Hair Growth 101: 8 Hacks for Getting Longer, Thicker Hair Fast

Spoiler: It's aaaalll about that hair health

As someone who’s notorious for chopping off their hair only to regret it immediately, I’ll be the first person to tell you that there’s no way to grow your hair overnight. Like, sure, you can load up on DIY hacks and hair vitamins (pls don't), but it still isn't going to change the fact that hair only grows a half an inch every month—and that’s only if your hair is already in a super-healthy state with minimal split ends, says celebrity hairstylist Mark Townsend. The good news? If you feel like your hair isn’t growing fast enough, there are a handful of things you can do to help speed up the process a bit.

The key here is understanding that healthy hair = longer hair, so making little changes that support your hair and scalp (see: maybe skipping that platinum dye job and treating your hair to a super-hydrating mask instead) is a great first step.

1. Ask Professionals about hair-growth treatments

First things first: If you’re concerned your hair isn’t growing fast enough—and/or you’re experiencing hair loss and thinning—book an appointment with a trichologist (a hair expert) or a dermatologist before you try anything. They’ll be able to help you figure out what’s going on and prescribe you a treatment plan, which might include a topical solution or medication.

Also, let's keep it in perspective: You lose about 50 to 100 hairs every day, which is about 0.001 percent of your total hair. “Now, when you notice that amount doubling or tripling, that’s an indication that your hair cycle is too short.” Try not to worry though—there are a handful of common factors that contribute to hair loss (think: diet, stress, and hormones) and your doctor can walk you through all your options.

2. Focus on scalp care for hair growth

If you’re trying to grow your hair fast, you need to pay attention to your scalp. “The two most important layers of the skin in relation to the scalp are the dermis and the epidermis—the dermis contains our hair follicles, glands, nerves, blood vessels, collagen, elastin fibers, and fat cells,” says Bridgette Hill, trichologist and colorist. “Introducing proper scalp care into your hair care routine will impact the rate of hair growth and the health of your hair fiber.”

When you take care of your scalp, you're actually ensuring that blood and nutrients can easily flow to the hair follicle, which then helps minimize shedding and loss, says Hill. So, what exactly does scalp care look like for you? Well, for starters, you’ll want to invest in a scalp serum.

“I prefer oils or cream-based masks verses grainy exfoliants," says Hill, "since the rough ingredients in scalp scrubs can actually create micro-abrasions on the scalp, which can lead to the production of harmful bacteria and fungi." Uh, not ideal at all. Instead, use serum or tonic with growth-stimulating ingredients like growth factor proteins, and peptides to help increase cell regeneration and stimulate Keratin production, which, in turn boosts hair growth. Histemo’s Ion to G Hair Serum is the product that can achieve that.

BTW: While you're at it, go ahead and buy a scalp shampoo to use after your treatment (i.e.: Histemo’s Ultra Scalp Care Shampoo). Hill suggests giving yourself a “proper shampoo" once a week, i.e. where you apply the product directly on your scalp—not just your hair—letting it sit for five minutes before rinsing and conditioning. “You can even buy a hair-color applicator bottle at a beauty supply store to help easily distribute the shampoo through your scalp.”

3. Trim your hair to maintain length

Ah, the age-old beauty debate. Even though experts are divided on the concept of trimming your hair to make it grow faster, one thing’s for sure: If you’re after long, healthy looking hair, frequent trims are a nonnegotiable. Living with frayed, split ends will eventually cause your hair to break farther up on the strand, which will not only make your hair look way thinner but, you know, also keep it from ever getting longer past a certain point.

“Your hair will actually be shorter un-cut than it would be if you were to get consistent trims,” Townsend says. He suggests asking your stylist to take just an eighth of an inch off your hair every 10 to 12 weeks to prevent split ends before they even start.

4. Cut back on heat tools to prevent damage

Pls put the hot tools down for a hot sec, k? Hair straighteners, curling wands, chemical relaxers, or any other treatment or style that causes a lot of damage will not help your long-hair cause. The healthier your hair is, the longer it will grow, and overuse of these tools is not conducive to long hair. And if cutting down your heat-tool use isn’t a viable option, make sure you’re using a heat protectant every time you style.

5. Stay away from bleach to grow hair

I’ll give it to you straight: When you bleach your hair, it opens up the cuticle of your hair strands, causing significant damage—especially for those with darker hair—every single time. And hair that’s been color- or chemically treated is more likely to break off or split, which means more trims and less length for you (sensing a theme here? Healthy hair = longer hair). If you want your hair to grow longer and faster, you might want to reconsider that platinum dye job.

6. Brush and detangle hair gently

Brushing or combing your hair is essential, obviously, but just keep in mind that aggressive brushing can cause physical damage to your hair that will prevent it from ever looking long. Basically, if you can hear the sound of the brush crunching through your strands, you’re being too rough. And be especially careful when your hair is wet and more susceptible to breakage.

“When you detangle wet hair, be sure to start from the bottom and work your way up slowly,” says Townsend. “We often instinctually brush from the scalp down, but that just pushes small tangles into one large knot and can cause you to lose a lot of hair.” Instead of using whatever janky comb you’ve had since high school, Townsend suggests reaching for a natural boar-bristle brush, which helps gently distribute your scalp’s natural oils down the hair shaft (which means healthier, more moisturized strands).

7. Swap out your hair elastics to avoid breakage

One wrong ponytail–one!–can give you what stylists refer to as a “chemical cut.” This might sound like a new, edgy cutting technique, but it’s actually what happens when your hair breaks off at the point of tension where the elastic hair tie is wrapped. YUP. But that doesn’t mean you’re banned from ever wearing your hair up again. Just switch out your hair elastics for claw clips, bobby pins, or larger pins instead.

8. Promote growth by changing up your hairstyle

PSA: Wearing your ponytail or topknot in the same place on your head every day causes your hair to break over time from the constant tension. Frequently changing your pony or bun placement is an easy move that can help maintain the strength of your strands, which means they’ll continue to grow out strong and damage-free.

The final word

Okay, so you definitely can’t grow your hair overnight, but you *can* change up your routine to make sure your hair and scalp is as healthy as humanly possible. Keeping it nice and hydrated, minimizing heat-tool use, and staying away from harsh hair dyes is essential if you’re looking to grow out your hair. And if you’re really concerned about your hair growth, make sure you talk to your trichologist or choose one from our website as well.

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