How To Grow Long Healthy Hair

how to grow longer hair fast
I hardly ever go to the hairdresser, maybe once per year when it starts to get to long to handle. 
Most of the time I cut and highlight my hair myself. Over the years I have learnt what works best for me, and while I may not end up with the most polished look, for the time and money I save, Im happy :) And let's be honest here, I'm not pedantic about my hair, I'm lucky if I brush it! And this somewhat lazy attitude to my hair has rewarded me with healthy shiny locks as it means I hardly ever use heat styling tools - a perfect yet somewhat unkempt win win! 
You CAN Have Long Healthy Hair!
There is no reason that you can't have the long healthy hair that you desire, it just takes a few simple lifestyle changes that will benefit not only your hair, but your entire body.
how to grow longer hair
How Long & How Fast Can Hair Grow? 
The average rate of growth is 1 cm per month. Optimal growth occurs from age 15 - 30 and reduces from age 40 onwards. That said, I'm not a huge fan of 'averages' when it comes to health related issues, as the 'average' diet is far from healthy.
Personally - without actually measuring it's growth (do people really get the tape measure out!?) I feel that my hair grows at a rate of 1 - 2 cms, as I am regularly needing to cut it before I end up looking like Cousin It! I attribute the fast growth rate to a healthy balanced lifestyle - lack of heat styling and the natural products that I use. All of which I discuss further in this post. 

hair growth how to grow long hair
What Slows Hair Growth Down? 
If your hair is growing at a rate slower than 1cm per month, there are a number of possibilities that may be causing it: 

    • Your diet may not be adequate to provide your hair with the nutrients it needs
    • Dieting - restricting calories
    • Eating disorder
    • Over exercising
    • Hormonal disturbances caused by diet / lifestyle
    • Smoking
    • Stress
    • Medication 
    • Pregnancy & post-partum hair loss (May I add that having a little one is off course well worth the hair loss and lack of growth :) )
    • Ageing (If one is fortunate enough to experience ageing then they are luckier than most - and while we can't do anything to stop wrinkles, hair loss and greying, a healthy lifestyle can certainly help to make the most of what one already has :) )
None Of The Above Yet You're Still Experiencing Slow Growth?
On the other hand your hair may be growing just fine, and it is heat styling that is damaging it to the point of snapping, leaving you with hair that appears to stand still and not grow as the ends are continuously snapping off at a faster or equal rate to the growth. Which leads me on to: 
Let it be!
Yep that's right, leave your poor hair alone! What did it ever do to you to deserve being yanked and pulled and heated to a crisp? ;) In all seriousness though, our hair certainly was not designed to have all the chemical processing and heat styling that we put it through these days, and in-turn there is nothing that can be purchased - aka manmade that can bring it back to life. Sure you can marginally repair it, however it will never go back to it's unadulterated state, so think twice before you go at it wielding straightening tongs, blow dryers and curlers. If you ever need a reminder of just how easily you can snap off an entire section of your hair with heated tongs, you may like to watch this ol' chestnut..(start from 1:00 in) 

Heat free styles
A great way to wean yourself from using heat styling tools is by embracing heat free styles. Do a search on YouTube for 'heat free hair style' and you will be inundated with every style you could imagine, from tight curls to beachy loose waves. While you're there you may like to check out my video where I share how I get bouncy waves:

Why It's Best To Use Natural Products: 
Most of the hair products on the market contain a disastrous cocktail of toxic ingredients, many of which are known carcinogens (hello Sodium laureth sulfate!)
As I tell people time and time again, what you put on your skin - goes within, and our hair is no exception. What you put on your hair ends up soaking into to the skin on your scalp, neck shoulders and back. I'm quite sure you wouldn't want the harmful chemicals that are in mainstream hair products to be ending up in your blood stream, so it's a good idea to switch to using 100% natural and preferably organic products. 
toxic shampoo
And health aside (which it never should be!), ingredients that are used to give the hair a superficial effect can damage your hair even though they give the appearance of shine and a smoother cuticle. Silicon, an ingredient that is often added to create shine, coats the hair shaft stopping any nutrients from being absorbed by the hair. The silicon gradually builds up leaving the hair lank and lifeless, go and add heat styling to the mix and your hair has little hope. 
Steer clear of these guys when you are looking for shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products: 
NO Mineral Oil
NO Silicones
NO Propylene Glycol
NO Fragrance
NO Polycyclic Musks
NO Animal by-products
NO GMO NO Petrolatum / Paraffin Wax
NO Parabens
NO Ethanolamines
Sodium laureth sulfate)
NO Synthetic Dye
NO Phthalates
NO Synthetic Retinol
NO Animal testing
NO Nature identical
Give Natural Products Time To wield Their Magic
If you have been using mainstream hair products, then using natural products may take a little getting used to. The shampoo may not lather as much as it wont have the canogenic foaming agent Sodium laureth / lauryl sulfate, and the conditioner may not give your hair quite as much slip and shine as it will be sans silicon. HOWEVER do not be deterred, as in the long term (generally after about 3 weeks) your hair and scalp will gradually build up it's own natural balance and will deliver you a lovely shine that is long term - without build up and heaviness. 

What products do I use?
Hair care is one area where I'm completely disloyal, I don't have a favourite brand and I try a new product every time I run out of an old bottle. That said I am absolutely loving the Living Libations Seabuckthorn shampoo that I'm trying out at the moment. I like to use a product in it's entirety before I review it, however I'm half way through my bottle and it's safe to say that it's utterly divine, it makes my scalp feel tingly and fresh thanks to the pure essential oils, and my hair feels soft and shiny from the nourishing seabuckthorn. As an added bonus, I have also been using it as a face and body wash when travelling, that's why I adore pure and natural products, they can make fantastic multi-taskers!. There's no way I would be rubbing a mainstream chemical laden shampoo into my face that's for sure! Stay tuned for my full review that will be coming out soon. 
living libations seabuckthorn shampoo review
Obviously I always choose natural products, the number one ingredient that I look to avoid is the foaming agent Sodium laureth sulfate, if a company is enlightened enough to leave that nasty out then they are generally going to understand hair care and you may find a nice code free toxin free ingredient list on the back of the bottle. 
I tend to go for volumising shampoos to give the roots a nice lift, and shine enhancing conditioners. 
Look for products that contain all natural ingredients. This may mean that you need to shop in health food stores over your general department stores, and off course you can always buy online. 

Make Your Own Hair Care 
When you're making your own hair care you know exactly what is going in to it and you're testing on a willing gorgeous creature - yourself :) Here are a couple of super easy DIY hair care tricks to get you started:
Bicarb Shampoo
Bicarbonate of soda is a 'do it all' product, not only can it clean and brighten your teeth and make your bath and skin sparkly clean, it can also act as a wonderful natural shampoo alternative. Simply mix a couple of spoonfuls in your hand with and add a little water to turn it into a paste, then gently massage into your scalp as you would a regular shampoo then rinse out. The bicarb will strip away any excess oils and product build up. Use once or twice weekly as a clarifying shampoo as it may dry your hair if used daily (if you take on my less washing tip you wont have that issue!) Condition as usual afterwards.

Shine & Smooth With Pure Oils 
Natural oils are brilliant to seal the ends of the hair with brilliant shine and smoothing power, go very lightly though, you only need the tiniest amount otherwise you hair will end up greasy and heavy. 
Some of the best oils to use in your hair are (preferably organic) argan oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, avocado oil and olive oil. 

Wash less
The less you mess with your hair the better. Our scalps are designed to nourish our hair via sebum. Sebum is the ultimate hair nourisher, and every time we wash our hair we are washing this precious oily hair protector down the drain. Some people have become so passionate about healing their locks that they have turned to the 'no poo' method, where you don't shampoo your hair AT ALL! You just give it a quick rinse with water while in the shower. It can take up to a month to let the scalp re-regulate back to its natural self cleaning ways, so be ready for some seriously greasy hair for a while. If you can last the distance, you will eventually end up with amazingly soft healthy shiny hair. I personally love the feeling of shampooing my hair and I don't think I could handle the grease monkey month waiting for my hair and scalp to balance the oil issue out, so I'm yet to try it. 

Dry Shampoo
If you haven't tried dry shampoo, you are seriously missing out and once you try it there wont be any turning back. 
It makes it easy to leave your hair wash free for up to 5 days (some people go even longer!) 
It generally comes in aerosol spray form, however the healthier eco option is to go with powder that you simple sprinkle through your roots, leave to soak up the oil for a few minutes and then brush out leaving your hair fresh as a daisy. 

Make Your Own Dry Shampoo

You can easily make your own dry shampoo using corn starch either alone or with a few drops of pure organic essential oil to give a nice refreshing scent to your locks. 
DIY dry shampoo homemade
You know that lovely healthy flush that you get on your cheeks after you have worked out? Well your scalp and hair benefit just as much as your skin from exercise. Our scalp relies on a healthy circulation to get the nutrients to the hair follicle. This is why leading an active lifestyle is so important not just to help us to feel better emotionally, but also to have the outer results that come hand in hand with a healthy plant based lifestyle. 
Scalp Massage
A brilliant addition to physical activity is scalp massage. I discuss this further in the video at the end of this post, however there are a few different ways you can perform a scalp massage. One you can use your fingers without the edition of oils, this is a great option if you don't want to be washing your hair afterwards. Simply put your fingers in to a claw shape and with a firm yet gentle pressure move your fingers in circular motions over your scalp. You want to be able to feel your scalp moving over your skull. 
The second is to use a nourishing oil such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, avocado oil, or olive oil (preferably organic) and massage it in to the scalp. You may like to add a drop or two of organic essential plant oils such as rosemary, clary sage, lavender or peppermint oils as they can give your massage an added boost to the circulation and deeply detoxify and nourish the scalp. Plus they add a gorgeous 'at home spa' aura to your head massage thanks to the divine scent. 
scalp massage coconut oil how to grow longer hair

Nutrition = Beautiful Hair From The Inside Out
Now this is where the quality of your hair truly lies. 
It's vitally important to feed your body an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables so you are getting all of the bioavailable nutrients that are required to grown healthy long hair. A few of the beautifying nutrients that we can obtain from a healthy plant based diet are zinc, magnesium, biotin and omega 3.
food fro hair growth
A fantastic juice recipe for hair growth:
  • 1 cucumber (leave skin on)
  • 4 carrots 
  • 1 apple (leave skin on and remove core) 
The cucumber is high in silica, which is brilliant for healthy hair skin and nails. Carrots are high in beta-carotene which aids in healthy regeneration of the skin hair and nails resulting in heathy hair growth, and the apple adds a delicious sweet flavour to balance the cucumber and has a wonderful cleansing effect on the body while also delivering an antioxidant boost. 
juice for hair growth
Calorie Restriction = Restricted Growth
Any restrictive diet that is denying the body of adequate nutrients is going to cause your hair (and skin) to suffer. The body see's caloric restriction as a threat and so your body will prioritise directing energy and nutrients to the vital organs first, with the hair coming way down the bottom of the list of priorities. This is why your hair is generally the first place that you suffer when you fall ill, diet or are under stress. Your body get's busy trying to keep you alive and not surprisingly it doesn't have a huge interest in making sure your hair is long and shiny in the process.
Want More Nutritional Advice For Hair Growth?
To find out more about eating for beautiful hair you can check out my video below. 
Cruelty free 
Off course if you want to be kind to your hair be kind to the animals at the same time by choosing cruelty free products that aren't tested on animals. You can find a great list of cruelty free products here:
cruelty free hair care
Here's to healthy happy hair :) 

Emily x
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 how to grow long hair