I always wanted long hair as a child. All throughout my childhood and teenage years I went to the hairdresser and told them to take off what was needed. In my last couple of years of high school my hair went from being long to being ridiculously long. So whether you want to grow your hair past your shoulders or if you’re trying to go for the Rapunzel look these are my top ten tips for growing healthy long hair:
1. Find a hairdresser you can trust and visit them at least every three months
This tends to be the biggest mistake that people make when trying to grow their hair long. It seems logical that the longer you want your hair the less you should go in for a cut right? Wrong. The more regularly you get your hair trimmed, the less they have to take off. Walking into a hair dresser once or twice a year and then being annoyed when they take more than five centimetres off is counterproductive, the aim is healthy long hair, not straw-like hair that looks like it’s been chewed by goats. So visit your hairdresser frequently and trust their expertise in keeping your hair looking the best. It’s also a good idea to ask for a protein and moisture treatment every time you go. The salon I go to even throws in a free massage with the treatments.
2. Wash your hair every second day instead of everyday
Over-washing hair can strip your hair of the natural oils and lead to dry split ends. I thought I had a very oily scalp until I made the transition. It was really difficult at first but about two months in my scalp started producing much less oil. Shampooing takes the oil out of your hair and sometimes the scalp overcompensates by creating more. When you wash long hair, shampoo the scalp and condition the mid-lengths to ends. I comb the conditioner through my hair with a wide tooth comb and leave it in while I wash my body and then face, giving it time to soak into my hair. Also rinse you hair out with cool water, this closes the cuticle of the hair which makes it more resistant to damage.
3. Go easy on the brushing
Brushing does a lot of damage to the hair so it’s a good idea to limit it. The only brush that should go anywhere near your hair when wet is a wide tooth comb. Also the best way to brush long hair is from the bottom up rather than the top down. When someone first explained this to me I thought they were nuts because I thought they meant you put the brush in your hair at the bottom and then drew it up to the top, DON’T do that. What you should do is insert the brush into your hair about five centimetres from the end and then brush down. Then you put the brush in about ten centimetres from the ends and brush down and repeat until your hair is brushed. This prevents you from brushing all the knots together.
4. Do a weekly hair treatment
This really improved the condition of my hair. I find the best way to do it is in the shower (the steam helps) once a week when you have some extra time. Put the treatment in after shampooing, comb it through and then clip your hair back. Leaving the treatment in for 5-10 min can seem a bit steep but I usually use this time to do some extra pampering, I turn the water off and exfoliate, shave, scrub my feet or all of the above. I would recommend a protein treatment for fine hair, a moisture treatment for coarser hair, and to alternate between the two if your hair is neither coarse nor fine.
5. Let your hair dry naturally when you can
This is a tough one for a lot of women but it does really help if between once a week to once a month you wash your hair and then let it do it’s thing without product or heat. I usually do it on a day I don’t have to leave the house.
6. Use leave in conditioner
This is particularly important if you live somewhere dry or with hard water. After towel drying your hair (which should be done gently by squeezing rather than rubbing) add a leave in conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair and comb through with a wide tooth comb. Don’t put it anywhere near your scalp or your hair will look greasy once it has dried.
7. Use quality products on your hair
Some people will tell you that they use the same ingredients in shampoo and conditioner no matter the price point. While this is mostly true, the biggest difference between cheap hair products and expensive products is the concentration of the ingredients. An expensive conditioner will be much thicker and more moisturising than a cheap one, therefore you use less, which often means there will be little to no saving using cheap products in the long run.
8. Work with your texture
Learn how to work with your hair texture not against it. If you have thick curly hair don’t copy styling tips from people with thin straight hair, they often will result in disaster. Ask a hairdresser who has a similar texture to you how she does her hair. Talk to your hairdresser about layering and how it will work for you. If you have very curly hair you may need quite a bit of layering, if your hair is very thin and fine maybe no layering at all. I personally had hair that curled more the longer it was so I had a bit of layering to stop it from looking like I was storing double lint in the ends of my hair.
9. Know at what length to stop
If you follow these tips to the letter you might be able to grow your hair to ridiculous lengths, but that doesn’t mean you should. If you find yourself getting more headaches than usual as your hair gets longer then get it cut, ditto with neck problems. Sometimes your hair is just too heavy for your scalp and neck to deal with. Also stop at a manageable length, if you find blow drying, washing or brushing your hair a chore then cut it a bit shorter. Beginning to feel that your hair has reached a scary length? Time to get a cut. I don’t think there is a specific length that everyone should stop at but the moment for me was when I was beginning to be able to sit on my hair, it was more of a pain than anything else.
10. Have patience
There is nothing you can do to make your hair grow faster, so if you really want longer hair, you’re just going to have to wait.
What are your tips for growing longer hair?