Rapunzel-length locks aren’t just the stuff of fairy tales, they’re actually attainable if you’re willing to do the work. To be fair, at an average rate of four to six inches per year, hair is already the fastest growing tissue in the human body. Yet whether you’ve gotten a regrettably short chop or you’re just impatient like me, you can hack your hair growth timeline with a little bit of TLC (tender loving care, not the 90s girl group).
We’re not talking harsh chemicals here – with all the dye, perms, and relaxers women commonly put in their hair, our locks don’t need any additional damage. In fact, that’s the quickest route to breakage-ville and a definite hindrance to your efforts. Here are five natural ways to make your mane grow faster so you can whip those gorgeous tresses like hairspo goddess Beyoncé herself (who can afford any amazing weave she wants #goals).
Get your vitamins
Listen up, Goldilocks, your first line of offense in the game of super speedy mane gain is nutrition. There are a handful of vitamins – namely A, the Bs, C, D, and E – that are instrumental in growing a mop of goddess proportions.
Here’s a quick breakdown why each of them is necessary and what food sources they’re found in to ensure you’re meeting your dietary needs:
The body’s cells need vitamin A to grow, bar none. It also helps skin glands produce sebum, thereby keeping your hair moisturized. Both too much and too little vitamin A can contribute to hair loss, so it’s important to get the dosage juuuuuust right.
Good sources: sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, milk, eggs, yogurt
Do not sleep on your B vitamins if you’re looking to sprout a full head of shiny locks in record speed! They are vital for providing oxygen to cells, creating the structure of hair, and feeding hair follicles. One of the most essential is a B vitamin named biotin. Other key Bs you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough of are niacin (B-3) and pantothenic acid (B-5).
Good sources: dark leafy greens, whole grains, almonds, fish, seafood, meat
Vitamin C is crucial for the synthesis of collagen, and thus the structural integrity of your tresses. In addition, its antioxidant properties impede the oxidative stress that causes hair to thin out and gray.
Good sources: peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries
This vitamin plays a pivotal role in the hair growth cycle by helping to create new follicles and stimulating them into action, which is why low levels of vitamin D have been linked to alopecia.
Good sources: direct sun exposure (with spf protection of course), fatty fish, cod liver oil, certain mushrooms, fortified foods
Like vitamin C, the antioxidative effects of vitamin E aid in preventing the stress that ages hair. It also boosts hair growth and helps counter hair loss.
Good sources: sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, green leafy vegetables
Put the pony down
A ponytail takes two seconds to execute, making it the go-to ‘do of overworked women everywhere. However, rubbing against a tight hairband all day puts extra stress on your locks, which ultimately leads to breakage. This goes double if your hair has already been weakened by hair dye or other chemical processing. The worst part about the damage caused by a ponytail – versus say a braid – is how high up on your head it occurs.
If you fantasize about long, flowing locks, it’s best to forgo this hairstyle altogether. Though if for some reason find yourself needing to wear your hair in a pony, reduce your risk of breaks by avoiding elastic bands. Opt for a softer, gentler binder instead.
Skip the hot tools
Other usual suspects behind breakage include curling irons, straighteners, and other hot tools. There’s no way around it, heat styling equals damage. As a long-time devotee to the pin-straight aesthetic, I can tell you running a flat iron through your naturally wavy mane on a daily basis doesn’t come without consequences. It’s best to keep your coif au naturel if your goal is rapid growth.
Rinse with cold water
Turning the knob to cold for your final rinse closes down the pores on your scalp before you hop out of the shower. This added seal helps you hang onto as many strands as possible, especially important if you tend to comb your hair while it’s still wet (not recommended, but alas, we’re only human).
Sleep on silk pillowcases like a queen
Most of us were born and bred on cotton, the fabric of our lives. However, now that you’re all grown up, may I suggest smooth, frictionless silk as the fabric on which to rest your weary head? Think about it: we spend a third of our lives in slumber. That’s a lot of time you don’t want to be scratching and snagging your delicate tresses across a cotton pillowcase as you toss and turn. Switching to silk provides a more forgiving surface for your strands to glide on as you sleep.
So that’s the long and short of it. Hair growth isn’t magic. You can’t become a mermaid overnight. But taking these simple steps will help minimize loss, reduce damage, and give your hair the fuel it needs to add inches as instantaneously as biologically possible.