Trying to grow hair longer or get thicker hair can feel like an endless waiting game. While hair is the fastest growing tissue in the human body, the average growth rate is 0.5 to 1.7 centimeters per month, or about two to eight inches per year, according to the Trichological Society. That growth can feel minimal — especially if you’re waiting for it to happen.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), it’s normal to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day, but if you think your growth is truly stunted, there are certain tweaks you can make to your daily hair care routine to stimulate hair growth. You can try using a different hairbrush, adjusting how often you use your blow dryer to reduce damage to your hair, or adding hair growth oils and foods to help hair grow faster after your routine.
These are the secrets and home remedies that will make hair grow fast, according to top dermatologists, famous hair stylists, skincare experts and our very own Beauty Lab pros at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
This article originally appeared on goodhousekeeping.com
#1: Get trims often
It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want long hair that’s truly healthy, you need to get it trimmed regularly. “Haircuts don’t make your hair grow faster, but they eliminate split ends that break your hair,” explains Michael Dueñas, a famous Los Angeles hairstylist. “Eliminating breakage makes it appear like your hair is growing faster.” Finally, split ends that break can cause your hair to lose length — not to mention shine, volume, and smoothness.
#2: Eat right
Having long, strong hair isn’t just about what products you put on your hair; It also depends on what you put into your body. “To encourage hair growth, you need to ‘feed’ the hair from within,” explains Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist in NYC. So, what foods make hair grow faster? Those high in protein, the building blocks of hair, including meat and other sources. “Try to increase your protein intake with foods like fish, beans, nuts, and whole grains,” she recommends. Even if you’re not a meat lover, you should still aim to maintain a high-protein diet for hair growth. Women who don’t get enough of it often experience “more hair loss,” says Dr. fusco
And stay away from trendy “cleanses” for a variety of reasons. “Cleansing is terrible for your hair because you’re depriving your body of nutrients,” warns Dueñas. “Even after a week of cleansing, you’ll notice slower hair growth and lackluster locks.”
#3: Add a hair-healthy vitamin to your morning routine
If your diet isn’t providing you with adequate nutrients, supplementation could make a world of difference. “Look for a multivitamin that is formulated and labeled ‘for hair, skin and nails,'” suggests Dr. Fusco before. “These contain important vitamins like biotin and C and B that can support hair health.” Stefani Sassos, associate director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, suggests these vitamins and minerals contribute to healthier hair.
#4: Shampoo less and hydrate more
How often you shampoo your hair actually affects the health of your hair. “Shampoo your hair [only] Two to three times a week allows your hair’s natural oils to penetrate, allowing it to moisturize and repair itself,” explains Ken Paves, a famed LA hair stylist on “Thickening.”
Regularly coating your strands with a silky deep conditioner or hair mask or detangler can also help prevent damage when detangling strands, according to GH Beauty Lab professionals. Apply a store-bought or homemade hair mask from root to tip once a week: One with cinnamon can boost circulation to promote stronger, longer hair in an instant, says Liana Zingarino, a freelance hair stylist based in New York City.
#5: Skip the bleach
As chic as platinum blonde hair looks, going from a darker shade to a light blonde could stand between you and your longest hair possible. “When the hair’s cuticle is damaged by bleach, there can be more breakage or split ends,” explains Elizabeth Hiserodt, senior colorist at Cutler Salon in New York City. “The fewer chemical treatments, the better your hair grows.”
#6: Avoid styling with excessive heat
“Stop over-styling your hair,” says Paves. If you must use heat, he recommends lowering the temperature and always using a heat protectant — otherwise you risk damaging your hair, leading to breakage and frizz.
#7: Brush hair regularly
Going to bed with unbrushed hair may seem tempting when you’re tired, but giving your hair a few quick puffs can be great for the overall health of your hair and scalp. “Starting at the scalp, use a boar bristle brush to evenly distribute your scalp’s oils throughout your hair to help keep it naturally moisturized,” recommends Meri Kate O’Connor, celebrity stylist and colorist at Cooper in West Hollywood, California. Bonus: This simple step every night also helps increase blood flow, which contributes to a healthier scalp.
#8th: Keep your showers cooler and focus on scalp care
A hot shower can dry out your skin — and it’s rough on your hair, too. “Turn the water temperature down when you cleanse,” Paves recommends, and give your scalp some extra love. Massage with fingers while shampooing to thoroughly remove dirt and stimulate circulation.
#9: Protect hair from physical damage
Hair is especially prone to breakage when wet, so detangle before shampooing instead. “Exposure to water swells and stretches the hair shaft, causing the shingled outer layer to lift, and the extra stress of brushing in this state can cause it to break,” says Sabina Wizemann, lead chemist at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab .
When you need to detangle wet hair, do it right: apply a premium leave-in conditioner from root to tip and use a gentler wide-toothed comb or detangling brush to reduce friction and work from the ends Point cuts into small pieces to prevent hairline cracks, advises Wizemann.
#10: Sleep on a silk pillowcase
It’s possible to get better hair overnight—all it takes is changing your pillowcase and reaping the hair-healthy benefits of silk. “Silk is gentle on hair — it helps prevent tangles and breakage,” says Jesleen Ahluwalia, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai in NYC. The less hair breakage experiences, the longer your hair will grow. In fact, they’re so good that the Good Housekeeping Institute even conducted an entire study to find the best silk pillowcases.
#11: Try minoxidil
Get a bottle of Women’s Rogaine, recommends GH Beauty Director April Franzino. “The active ingredient minoxidil is FDA approved and has been shown to help stop hair loss and promote hair regrowth with continued use according to package directions.” For a more targeted solution, take Hers 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution and use the dropper applicator to focus on more specific problem areas.
But be wary of shampoos that claim to grow hair — hair growth from shampoo “has yet to be scientifically proven, at least in published research or by FDA standards,” says Jeni Thomas, Ph.D., chief scientist at Proctor & Gamble Beauty.