a residue, Townsend recommends applying it to damp hair—rather than soaking wet hair—and leaving it on for 10 minutes before shampooing and conditioning to remove the oil. “These oils are able to fill strands with fatty acids, even after they’re rinsed out,” he says, and those fatty acids help strengthen and protect your hair as you grow it out. Not into DIY? Try one of these pre-made oil treatments instead:
10. Comb hair and detangle hair gently
Brushing or combing your hair is essential, obviously, but just keep in mind that aggressive brushing can cause physical damage to your hair that will prevent it from ever looking long. Basically, if you can hear the sound of the brush crunching through your strands, you’re being too rough. And be especially careful when your hair is wet and more susceptible to breakage.
“When you detangle wet hair, be sure to start from the bottom and work your way up slowly,” says Townsend. “We often instinctually brush from the scalp down, but that just pushes small tangles into one large knot and can cause you to lose a lot of hair.” Instead of using whatever janky comb you’ve had since high school, Townsend suggests reaching for a natural boar-bristle brush, which helps gently distribute your scalp’s natural oils down the hair shaft (which means healthier, more moisturized strands).
11. Prevent tangles with silk
Guess what? If you wake up with matted hair and tangles, your cotton pillowcase could be the culprit. Townsend recommends switching to a silk or satin pillowcase—it has a softer surface that won’t cause friction with your hair the way that regularly woven cotton does. And, bonus, they look (and feel!) super freaking luxe.
12. Use gentle, microfiber towels
What could be so bad about putting your hair in your super-plush bath towel? A lot, actually. "It causes so much breakage,” Townsend says. “Your hair gets caught in all the woven fibres, and since most people almost always wrap it too tight around their head, all those tiny, fragile strands around your hairline are pulled taut and prone to breaking.” Opt for a t-shirt or a super-thin microfiber hair towel instead (like this Aquis microfiber hair towel), which are much safer for wrapping.
13. Swap out your hair elastics to avoid breakage
One wrong ponytail–one!–can give you what stylists refer to as a “chemical cut.” This might sound like a new, edgy cutting technique, but it’s actually what happens when your hair breaks off at the point of tension where the elastic hair tie is wrapped. YUP. But that doesn’t mean you’re banned from ever wearing your hair up again. Just switch out your hair elastics for claw clips, bobby pins, or larger pins instead
14. Promote growth by changing up your hairstyle
PSA: Wearing your ponytail or topknot in the same place on your head every day causes your hair to break over time from the constant tension. Frequently changing your pony or bun placement is an easy move that can help maintain the strength of your strands, which means they’ll continue to grow out strong and damage-free.
The Final Word
Okay, so you definitely can’t grow your hair overnight, but you *can* change up your routine to make sure your hair is as healthy as humanly possible. Keeping it nice and hydrated, minimizing heat-tool use, and staying away from harsh hair dyes is essential if you’re looking to grow your hair. And if you’re really concerned about your hair growth, make sure you talk to your derm or see a trichologist.
Do you want to see more?
- 15 Best Hair Straighteners and Flat Irons
- How To Keep Long Hair Healthy, Hair Care Tips
- Hair Growth 101, Hair Care Tips
- How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster
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