For as long as I can remember, I’ve had long hair. My mom never let me cut it growing up, so once I had the freedom to make my own hair choices, I cut it off.
I’ve always loved long hair and I’ve always loved short hair, so for years, I’ve been going back and forth between the two–growing my hair out, cutting it off, repeat.
I didn’t donate my hair at first, mostly because I didn’t know how to at the time. I would cut off six to seven inches at a time, but once I realized I could donate my hair, I started doing that instead of just cutting it and throwing it away.
Last December, I donated 11 inches of my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. My hair has grown nine inches since then (in seven months, if you’re counting) and in the next few months I’ll be donating another 11 inches.
Going through this process multiple times has taught me how my hair likes to be managed, what encourages it to grow, and what damages it. I encourage you to pay close attention to how your hair reacts under different circumstances so you can grow your hair long, too!
I’m not a hair expert but any means; I’m just a girl who grows her hair and donates it every year. Here are my tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way!
1. I no longer wash my hair everyday.
My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it. I have yet to find a dry shampoo that I really like but, washing my hair everyday dries out the ends and makes my scalp oily.
I wash my hair only every other day now and tend to wear it up when I have second-day hair.
2. I don’t dye my hair often or use harsh products on it.
I used to dye my hair all the time, especially in college. About four years ago, I stopped dying my hair all together because I wanted to embrace my natural color.
Harsh products damage your hair which stunt growth and mean you may have large sections of damaged hair that you have to cut off. It’s recommended to avoid sulfates, phthalates, parabens, alcohol, etc. in your shampoos and conditioners.
If your hair is sensitive to dye or a product you use, I suggest cutting it out of your routine and finding a gentler solution. If you are going to dye you hair, do it in the healthiest way possible.
2. Wear clips not ponytails.
Ponytails, especially ones with metal on them, put extra stress and tension on your hair. If you wear your hair up, go the sock bun route or use a clip to hold it in place to prevent breakage.
3. Deep condition and massage your scalp.
I recommend using one with argan or coconut oil in it because it helps to hydrate your hair and make it smoother. I use this one on a bi-weekly basis. I only use it on the ends of my hair, not my scalp.
I also massage my scalp in the shower to stimulate my roots and encourage growth. I don’t know if there is any scientific research behind this, but it sure works for me.
4. Take care of your split ends and trim your hair every six weeks.
Split ends are the result of damage due to heat or stress on the hair. Most people have some split ends, even if they try hard to avoid them. I use this Shine So Bright Split End Treatment from Lush on my split ends.
Not taking care of your split ends can lead to further damage and splitting of the hair shaft. Keep your hair healthy by trimming the split areas and trimming your hair regularly.
I trim about a quarter of an inch off every six weeks or so to keep my ends from being too dry and dull.
5. Alternate between a clarifying and hydrating shampoo.
For me personally, I can’t use the same shampoo multiple days in a row. They are either too stripping or too hydrating; my scalp needs a balance of the two.
I use a clarifying shampoo to remove excess product buildup and oil, and the next wash I’ll use a hydrating shampoo to bring life and hydration back to my hair.
I only use a nickel size amount of shampoo to keep the product from building up in my hair and weighing it down.
(When it comes to conditioner — I always use the Pantene Beautiful Lengths conditioner).
6. Take a multi-vitamin* and stay hydrated.
Vitamin deficiencies can stunt your hair’s growth. They are also just good nutritional supplements to round out your diet.
Just like dehydration can show up in your skin, it can show up in your hair, too. My hair always feels healthier when I’m hydrated. I typically aim for six to eight cups per day.
*Check with your doctor before taking any vitamins.
7. Use less heat and let your hair air dry (and don’t brush it!).
I hardly ever brush my hair — maybe once or twice per week. Most days I simply squeeze the excess water out of my hair, being careful not to tug too hard.
If your hair is really damaged and sensitive, don’t dry it with a towel! Wrap paper towels around it and squeeze gently to remove the water. Then brush through it with your fingers and let it air dry.
If I do need to brush my hair, I use a wet brush. If I need to blow dry, straighten or curl my hair, I use a heat protectant spray to lessen the impact of the heat.
Growing your hair takes time, but with the right tricks, you can encourage your hair to grow faster.
If you have any tips or tricks for healthy hair, I’d love to hear them!