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If you've clicked on this article, then I'm assuming you want to grow your hair (and I sure hope I'm not wrong). For years I have been growing out my hair, and when I reached the length I'd longed for, I did the most logical thing; chopped it all off. I regret it. I'm back on my hair growth journey, and thought I'd share some maintenance advice that helped me to achieve the length I wanted the first time around.
Yes, this is the most important factor of the whole list. If you take only one thing away, then let it be this: there is no miracle for hair growth. Do not buy into the products that 'fix' split ends, or 'miraculously' make your hair grow.
They generally do not work. Patience is key, and it will take time to achieve the length that you desire. I can remember when I first started growing out my hair, I would look in the mirror every morning, tapping my feet impatiently, pondering over why my hair wasn't growing. The truth is that it takes months, or even years. It's all about maintenance. Nobody said this was going to be easy. It will, however, be worth it.
Start With A Clean Canvas
If you want to grow your hair, then it is vital to lop off all the dead, dry, and damaged ends. But wait. Doesn't it seem counterproductive to shorten hair when you want it to grow?
In this case, no. If your hair is riddled with split ends, then the whole hair shaft will be damaged. This damage will cause your hair to become brittle, and brittle means breakage. Not only will a fresh cut allow your hair to grow healthier, it will instantly look healthier as well!
Keep Locks On Lockdown
By this, I mean going through your hair every month or so (or whenever you're bored) and using a sharp pair of scissors to cut off any dead ends that you spy.
If your hair is healthy overall, then maintain and nurture that health by pruning now and again. This isn't about taking off length, but preserving what you have. Your hair will let you know when it requires this step by beginning to feel limp and dry, as well as often getting tangled. Listen to your hair.
When you're going to bed, don't leave your hair down. If your hair is loose while you're tossing and turning, it can get caught on your bedding and break. Instead, braid your hair before you go to sleep, and use a scrunchie to secure the strands. The use of a scrunchie instead of a hairband helps to protect the hair, as it is more delicate on the tendrils.
Heat Is Not Your Friend
I say this because heat is damaging to our hair. Hair is dead, and so needs treating like the rarest of silks. Use lukewarm or cold water on your hair in the shower (you should only wash your hair every few days, so that you don't strip it of its natural oils).
Try not to use heat from straighteners or hair dryers without a protective serum. Allow your hair to naturally dry. When you get out of the shower, pat your hair with an old cotton top. Try not to rub your hair with a towel, as the friction will only increase damage.
I try to apply a hair mask every few months, using natural products that we already have in the cupboard. Hair masks deep condition the hair, leaving it rejuvenated and nourished.
One of my favourites is a Coconut Oil Mask, or an Egg, Honey and Olive Oil Mask. If you search for "DIY Hair Masks" on the Internet, you'll be overwhelmed with choices.
Just make sure to mash it all up properly, and wash it all out. Avocado clinging to your hair after three frantic washes is not a good look.
Speaking of oils, applying Moroccan Oil, Argan Oil, or Macadamia Oil to the ends of your hair every night can add that extra hydrating boost. These oils have been used for centuries, and are known for their hair benefits. Oils and serums also tame flyaways, and keep the hair shiny and silky. It's worth investing in, but remember to only use a little at a time, otherwise, the ends of your hair will turn greasy.
Consider What You Put Into Your Body
Your diet, as well as the amount of water you consume, plays a massive role in how quickly your hair grows. Hair is made up of protein, so eating foods high in protein will help to strengthen the shafts, like nuts, eggs, fish, and red meat.
It's also important to get enough vitamins and minerals, by eating a healthy diet, and drinking plenty of water each day. Another way of adding a little extra is through supplements, like biotin, though you should not take these without consulting your health practitioner.
My least favourite of the list (hence why it's last) is exercise. The hair follicles on our heads are stimulated by the circulation of blood in our system, and exercise increases this by raising our heart rate.
An alternative that I like to adopt for those 'lazy days' is a head massage, which stimulates the hair follicles in the exact same way. You can flip your head upside down to increase the blood flow in your scalp, though you should not do this if you have any conditions that may be affected.
Hair growth is obtainable. Despite the extensive list, which might have made it seem otherwise, your hair will naturally grow regardless. The care and nurturing that we show our locks will, however, affect the condition of our hair, and that plays a large part in how healthy it is and how quickly it grows. You know your hair better than anyone, so stick to what feels good, and try out a few things that could make all the difference.