Whether you’ve decided to utilise lockdown to grow out a crop, have already become little overzealous with the scissors, or are just pining for longer strands, you’ll be wondering how to grow your hair, faster.
Can you make your hair grow faster?
“The rate at which hair grows, and the length to which it will grow, is genetically determined. For most, this is 0.5 inches a month and there is nothing you can do to speed this up,” explains Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley.
However, there is an upside, “for many of us our hair isn’t growing as well as it’s capable of and it falls out before it reaches the length it ought,” adds Kingsley .
Because hair is a reactive tissue, it is ‘non-essential’ meaning you can survive without it so as a result your body gives it last priority. Therefore a poor diet and vitamin/mineral deficiencies, to high stress levels and hormonal imbalances can negatively affect the growth of your strands. Stay on top of these and you’ll soon see an improvement in condition and length of your hair.
How to make your hair grow faster
1/ CHECK THAT YOU’RE GETTING ENOUGH IRON
A lot of women do not eat enough iron. One in 10 women in the UK is anaemic, a condition which is linked to a lack of iron intake meaning that your body isn’t making enough healthy red blood cells.
“Iron is crucial for hair growth,” says Mr Chris D’Souza, a hair expert and hair transplant surgeon.
Why? When you don’t have enough, your body can’t produce hemoglobin, for your blood. This is what takes oxygen to repair and grow your cells, including those that fuel your mane.
To ensure that you’re getting enough of the mineral, make sure that your diet is rich in iron-rich foods. Dark leafy greens like spinach work, as do lentils, cashews and red meat. If you’re wondering if you may be iron deficient and want to know for sure, book in with your GP.
2/ TOP YOUR ZINC LEVELS UP
“You can help to keep your hair tissue growing by eating enough zinc,” says Mr D’Souza. Zinc is an essential mineral for health hair growth and for protecting your hair follicle – but your body can’t store it, so eating it regularly is vital.
Pumpkin seeds, shellfish and fish, eggs and legumes (think chickpeas and lentils) are all good sources. Make sure you’re getting a mix of the above a few times a week.
3/ EAT SELENIUM-RICH FOODS
A lesser-known trace mineral, this is contains enzymes which help your hair follicles to deal with environmental aggressors – things like pollution and UV rays, which in turn can keep your locks growing strong. “Brazil nuts are your main vegan source, or there’s eggs, chicken and beef,” says Mr D’Souza.
4/ ACE YOUR VITAMINS
“Vitamin A helps with cell growth. You can find this vitamin in cheese and eggs as well as sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Vitamin C supports collagen production, an important element of healthy hair growth- find it in peppers, broccoli and spinach (vitamin C also helps with iron absorption). Whilst Vitamin E provides healthy oils and antioxidant benefits – all nuts & seeds will give bountiful amounts of this,” reveals Eve Kalinik, Nutritional Therapist and Gut Health Specialist.
5/ UP YOUR OMEGA-3 INTAKE
“Omega-3 essential fatty acids are important for providing healthy fats that we need to in-take through our diet – they provide oils that keep hair shiny and well hydrated. Oily fish is the highest source of these fatty acids; think salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and pilchards. You can also find fatty acids in organic grass-fed meat, organic eggs and in a different plant-based forms such as flaxseed, chia seed and walnuts,” explains Kalinik.
6/ TRIM SPLIT ENDS
Yes, it’s annoying to pay for a cut when you only want the tiniest bits snipped. But broken hair and split ends are never going to grow any further and need to go. Leaving splits in your hair just means that the split will continue to develop, which means more breakage.
“Get it done every 8-10 weeks,” says Jack Merrick-Thirlway, senior stylist at Neville Hair & Beauty, in London’s Belgravia. “If you leave your hair for six months it will get long – but when you do get it cut, you’ll need six inches off to get it looking healthy.”
7/ TAKE A BREAK FROM HEAT STYLING
Using heat on your hair can wick away moisture from your strands, which means brittle hair which means breakage. If you want your hair to grow, try and scale your blowdrying or any heat styling to 5:2. That’s five days off, two days on.
“Another trick is to make sure that you don’t use really hot water when you wash you hair,” says Merrick-Thirlway. Why? Because the heat opens up your cuticle, which then means breakage when you follow up with your hairdryer. If you can’t bear a lukewarm shower, rinse your locks off in cold water, right at the very end.
8/ TRY A SUPPLEMENT
“If your diet is rich and complete, then you don’t need hair supplements,” says Mr D’Souza. “But if you struggle to eat all of the above, it may be worth trying one that is rich in zinc and iron.”
9/ DON’T WEAR YOUR HAIR UP, EVERYDAY
Tight hairstyles can stress out the hair that’s affected, explains Mr D’Souza. Say you have a topknot, that you whack up most days. The area that deals with that tension can be affected by extra hair breakage. And broken hair does not grow. Try to mix your hairstyle up most days, and just let it hang loose, some of the time.
10/ USE A STRENGTHENING SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
To keep your hair nourished and unbroken, so that it can keep growing, you do need to invest a little extra TLC. Try the Kérastase Résistance collection, which is designed to do just that.
Essentially a strength workout for you hair – complete with injury prevention – the clever formula promotes longer hair by rebuilding damaged hair strands from the inside-out. Plus, the formula contains Creatine R, an active complex to boost resilience and elasticity.
Once a week Merrick-Thirlway recommends applying an intensive treatment for around 20 minutes. Anytime after that and treatments stop working, so don’t waste your time leaving them in for hours.
11/ TRY A HOT SCISSOR CUT
You won’t find this in many salons, but you can request this at Neville Hair and Beauty. “We have scissors wit hot blades,” says Merrick-Thirlway. “What this means is that the heat seals the hair cuticle as we cut, so you don’t get breakage when you dry and style.”
12/ PRIORITISE SCALP HEALTH
Hair growth is reliant on scalp health – after all, your scalp is your hair’s support system. “Your scalp is simply an extension of the skin on your forehead and benefits from similar care to the skin on your face so use a daily scalp toner or serum to optimise the condition of your scalp,” advises Kinglsey.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.