5 Tricks for Growing Your Hair Really, Really Long
Want to grow out a haircut you hate or try to achieve an ass-grazing length? Read on.
- Remember that it can’t grow overnight. Unless your scalp unleashes new strands like a Chia Pet, gaining new length is going to take time. “Hair typically only grows about a quarter of an inch — to a half an inch max — a month,” says celebrity hair stylist Mark Townsend, who helped Ashley Olsen grow out her asymmetric bob to past her waist. “And that’s only if it is super-healthy and doesn’t have a ton of split ends.” The bottom line: Practice patience.
- Ironically, scissors are your friend. Although getting regular trims to snip splits won’t make your hair actually grow faster, it will keep tips looking healthy and prevent splits from working their way up strands, requiring you to chop hair off more often. “If you wait so long that splits are causing your hair to break off high up on the strand, your hair will actually be shorter than if you get consistent trims,” Townsend says, who suggests asking your stylist to take around just an eighth of an inch off every 10 to 12 weeks to prevent extreme split ends before they start.
- Use conditioner every time you shampoo. “If your hair is wet, that means you have to condition it,” Townsend says. “Over time, from coloring and heat styling, strands start to get thinner at the bottom.” Conditioner helps replace the lipids and proteins inside the hair shaft, “as well as seal the cuticle to help prevent more damage from happening so that you can get your hair to grow longer and look healthier,” he says.
- And don’t shampoo every time you shower. “It’s shocking to me how many women skip conditioner when showering, which is the worst thing you can do for your hair — especially when you’re trying to grow it long — and it’s actually shampoo that you should be skipping as much as possible,” Townsend says. Here’s why: The purpose of shampoo is to wash away dirt and product buildup, but it can also take essential natural oils that keep strands soft and healthy along with it. When you really do need shampoo, be gentler on your hair by only lathering up at your scalp and then simply letting the suds slide down strands, hitting the rest of the hair as the water rinses it away.
- Apply an oil or mask treatment weekly. Hair that touches your shoulders or beyond can be several years old and most likely needs more TLC than normal conditioner. Townsend suggests using moisture-based masks and oils weekly. “I make a natural oil treatment and give it to all of my clients to use pre-shampoo,” Townsend says. (His easy recipe: 1 cup of unrefined coconut oil mixed with 1 tablespoon each of almond, macadamia, and jojoba oils.) Because oils can leave a residue on hair, he says to apply it to damp hair, leave it on for 10 minutes, then shampoo and condition like normal. “These oils are able to fill strands up with fatty acids and then, when rinsed out, using regular shampoo helps seal them inside hair,” Townsend says, adding that Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger, and Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen are fans. Not into DIY? Try an oil-based hair treatment instead.