Adding inches to your hair

Roanna Silveira

You may have just gotten a chic pixie or a bob, only to be bombarded with images of people with long lustrous hair.

Growing hair is all about patience and taking care of what you have. You will want long and healthy hair; there’s no point to having long locks that are damaged and frizzy.

Patience: Hair grows quarter to half an inch a month. So it could even take a year for your hair to move from past your ear to your shoulder! Be patient and focus on your end goal.

Regular trims: This may seem contradictory, but if split ends form and move up the hair shaft, you’ll end up needing to cut off precious inches – much more than you would have to if you trimmed regularly. Micro trims also known as dusting, involves snipping of half a cm every three months.

Wash intelligently: Wash with warm but not hot water, as hot water removes moisture from hair. Focus on the scalp, to avoid over drying the ends. Use conditioner every time you wash your hair. Conditioner seals the cuticle and adds lipids such as ceramides. Rinse at the end with cold water to seal the cuticle. Don’t wash too often as this will strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and damaged. Don’t rub the hair with a towel, gently pat and squeeze dry with a microfiber towel or t-shirt. Never brush your hair when wet. Run a wide-toothed comb through your hair in the shower while conditioning, this will not only detangle the hair but also move the product through your tresses and spread it better.

Give your hair some love: Use a deep conditioning mask at least once a week to fight frizz and prevent damage. Focus the mask on the ends of your hair and they’re the oldest, most damaged part of the hair. Massage the scalp with oil or serum several times a week. Massaging stimulates the scalp and encourages hair growth. Castor oil has been touted to boost hair growth.

Protect your hair: UV rays from the sun are as harmful on your hair as they are on your skin. Cover your hair with a scarf or a helmet if you ride a bike, or a wide-brimmed hat.

Dial down the processing: Reduce the use of heat styling like curling, straightening or blow drying. If you’re in a hurry and need to dry your hair quickly, blow dry on the cool setting. If you must style your hair, run a thermal protectant product through your hair first.

Chemical processing can dry out and damage your hair shaft, so avoid bleaching, dyeing and other chemical processing.

Hair products, when used frequently, can build up over a period of time. Brushing through this can cause damage. Reduce the use of hairspray, but if you can’t avoid it, spray at least six inches away from the hair and do a deep cleanse every now and then to remove the product build up.

Don’t stress your hair: Anything that causes pressure to the hair and scalp, will stretch the hair and cause breakage. Tying the hair tightly in a ponytail or a bun, or braiding the hair tightly, stresses the scalp and causes breakage. Opt for loose hairstyles as much as possible or let your hair down.

Brush properly: Brushing stimulates the scalp and promotes hair growth, but brushing improperly can cause further damage. Never brush when the hair is wet, use a wide-toothed comb for this. Plastic bristles can damage the hair, so try to use one with natural boar bristles. Never brush directly from roots till ends. Brush from ends down, then work way up.

Sleep like a queen (or king): Switch to a silk pillowcase. Cotton pillowcases suck the moisture out from the hair and can snag on the hair, worsening split ends. Silk or satin are gentle on the hair.

Watch what you eat: A diet rich in certain vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids promotes hair growth. Eat a diet rich in oysters, clams (protein), grains, meats, dairy products (vitamin B), legumes and eggs (protein, vitamin B), capsicum and leafy green (vitamin C), wild salmon and hemp seeds (omega-3 fatty acids).

Check with your doctor if you feel that you are not getting enough nutrients from your diet, and if you require a multivitamin or supplement.

Try new growing out styles: There are a lot of hairstyle ideas to survive the awkward growing out phase from a pixie or a bob. If you’re growing out a fringe or bangs, try pinning them up or to the side, or incorporating them into a braided headband to get it out of the way. If you’re a man trying to grow out your hair, try using a pomade or hair wax to sweep your hair back to get it out of your face till you achieve the length you desire.

Above all, be strong when you see a celebrity sporting a cute new short bob or other hairstyle!

Here’s hoping you get the length you desire!


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