should have probably brushed my hair before i took a photo but whatever...
i asked on twitter a little while back if you lovely readers would like to know how i grew my hair from a super short pixie cut (which you can see here) to the length it is now, and the answer was a huge yes. so, here's a few tips, from one non-professional, on all the little things that helped me...
tip one - be realistic: you can't expect you hair to grow from barely being able to tie it up to being able to use it as a scarf overnight. it just won't happen. according to super cereal (10 points if you get the reference) science, hair only grows, on average, half an inch a month. there are ways you can improve that rate slightly and some of you may be blessed with faster growing hair, but getting a grip about this fact will help you a lot in the long run.
tip two - get some supplements down you: nothing makes my hair better than taking fish oils, cod liver oil tablets specifically. when i don't take them, my hair falls out at an alarming rate, it goes brittle and awful, so i can only conclude that they must do something. the vitamins that are in these tablets seem to work wonders for hair (and your nails/skin too), so i thoroughly recommend taking some. or just eat more fish, or whatever vegetarians eat as an alternative for the same results (i can't advise on that, i` like steak way too much). they take about a month to kick in, so don't expect some amazing mermaid hair transformation after the first pill. anyways, some people also swear by folic acid, others love biotin, vitamin c also helps. there's a few to try but i would definitely vouch for the fish oils as a starting point.
tip three - eat some decent food: now, i'm not the greatest preacher of this rule and my love of pizza (and cake) will confirm this, but eating the right food can only help, surely? making sure you've got lots of protein, iron, zinc and all the other good things associated with hair in your diet is a bonus. oh and for some reason exercising really helps too! i think it's all that extra blood flow. don't quote me on it. i shall return back to eating my way through this toblerone now...
onto haircare and all that beauty jazz...
l-r: yuko anti frizz shampoo and conditioner*, john frieda full repair masque*, lee stafford hair growth treatment and philip kingley's elasticizer.
tip four - be nice to your hair: now, i've never dyed my hair so i haven't had to deal with all the dramaz and stress that goes with having coloured hair (ie. bleach, damage etc), so i can only go at this from a dye free point of view. buuuut, i think what i'm going to say is still valid: treat your hair well.
use a nice shampoo that doesn't totally strip your hair (if you do, it'll just make your hair dry and it'll snap off), followed by a good conditioner on the bottom 1/3. it doesn't have to be an expensive/specific brand, but i've been using the two above by yuko* lately and, apart from smelling like fizzy apple sweets which is amazing, they are both absolutely beautiful to use. the shampoo alone is really moisturising and leaves my hair gently cleansed but so, so soft. the conditioner just tops it off and, when it's dry, my hair is smooth (but not unmanageable) and ridiculously shiny. i'd wholeheartedly recommend them!
tip five - treatments are your friends: when my hair was short, i never used to use conditioner as it turned it into a greasy mess, but when i started growing it i quickly realised that conditioners/treatments are the way forward. i've used that lee stafford hair growth treatment for years (since i was about 15, actually) and, contrary to the label it is not some miracle treatment (see tip one about being realistic), but it will keep your hair in optimum condition so it will grow at its top speed.
i also love john frieda's full repair masque and i know others swear by philip kingsley's elasticizer (i have it but haven't tried it out properly yet). there are loads of them on the market, just try a couple out, but remember to use them at least once a week depending on your hair type. oh, and a bit of hair oil on the tips never hurt anyone.
tip six - hair tools aren't the enemy: there's a lot of people who say you shouldn't use heated tools at all when you're growing your hair, and i say that's rubbish. sure, it'll help a lot, but i sure as hell don't have a spare hour or two in the morning waiting for my hair to air dry and i'm sure a lot of you don't either. so i will say this: be sensible. you have to realise that yes, you can straighten your hair, but it will accelerate damage, your hair will snap off quicker and therefore it won't appear to grow as much.
so, just use the straighteners when you have to, if you're not going anywhere give your hair a break from them. as for blow drying, make sure you have a decent hairdryer that isn't taking too long to dry your hair. slightly hotter and quicker is better than blasting your hair for half an hour when you could realistically get it done in 10minutes. also, your hair doesn't need to be bone dry. if you can, dry the bulk of it but leave the bottom 1/3 to air dry to limit unnecessary damage. trust me, it'll help.
any other little tools that you can buy to limit damage will be a bonus too. for example, this brush from macadamia. it's got natural bristles which are gentle on your hair and distribute the natural oils evenly, which is what you want. investing in one decent hair brush will a) last you forever and b) benefit your hair. it's a win win situation.
and my final, but biggest tip is - cut your damn hair: you can't expect to have a lovely, long mane if what you're growing is damaged and dead. before you even begin your little hair growth adventure, get all the crap cut off! that's an order. it might feel like a step backwards, but you're gonna have to get it cut off eventually and i wouldn't want two years of gross, wrecked hair staring back at me in the mirror every day. once you've done that though, keep getting it chopped (just by half an inch) every 2-3 months, depending on how much you abuse the straighteners. the longer you leave it, the more you'll have to get cut off so it's best to keep on top of it.
so, that's all my tips. you don't have to take them as gospel, but they're the things that have worked with my hair so hopefully they'll work with yours too. if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask in the comments!
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