If you’re looking for ways to grow out your hair quicker, then you’re not alone. Many people have been in the same situation but unfortunately, it’s not possible to make hair grow faster. What’s possible, however, is to make sure your hair is growing at its maximum natural speed by caring for it properly. This can be achieved by adopting habits that promote healthy hair growth and minimizing factors that cause hair to glow slower.
Factors that Affect Rate of Hair Growth
It’s estimated that on average, hair grows half a millimeter per day, half an inch per month and six inches in one year. Some people are genetically blessed to grow hair at a faster rate.
While genes play a big role in determining the rate of hair growth, other factors such as nutrition, overall health status, medications, and the use of styling products all play a part too.
Natural Ways to Grow Hair Faster
If your hair is growing at a slower rate than the average half an inch per month, you may want to try one of the following natural methods to stimulate faster growth.
- Adopt a Healthy Diet that Promotes Hair Growth
Many people resort to using hair products that promise to stimulate faster growth. However, most of the time the issue behind slow hair growth is on the inside, especially if hair is not getting the nutrients it needs to grow.
Simply put, a healthy diet is essential to promoting hair growth. In fact, some mineral and vitamin deficiencies actually cause loss of hair or stunt growth. Therefore, it’s important to eat healthy meals and vary food choices to get all the nutrients your body needs to grow hair.
Here are some of the essential nutrients that your hair needs in order to grow at an optimal speed:
Our hair is composed of a protein called Keratin. As such, it’s important to get the right amount of protein in your diet to promote healthy hair growth. You should adopt a diet that involves eating protein rich foods such as lean meat, poultry products, low fat dairy products, and fish.
For vegetarians, excellent sources of protein include beans, soy, tofu, and nuts. Keep in mind that meeting your daily dietary intake of protein provides your body with the building blocks to construct new hair.
- Iron and Zinc
If you lack enough iron or zinc in your body, this will slow down the rate of hair growth. Both of these minerals play vital roles in promoting growth of healthy hair. For instance, iron carries oxygen to cells and tissues. So, having enough of this nutrient will ensure that hair follicles in the scalp are getting enough oxygen.
On the other hand, zinc helps the body to generate new tissues. Therefore, zinc is an essential nutrient that promotes new hair growth when dead strands shed. It also promotes optimal functioning of oil glands that lubricate hair.
Good sources of iron include red meat, poultry, eggs, lentils, beans, tofu and soybeans. Zinc can be found in fortified bread, cereal and pasta, as well as chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, crab, oysters, poultry, or lean meats.
- Healthy Fats
Fats are an essential addition to your healthy hair diet. With the help of healthy fats, the body is able to absorb nutrients that are vital for hair growth such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K. In addition, lipids help the body to maintain healthy hair follicles that allow long strands to grow without breaking at the base. To promote faster hair growth, opt for foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and other sources of unsaturated fats.
- B Vitamins
Health experts often cite a lack of B12 Vitamins as one of the causes of hair loss. There’s still no decisive scientific evidence that shows increased consumption of B vitamins will accelerate the rate of hair growth. However, having enough of these nutrients in your diet will help to prevent hair loss.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is important since it promotes easy assimilation of iron and helps to build collagen, a fiber that strengthens new hair cells.
Ensure to eat plenty of citrus fruits as well as guavas, pineapples, kale, broccoli and peppers to enrich your diet with Vitamin C. Not having enough of this nutrient can cause hair to become dry, dull, and weak. When hair is not healthy, hair growth will slow down.
- Use a Natural Hair Growth Supplement
While eating a healthy diet helps to promote hair growth, you may not be able to get all the hair-building nutrients from your meals alone. To bridge this nutritional gap, you can take herbal supplements that contain nutrients known to aid in faster growth of hair.
Supplements that contain B-complex vitamins like biotin and folic acid are great for augmenting hair growth. You can also nourish hair from the inside and help it reach its maximum growth rate by eating fish oil, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, primrose oil, or saw palmetto.
- Reduce Physical and Emotional Stress
Stress is one of the factors known to trigger hair loss. When your body experiences severe stress, this causes temporary hair loss known as telogen effluvium. Usually, hair goes through a cycle starting with a growth phase followed by a rest and shedding phase.
It’s believed that stress disrupts this natural cycle by pronouncing the shedding phase, causing it to last anywhere between 3 to 6 months. So, it’s important to minimize or eliminate stress in your life if you want to boost hair growth rate.
Here are a few methods for reducing both emotional and physical stress when striving for faster hair growth:
- Exercise Regularly
Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day can greatly reduce stress. Studies show that physical activity pumps up endorphins (your “feel good” neurotransmitters) and improves mood. As an added benefit, exercising will improve circulation, which in turn improves delivery of nutrients to the hair and scalp.
- Learn How to Deal with Emotional Stress
Intense emotional distress caused by anxiety at work, change of employment, divorce, loss of a loved one, or other reasons can shut down hair growth. To protect your body from emotional stress, take some time out to heal or get into a stable state of mind.
For instance, spare some “me time” at the end of every day to practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing. Talking to someone you can confide in can also help to reduce emotional stress. As the body and mind recovers from stress, so will your hair growth cycle.
- Identify and Deal with Physical Stressors
Certain physical stressors can shut down hair production. For example, some people experience zero hair growth for several months when going through the physical trauma of an accident. This happens because the body devotes available nutrients to tissue repair.
In such cases, it’s best to focus on recovery because once wounds have healed normal hair growth should return. Hyperactivity, lack of sleep, excessive supplementation, and excessive use of over-the-counter drugs are all forms of physical stressors that you should avoid when trying to promote faster hair growth.
- Massage the Scalp Every Day
Massaging the scalp helps blood circulate through hair follicles. Improved circulation means that follicles will get the nutrients they need to maintain existing hair or produce new strands.
With a hot oil scalp massage, you can promote circulation in the follicles and maintain flow of nutrients to hair. There are many natural essential oils to choose from, including coconut, castor, jojoba, olive, or rosemary oil. Palm oil is an excellent choice of Tocotrienols, which is an essential nutrient that tremendously aids in hair growth. This oil also provides an extra layer of protection against harmful sun rays or chlorine found in swimming pool water.
Whatever essential oil you choose to use, make sure to work it through your scalp thoroughly. After massaging, cover your head with a towel dipped in hot water so that the oil can spread evenly on the scalp pores.
- Try an Egg Mask Infused with Herbs
Raw eggs can create a nourishing mask for your hair. They will provide your hair follicles with iron, sulphur, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium, all of which are beneficial nutrients for faster hair growth. For the best results, use an egg hair mask at least once each month.
- Break 1 or 2 eggs and whisk thoroughly. You can stir in other herbs that promote healthy hair growth. A few suggestions include rosemary, coconut oil, green tea, and fresh Aloe Vera gel.
- Apply the herbal and egg hair mask on your head, working it through all the way down to the scalp.
- Leave the egg mask on for 30 minutes so that pores and root hairs on the scalp can absorb the nourishing nutrients. Rinse the hair when done and condition as usual.
- Avoid Damaging Hair Styles
The best way to see results when making efforts to grow hair faster is to prevent it from breaking in the first place. Hair can begin to thin, grow slowly or even fall out when certain styling techniques are used too frequently.
Below are some of the styling techniques that cause premature hair loss and prevent quick natural gains:
- Rubber Bands or Tight Hair Styles
Certain tight hair styles like ponytail, tight buns, cornrows, and tight braids can cause a lot of tension at the base of the hair shaft. Rubber bands also snag and pull hair so tightly that it breaks at the root. Needless to say, breakages only hamper your hair growth efforts. The worst part is that no matter how healthy hair is on the inside, you will never achieve faster growth if there is too much breakage on the outside. Therefore, make sure to avoid tight hair styles and the use of rubber bands when trying to boost hair growth.
- Over Brushing or Improper Combing of Hair
Improper combing or brushing will pull out hair from the roots, which can be a big blow to your progress when trying to increase the growth rate of hair. Practice the following techniques to avoid pulling out hair when combing or brushing:
- Always use hair conditioner or apply a natural detangling spray before brushing. This will soften hair, prevent it from pulling away harshly and reduce breakage.
- Regulate tension on strands by holding hair in one hand while brushing in order to avoid pulling from the root.
- Keep in mind that excessive brushing can also cause significant hair loss. Reduce breakage by combing hair only twice per day.
- Cut Back on Curling, Bleaching, Crimping, Mechanical Straightening, Perming and Crimping
While all of these treatments are important aspects to a woman’s beauty regimen, they’re extremely damaging and tend to weaken hair. However, you don’t have to give up your most favorite hair styles. Just style your hair in moderation.
If you must bring out the curling iron or hair straightener, try not to do it more than once a week. Hot styling tools cause the most damage to hair and at a much faster rate. Therefore, air-dry your hair manually whenever possible to promote faster hair growth and reduce breakage.
Medical Interventions to Promote Faster Hair Growth
- Have Possible Health Problems Treated
Efforts to speed up hair growth will be futile if an underlying condition that halts hair growth remains untreated. Diseases like lupus and diabetes can cause hair growth problems. In some cases, individuals with these conditions even lose large clumps of their hair.
Treating or managing an underlying health condition can return hair growth to normal rates. Therefore, speak to a doctor if you have a chronic health condition to find out whether it is causing slow hair growth. A health expert might be able to recommended solutions and treatments that help you live a better quality of life without interfering with the body’s ability to grow hair.
- Find out if Your Current Medications Could Be the Culprit
When trying to grow hair faster, some medications can do the exact opposite. For instance, chemotherapy drugs are infamous for making patients go bald. However, these are not the only medications that cause hair growth problems. Birth control pills, gout treatment drugs, blood thinners, antidepressants, arthritis pills, and heart medications can stunt hair growth or even instigate loss of hair.
If you start to shed hair or experience thinning hair while taking medications, make sure to inform your doctor. Your GP may be able to suggest a change in prescription drugs that will not have an impact on the hair growth cycle.
- Try Over-the-Counter (OTC) and Prescription Hair Growth Medications
Most people can achieve faster hair growth with proper dieting and stress management alone. However, if these methods fail to work and you have no chronic illness, you may want to consider using hair growth medications.
Rogaine (also sold under the trade name minoxidil), is one of the only non-prescription topical treatments that has proven effective at increasing hair growth and preventing hair loss. What’s more, it’s safe for both men and women. Make sure to consult your doctor before using this OTC drug, especially if you are under medication.
Alternatively, individuals that experience no hair growth may want to try Corticosteroid ointments. These drugs are administered intravenously to stimulate hair growth in some patients.
Other drugs that might speed up hair growth include Finasteride and Anthralin. However, these medications are mostly prescribed to individuals diagnosed with a hair loss problem, while Finasteride is contraindicated for women.
Quick Tips to Prevent Slow Hair Growth
- Trim Hair Every 6 to 8 Weeks
Trimming hair does not necessary make your hair grown any faster but it will prevent split ends from entangling with other strands, causing you to chop off more hair.
- Sleep On a Silk Pillowcase
If your pillows or sheets are made of cotton, chances are that you tend to find pieces of hair on them every once in a while. Of course, this can have a negative impact on your progress when trying to grow hair faster. A better fabric that causes less friction and hair shedding is silk. As an added bonus, silk reduces your chances of getting face wrinkles when sleeping.
- Clean Scalp Regularly
Sebum (natural skin oil) and hair treatment products build up in follicles on the scalp and slow down hair growth. Clogged follicles can slow down hair growth. Therefore, clean your scalp and hair regularly to promote faster hair growth.
- Eat Properly
Avoid or limit hair hair-stunting foods and beverages such as carbonated drinks, processed sugar, and foods high in starch such as white bread.
- Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water to keep your hair hydrated. Hydrated hair grows strong and a consistent rate whereas dry hair is more likely to break.
- Don’t Brush Wet Hair
Do not brush your hair when it is wet. Hair is most vulnerable when wet. Therefore, it is more likely to break in this state. As a general rule of thumb, always let hair air dry and apply a conditioning product to reduce breakage when brushing.