Hair grows only about a half inch per month. Want to jump-start the process? Read on for experts tips to stop hair’s biggest enemy—breakage.
Everyone wants healthier, thicker, and stronger hair. From slapping on every hair mask known to Sephora to popping hair supplements, most of us are willing to do (or buy!) anything that will help us achieve Sofia Vergara-worthy hair. We spoke with a trichologist and celebrity hairstylists to break down everything you need to know about growing thick and long hair once and for all.
We have great hair news for the avocado fanatics among us. According to Michelle Blaisure, product and technical specialist and certified trichologist for Bosley Professional Strength, a diet full of healthy fats is the most important thing to consider if you want thick and healthy hair. “While genetics determines hair texture and curl, our diet plays a role in how genes can get expressed,” Blaisure says. “Be sure to get plenty of good quality protein and good fats like olive oil and Omega 3.” She recommends foods such as salmon, avocados, nuts, vegetables, and fruit to get all the key nutrients needed for growing stronger hair.
Use The Right Shampoo & Conditioner
It’s obvious, but different hair types require specific products that cater to their exacting needs. Cutler salon senior stylist Jenny Balding says those with fine hair should look for volume-building shampoo and conditioners to fake thickness and boost shine. For those with coarse hair, Balding suggests products that tame frizz and moisturize.
Don’t Over Wash
Too much of a good thing can do a lot of harm. According to Lucy Flora, stylist at Frédéeric Fekkai in New York City’s SoHo, the number one mistake she sees clients make is over-washing. “There is nothing better for shine than the hair’s natural oils,” Flora says. You can help distribute the natural oils by gently brushing your hair regularly (more on that below). Just don’t go more than a few days before a shampoo: you still need to rinse away product build-up to maintain a healthy scalp. Speaking of your scalp…
Start With Your Scalp
Don’t sleep on your scalp. Well, you know what we mean. The scalp has a rich microbiome of bacteria and fungus necessary to keep the skin—and hair it grows—healthy, explains Blaisure. When we don’t shampoo enough or use harsh chemicals on it, it leads to skin problems that negatively affect hair growth. “The skin has immunity functions and is our first line of defense against toxins and environment aggressors. When the scalp is compromised, the scalp cannot defend itself,” she says. “Keeping a healthy balance of moisture and natural oils is important on scalp just as it is on your face.”
She blames overuse of hair chemicals and harsh cleaning agents, like baking soda, of stripping the hair and disrupting the scalp skin pH balance. She says to avoid using thickening products that leave behind a heavy residue and make hair look dull and avoid anything with a high pH level.
Linda de Zeeuw, master stylist at Rob Peetoom, suggests massaging your scalp to activate the bloodstream and to avoid washing your hair more than three times a week to keep your scalp healthy. Zeeuw also warns against overusing dry shampoo as it can build a dust layer on your scalp and clog hair follicles, preventing new healthy hair from growing in.
We know it can be hard to break up with your hair dryer or flat iron. But if you truly want healthier hair, start writing that breakup text. “Keeping hot tool use at a minimum will lessen hair damage,” says Balding. “It will make a huge difference.” She says that if you cannot stay away from your favorite hot tools (guilty), you must to use a heat protectant spray, like the Cutler Protectant Treatment Spray, and a hot tool brand that regulates heat and temperature evenly, like the T3 Single Pass Straight Iron. We also love the new Dyson Airwrap Styler, a styling tool and dryer hybrid that uses air and minimal heat to dry and curl hair.
Brush, Brush, Brush
When’s the last time you actually gave thought to brushing your hair? Regular and deliberate brushing can affect your hair’s thickness, says Blaisure, because it helps distribute the natural oils that will help protect it from damage and add shine. Brushing everyday, regardless of your hair texture, will also help exfoliate the scalp and remove dead hair, says Balding.