Hair Growth Tips

There are three stages in the life of hair, and at any one time about 90% of your hair should be growing, while about 10% should be in a resting phase. Hair typically grows at around .5 inches each month, and there's not much you can do to get it to grow faster than that. However, you could be slowing the growth of your hair by doing things that negatively impact its health. By following the tips below you'll be able to maximize your hair growth, and if it's slowed due to poor health you may even notice increased growth.

1. Take care of your hair.

Not taking proper care of your hair can damage it and slow its growth. Chemicals, hair dyes, roughly combing through knots, blow drying it while it's soaking wet, and cutting it with dull scissors are all bad for your hair.

Stay away from strong chemicals such as peroxide, and do not get your hair permed. Over time both of these things will damage your hair irreparably. While coloring is popular, it's one of the worst things you can do to your hair. If you're going to do it anyway, do it as infrequently as possible and use shampoo and conditioner specifically made for colored hair. Washing and conditioning your hair is a good thing, but you shouldn't do it too frequently. Your body naturally produces oils that coat your hair and protect it from damage. Washing your hair every other day can be more beneficial than washing it more frequently. Aside from chemicals from hair care products, you should also avoid continued exposure to chemicals in the environment. Chlorine for example, is very bad for your hair, so you should use a swim cap if you swim on a regular basis.

The way you style your hair is important. Roughly combing through knots can damage your hair follicles, and tight hair styles such as pony tails and braids can also cause damage. You should try to avoid the use of blow dryers, curling irons, and hot rollers. Heat will damage your hair! It's better to allow your hair to air dry rather than using a blow drier, and if you must blow dry it give it some time to partially dry and use the coolest setting on the dryer. Washing and rinsing your hair cold is also better than doing so with hot water.

2. Avoid continuous and prolonged sun exposure.

Continuous exposure to the sun over a long period can damage your hair. If you must be in direct sunlight for long periods, consider wearing a hat or putting a scarf around your head.

3. Eat and drink healthy. Don't smoke.

Like with the rest of your body, unhealthy eating will have negative affects on your hair. Eat a balanced diet with fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat, and limit your consumption of sweets and processed foods and drinks, especially sodas, caffeinated beverages, and those with alcohol. As smoking is bad for your body, it's also bad for your hair health and growth. Don't do it.

You're much better off eating a balanced diet all the time than swinging from extremes such as over eating and extreme dieting. Hair is made of protein, and if you're not getting enough protein you're hair growth will slow. If you are low on protein it's possible you may see an increase in the speed of hair growth by eating sufficient quantities. Because hair also requires vitamins B, C, and E, getting enough fruits and vegetables is also essential.

4. Eliminate stress.

High levels of stress can slow or even stop your hair growth. Make sure you're giving yourself time to relax each day and getting a full night of sleep. Consider practicing mediation, yoga, or doing relaxation exercises to limit your stress.

5. Consider medical treatments as a last resort.

Medicines such as Rogaine and Propecia can help to prevent you from losing hair and in some cases even re-grow hair in places you've lost it. But remember, no medication is without side effects, and hair loss is completely natural with age. See our section on hair loss treatment for additional options.

*See our Hair Growth Myths and Hair Loss Prevention pages for more information.