Having bleached, heated and brushed all life out of my hair since I was 12 years old, my poor mop was more frizzy than an electrocuted angora rabbit’s fur.
Each time I tried to grow it, the split ends would just snap off and the condition seemed to get worse and worse – unsurprising as I’d killed it so much with all the chemicals and singeing heat of GHDs!
At 23 I decided I’d mistreated my poor locks enough, and I couldn’t bear waking up looking like Garth from Wayne’s World. 18 months on and my hair has grown around 9 inches but more importantly, it looks and feels so much healthier that it’s barely recognisable, and takes much less time to style.
Top tips for growing hair and improving its condition:
1. Step away from the straighteners (and the bleach)
It was so.incredibly.painful…but I spent the first six months avoiding all bleach and heat. As bad as it sounds, and as hooked on heat as you may be, I can’t recommend it enough because if you have any chance growing it and keeping it healthy you’re going to have to get used to a life less hot and blonde. (Heat as in temperature, obviously).
2. Use a deep conditioner once a week
My recommendation would be the Elasticizer by Philip Kingsley. If your hair is particularly damaged, then Elasticizer Extreme is an even stealthier version. Designed for porous hair that is extremely damaged, it works to increase the elasticisty of your hair – preventing it from snapping off. It advises you to leave it on and cover with a cap for 10-20 minutes but I like to be a baller and leave it on over-night.
You have to really rinse it out well because it can make your hair sticky if you don’t wash it completely out – but as Philip Kingsley advises in his book The Hair Bible (the best book for anyone wanting to care for their hair) you should thoroughly rinse your hair every time you shower, and once you think it’s thoroughly rinse, rinse it one more time!
The man is a hair genius.
3. Use a conditioning oil twice a day
I can’t recommend Moroccan Oil enough. The stuff is sent from the Gods. It smells heavenly and it keeps your hair feeling supple and soft with just a tiny amount rubbed into the ends and combed through the lengths. Each bottle lasts for months – a £30 bottle lasted me 6 months and I used it twice daily.
4. Use a heat protector
I stupidly spent the best part of 10 years straightening my hair without any heat protection. It’s like stepping out into the hottest sun without any suncream on, or sitting against a radiator with no clothes on (also, not recommended).
I have grown my hair and discovered Instagram filters
5. Use a brush with plastic bristles
Brushes with metal bristles can be very harsh on the hair shaft and damage the cuticles of the hair. Also, brushing too vigorously can split your hair strands and pull your hair out unnecessarily. Tangle Teezers are absolutely perfect for someone trying to take care of and grow out their hair because it is gentle and easy to brush with it. It’s also easy to clean, which helps you to avoid grease and dirt, making the hair look glossier.
6. Avoid hair bands with metal or elastic
I didn’t realise this until I started researching how to grow my hair, but, as brushes with metal bristles do, hairbands with metal bits or bare elastic tear and damage the hair when used. Buy hair bands covered in material and avoid tying your hair too tightly to keep your hair growing long and strong.
This is a damaged hair from using elastic bands with metal clips.
Massaging your scalp encourages natural oils which stimulate the hair follicles and encourage growth. I try to massage my scalp at least a couple of times a week if not more.
8. Drink lots of water
Drinking plenty of water keeps your hair healthy making it shinier and glossier. My new year’s resolution last year (2013) was to drink more water – and I’ve made a conscious effort to drink at least 2 pints more water than I would normally every day. It’s amazing how much better it makes you feel, and how much shinier your hair looks as a result.
9. Avoid smoking
I love a sneaky cigarette here and there but the impact it has on your hair really is noticeable. If you’re a smoker and you want to grow your hair, it’s a great motivation to give up. See my post about e-cigarettes for some more info on giving up.
10. Eat more protein
Protein encourages growth of hair and nails, so naturally eating more of it will help increase the growth rate of your hair! I tried to increase the amount of chicken and eggs I ate, but you can also take supplements with biotin and protein in if you don’t like to change your diet.
These are my top ten tips for healthy hair growth, and having followed these tips religiously I can safely say my hair is looking better that ever. I’d recommend Philip Kingsley’s Hair Bible to anyone looking for some further reading – it can be bought on FeelUnique.com.