cnet January 4, 2021

cnet

Health and Wellness

Hair stylists explain how to grow your hair out fast

Have a quarantine hair mishap? These tips will help you grow it out quickly.

Quarantine life has driven many good-intentioned people to make some not-so-good hair decisions -- uneven DIY haircuts, bangs that you instantly regret or too-short bobs that you just can't undo. 

Luckily, hair stylists are no strangers to helping people fix hair mishaps and have a few tried-and-true tricks for helping you grow your hair longer, faster. Although nature ultimately has to take its course when it comes to growing your hair (most of us average half an inch per month), the tips below are the ones that hair stylists swear by.

Use the right shampoo and try a serum

The key to hair that grows well is healthy hair, and "the trick to healthy hair is a healthy scalp," says Joseph Maine, celebrity hair stylist and co-founder of Trademark Beauty.

Healthy skin and hair starts with a good foundation of healthy lifestyle factors like good nutrition, sleep and exercise. When it comes to products like shampoo, you want to use a product that helps keep your scalp healthy and free of buildup, according to Maine. When shopping for shampoos and products, look for clarifying shampoos and scalp scrubs that can help remove any buildup.

A scalp serum can also help boost scalp health, which in turn helps foster hair growth. Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, recommends using the Kerastase Initialiste serum, "It gives the scalp a healthy place for hair to grow. Just like we use serums for our face, we need to use the same approach to our scalps," she says. 

Castor oil is also a popular scalp serum recommended by hairstylists, though there's no solid science to support the claim that it can help your hair grow. You can use it just like you would a serum, applying it to the scalp.

Get regular 'dusting' trims 

It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but getting light trims actually helps your hair grow faster. "If your ends begin to dry out or split, they will unravel and break off, making it very difficult to gain length. Stay ahead of the breakage by receiving a light dusting every 8 to 12 weeks," says Maine.

"Hair grows at a rate of approximately a half inch a month. The problem is, split ends keep splitting. So if you don't remove the split ends they can actually make your hair look weaker. Not to mention, the split ends move up the hair shaft," says Aguirre. Aguirre echoes Maine's advice, that getting a regular trim will help your hair grow faster since you're taking care of split ends before they become a problem.

Go easy on bleaching or chemical processing 

If you're trying to grow your hair, the goal is to keep your hair and scalp as healthy as possible and avoid anything that compromises how strong it is. One thing that can lead to damage over time is bleaching it or getting other chemical processing treatments. 

"If you're naturally darker, stay closer to your natural tones [with your hair color]. This will be less damaging to the hair long-term. There are plenty of options to add depth and dimension that do not include bleach," Aguirre suggests. 

Reduce heat damage 

Heat is another culprit for damaging strands. If you blow-dry your hair every day and style with heat tools, you'll want to try laying off the heat (or at least reduce how often you use it) to keep your hair healthier and stronger. "Even [if you use] heat protectants, over time the heat will do damage," Aguirre says. 

Aguirre also recommends rinsing your hair with cool water at the end of your shower since "the cool water closes the cuticle, which will strengthen your hair before you style it," she says. You can also try swapping your cotton pillowcase for a silk or satin one to reduce potential breakage and damage. "This will prevent any friction that cotton pillowcases can cause. Your hair will glide," she says. 

Try supplements

Lots of people swear by supplements for helping their hair grow, including Maine. 

"I personally always recommend Nutrafol. In addition to making your hair grow faster, it can also make it thicker by reducing turnover," says Maine. Nutrafol is a popular hair growth supplement that contains vitamins, minerals, and other herbs that are supposed to help with metabolism, hormones, inflammation, stress, environment and nutrition -- all areas that the brand claims can contribute to hair thinning. 

The company funded a clinical research study on the product, which showed promising results over the six-month study period. It's important to keep in mind that the most rigorous studies have zero conflict of interest -- meaning that, since Nutrafol funded the study, it's expected to have positive results. 

The other most popular vitamin associated with hair growth is biotin. Before you start taking biotin, you should check with your doctor and see if you are deficient. The science around biotin and hair growth is actually not that solid, so taking a supplement may be unnecessary. According to a systematic review published in 2017, there's not enough research to support the claim that taking biotin supports hair growth.