Waiting for your hair to grow longer can feel like forever. If you’ve found yourself typing “how to make your hair grow faster” into Google at two in the morning, you’re in the right place. Maybe you had a bad haircut, would like a different style or just to have more hair on your head overall!
Sadly there are no magic potions to speed up the growth, even if many shampoo and vitamin companies would like to claim otherwise.
On average, hair grows between 0.5 and 1.6 centimetres per month. The minuscule variation is largely due to genetics, but factors such as age and health also have some impact.
But fear not. What we can do is ensure our hair grows healthy and strong, for as long as possible.
How hair grows
The growth cycle of an individual hair varies from 2-6 years, so the more that remain healthy for their entire life cycle, the denser and longer your hair will get.
The three stages of hair growth are:
- Anagen – growth (2-6 years)
- Catagen – transition (10 days)
- Telogen – resting (3 months)
When it comes to hair loss, it’s normal to lose 100-150 hairs a day. Hair naturally falls out at the end of its life cycle, when the follicle goes into the resting phase, lasting about three months. At any given time, 10-15% of scalp hairs are in the resting phase.
In people susceptible to hereditary hair loss, hair follicles begin to miniaturise, spending longer in the resting phase and eventually becoming unable to sustain hair growth.
5 ways to boost hair growth
The right products
Scalp is to hair what soil is to plants – it needs to be healthy to support growth. Your shampoo and conditioner play a key part in maintaining a healthy scalp, the foundation your hair is growing from.
Choosing the right products for your hair type and scalp needs is key. Moisturising products are best for dry and coarse hair, whereas fine hair needs volumizing products. If your scalp is sensitive, make sure to choose soothing products.
There are two active ingredients proven to increase density and promote new growth. These treatments are mainly used by people with hereditary hair loss. They can be taken in oral (capsule) or topical (spray) form.
The treatments take 4-6 months to work, but studies have shown significant improvements in hair count with consistent use. We can’t name them here, but you can find out more by booking an online consultation with a specialist hair loss doctor.
Nutritional deficiencies can be one reason for excessive hair loss and reduced growth. Eating a varied diet is enough for most people to cover their bases, but a daily supplement can help make sure your hair gets everything it needs to grow.
If you’re experiencing shedding, it might be time to assess your protein intake, especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian. Protein is the building block of hair – hair strands are made of a tough protein called keratin. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.
Some studies have shown that platelet-rich plasma therapy, PRP for short, can help prevent hair loss and boost growth. In PRP, a nurse draws your blood, separates the plasma from it and re-injects it into your scalp to stimulate follicle activity.
What to avoid so you don’t sabotage hair growth
We all know heat styling is bad for our hair. It causes the hair to lose moisture, leaving it more frail and prone to breakage. Limit heat styling, decrease the temperature on your styling tools and use a heat protectant to minimise damage.
When growing out your hair, it’s best to avoid all bleach, chemicals and hair dyes, as they cause significant damage to the hair strands. Dying your hair could mean more frequent trims and therefore less length!
High ponytails, buns, tight braids and even extensions can pull on hair and cause strands to fall out prematurely. Wear your hair down or in a loose braid to give the hair strands rest.
Stress can cause a type of hair loss called Telogen Effluvium, typically presenting as sudden and excessive shedding about six months after a traumatic or stressful event. To avoid stress or to recover from it, adequate sleep and exercise are recommended, as well as calming practices such as meditation and yoga.
A crash diet or restricted eating may deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to grow hair. Hair is not essential to our survival as humans, so it’s one of the first functions that tend to be shut off when resources are scarce. Sudden, extreme weight loss may also trigger hair loss.
Get expert advice
If you’re worried about hair loss, the best thing to do is seek professional help. If you’re unsure about what’s causing your hair loss, book an appointment with a trichologist or a dermatologist (a GP may not have the most up-to-date knowledge on hair loss).