Yes, You Can Make Your Hair Grow Faster

Photo: MCV/Firstview.
We're not sure there's anything more frustrating than waiting — for a bus, someone to call us, or especially, your hair to grow longer RIGHT NOW — that can make it feel like it's just never (and we mean, never) going to get to the length you want.
While we haven't found the formula that allows you to grow a foot of hair overnight (don't think we're not looking), we have discovered some helpful nutrition, styling, and care tips that can help. Some of the tips you may know, but some may surprise you (like tips for haircuts and lengths.) We'd also like to debunk some of the myths about how to get your hair to grow (like brushing your hair 100 times before you go to bed.) Because that's not helping anyone, and you might actually be causing breakage, which is SO not what you want.
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We asked some of the top industry experts in hair for their surefire advice they give to their own clients, some of which we've actually tried and tested. Can we report an accelerated growth rate in hair? Yep, we sure can.
Ready for a longer, stronger mane? Look no further: Let's speed it up and get to the tips, shall we?
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Photo: Courtesy of Target.com.

General Nutrition

The biggest key to what comes out of your scalp is what you put into your body. "Hair and nail health can give you a great overall picture of general health," says Emily Heser, Cutler Salon senior stylist. "If your hair is in rough shape, thinning, or doesn't seem to be growing, it's a good idea to take a closer look at what you're putting into your body. Hair is very sensitive to diet, stress, hormones, medications, even smoking. It's one of the first signs my clients notice when something in their body is 'off.'"

The biggest nutrition key for Heser? "Increase your intake of B vitamins, biotin, and folate," advises Heser. "Vitamin B6 can be found in cruciferous veggies like kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, while vitamin B12 is found mostly in animal products like fish and dairy, as well as various cereals and nut milks (good if you're vegan.) You can find folate in foods such as beets, berries, whole grains, and lentils. Some of the best foods for biotin are peanuts, almonds, walnuts, avocado, and salmon."

Pro tip: Your birth control pills can be sucking the B right out of you. "Birth control can deplete B vitamins," cautions Heser. "So, it's very important to take a supplement to keep your hair happy."

Nature Made Biotin 5000 mcg Softgels, $9.99, at Target.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dermstore.com.

Vitamins and Supplements

Outside of your diet, there are supplements you can take to help stimulate hair growth and to fortify existing strands. "There are the common Rogaine and Viviscal hair supplements, which are formulated to promote hair growth," says Edgar Parra, Sally Hershberger stylist. "But, if you want a more natural route to fuller hair, consider taking a multivitamin, which has a little bit of everything to keep your body healthy." Parra is also a huge fan of Biotin. "Biotin is great; it can help prevent the hair from going gray and stimulate scalp circulation which promotes healthier hair growth."

Pro tip: You know that tip you hear sometimes about taking prenatal vitamins for hair growth? Don't. "I would recommend staying away from prenatals," warns Parra. "[They present] too many health risks. Prenatal vitamins are intended for women trying to conceive or women that are already pregnant, so by taking these vitamins you may be preventing the body from absorbing the vital substances that it requires to function normally when you're not expecting."

Viviscal Extra Strength Hair Growth Supplements, $49.99, at Dermstore
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Photo: Courtesy of Phyto Hair Care.

Watch Your Daily Maintenance Routine

In addition to a good diet and the right supplements, Ron Williams, education director for Phyto Universe, says some simple changes in your daily hair maintenance can improve your chances for longer, stronger hair.

"Think of your daily routine in terms of dos and don'ts," says Williams. "For instance, don’t overuse heat-styling tools such as hot rollers, irons, and blowdryers. Also, don't use chemical treatments at home or leave hair uncovered when exposed to the sun; both can result in permanent damage." Williams also cautions against leaving hair weaves in longer than three months, as well as getting creative with product like deep conditioners."If the conditioner says rinse out in a certain amount of time, rinse it out. Don't exceed the recommended processing time."

Pro tip: Williams advises seeing a doctor if you have serious hair loss or scalp issues. You should take every effort to protect your hair to prevent damage to the length you have, such as treating your scalp when shampooing and using a daily moisturizer from the mid-shaft through the ends, which are always prone to dryness regardless of your hair type.

Phyto Phytokeratine Repairing Thermal Protectant Spray, $32, at Ulta.
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Mind How — and How Often — You Cut Your Hair

One of the biggest factors on which all of our experts agreed is that it's counterproductive to wait to get a haircut. "You have to be consistent with regular trims if you want to see real change," says Ricardo Dinis, Aveda's Global Artistic Director for haircutting. "If you get your hair cut more frequently, it grows more quickly. If you wait too long to get a haircut, the ends break off and it gets shorter."

Dinis also says thinning shears are to be avoided if you want the look and feel of more hair. "Thinning shears take body out of your hair. In the beginning, it gives thicker hair movement. But, as you continue to do it —especially if you get close to the root — it looks almost transparent at the ends and it drastically changes the hair."

Pro tip: Think about switching up your haircut if you're stuck in a rut. "If you’re constantly cutting your hair the same length, it might feel that it’s not growing more quickly," advises Dinis. He also advises using products like Aveda's Invati, which can stimulate hair growth and thicken existing length.

Aveda Invati System, $114, at Aveda.
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Photo: Courtesy of Redken 5th Avenue.

Extra Credit

Other tips to speeding up the growth process? First of all, don't smoke. "Smoking reduces circulation and can slow hair growth," cautions Heser. "I've also heard that second-hand smoke can make hair brittle, but I'm not 100% sure that's true. Either way, skip the smokes."

What about using protein-packed products to fortify your hair? "As a rule, more protein is NOT better," warns Heser. "Protein slightly hardens the hair to keep it strong, but too much can cause the hair to break. Moisture softens, but without protein, it will not do much to strengthen hair. It's always best to use both: more protein for chemically treated hair, more moisture for hair that's more dry." Heser advises using a strengthening shampoo/conditioner along with an intense moisture mask once a week OR use a moisturizing shampoo/conditioner with a protein/strengthening treatment once per week.

Redken Diamond Oil Deep Facets, $20, available at Ulta.
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