How are we all doing? I don't know about you but this weather is making me feel pretty gloomy. I get the highest of urges during Winter, particularly January (after it's stopped being Christmassey - boo) to hibernate until the summer. Who's with me? Somebody please make that a thing!
Anyhoo, today's post is one I've been meaning to write for a while now, yet has remained in my drafts up until this moment. I know there are many posts like this in the beauty blogging world, and you may even get some more helpful advice from others. But, seeing as I have pretty long hair now, and used to envy those girls with naturally long locks, I figured it can't hurt to share my advice with anyone else struggling to grow their hair. So, here I will pass down my tips and tell you my hair story. Enjoy!
The Tale of Rapunzel.. or not quite
Back in the days of high school, I used to torture my hair with heat. Straighteners were my addictive yet ever so destructive kryptonite, and I definitely shared a love-hate relationship with them. The reason why, you ask? Well, to put it straight (no pun intended, ha ha), without my beloved hair appliances, I had an afro for a head of hair. It was frizzy, uncontrollable, just ridiculously curly - and not in the good way! So, for way too long, I ended up straightening my hair every day, twice a day. I didn't use heat protection spray enough. Yep, you can only but imagine how much damage I caused to my hair.
As a result of this crazy obsessive phase of my life which I try so hard to forget about, I ended up going to the hairdressers one day and had to get, like, half of it chopped off. I was devastated - no girl wants to hear that! But it needed to be done, because I was FULL of split ends, and my hair was even at a point where too much was falling off due to all that heat damage - oh dear!
I've even dug out some embarrassing old pictures to show you just how short it was - you're welcome!
After this traumatic experience, it's safe to say I learnt my lesson, and proceeded to treat my hair with the tender loving care it deserved. I drastically reduced the amount of times I straightened it during the week, substituted with clip-in extensions for special occasions so I wasn't completely depressed, and implemented a few other changes into my hair routine. It's taken about 2/3 years to grow my hair to the length it is now - it's definitely not a quick, easy process, but it's definitely worth it. And hey, if I managed to do it, it should be achievable for you too! Here are my top tips for getting the long hair you've always wanted:
Step One: Stop Getting Monthly Trims
I know there will be masses of people who will disagree with me on this one, and I'm not saying that what worked for me will work for everyone else - but I'm just talking from my own personal experience! I'm well aware of all the advice we're fed about how you should always get regular trims to boost your hair growth, and get rid of split ends. Of course, it gets rid of split ends, and in my opinion, that's the only plus side. But after my anguish at the hairdressers all those years ago, I started going considerably less - partly because I was scared, but partly because I was fed up of having short hair, and ending back up at square one every time I went by getting more cut off.
So, I haven't been to the hairdressers for a very long time.. and it worked! Split ends were a problem, but I figured I would wait until my hair got to a reasonable length I was comfortable with before I got any trimmed off. My general rule of thumb is that if it'd still be considered long with at least an inch cut off, it's safe to get a trim! So that's what I did last summer, except I got my friend (who is just as good at doing hair) to trim an inch of those split ends off. I'm still pretty distrusting towards hairdressers, just because they always cut off more than you actually want (and you know I'm right on that one!) but that one trim has done the trick pretty nicely. Sure, I still get split ends, but not to the extent as they were before. I make sure to look after my hair properly now to minimise their appearance!
Step Two: Resist Those Urges To Dye It Too Often
Some people are as addicted to dying their hair as I was addicted to straightening mine all those years ago. My own sister used to be the same - I've lost count of how many different colours have been in her hair, and almost every month was a different look! But she's been a lot more sensible in the past few months and her hair has improved considerably. Luckily I've never had such a strong tendency to dye my hair a different colour frequently - my hair has been a few different colours, but they usually remain the same colour for a while, and were often non-permanent dyes. So for that reason I think that's given me an advantage in hair growth - even this year I've transitioned to blonde ombre and intend to go fully blonde someday, but the process has been slow. I've spaced out the amount of bleach I put on it between months, just to make sure I'm not doing too much damage to it. You can even see my progress from gingery-awkward ombre to bleach blonde ombre in the sidebar under popular posts! So, if you are planning on bleaching your hair, do it gradually rather than all at once and you should be fine ☺
Step Three: Go Easy On The Heat
This is probably a slightly obvious one, but still important nonetheless! We all know heat from any kind of appliance, be it curlers, straighteners, or hair-dryers, can ruin your hair if done too much, so I'd really advise you to only do it if and when it's necessary! The usual rule I like to follow is if I'm going out, I can straighten it - be it college or a social outing etc. But sometimes, even for college, I won't bother! It's just not worth it in the long-term, and I've found that my hair looks so much better when I straighten it after a period of leaving it natural for at least a few days. So, no more than a few times a week is best.. same for curling! I also don't blow dry my hair every single time I've washed it, leaving it to dry naturally is much more healthy, and always use heat protection when you do so.
Step Four: Invest In A Good Deep Conditioning Treatment
This was advice I took from one of my nicer hairdressers, and boy has it helped the state of my hair since! If your hair is naturally thick and hard to manage like mine, you will benefit greatly from a deep conditioner. They're usually sold in big tubs and feel amazing on the hair - you leave them in for a few minutes (I usually leave mine longer for extra conditioning) and voilà! Beautiful, shiny, manageable hair. Not only does it make it look more healthy (which is a bonus if split ends are your nightmare) they usually last ages, since they're not meant to be used everyday. Twice a week is good, once a week if your hair is prone to getting greasy fast.
Here are a list of some of my favourite products I've tried and tested:
- Andrew Barton Frizz Tamer
- Percy & Reed Totally TLC Hydrating Hair Mask (loved this one, has marshmallow in it!)
- Umberto Giannini Frizzi Intense Recovery Mask with Argan Oil
- Pantene Pro-V 2min Colour Damage Rescue Treatment Masque for Coloured Hair
If you're into more natural treatments, a supposedly good remedy for split ends that can be easily accessed from the cupboards of your kitchen is a honey, egg yolk, and olive oil mixture. I've tried this only once by applying to the ends of my hair, so I can't tell you for sure whether it works or not. I think you're supposed to do it every two weeks, but honestly, I find it easier to use the store-bought stuff!
Step Five: Start Taking Your Vitamins
One thing that really helped me grow my hair is vitamin supplements - I started taking them about a year and a half ago, and I noticed huge improvements in my hair growth. It's not a miracle worker and your hair won't grow 5 inches overnight, but it will definitely grow quicker than it would without supplements! I used to get Perfectil vitamins for hair, skin and nails, and they made my hair lovely and shiny. You can get ones to boost hair growth specifically, too, though I think the original ones work just as well. If you're interested, you can buy them here.
Step Six: Let Your Hair Breathe
The least and likely most simple tip I'd like to finish on is letting your hair breathe once in a while. By that, I don't just mean avoiding primping it with technology, but also by going easy on the products and letting your hair down once in a while. Don't wash your hair everyday as you'll only strip it of it's natural oils, and try to only tie it up once a week. I know this isn't always practical in windy weather or hot sticky weather, but too much friction on your hair can weaken it and cause more to fall out!
Sorry about that pile of clothes in the corner of my room.. a mountain was forming that day!
Good old snapchat screenshot, but you get the idea - my hair looks long and full!
So there we have it, my personal tips on boosting your hair growth. Genes will also obviously play an important factor in your hair's natural ability to grow, so what's worked for me might not work for everyone, but a lot of the things I've mentioned here will be mentioned elsewhere. I'm sure of it!
Best of luck in your hair growing ventures.. let me know if you try anything listed here and how it turned out for you! xx
What's helped you grow your hair?