Many of us dream about having long Rapunzel style hair. But how do we get it? I’m just getting to a point where I’m happy with the length and condition of my hair, but it hasn’t been easy. A few years ago, I went from dark red to white blonde all alone from home. And I’m not proud of this, I’m ashamed. I bleached and bleached and bleached my hair leaving it thin, brittle, and damaged. Being unhappy with my hair meant that I kept doing things to it in order to try and make it better, but I was just making it worse. About a year ago, I decided to make a change and actively reduce the damage I was causing. I’m not an expert, but after having changed my habits, I’ve definitely seen a difference in hair growth. Here are 6 ways I have managed to grow long hair…
1. Wash it less
I probably wash my hair only once a week. Yes, this means it can be greasy at first. Your hair becomes accustomed to it, though, and slowly starts to look better for longer. Many say that washing your hair too much can dry it out because shampoo traps oil and washes it out, but oil is very moisturising and works as a protection barrier for our hair (and skin). Reducing the frequency of washing your hair will let oil do its job, which will improve the condition of your hair and allow it to grow undeterred.
2. Grease is your friend
I know having greasy hair sounds like a nightmare but sometimes it’s necessary. As I have already explained, allowing your hair to be oily/greasy sometimes is good. When lounging around the house, I brush hair grease through from roots to ends to make sure all of my hair is benefiting. It’s the ends of your hair that tend to be the dryest and suffer from breakage, so it’s good to get them involved in the greasy action. This way, your ends will be less likely to split – which can mean more hair cuts needed, thinner strands and slower growth.
3. Don’t blow dry
4. Don’t straighten or curl
It’s no secret that applying heat is bad for your hair. Heat degrades the keratin layer that protects your hair and saps nutrients too. It’s even worse to apply heat directly after washing because the structure of hair changes when wet and it becomes more fragile. I only use heat for special occasions – really special – like my birthday or other big nights out. Instead I let my hair air dry – admittedly easier, faster, and more pleasant in the summer months. I also create simple styles with braids when I want something a bit more interesting, like sleeping with plaits for wavy hair in the morning. If your hair is heat damaged it will be thinner and more prone to breakage making your hair thinner and shorter – not longer.
5. DO NOT BLEACH
This is such a big one. The main cause of damage for my hair was definitely persistent bleaching. Obviously, not everyone does it at home, not everybody uses cheap products, and not everybody does it so often in such a short space of time. However, any lightening process will cause damage or weaken your hair. In a similar way to applying heat to wet hair, bleaching changes the structure of your hair and promotes loss of moisture. The hair also becomes more porous meaning it is even more vulnerable to heat and less able to retain moisture. You should use products that encourage the hair “cuticle” to close. And, obviously, put the bleach down. There are ways to bleach your hair that aren’t devastatingly damaging but if your goal is length, bleach will be a big hindrance. I have allowed my roots to simply grow out, and I don’t think it looks too bad at all (if I do say so myself).
Finally, give it time. I know this is annoying to hear because you want long hair and you want it now. Unfortunately, even the healthiest of hair doesn’t grow to the floor overnight. Just keep looking after it, avoid damaging styling methods, and wait. It may seem like it’s taking forever, but once these tips become habit, and habit becomes routine, you will have long hair before you know it. One day, people will be saying to you “gosh, your hair has grown!” and you will be like “Oh yeah, so it has”. Have hope and be patient! I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m feeling better and more confident with it every day.