Length + Strength | How to Support your Hair Growth
Updated: Aug 23, 2021
“A [person] who cuts [their] hair is about to change [their] life.” - Coco Chanel
Transforming your appearance can inspire and motivate you to transform your life. Leaving a foot of your hair behind on the salon floor can feel like leaving an old chapter of your life behind. It could be a breakup or the birth of a child, but either way, sometimes shedding the past is the first step to beginning a new chapter.
Your hair is a natural extension of your nervous system. It records every amino acid you’ve metabolized. Many cultures believe hair also contains your spiritual energy, and while I can’t offer any empirical data to back that up, I tend to agree. It takes a lot longer to grow hair than it does to cut it. On average, hair grows around 6 inches a year. Unlike other mammals, human hair growth isn’t seasonal or cyclical. A random number of hairs will be in one of three stages of growth (anagen, catagen, telogen), at any point in time.
While in the anagen phase, the active growth phase, hair grows approximately 1 cm every 28 days and this phase can last anywhere from 2 to 7 years. If you have a shorter anagen phase, you may have difficulty growing your hair past a certain length.
The catagen phase is the transitional phase where hair stops growing and the root sheath attaches to the root of the hair. This phase lasts around 2-3 weeks. The telogen phase is the resting phase. About 25 to 100 hairs in this phase are shed each day. This phase lasts about 100 days.
Theoretically speaking, if we want to increase hair growth, we have to elongate the anagen phase or stimulate more growth than typical in said phase, but how can we do that?
If your hair is the crop, think of your scalp as the soil. Increasing blood flow to the scalp is the best way to increase the rate of growth. We have around 100,000 hair follicles on our scalp and each one has its own microbiome and grows a single strand of hair. Choose clean products that are free of alcohol and sulfates, as they won’t dehydrate the scalp and strip it of its natural oils. You also want to give the oils time to build up by washing your hair less often, and when you do remember to massage your scalp gently to inspire blood circulation. There’s some evidence that suggests omega-3s, antioxidants, and probiotics also help promote hair growth. So, a healthy diet is an important part of lengthening hair. The active-ingredient in Rogaine is minoxidil, but recent studies have shown that Rosemary essential oil works just as well, but without the nasty side effects.
You can make your own massage oil at home by mixing rosemary oil with a carrier oil, like jojoba. The ends of your hair also need to be protected in order to retain as much length as possible. Split ends will continue to split up the hair shaft if they aren’t promptly removed. Limiting your heat styling will protect your ends.
Accessories are always a great option for no-heat styles. A cute barrette or stylish scarf can be an entire look. Additionally, a loose ponytail or messy bun will also stimulate the scalp by putting tension on the follicles. Split ends happen naturally, even if you air dry every day. This is why regular trims are important, even though they may seem counterproductive.
Find a stylist you can trust. (Might I suggest one of the stylists at Elevate? ) Talk to your stylist about your long-term goals. Make sure they know you are looking for a very minimal trim. Some stylists use words like “dusting”, “pruning”, “baby trims”, or “micro trims” to differentiate between a regular trim.
Another great tip is to ask your stylist to show you how much they’re cutting off before they start, so you can both get on the same page visually. Generally, you should get 3-4 haircuts each year whether you are in a growing out phase or not. Your stylist can recommend a customized schedule for your unique hair type.
1. Use clean & gentle products.
2. Wash less often.
3. Stimulate circulation with frequent scalp massages.
4. Air dry and wet style your hair more often.
5. Book regular trims.