BY MARIA SCINTO
It’s a new year — a new decade, even — and you’ve decided its time for a new ‘do. While there are plenty of cute short and medium styles, perhaps you’ve decided you want to try a long hair look. What can you do to encourage your hair to grow faster so it’s long enough to put in a ponytail or up in a bun before year’s end?
There is no “Miracle Grow” for hair that can take you from a buzz cut to Rapunzel — unless you resort to wigs or extensions, that is. Proper hair care and nutrition, however, will help your hair to grow as quickly as it’s capable of doing.
Use a boar bristle brush to encourage hair growth
Every night before you go to bed, take a few minutes — and a natural, boar-bristle brush — to give your hair a good brushing. Meri Kate O’Connor, senior colorist and hair educator at Eva Scrivo Salon, recommends, “Starting at the scalp, use a boar bristle brush to distribute your scalp’s oils evenly onto your hair so it stays naturally moisturized,” (via Good Housekeeping).
While “scalp oil” may sound gross, the brushing moves it away from the hair roots, thus reducing any tendency to become greasy in that area, and pushes it all the way to the hair’s ends, making those less dry. Bonus: brushing also stimulates the scalp, which increases the circulation that can help promote hair growth.
Eat a balanced diet
Hair grows at different rates for different people, but, on average, you should be seeing about a half inch per month. If your hair doesn’t seem to be getting any longer, though, it may be because you’re not eating the right things.
Jenny Sobera, M.D., FAAD, and Board Certified Dermatologist at Village Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama, tells Oprah Magazine, “Healthy foods, such as healthy fats rich in Omega-3, fruits, and vegetables contain the vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy hair.”
NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Francesca Fusco suggests, “Try increasing your protein intake with foods like fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains.”
Switch out your pillowcase
Dr. Sobera has another suggestion for promoting hair growth that might seem like the height of luxury, but is likely going to run you less money, and benefit your hair a lot more, than some type of dubious hair growth supplement.
She recommends trading in your cotton pillowcase for a silk one, saying, “The decreased friction from a silk or satin pillowcase can help reduce hair breakage and improve overall hair quality.” The silk pillow hack can also help keep your hair frizz-free and even prevent you from waking up with sleep wrinkles on your face, so it’s a win-win strategy.
Get an ‘invisible trim’
While it might seem counter-intuitive to get your hair cut in order to promote its growth, the fact is, letting it grow unchecked just allows the ends to weaken to the point where they tend to split and then just snap off. British hairstylist Luke Hersheson told the UK edition of Vogue that “… getting the ends snipped every three months will prevent it breaking off.”
George Northwood, the hairstylist to the Duchess of Sussex (better known to us non-Brits as Meghan Markle), recommends, “Have an invisible trim every three months. This is where we skim the ends without taking off length.” Pretty painless, but evidently effective — and hey, if it’s good enough for Meghan’s hair, count us in.