If you're dreaming of growing your hair long, you'd probably love it if you could wake up to lustrous, flowing locks tomorrow. Unfortunately, the fact remains that the hair on your head only grows about six inches every year; that's about 1/2 inch a month.
The key to making sure that beautiful, healthy, long hair is in your future is to take steps today to protect it from damage. Damaged hair is fragile and prone to breakage, which obviously is not good when length is your goal. Here are a few tips to help you grow long, healthy hair.
- Get regular trims. Everyone who is trying to grow out their hair hates this advice, but longer hair can develop split ends, and it's crucial to get them snipped off before those splits move up the hair shaft. If you're taking good care of your hair, all you should need is routine teeny tiny hair cuts every 10 to 12 weeks. Ask your stylist to trim off about an eighth of an inch.
- Shampoo less frequently. Shampoo is designed to cleanse away dirt and product buildup, but it also removes the natural oils that help hair maintain shiny softness and health. You can even get away with skipping shampoos after a workout; try just rinsing your hair with water and adding a touch of conditioner to the ends. You may be surprised at how clean this gets your hair. When you do shampoo, apply it to the scalp where it's needed the most.
- Apply an intensive weekly treatment. The longer hair gets, the more protection and TLC it needs. You can buy a commercial product or whip up your own concoction at home as a weekly treat for your hair. Unrefined coconut oil mixed with a small amount of almond oil makes a luxurious treatment for the hair. Apply it to damp hair and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then shampoo it out and condition as usual. The oils help to fill strands with protective fatty acids.
- Limit heat styling. Anything that dries out your hair can lead to damage and breakage that will get in the way of growing long healthy hair. Blow dryers, hot combs and flat irons should only be used once a week or less to reduce damage to the hair. When you use them, use the lowest heat setting you can get away with.
If you want a long head of hair that will truly be your crowning glory, you'll need to treat your hair like spun gold as it grows. If your hair doesn't seem to be growing in healthier despite taking these steps, a dermatologist can help you get to the root of the problem. If you're looking for a place to trim your split ends, visit A Cut Above.