Long hair is a luxury that many men and women wish to have. Though many want it, not all understand that having it is a pursuit, not a whim. By following the steps below, you can grow healthy hair that even strangers will compliment:
- Adjust your expectations. Not everyone can have beautiful knee-length hair. Some people can only grow it to their waist (this is common), some only to their shoulders, and some stop even shorter than that (this is uncommon). Whatever your capacity, don't get upset if it won't grow as long as you'd like it to. There are plenty of great styles for all lengths of hair that look good and can make you feel good about yourself.
Even if your hair is the type that can be extra long, remember--hair only grows about 6 inches per year. Don't expect much more than that.
- Evaluate your hair type. Is it brittle? Thin? Very thick and curly? You're going to have to make considerations for your hair type as you grow it out. Be very, very careful with brittle hair and condition thick hair often. You might want to consider thinning it.
- Cut off all dead and damaged hair first. Hair is dead material and cannot be rejuvenated or renewed, only washed and oiled. To truly make progress, you need to get rid of everything that's not worth growing out. Find a hair professional who can evaluate and trim (or hack!) off all the split, unhealthy ends that you don't want to carry with you. Also, if you want your hair to be one length, you may want to grow out layers and/or bangs at this point.
Make sure to find a stylist who will trim your ends (or dust them) without pressuring you to cut your hair shorter. Hair stylists only make money as long as you are cutting, dying, and fixing your hair. Some stylists, when they hear that you are growing your hair out, may be unsupportive and try to get you back into your old routine. If this happens, find a different stylist to help you work with your hair and encourage natural growth.
- Brush little as possible. Clearly you'll still want to brush your hair, especially when it begins to tangle, but learn to do so carefully. If you must brush, use one with boar hair bristles. If you can get away with it, use a wide tooth comb and fingers to undo snarls and knots. Brush out the ends first, and keep moving up while brushing down to make sure you don't complicate knots.
- Wash your hair properly. If you can get away with it, don't wash your hair every day--if you have dry hair, definitely do not shampoo every day. Begin to shampoo at the roots, working down but without lavishing the ends in shampoo (it dries them out). Condition only the mid-section to the ends. Consider using a leave-in conditioner or deep conditioning formula.
- Treat your hair like silk. Hair is extremely delicate, and long hair even more so. There are things that you'll never be able to do if you want it to stay beautiful. NEVER tease your hair. Don't knot it aggressively, or tear it with pins. Never use metal hair implements. Don't use hairdryers. Don't use dyes or perms. Use safe accessories like scrunchies and sticks to keep your hair up. Use a leave-in conditioner if your locks are thick or curly. Braid hair (and put into a loose bun if possible) before sleeping. If you must sleep with it loose, use a satin pillowcase. Protect your hair when swimming by putting on a shower/swimming cap, and protect it from sun if you don't want it to lighten. Keep your hair braided and safe when relaxing.
- Encourage growth from the inside. Eat protein-rich foods, and don't neglect to take your vitamins. Being internally healthy creates more beautiful hair.