A new hairstyle doesn’t have to mean getting an extreme chop. Instead, your fresh look can be a bit more gradual – like growing your hair out.
Most of us lust after waist-length, princess-style hair, but find it tricky to achieve. For some, the hair becomes too ratty and we need to cut it, and for others, it seemingly refuses to grow past a certain point.
Luckily, there are some things you can do – to your beauty routine and your lifestyle in general – to encourage thicker hair and healthy growth. Trichologist Stephanie Sey reveals her expert tips on what you should do if you covet long, luscious locks…
1. Have a good diet
We hate to break it to you, but a well-balanced diet isn’t just good for your physical health, it’s also necessary for long, bouncy hair. Sey puts it simply: “A poor diet can affect the health of your hair, while a well-balanced diet can help support healthy hair growth.”
When thinking about what to eat, it’s really about using your common sense. “Processed foods like fast food and ready meals are typically high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, as well as chemical additives,” Sey explains. “These foods typically have very little in the way of the nutrients that our body needs to stay healthy, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The hair is one of the very last systems in your body to receive nutrients (as it is one of the least essential), so if your body is not receiving adequate nutrients, your hair will likely be affected.”
She recommends a balanced diet “comprising of carbohydrates, healthy fats, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals” to help encourage thick, full hair.
2. Reduce stress
Keeping anxiety under control is also good for your all-round health, not just your hair. Stress can have a huge impact on your physical health, as well as causing “chronic shedding, resulting in thinner hair”, says Sey.
Unfortunately, stress isn’t quite as easy to manage as your diet. However, there are things you can try, like exercising or meditation, but if anxious feelings become unmanageable, you should see your GP.
3. Wash your hair regularly
How often you wash your hair can be a balancing act. On the one hand, you don’t want to overdo it, because the shampoo can strip your hair of its natural oils. However, Sey says: “Not washing your hair enough can also lead to a build-up of oils and react with the pollution in the environment.”
How often you wash depends on your hair type – for example, dry hair doesn’t need to be as regularly shampooed as other types – but as a general rule of thumb, Sey advises: “You should wash your hair a minimum of once a week.”
4. Focus on scalp health
Skincare is big business, with many of us investing in a multi-step routine to reveal healthy, glowing skin. So, why do we forget about the skin on top of our heads? It’s not exactly the sexiest part of any beauty regime, but our scalps have long been overlooked – and this could be to the detriment of our hair.
“Scalp health is crucial; when your scalp is in a healthy state, you create the optimum conditions for stronger, better looking hair,” says Sey, which is another reason not to skip regular hair washes. She adds: “Yeast malassezia is responsible for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, and the use of a treatment, such as Nizoral Dandruff Shampoo (£9.30, Boots), can help to control it.”
5. Don’t forget haircuts
If you want hair down to your waist, your first thought might be to stop getting regular haircuts. After all, surely it’s going to grow longer if you stop trimming it, right?
It might defy logic, but regular cuts are actually crucial to growing your hair out. “Make sure the ends of your hair are well taken care of and preserved, so get your hair cut when the ends become weathered and split,” Sey advises. “Not tackling split ends means it will travel up the hair shaft, causing more damage.”
Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto
SEE ALSO: How can I get rid of my split ends? http://bit.ly/3avPnOj