There are few things more attractive to either sex than a full head of healthy, shiny, voluminous hair. Men and women alike tend to find this trait desirable. Even if you cut your hair short due to summer heat, a bad breakup, or some new styling trend, you may be interested in growing it out again before long.
However, if you’ve tried this in the past, you probably know how difficult it can be. There is the notorious “awkward” phase to get through, when your hair is too short to put in a ponytail, but too long to simply leave un-styled. Then, there’s the ongoing “grow versus trim” debate, not to mention problems related to split ends, breakage, and other damage as your hair gets longer.
In short, it can be a real pain growing your hair long. That said, if you’re committed to this pursuit, there are ways to make the process easier and keep your hair healthy in the meantime. Here are a few dos and don’ts when you decide to grow out your hair.
Don’t: Ignore Hair Thinning and Loss
All sorts of factors can contribute to thinning and hair loss, from simple aging, to hormonal changes, to heredity. Unfortunately, longer hair tends to showcase thinning a lot more than shorter styles. If you’re experiencing hair loss of any kind, you need to address it before you start growing out your hair so you can encourage thick, healthy growth.
You might want to start by scheduling an appointment with a trichologist, a scalp and hair specialist. This professional can help to determine the root cause of your hair loss (no pun intended), providing valuable information that could help you to combat the factors causing thinning.
However, you can also seek more immediate symptom reversal with advanced technologies like low-level light therapy (LLLT). This FDA-cleared treatment involves the use of a laser cap for about 30 minutes every other day to improve cellular respiration and stimulate hair follicles.
This can help you to grow thicker, healthier hair, with visible results in as little as about 30 days, and significant results in just a few months. If you’re dealing with thinning and hair loss but you’re determined to grow out your hair, LLLT is a great option to improve hair health from the get-go.
Do: Skip Shampoos
Shampoo companies have convinced us that daily shampooing is necessary, but really, they just want you to buy more product. It’s actually better for most people to cut back to just 2-3 shampoos each week so natural oils can hydrate and repair hair, keeping it healthy and beautiful.
Whether you can cut back on shampoos or you need to wash daily due to oily hair or daily exercise, for example, make sure to avoid products with harmful sulfates that strip away natural oils and dry out your hair. Switching to hair products (conditioners and styling products) without silicone can help, as well, since heavy deposits require more frequent washing.
Don’t: Skip Trims
I get it – it’s tempting to skip trimming altogether when you’re growing out hair so you can see faster results. However, this is a big mistake. Regular trims remove damaged ends so they don’t split up the shaft and do further damage, making hair look frizzy and unkempt. While you don’t need trims every 4-6 weeks like the average person maintaining a specific length and style, you should schedule a salon visit at least every three months for a trim.
Do: Brush Regularly
Sun, wind, smog, and other environmental factors can affect your hair, causing it to dry throughout the average day. So, before you rest your head on your pillow at night, make sure to run a natural-bristle brush or even a comb through it to distribute natural oils that help with hair repair. If you suffer dryness and frizz, you may also want to switch to a satin pillowcase that’s less likely to tousle your tresses.
Don’t: Heat Treat
Heat and chemicals are the two biggest contributors to hair damage, which can put a major crimp in your plans when you’re growing hair out. If length is your ultimate goal, consider cutting back on hair dye or other chemical treatments, as well as daily blowouts and styling with irons.
Do: Get Adequate Nutrients
You are what you eat, in a very real way. Proper nutrition helps to ensure that all of your bodily systems function as they should. When growing hair, which is made of a protein called keratin, it’s important to get adequate protein to encourage healthy hair, as well as a range of vitamins and other nutrients, like vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as iron and zinc, for example. With a balanced diet and supplementation from a daily multivitamin, you have the best opportunity to grow your hair long and strong.