The Fastest Way to Grow Your Hair Long

Published: 19th May 2009
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Last year, as I met my colorist each month for my regular root touch-up, I watched in amazement as her short hair grew halfway down her back into a glorious head of long hair that even a celebrity would envy. Meanwhile, my medium hair refused to grow past my shoulders despite everything I did to keep it healthy and split-end-free.

When I asked how I could get my hair as long as hers, the reply was perversely simple: "Stop cutting your hair. And I mean, stop."

I asked her to explain herself. After all the prevailing wisdom is that you have to get regular trims in order to keep your hair healthy enough to grow. She gave me a list of tips and secrets. I followed her advice for the next few months and successfully grew my hair past my shoulder blades for the first time in my life.

Here are the tips she gave me for growing your hair as long as you want:

1) If you have a lot of damage and/or split ends, get them all cut off. So yes, you do have to cut your hair, but just to get started.

2) Stop shampooing. Using shampoo is the most drying, damaging thing you can do to your hair. Surprised? OK, so you probably can't stop shampooing altogether. But try to cut it down to a couple times a week or every other day at most. If you must wash your hair every day, try using just a little conditioner every other day. Unless you work in a rock quarry, your hair isn't getting dirty enough on a daily basis to require shampoo. A little conditioner has enough emollient to remove dirt and smooth your hair for styling.

3) Minimize use of elastics and other things that grip your hair. It's tempting to just pull it all back into a ponytail every day while you're growing out your hair. But elastics and other tools that hold hair tightly into place will break hair over time if used repeatedly in the same spot.

4) Use minimal product. Try not to load up on gel, volumizer, serum, hairspray, etc. Heavy product use causes build up that you then have to use shampoo to remove. It also speeds up dirt accumulation. Pick a great all purpose styling lotion that does its job with the application of a small dollop.

5) Minimize use of hot tools. As you might have guessed, blow dryers, curling irons, and straightening irons are not friends of healthy hair. It's ok to use them, but try to minimize the amount of time that your hair is exposed to this kind of heat. Work fast and use the cooling period for each section of hair to set the style. You'll get a more professional look this way, anyway.

6) Wear a hat. Sun exposure is very drying and damaging to your hair. You must keep your hair as healthy as possible in order to grow it as long as possible.

7) Stop cutting your hair. You've cut off all the damage and split ends, and you're taking great care of your mane. The fastest way to grow it long is to stop cutting it. Think of the money you'll save on stylist appointments! If you're worried about looking shaggy during the grow-out phase, ask your stylist for a style that grows out well when you go for that first cut. Then as it starts to grow, be creative and seek simple solutions to keeping your hair neat-looking.

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