Determined that this is gonna be the year you grow your hair out and unleash your true inner mermaid? A full mane of soft, silky, glossy locks is the dream, but the bad news is that hair typically only grows about half an inch max every month. Sigh, slowpoke.
Growing your hair out to its maximum Blake Lively potential is unfortunately a waiting game, but there are a few things you can do to make sure it’s super healthy and split end-free to help speed up the process a little. Here’s all the essential tips and tricks you need to keep the breakage at bay and get your hair longer and stronger asap.
1. remember that scissors aren’t your enemy
Watching the hairdresser snip away those precious inches might sound like your worst nightmare when trying to grow your hair, but getting regular trims is super important. Haircuts don’t stimulate growth like some old wives tales say, but they do keep your hair looking healthy from top to bottom, and prevent pesky split ends from working their way further up the strands. Suck it up and ask your stylist to snip around just an eighth of an inch off every 10 to 12 weeks – it’ll make a real difference to the overall condition.
2. never skip your conditioner
Repeat after us – if your hair is wet, you need to condition it. Over time, strands of hair get thinner towards the bottom, but a good conditioner helps replace the lipids and proteins inside the hair itself, while also sealing up the cuticle to prevent any more damage happening. When your hair is hydrated by effective conditioner, it’s way less likely to dry out and split, so apply an intensive formula even on days when you aren’t using shampoo.
And while skipping conditioner is a big no no, skipping shampoo is actually not such a bad idea. As well as washing away dirt and product build up, shampoo can steal essential natural oils that keep your hair soft and healthy, so only use it when you really need to. Opt for sulphate-free formulas, massage your scalp for 30 seconds prior to washing, and then let suds simply slide down the strands rather than rubbing it all up in the wrong direction. You could see your hair grow an extra inch per year, awoo.
3. add a blast of cold
This one will seriously test your dedication to the quest for mermaid hair, but try finishing off your hair wash with a final rinse of cold water. We’re doing weird banshee shrieks just thinking about it, but dropping the temperature of your shower for one last rinse is a super easy trick to help grow hair and keep it healthy af. Cold water causes the outer layer of hair to lay down much more smoothly than warm water does, meaning it’ll retain more moisture while minimising snags and heat damage too. Yup, it’ll be a few seconds of hell for the rest of your bod, but it’ll be seriously worth it.
4. stay away from the turban towel
Who doesn’t love wrapping their hair up in a huge fluffy bath towel and pretending to shake their maracas like Carmen Miranda with a fruit bowl on her head? It might make you feel extra fab and fancy, but it turns out that turban towels are NAHT a good idea. Wrapping your hair in a big bath towel causes breakage and snapping as it gets caught in the woven fibres, and the more delicate baby hair close to your face doesn’t stand a chance either as it’ll be wrapped too tightly. If you wanna rock the turban towel look, treat yourself to a super-thin, soft micro-fibre hair towel designed for the job – or just leave your hair to drip down onto a towel around your shoulders.
5. give it some serious tlc
Just like you’d pamper yourself with face masks if you were taking time to improve your skin, your hair’s gonna need some TLC if you want to see proper results. When you think about it, hair that touches your shoulders or longer is probably several years old, so it’s gonna need looking after to keep it looking gorgeous and glossy. Make sure you’re whacking on a moisture mask or a luxury oil at least once a week. The oils fill up strands of hair with fatty acids and then, once rinsed out, your normal shampoo can seal them inside the hair. Genius.
It doesn’t even need to be expensive – you can make your own natural oil treatment by mixing a cup of coconut oil with a tablespoon each of almond, macadamia and jojoba oil. Apply to damp hair, leave it on for ten minutes, then wash as normal. Sorted.
6. channel rapunzel when brushing
Yeah okay, so you’ve been brushing your own hair since you were a tiny young human, but are you sure you’re doing it right? Over-brushing can cause serious damage, and brushing through wet hair is also a recipe for disaster. When detangling after a hair wash, start from the bottom and work your way up – even if instinct tells you to go from scalp to tip. You’ll only be bringing small tangles down into one big knot, which can leave you pulling out a whole lot of hair and ripping yourself some fresh split ends. Your brushing weapon of choice is also important. Opt for a wide-tooth plastic comb when handling wet hair, followed by specially designed brushes like The Wet Brush or Tangle Teezer, which will smoothly glide through your hair with minimum damage.
7. ditch the cheap pillow cases
So you’re trimmed, shampooed, conditioned, oiled, masked, detangled and smoothed – and now it’s time for bed. But hold up one more second, because there’s one thing left to change in your hair routine for longer and stronger hair. Those cheap pillowcases you’re about to sleep (and maybe dribble a bit) on? Ditch ‘em. If you want princess hair, you need to sleep like a princess too, so switch to a silky, sateen fabric for your pillowcases. The smoother, softer surface will eliminate the friction that woven cotton pillowcases create with your hair, so you’ll wake up with fewer tangles.