Let’s face it – everyone dreads losing hair. Also, everyone has at least some advice on how to grow hair faster. But how many of these advices actually work? I’ve even had friends who suggested that I shave off my head completely and let my hair regrow completely. No, I didn’t take this advice.
But if you are suffering from hair loss and looking for ways to tackle this terrible problem, you have come to the right place. This guide will help you identify various ways to aid your hair growth. And I’m not just talking about using the right hair products, but also making the right lifestyle changes to benefit hair growth.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Factors Speeding Up Hair Growth
There are several factors that affect the speed at which your hair grows. While you may be aware of some commonly known factors, you will be surprised to find some new but equally critical factors.
1. Human Factors
Let’s begin by discussing how humans and their daily habits can affect the rate at which their hair grows. If you find that you too are making these mistakes, then don’t panic and instead, star rectifying your actions today.
Using Hair Products Carelessly / Over-styling
Yes, you need to look your best every time you step out of your house. But that doesn’t mean that you need to keep loading your hair with chemicals and artificial products. No matter what attractive slogan the marketing team at your favorite shampoo brand’s head office has come up with, the shampoo will affect your hair negatively if over-used or used incorrectly.
Therefore, the first thing you need to do is understand the hair products you use.
- What chemicals do they contain?
- How frequently should they be used?
- Do they need to be used in a certain manner?
But it’s not as simple as reading the answer of the back of the bottle.
Everyone’s hair is different, and so is everyone’s need. You need to consult a dermatologist and understand which hair products are really suitable for your hair, and how often can you use them.
Another rookie mistake that people make when it comes to hair care is over-styling. Yes, technology is rapidly evolving and newer hair dryers and curling products may not be as damaging as they were 20 years ago.
But this does not mean that these products are completely harmless. Your hair will always remain susceptible to application of heat (think curling, straightening and crimping), and other procedures like hot oil treatment, de-frizzing, dying, etc. It’s best to keep your hair in its natural state for as long as possible.
Even if you love changing hairstyles often, try to give your hair a break between different styles. This way, you don’t have to compromise on your passion nor the quality of your hair.
Using Certain Medications
Some medicines, especially antidepressants and blood thinners have been found to cause hair loss or slow down the growth of hair. If you noticed losing hair after starting to take a new medicine, it may well be the cause of your hair scare.
Some other commonly prescribed drugs that can affect your hair growth include ibuprofen, lithium to treat bipolar disorders and methotrexate to treat rheumatic skin conditions.
If you do suspect that one of your medicines is causing hair problems, you need to consult your doctor immediately. He may either prescribe a different but similar drug, or may adjust the dosage to offset the hair loss.
However, it is very important that you do not stop taking your medicines as prescribed or alter the dosage without consulting your doctor first. Do not try to fix your hair at the expense of your general health.
Nutritional Deficiencies / Poor Diet
If you don’t eat right, your hair won’t grow right – recite this to yourself every morning. Just like your bones need calcium to grow properly and stay strong, your hair needs certain nutrients to stay healthy and grow at a good pace.
The most important nutrient of all being protein. If your diet lacks protein, your hair will immediately respond by slowing down the hair growth rate to almost zero. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology has clearly declared that hair loss may happen for as long as 2 to 3 months after a drop in protein intake.
Yes, you should have listened to your mum and finished your eggs. But it’s not too late even now. If your diet lacks protein, start by including protein-rich foods in your daily menu. Some of these food include fish, meat and eggs.
If you are vegetarian, protein-rich options for you include beans, quinoa, green peas, soya, low fat cheese and yogurt. Apart from protein, lack of nutrients like Vitamin B and iron can also affect hair health drastically. Iron deficiency is more common in women than in men and its other symptoms include fatigue and dizziness.
To tackle the vitamin deficiency, you can use easily available Vitamin B supplements. Or else, you can simply add foods to your diet that are rich in iron and Vitamin B. Some of these foods include green leafy vegetables, fish, non-citrus fruits and meat.
Do not panic if you start losing hair or it starts thinning. Several clinical studies have found that hair loss causes deep emotional stress to people irrespective of age.
Though it may be a normal reaction to the problem, what you need to understand is that stressing yourself over hair loss will only speed up the process. Instead, you need to handle the situation with utmost patience. One of the smart things to do may be to visit your dermatologist and seek ways to help your situation.
There are several hair care products available in the market today that can help treat hair loss effectively, or at least slow it down considerably. There are also many safe surgical procedures that have come up that deal with this issue.
Just remember that hair loss does is natural and almost everyone has to deal with it at in some point in life. Do not stress yourself over it as it will only worsen the situation. Instead, explore all your options and seek the best treatment for your case.
2. Environmental Factors
While you can control some factors that affect the growth of your hair, some factors lie beyond our control.
People living in hot dessert countries usually experience more hair loss and slower growth rates than others. This stands true for everyone irrespective of gender and nationality.
There are several reasons for this – desalinated water, the hot climate, available foods and even the air. Most arid countries use desalinated water treated with chlorine for bathing and drinking purposes.
While desalinated water is fit for dinking, it proves very unhealthy for the hair. IT dries the hair making it brittle and break, and this effect is amplified by the chlorine in the water.
Next, hot dry climate too affects the hair negatively by making it brittle. The climate also dries the scalp which worsens the health of the hair.
Lastly, the air in arid areas usually contains high levels of silica which cause hair to feel fry and may even choke the hair follicles forcing hair to fall out.
Water Used to Wash Hair
Most homes receive one of two types of tap water – surface water and ground water.
Ground water is the water extracted from wells or other underground sources. The source of this water is rain and it is usually rich in minerals and low on pollutants.
Surface water on the other hand is sourced from rivers or lakes and needs to undergo a desalination process before it can be used for cleaning or drinking purposes. This water is very low in nutrients but high on pollutants. This is why it needs to be treated with high amounts of chlorine before it can be used by humans.
As discussed above, the desalination and chlorination of water makes it harsh on the hair, while ground water which contains several precious minerals is a much better option to use to wash your hair.
Right Nutrition for Your Hair
As discussed above, your hair needs certain nutrients to make them healthy from the inside. No matter how many hair care products you may use, if your diet is not hair-friendly, the results will only be limited. Follow the diet tips below to help your hair grow faster.
- Make sure that your diet includes a balanced amount of protein as protein is the most important nutrient that your hair needs. This is because hair is mainly composed of keratin which is a protein made up of amino acids. These acids cannot be produced by your body, so protein rich foods become a must.
- Iron and zinc are also essential to good hair health. Iron helps in transmission of oxygen to your hair which makes it stronger and healthier. Zinc, on the other hand, helps your hair repair itself and keeps the oil glands around the hair follicles active. Good sources of zinc include butter, poultry, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.
- Fats are also important nutrients that keep your hair healthy. But that does not mean eating a bag of chips daily. What you do need is a good amount of healthy fats entering your body regularly. Healthy fats are mainly found in foods containing unsaturated fats like almonds, salmon, avocados and natural peanut butter. Foods rich in Omega 3 are also good sources of healthy fat, and your options include fish oil, flaxseed oil, spinach and soybeans.
- Biotin or Vitamin H can work wonders for your hair. Biotin helps in metabolism of fats, carbs and amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Common food items that are rich in biotin and must feature in your daily diet include almonds, walnuts, pork, milk, cauliflower and avocados.
- You may already know that Vitamins are essential to keeping your hair healthy. You need a balanced vitamin intake consisting of Vitamins B and C. A deficiency of Vitamin C can leave your hair dull, dry and susceptible to easy breakage. Luckily, vitamin C can be found very easily in several healthy food items such as citrus fruits, broccoli, kale and peppers.
Foods for Healthy Hair Growth
Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you create the perfect hair-friendly diet.
- Include foods that are rich in protein such as fish and soya.
- Include foods that are rich in healthy fats (unsaturated fats & omega 3) such as almonds and avocados.
- Include foods that are rich in biotin such as walnuts, pork and cauliflower.
- Include foods that are rich in Vitamin B such as green leady vegetables and meat.
- Include foods that are rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits and kale.
- Include foods that are rich in iron such as eggs and tofu.
- Include foods that are rich in zinc such as butter and chickpeas.
For vegetarians, here is a quick protein-rich food guide:
- Vegetables to eat include: spinach, collards, Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli.
- Hair healthy nuts include: walnuts, cashews, butternuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans and hazelnuts.
- Avoid consumption of unhealthy fats by avoiding foods like fatty red meats, processed foods, sugar and chocolate. These foods can raise the adrenal levels in the body which can cause great harm to your hair.
- Do not try to lose weight by sticking to a diet that robs your body of essential nutrients. Lots of healthy weight-loss plans are also available that are more inclusive in terms of overall nutrition and will not leave your body deficient of any important nutrient.
- Do not start over-eating the above recommended foods to amplify their affects – it does not work that way. You need to follow a diet that is balanced in terms of nutrition. It may be a great idea to consult a nutritionist who can help you craft the perfect diet for your hair as well as overall health.
Some Hair-Loving Therapies for Faster Growth
These therapies may take some time to show results but have been extensively tried and tested to show that they are highly effective.
A good hair massage can go a long way in helping rejuvenate the health of your hair. However, there are several types of massages, each featuring its own strengths. Read on to find which suits your needs the best.
Dry Scalp Massage
As the name suggests, you do not need any oil or hair product of any kind for this massage.
All you need to do is to massage your scalp gently (or you could ask a friend to help you out).
Dry massages help the nutrients reach your hair follicles faster which in turn promotes good health hair and faster growth rate.
Wet Hair Massage
You need to pay more attention to your hair the next time you enter the shower. Just remember to gently massage the scalp with your fingertips while washing your hair.
To get the most benefit out of a wet hair massage, start at the back of the neck and move around the hairline.
You may want to use cold water rather than hot water for better results.
This type of massage helps increase the blood flow to the scalp which in turn promotes faster hair growth.
Warm Oil Massage
This massage may not only help aid hair growth, but also feels very relaxing.
What you need to do
- Heat warm up the oil of your choice slightly (don’t bring it to a boil) and then apply it to your scalp and hair.
- Start by pouring the oil over your hair and massaging it onto your scalp in gentle, circular motions for about 15-20 minutes.
- After this, spread the oil along the length of your hair and wait for about 30 minutes before shampooing.
- The heating of the oil may make it stick to your hair more than usual and so you may require two shampoo washes to get rid of all the oil in your hair.
Apart from promoting hair growth, this massage may leave you hair looking shinier and glossier, if performed regularly.
2. Inversion Therapy
You may have already heard about this popular therapy that has been shared innumerable times on social networking sites. If you haven’t – here’s what you need to do.
Massage your scalp with your fingertips for five minutes once a day for seven consecutive days.
However, you need to be sitting on a chair and bending your head over to establish the ‘Inversion’ position (when your heart is positioned higher than your head). What you are basically doing here is promoting blood flow to your head and thus stimulating the hair follicles into activity.
- If you feel dizzy or light-headed, stop immediately.
- If you have long hair or suffer from split ends, it may be better to cut your hair short before trying this method for better results.
3. 7 Best Hair Oils For Faster Hair Growth
Natural oils (including the one produced by your own head) are essential to good hair health. Application of oils condition the hair, and may help minimize chances of developing split ends or damaged hair. Here are few oil-related tips that you can use to fortify your hair.
Avoid washing your hair more than 3 or 4 times a week. African American people with dry, curly or coarse hair need to wash their hair even fewer times. This is to preserve the natural oils produced by the body which help in keeping the hair strong and healthy.
However, if you have really oily hair, you may need to wash your hair more often. But don’t over-wash your hair as this will only make matters worse. What you need to ensure is that your hair retains just the right amount of moisture.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is perhaps one of the most readily available oils in the market. It is also rich in vitamins and fatty acids that can help nourish the hair and keep them healthy.
Technically speaking, coconut oil is mainly composed of smaller medium-chain fatty acids which enables it to penetrate more deeply than most other conditioners.
The benefits of using coconut oil are aplenty.
- It not only stimulates hair growth due to its efficient penetration, but also moisturizes the hair well.
- It adds shine to the hair naturally and even contains antibacterial properties.
- It is the only oil that reduces protein loss in the hair.
For maximum benefit, you can leave it applied on your hair overnight and wash it out the next morning.
2. Castor Oil
Rich in Vitamin E and omega 9 fatty acids, castor oil is known to promote hair growth naturally.
However, applying castor oil needs some hard work on your part. Due to its highly viscous nature, it cannot be applied directly to your hair.
What you need to do
- Mix the castor oil with equal parts of coconut or almond oil.
- Apply this mixture to your hair and massage gently. Let the oil stay on the hair for about 45 minutes before washing it off.
- If you want, you can also choose to add other essential oils to the mixture such as thyme oil, lavender oil or eucalyptus oil.
3. Jojoba Oil
Another good oil recipe that you can use to promote hair growth naturally features jojoba oil.
What you need to do
- Mix one cup of unrefined coconut oil with 1 tablespoon each of almond, macadamia and jojoba oil.
- Apply this mixture of oils on slightly damp hair as they can leave a residue on the hair.
- Once applied, leave it on for 10 minutes and then proceed to shampooing and conditioning as usual.
These oils lace the strands with fatty acids which are later locked inside the hair when shampooing. This helps make the hair healthy and promotes good growth.
4. Olive Oil
Another popular natural oil that promotes healthy hair growth is olive oil. Though it can be applied directly to your hair, you may want to try the following recipe for maximum benefit.
What you need to do
- Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 cup of yogurt and set it aside.
- Next, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in 2 cups of water and keep aside. Now first shampoo your hair and squeeze out the excess water.
- Then apply the mixture of olive oil and yogurt to your damp hair and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse your hair with cool water and re-rinse using the lemon-water mix.
This method helps condition your hair very efficiently, while the lemon juice helps balance the pH of the scalp which helps add shine.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is also used by many people to aid hair growth. Like castor oil, tea tree oil cannot be applied directly to the hair. Instead, it needs to be mixed with a carrier oil and then applied. You can choose from various options such as olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil and jojoba oil to use as the carrier oil.
What you need to do
- Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of the carrier oil in a bowl. Place this bowl in a larger bowl that contains hot water.
- Wait till the oil mixture becomes mildly warm. Once warm, apply the oil on your scalp and along the length of your hair for about 10 minutes.
- For added benefit, you can wrap a hot damp towel around your head which will help open up your hair follicles.
- Wait for about 20 minutes and then wash your hair.
Tea tree oil helps increase hair growth by improving the blood circulation which in turn helps toxin removal and stimulation of dormant hair follicles.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular way to get rid of pollutants that have been lodged in your hair. Not only that, it also helps wash away the residues left back by hair products.
What you need to do
- Add two tablespoons of the vinegar into one liter of water.
- Use this water to rinse you hair after your normal shampoo-conditioner routine.
- If you do not like the vinegar odor, you can add two drops of any essential oil into the water before using it.
7. Ginger Oil
The last oil to feature in our list is ginger oil.
What you need to do
- To use ginger oil, mix equal amounts of ginger oil and jojoba oil or avocado oil.
- Apply this oil to your hair and massage gently in small circular motions for a few minutes.
Ginger oil promotes hair growth by improving blood circulation in the scalp. It also contains zinc which helps keep the hair moisturized.
Apart from the oil therapies discussed above, there are other quicker ways to get your hair to grow faster with ready-to-use products available in the market.
1. Grass-fed Gelatin
Gelatin can help your hair grow faster because it helps your skin generate collagen. Being a pure protein, gelatin is good for your hair, skin and even nails.
But instead of relying on common foods like low calorie jelly, you may want to try adding grass-fed gelatin to any hot or room-temperature drink like tea or coffee.
The difference between normal gelatin and grass-fed gelatin is that latter is sourced from cows that feed on grass instead of grain. Grass-fed cows are much healthier and so the quality of the gelatin is much better.
Rogaine is an over-the-counter non-prescription drug that helps increase the speed of hair growth.
However, if you experience any side effects such as severe scalp irritation, increased heartbeat, dizziness or unwanted growth of facial hair, immediately contact your doctor and seek medical advice.
3. Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that is made from natural ingredients.
There are several homeopathic medicines available for hair growth made using household foods and oils, herb waters, vitamin supplements, etc.
Though some people have reported some benefit, there is no scientific evidence to prove that any homeopathic medicine is effective in increasing hair growth.
4. Prescription Drugs
If nothing works, you may ask your doctor to prescribe you a prescription-strength drug to battle hair loss.
There are many corticosteroid injections and ointments available that have helped stimulate hair growth in some cases.
Your dermatologist is the best person to ask about these options and whether they may help improve your condition.
6 Good Habits for Faster Hair Growth
Small efforts always pay off in a big way. Follow the following small and easy-to-remember tips to help fasten hair growth.
1. Flip it upside down
It is believed that flipping your hair upside down is an effective way to promote hair growth. It works by increasing the flow of blood to the scalp. Don’t repeat this multiple times a day – just do it once a day for about 2 to 4 minutes.
2. Trimming Helps
No, it may not help directly in hair growth, but it does play a very important role by keeping split ends at bay. This way, it is easier to manage your hair and keep it healthier more easily.
3. Don’t Stress
Stress plays a very important role in hair loss. Studies have shown that stress disrupts the normal hair cycle and triggers the hair to enter its fall-out phase. Unless you want to keep losing hair and cause even more stress, try to relax by meditating or even taking a peaceful walk.
4. Minimize Damage Due to Styling
If you subject your hair to certain styling techniques too often, your hair will start showing symptoms of damage. Your hair can become dry, thinner and may even begin to fall.
The styling techniques that shouldn’t be used often include perming, crimping, curling, straightening and coloring. Also avoid tying tight ponytails and don’t brush or comb your hair more than twice per day.
5. Use Cold Water to Wash Hair
Using hot water to wash your hair can leave it damaged and prone to breakage. It may be better to use lukewarm or cold water to wash your hair.
In fact, one of the recommended ways to wash your hair includes washing it with lukewarm water first to open the pores up and get them clean. After this, use a blast of cold water to seal the cuticles back to avoid hair frizz and loss.
6. Use a Silk Pillowcase
Silk pillowcases may be a good way to care for your hair while sleeping. Due to lower friction, silk pillowcases cause far less friction then their cotton counterparts, causing less tanging and breakage.
3 Bad Habits That Must Be Avoided
While these good habits can help you promote hair growth, there are some common habits that must be avoided.
1. Avoid Heat Tools
The more you stay away from heat tools like irons and hair dryers, the better. Hair gets easily damaged by application of heat, leading to more breakage. If you have no choice but to use heat, use the tool on a medium heat setting and apply lots of hair protection spray to minimize the damage.
2. Don’t Shampoo Daily
You don’t have to lather up your hair every time you shower. In fact, you only need to shampoo two or three times a week. This lets the natural oil produced by your body to penetrate your hair and hydrate it. But do not wait too long between shampoos either as too much natural oil buildup can lead to itching and dandruff.
3. Don’t Over style
Your hair will grow the fastest when in its natural state. Avoid using too many styling products, and try to give long gaps between switching styles. Also, as mentioned above try to avoid styles that make heavy use of heating tools.
Collection of Common Problems & Queries
1. Applying coconut oil leaves my hair overly oily
If you have naturally oily hair, you may only need to apply very little coconut oil as it is highly moisturizing. Also, while it may help some people to leave the oil applied overnight, it may be more suitable for others to leave it on for just 30 minutes. If your hair feels too oily after the first shampoo, you may follow up with another round of shampooing.
2. Can I straighten my hair naturally without applying heat?
While there are few methods that you can use to naturally straighten your hair, the results may not be as impressive as when you use a heating tool. And the curlier your hair, the less effective the natural methods become.
Some of these natural methods include squeezing excess moisture form your hair, wrapping elastic hair bands in intervals along the pigtails and wrapping a silk scarf around you head. Remember that you can use heat tools to straighten you hair – just don’t do it often.
3. Dyeing can slow hair growth
Hair dyes are loaded with chemicals that can damage the hair. Dyes cut off the oxygen supply to the hair by blocking the hair follicles resulting in thinning of the hair. Try to dye your hair as less as possible or use more natural options like henna which are healthy for your hair.
4. I want to start taking vitamin supplements for better hair growth
Vitamin B & Vitamin C supplements may help aid your hair growth, especially if the vitamins have been lacking in your diet. However, it is strongly recommended that you consult a doctor before starting to take any supplements.
The doctor will help you figure out the right dosage as taking excessive supplements can cause other complications.
Tasty Recipes that Help Hair Growth
We have already discovered the importance of a balanced diet when it comes to taking care of your hair. Your diet must include good sources of a number of nutrients including protein, vitamins, unsaturated fats, omega 3, iron, zinc, etc.
To make matters easier for you, I have curated a list of easy-to-cook recipes that are not only delicious but may also help your hair grow much faster.
1. The Carrot and Avocado Salad
If you like fresh salads, you must try this. Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin B6, while avocados are rich in Vitamins B, C & H and unsaturated fats.
2. Salmon Salad
Salmon is antioxidant-rich thanks to the astaxanthin it contains, which is a carotenoid. This salad also contains onions which are rich in sulfur which aids in blood circulation, reduces skin inflammation and promotes hair health. It also helps boost the metabolism of several vitamins, including Vitamin B1, B5 and B7.
3. Shrimp and Eggs on Romaine Lettuce
Eggs are perhaps one of the best sources of protein that you can include in your diet. Also, both eggs and shrimp are a great source of iron which helps carry oxygen to the hair and keeps the hair follicles active. The tomatoes and watercress used in this recipe are rich antioxidant sources.
4. Jerk Chicken Curry with Beans
Firstly, beans are a very good source of multiple nutrients like protein, zinc, biotin or Vitamin H, and zinc. Chicken, on the other hand, adds its own nutritional value with protein, selenium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12.
5. Warm Mackerel and Beetroot Salad
Omega 3 is a very tough nutrient to find in commonly consumed food items. However, fish is a really good source of this nutrient and hence must feature in your diet as a regular feature. Beetroot is also a very nutritious ingredient that offers Vitamin C, iron, Vitamin B6 and lots of dietary fiber.
6. Stir-Fried Kale with Chili and Garlic
Kale is often considered one of the healthiest foods around and is abundantly rich in Vitamins A, C, K and B6, B2 and B1. It is also an excellent source of protein, omega 3 fats and iron. Garlic too plays an important role in hair health by providing nutrients such as Vitamin C and B1, and selenium.
You may also get in touch with a professional nutritionist who can help you create a daily diet that meets all your needs.
I hope this beauty guide has given you all the information you need to learn how to grow hair faster so that you can get the long and luscious locks you desire. These methods have worked for people all over the world and are great for all different types of hair.
If you have any questions or helpful information of your own to share or if you would like to share your own experiences with successful hair growth, please feel free to leave a comment for me. I always love to hear from you.