It could be the innocent trim that your stylist misread as permission to go on an all-out hack fest, or the fact that just the sight of long, flowing locks has you seeing all shades of green, but one thing’s pretty clear: you want, no, NEED, long hair. We get it. Who hasn’t, at one point or another, dreamed of donning a Disney Princess worthy mane? While simply growing out your locks may seem pretty foolproof, there are a few things worth considering. Check out our handy list of DOS and DON’TS below to help get growing:
DO: Be Realistic
This will not happen overnight, it will not happen by the end of the month, and, depending on your terminal length”the DNA-determined absolute longest your hair will grow (whether it’s just past your shoulders, or down to your ankles)”it may not happen exactly the way you want it to. Make sure you’re honest with yourself and that you’re prepared to be patient; otherwise you’ll end up disappointed, or throwing in the towel way too early.
Severely processed hair is fragile and will snap and break off, literally stopping you from meeting your grow goals. They don’t call it a chemical haircut for nothing. Sure, your roots will keep right on growing, but your ends will never, ever reach the length you desire. Avoid over-bleaching, frequent dyeing and perming or relaxing your locks. While staying au natural is best, if you absolutely must colour your hair, go for gentle, demi-permanent shades, and space out highlighting appointments as much as possible.
DO: Make the Cut
While it may seem counterintuitive, a pair of scissors is more long hair friend than foe. After all, shorter, healthier hair is much prettier than long, scraggly strands, right? Stopping in for regular trims will help prevent fuzzy, split ends and maintain your mane’s overall shape and movement. Just make sure you let your stylist in on your grow plan, so they can adjust their cutting technique. If you’re starting out with damaged locks, suck it up and try to get as much of the wreckage snipped off as possible.
DON’T: Be a Hot Head
We all love our hot tools, but overuse can be just as rough on your strands as a bleaching session. So do your best to try to cut down on the blowouts, curling, flat ironing and crimping. When you do turn up the heat, make sure you ALWAYS reach for a heat protectant”whether it’s a spray, cream or serum. Another way to cool things down: never blow out soaking wet strands. Instead, let hair partially air dry before powering on your dryer.
DO: Eat Properly
To encourage healthy hair growth, ensure that your diet is rich in iron, lean proteins, whole grains, biotin and folic acid. To make sure you get enough of the above, you can also opt for a daily multivitamin designed especially for women. Whatever you do, make sure that your food choices are balanced and that you eat enough for your body’s needs. Restrictive dieting isn’t good for you, or your hair. In fact, beyond being totally unhealthy, severely cutting calories can weaken your strands, and has been known to slow or stop growth, cause premature graying, thinning and dulling.
DON’T: Use the Wrong Tools
Practice care when brushing your mane, especially when it’s sopping wet. Use a wide tooth comb to gently detangle, and a boar bristle brush to help distribute hair-nourishing oils when your hair is dry. While working around an awkward grow out, make sure you stay away from metal accessories and rubber bands. Don’t put anything in your hair that has sharp or rough edges, or looks like it can catch or snag in your strands.
DO: Get Circulating
It turns out that keeping active can do more for you body than keep you looking and feeling fit. It can also help boost circulation, stimulate your scalp and get your hair growing faster. Put aside at least 20 minutes a day to help get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. You can also get right to the root of the problem by giving yourself a quick all-over scalp massage while shampooing. Just gently rub fingertips in a circular motion for a few minutes while you lather up.
DON’T: Fake Length
While tempting, shortcutting your way to long locks by popping in some extensions can actually hinder your natural hair’s health and growth. Whether your faux length is salon applied or clipped in, the weight of the added hair can put undue stress and stain on your roots and cause serious breakage and fallout. If you want a head of naturally long and healthy locks, be patient and try to avoid the quick fix.