10 Best Practices for Growing Long Healthy Hair
We all want strong and beautiful healthy hair, but it can be easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out what actually works. There are definitely a lot of gimmicks out there! While there is no product or supplement that will make your hair grow instantly, here are a few super easy ways to make sure that you’re growing your best hair!
And the best way to do that…is to nourish your body. Strong and healthy hair starts on the inside! Did you know that as soon as the hair leaves the follicle in your scalp, it's technically “dead”? This means that its SUPER important to give our hair all the nourishment and building blocks that we can, by making good choices about what we put in our bodies. There are lots of ways we can nourish our hair and no one thing will make a dramatic change. It won’t happen overnight but a commitment to these practices will start to show over time and make long lasting results.
1. Nutrient Dense Foods
We know that what we eat affects the way our bodies work, and if we lack adequate amounts of the essential nutrients required for overall health, we start to see symptoms like weak, dull hair, that is prone to breakage or stunted growth. A nutrient dense, restriction-free diet is key to healthy growing hair. Eating a wide variety of whole foods will be the best way to fuel your body for hair growth. Ensuring that you’re getting plenty of protein, healthy fats (omegas), sufficient carbohydrates and loads of vitamins and minerals will allow your body to perform all of its complex duties.
A few of our top nutrients, foods and teas for hair growth are:
- Protein- collagen, eggs, nuts and seeds
- Healthy Fats- fish, seeds, avocados and plant oils
- Probiotics- fermented foods
- Antioxidants- nettle tea, all fruits and vegetables; especially squash
- B Vitamins- whole grains, dairy, legumes, seafood, poultry, eggs
- Biotin- eggs, banana (including the inner peel)
- Silica- horsetail tea, brazil nuts, brown rice
There is so much information about healthy ‘diets’ out there, check out this post for more on this topic from a Holistic Nutritionist here!
2. Turn Down the Heat
Heat is the number one cause of excessive hair damage. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always from curling irons or flat irons! In cold winter weather, many of us enjoy taking hot showers. However, what we don’t often consider is that this hot water is zapping the moisture from our hair and skin. Try washing your hair separately in lukewarm water, or, just turning down the dial a bit. If you’re really attached to your blow-dryer and irons, make sure you’re using a good thermal protectant prior to applying heat.
3. More Hair Masks
Hair masks are such a great way to give the hair some extra love and nutrients. If you are prone to dry, brittle/breaking or coarse hair, or have colour treated hair, it’s great to incorporate a restructuring hair treatment or mask into your routine; check with your hair care professional to see what they recommend for you or check out this video on the Wet Stretch Test to find out yourself! We love - Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrating Hair Masque, Organic Colour Systems Aquaboost, Organic Colour Systems Powerbuild, Innersense Organic Beauty Harmonic Healing Oil.
DIY hair oil masks; like raw coconut, avocado and olive oil are controversial. They tend to build up on the hair and are unlikely to actually penetrate through. Their ability to provide nourishment is questionable. How oils are processed is important for getting the max benefits. Build up of these can actually inhibit other nutrients from getting through and may make things worse. If this is the case for you, we highly recommend something to clarify and remove that build up (which can take time). We love this gentle Detox Masque to reset things without drying out our hair.
Oil can easily build up on the scalp which can lead to clogged pores if not properly washed out. A double wash will be needed to get all the oils out once it's time to rinse, condition and style as usual and enjoy your flowy locks! Why not also use this time for a bit of relaxing self-care? I like to light some candles, turn on my aromatherapy diffuser, wrap my hair up in a Stray & Wander small towel (to keep the heat in for better absorption of the product) and delve into a good book.
4. Regular Trims
There’s no way around it, once we start to see those split ends, it's time to get a snip. There is no product or treatment that can mend your split end back together. Split ends are normal, but if you don’t take care of them, they will continue to get worse, splitting up the strand and you’ll end up having to cut off even more to fix the damage. Getting a trim every 3-4 months will help prevent split ends helping to grow your hair out nice and long.
5. Ditch the Cotton Pillowcase
I would highly recommend that you consider switching to a silk pillowcase; luxurious, right? While cotton is an amazing fabric, it can absorb the moisture from your hair and skin, and easily mess up your styled hair. If you toss and turn at night, cotton pillowcases can weaken your hair, potentially adding to breakage. Alternatively, silk is breathable and slippery and will help to hold your style for the next day. It’s a good tip to help you avoid the dreaded bedhead. #iwokeuplikethis
6. Regular Towel vs Turkish Towel
The towel you use to dry your hair could be causing unwanted breakage and is just too rough for our hair in general. Turkish towels are made with long-fibre organic cotton that gets softer with every wash and are fast absorbing which is more gentle and cuts your drying time down. These are also great for wrapping around your hair over an oil mask, this will keep the heat in helping with the absorption of the oils.
7. High Quality Products and Ingredients
Using good products as your foundation is always a must. Professional, non toxic products recommended by an expert will take you a long way. When we cleanse and condition, we aren’t just washing away oil and product build up, we’re nourishing and hydrating the hair so that it can be as healthy as possible. It’s important to find a high-quality product using high-quality ingredients that actually supports your hair health.
8. Brush Your Hair
Our hair grows from the root just under the surface of the scalp. As it grows and passes through the skin and our oil glands. This is the oil that provides shine and moisture for our hair. Often, that oil stays put right at the scalp and doesn’t have a way of getting to the ends of our hair. This is where brushing comes into play. A good brush that offers good tension will help to carry those oils throughout the entire strand all the way to the ends. This is important for both oilier and drier hair types, and everyone in between. If you have a naturally oily scalp and hair, regular brushing will help guide it away from the root where it tends to build up. If you are on the drier side, this will be important to increase shine and moisture all over, especially to those super dry ends.
9. Stimulate Circulation
Before the hair grows through the scalp, it sits in the hair follicle getting all its nourishment before leaving the body. Promoting circulation to the scalp will boost blood flow and oxygen to this area bringing a load of nutrients with it, encouraging growth of the healthiest hair possible. A simple scalp massage will do the trick to get the juices flowing. That wonderful massage that your hairstylist gives you when washing your hair… it's not just for relaxation! They’re working to make sure that your hair is getting all the healthy love it needs by promoting internal health of the hair. You may not be able to recreate that feeling of being at the hair salon, but this tool here certainly helps. A DIY oil hair mask combined with an at home scalp massage is the perfect self-care ritual for hair growth.
10. Lower Stress
Easier said than done, we know. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t try to adopt an hour-long cross-legged meditation practice overnight, that probably won’t work for most of us. It can be anything that makes you feel good. Whether that’s a daily meditation or exercise routine, a bath full of Epsom salts, catching up with a loved one, or cooking your favorite meal, whatever helps you! Try to dedicate a little bit of time each day to whatever it is that helps calm you down. Not only does stress have a detrimental affect on your overall health, but it can also have a negative affect on your hair. When our bodies are stressed, the nutrients that usually go to fueling our hair for healthy growth may be redirected elsewhere to support our body. Try chamomile or lemon balm tea to help soothe the nervous system and eat foods rich in magnesium like dark leafy greens, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Implementing these suggestions are small, but beautiful acts of self-care that will help you to grow your best hair! If you want more details on your specific hair needs, book a consultation with our holistic hair expert for an individual assessment. This can be really helpful if you’ve tried everything and still aren’t having success with your hair health and growth.
We hope you found this information helpful and wish you happy healthy, hair growth!