Glamour September 15, 2023



How to Grow Your Hair Faster, According to Hairstylists and Dermatologists


Rapunzel who?

Whether you're actively dealing with hair loss or interested in preventive care, knowing how to grow your hair faster is never a bad idea. Experts say that lengthy locks are usually the result of living a healthy lifestyle. “Your overall health plays a significant role in the condition of your hair,” Michelle Henry, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City, tells Glamour. “Stay hydrated, manage stress levels through relaxation techniques or exercise, and get adequate sleep.”

As for ways to specifically maintain healthy hair? According to Michele Green, MD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, there are great hair growth products and topical treatments like hair-strengthening shampoo and conditioner, prescription medications, and in-office procedures like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections that can help.

That said, there is no over-the-counter option for a healthy hair care regimen, which often includes putting bad hair care habits to bed. “While procedures, serums, and vitamins are all effective treatment options, changing your hair routine can promote hair growth,” Dr. Green explains, adding that many parts of our daily hair routines can cause physical damage to the hair and prevent growth and retention. “This includes wearing too tight hairstyles and friction-causing hairbands. Too tight hairstyles can pull at and damage your follicles, so consider switching up hairstyles regularly, loosening your styles, or using soft hair ties that do not cause friction along the hair shaft.”

You're one step closer to perfecting your hair care routine. Keep scrolling for experts’ top 10 tips for how to grow your hair faster.

Topical products with growth-promoting ingredients

When shopping for hair care products, Dr. Henry suggests looking for shampoos, conditioners, and serums that contain ingredients like biotin, keratin, and probiotics (or karmatin, which is a plant-powered version of keratin). “These can help strengthen hair strands, reduce breakage, and improve overall hair health, creating a good foundation for hair to grow from,” she says. “Additionally, topical products containing minoxidil, an FDA-approved over-the-counter drug, have been shown to promote hair growth by prolonging the growth phase of the hair cycle.” Some of the most popular products with minoxidil include Rogaine and Nioxin.

Other popular hair-growth ingredients include saw palmetto, ashwagandha, and rosemary oil, adds Dr. Green. “Saw palmetto has been shown to increase hair growth in men experiencing androgenetic alopecia by stopping male androgen hormones from converting into DHT, and ashwagandha and rosemary oil contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may protect the scalp from environmental stressors, such as pollution, and reduce inflammation around the follicles,” she says. “Additionally, there is some evidence that rosemary oil may promote hair growth by blocking DHT production.”

Another way to ensure hair growth is to promote hair and scalp health, says celebrity hairstylist Marc Mena, so you'll want to stock up on scalp-protecting products that contain the above ingredients as well. “Scalp oils promote a healthy scalp, and a healthy scalp means healthy hair,” he says, pointing to Better Not Younger's hair patches as one of his favorite pro-scalp products for hair loss.

Scalp therapy & massages

Every expert interviewed pointed to scalp therapy and massages as one of their top tips for hair growth. “One way to improve fast hair growth is scalp massages,” says Raven Hurtado, a hairstylist at Chicago's Maxine Salon. “You can use oils, such as rosemary oil, with a scalp massage since rosemary oil dilates blood vessels and produces hair follicles to grow.” If you'd rather not grab a random rosemary oil you see at the store, Girl + Hair Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil is a dermatologist-formulated product that contains rosemary oil.

Laurabeth Cabbot, a Los Angeles professional hairstylist, also points to scalp stimulation as her number one tip for hair growth. “Scalp stimulation therapy is a great way to stimulate your hair follicle,” she says. “You can find certain specialists that are specifically trained in scalp stimulation treatments such as scalp acupuncture, because sometimes even natural remedies can help.” If you'd rather DIY, there are plenty of at-home scalp-stimulating massagers, though my personal favorite is Body Proud's adorable duck scalp brush.

“Anything that helps manipulate the scalp helps promote hair growth,” adds Mena, which can even includes brushes and how you use them. “I always tell my clients to brush their scalp with a boar-bristle brush,” he says, citing the infamous Mason Pearson brush as his favorite for the job. “Just part your hair, section it, and comb the scalp. This manipulates the scalp, helps to produce your natural oils, and it can help make your hair grow.”

Dr. Henry agrees, saying that a healthy scalp is essential for optimal hair growth. “Regular scalp massages with gentle pressure can help stimulate blood circulation to the hair follicles,” she says. “And this increased blood flow brings more nutrients and oxygen to the hair roots, promoting healthy hair growth.” And this is important even if you're using scalp serums and oils. “They will be most effective in conjunction with a multitargeting supplement or other treatment,” she adds.

Dr. Green and Dr. Henry also point to hair supplements as excellent way to provide nutrients that support hair growth. “Nutrafol is a popular physician-formulated and clinically tested dietary supplement formulated with ingredients that target hair health from within,” says Dr. Henry. “It typically includes a blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and botanical extracts. These nutrients can help address underlying factors that might contribute to hair thinning and promote a conducive environment for hair growth.”

Further, Nutrafol's ingredients like biotin, saw palmetto, marine collagen, and horsetail extract are believed to support hair follicles, improve circulation, and provide essential nutrients for hair vitality.

Another option, which both Dr. Green and Mena recommend, are Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements. “Nutrafol is formulated with saw palmetto, ashwagandha, natural ingredients, and a propriety blend created to address causes of hair health such as hormones and nutrition,” says Dr. Green, “and Viviscal supplements contain proprietary and essential vitamins, such as B vitamins, biotin, and vitamin C, that are proven to thicken hair and increase growth.”

Frequent trims & good hair care habits

Cutting your hair may feel counterintuitive, but both Hurtado and Cabbot say that it's a must when it comes to promoting hair growth. “Getting rid of dry split ends allows hair to grow healthy and long and maintains the hairstyle,” says Hurtado.

“While procedures, serums, and vitamins are all effective treatment options, changing your hair routine can promote hair growth,” Dr. Green reiterates. Sometimes hair growth is simply a matter of taking better care of your hair—which, of course, includes those dreaded regular trims. “Heat styling, using straightening or curling irons, breaks down the bonds in your hair, leading to decreased moisture. Try opting for no-heat styles or, if you need to use heat, use a heat protectant that can stand the temperature you are using,” Dr. Green continues. “Using chemicals, dyes, and relaxers on your hair can damage the hair and cause breakage. Avoid these processes, use them less frequently, or use semipermanent dyes over permanent ones.”

Thickening treatments

Another way to bolster hair growth? Incorporating robust hair-repair and thickening products into your routine to ensure your hair recovers from damage and stays its healthiest.

“R+Co has an amazing leave-in called Dallas that has biotin in its formula to leave your hair feeling luscious and full, and Kevin Murphy makes a great hair care regime called Thick Again,” says Cabbot. “This product is a must-do; you can easily target specific areas, and my clients swear by this. Any of these treatments would be great for someone wanting to bring their hair back to life.”

Healthy lifestyle choices

“Your overall health plays a significant role in the condition of your hair,” says Dr. Henry. “Ensure you're maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and lean protein. Stay hydrated, manage stress levels through relaxation techniques or exercise, and get adequate sleep. These factors contribute to your body's ability to support hair growth.”

Mena agrees, adding that, in his experience, anything that you can take to help with anxiety or stress can help your hair grow. “So meditation, believe it or not, can help make your hair grow, because the first thing in our body that reacts to stress is our hair,” he says. “That's why people always say, ‘I’m really stressed out, I'm losing a lot of hair.’ Stress always shows in your hair first.” Mena recommends focusing on getting vitamin D by going in the sun and exercising frequently.

One way to combine all of the above and hair-growth-promoting ingredients? Taking supplements with ashwagandha, which has been shown to reduce stress, support healthy cortisol, and enhance sleep quality, and has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect the scalp from environmental stressors and reduces inflammation around the follicles, according to Dr. Green.

Prescription treatments

While topical minoxidil, commonly known as Rogaine, is an FDA-approved treatment for those seeking to promote hair growth, there are also prescription medications that can help. “Oral medications are also available to aid in hair growth through a prescription by a dermatologist,” Dr. Green says. “Finasteride, commonly known as Propecia, is an FDA-approved drug that prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which shrinks hair follicles and eventually leads to hair loss and baldness. Finasteride slows hair loss and promotes new growth by lowering DHT levels in the body.”

Minoxidil also comes as an oral medication and can be an excellent alternative for those who experience unpleasant side effects from topical minoxidil, she says. “Oral minoxidil likely works like topical minoxidil in promoting circulation to supply oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles,” Dr. Green continues. “Although research is beginning to demonstrate that oral minoxidil is a safe and effective treatment, it is essential to consult your dermatologist to see if this medication is proper for you.”

Another option is spironolactone, which is an FDA-approved drug for women experiencing hair thinning or loss due to hormone imbalances (it's also used as a treatment for acne). “Sprinolocatone decreases the production of male sex hormones, leading to reduced DHT and testosterone levels,” Dr. Green says.

Professional treatments

“If you're experiencing severe hair loss or are concerned about your hair's growth rate, consider consulting a dermatologist,” says Dr. Henry. “They can assess your specific situation, identify any underlying issues, and recommend personalized solutions, which may include prescription medications, injections, or other advanced treatments.”

One option is the HydraFacial Keravive Scalp Treatment, which Dr. Green describes as a one-of-a-kind process that uses vortex technology to promote scalp circulation and healthy skin. “First, the treatment extracts impurities, dirt, and dead skin cells from the scalp while stimulating circulation and delivering oxygen and essential nutrients to the scalp,” she says. “The next step of the treatment is to replenish the scalp with the HydraFacial Peptide Complex Solution, which is rich in hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. The last step requires using the HydraFacial Keravive Complex Spray daily to nourish the scalp and follicles for long-lasting results.”

Another popular treatment for hair growth? Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. “PRP is rich in growth factors and proteins that stimulate tissue healing and regeneration in inactive hair follicles,” says Dr. Green. “The process starts by drawing a blood sample and spinning it down to separate the PRP from other blood components. The PRP is then directly injected into the scalp. This procedure has minimal to no downtime, and individuals typically complete a series of injections with semiannual maintenance afterward to maintain the best results.”

Consistency & patience

“Remember that achieving noticeable improvements in hair growth takes time and consistency,” Dr. Henry concludes. “Results can vary from person to person, and it's important to approach any treatment with realistic expectations.” She also reiterates the importance of consulting a health care professional before starting any new supplements or treatments.

“When trying to grow hair long and healthy, it doesn’t happen overnight,” adds Hurtado. “You have to be patient to see results. It can take about two to three months to notice hair growth and the let everything work.”

Finally, Dr. Green asserts that, at the end of the day, the best way to make your hair grow is to listen to it. “It's easy to get sucked into the latest trending products and hair routines, but no two individual's hair is the same,” she says. “Those with dry hair may want to use gentle shampoos less frequently and focus on moisturizing products, while those with oily hair may want to use exfoliating shampoos more regularly. Choosing products and routines for your specific hair is vital in promoting healthy hair and growth.”