Whether you’re trying to get over a recent haircut disaster, or simply craving long, luxurious locks, there comes a time when we all attempt to grow out long hair. Simply put: it’s not easy. Waiting for hair to grow takes dedication and patience. This means pushing through the in-between stages when things are looking a little scraggly. It also means fighting the urge to book a salon appointment for a stylish, shorter cut. That said, the understated, boho-chic appeal of long hair makes it well worth the wait. Here are a few ways to keep growing hair healthy.
To Trim or Not to Trim
A long-standing debate exists within the salon community over whether frequent trimming speeds up hair growth or not. Some claim that split ends stunt growth and advise you to trim every three months. Others say twice a year is more than enough if you’re trying to grow it out, as cutting the ends (hair grows from the root) doesn’t actually change the natural growth speed. Trimming debate aside, a general rule to follow is to trim when your hair starts to break and split significantly. Hair grows about a ¼ inch to a ½ inch every month. If it looks scraggly and dry, take the ends off and give yourself a fresh start. Regardless of whether you’re speeding things up or slowing them down, trimming off split ends as they appear will make your hair look healthier. This means you’ll probably end up happier and less frustrated with how it looks in the long run i.e. the desire to run screaming to the salon demanding that they shave your head will be mitigated somewhat.
Skip the Heat
I know. You know. But it never hurts to hear it again. When you’re really trying to keep your hair in great shape, letting it dry naturally makes a huge difference. If you can’t live without a blow-dryer on days when you wear your hair down, let it air-dry on the days when you know you’ll throw it up in a bun or a ponytail. High heat is severely damaging to your hair, and every little bit makes a difference.
Braid it up
Many longhaired ladies swear by braids to give their hair added volume and wave without the detrimental effects of using hair products or heat. Try braiding your hair after a shower. Towel dry, braid two sections of hair (think toned-down Pippi Longstocking) and leave them in for 30-40 minutes while you finish getting ready. When you pull them out, you’ll have subtle, frizz-free waves without ever touching a curling iron or a blow dryer. This trick is also great to leave in overnight.
A healthy lifestyle is perhaps the most important factor in keeping your growing hair well balanced and beautiful. Eating right is crucial for ensuring strong and shiny hair and nails. Foods that contain Omega-3’s (such as eggs, fish, or flaxseed) are proven to promote healthy hair. If you struggle to get enough Omega 3’s in your diet, try taking a flax or fish oil supplement to boost your intake and keep your hair strong. Other foods to include are low-fat dairy products, which contain calcium (an important mineral for hair growth.) Avocados, whole-grains, and dark, green leafy vegetables (which collectively contain Vitamins A, C, B-12 and more Omega 3’s) are also ideal additions to your healthy hair diet.