Ever dream of growing your tresses at Rapunzel-like speed, only to see your efforts fall short?
Fortunately, experts assure us there are several things that can be done to help promote growth, starting with identifying the root of the problem.
"I have heard many clients are frustrated with the rate their hair is growing,” says Angelo David of the Angelo David Salon in New York. “I think the decreasing rate of hair growth can be inadvertently self-inflicted. Perhaps they are not shampooing their hair properly or overexposing hair with chemicals during coloring or highlights or using hot tools constantly.”
When it comes to preventing breakage, David says it’s essential to invest in proper hair tools. Skip the plastic brushes, which can be harsh on your sensitive scalp, and instead, opt for a brush with 100 percent natural boar bristles to make smoothing hair easier, especially those with delicate tresses. And, David adds, soft bristles won’t create split ends. Also, try to avoid too-tight ponytails and similar styles that can pull hair and hinder growth.
Like your brush, you also want your hair products to be just as gentle. Melissa Harvey, a trichologist for Bio Follicle, warns that your favorite shampoo and conditioner could be doing more harm than good.
“Every product you use to wash your hair should be paraben and sulfate-free,” says Harvey, who emphasizes that your goal should be to have a healthy hair follicle and scalp, which will promote quicker growth. “Shampoos normally don’t have their pH balance listed so the main ingredient you want to look for to signify that it is too harsh for your hair is SLS (sodium laurel sulfate).”
When it comes to getting longer tresses, "prenatal vitamins and Biotin are probably the most popular," says senior stylist Eric Rosado at New York salon Ted Gibson. “Stimulation to the scalp with ingredients, such as peppermint and tea tree oil also can assist with hair growth. (But) in my 20 years of experience, the best way to achieve a luscious mane is consistent hair trimming and professional salon treatment every six to eight weeks.”
Grabbing the scissors may sound like the last thing you want to do when trying to make your hair grow, but cutting the ends of your hair does not affect the follicles in your scalp, which determines how quickly your hair grows. Rather, it eliminates those pesky split ends, reducing breakage and creating more room for growth.
“Hair grows at a rate of a quarter inch every two weeks,” adds Harvey.
Overall health can play a role for those who are struggling to make hair grow longer faster as both stress and poor diet can play a role in decreasing growth.
“Hair is an extension of the skin as are nails,” says South Beach-based stylist Danny Jelaca, who has worked with Jennifer Lopez and Naomi Campbell, among others. “Always eating the right diet with amino acids is advisable. Protein is the building block of hair.”
Jelaca also suggests regular scalp manipulations, which he describes as any type of pinching motion to bring up blood flow to the scalp. Hesitant about doing it yourself? A stylist who specializes in thinning hair will be able to do them for you. You can also do scalp massages, which also stimulates blood flow to the scalp.
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