Rachael’s Ultimate Guide to Growing Healthy Long Hair (Part 1)
So another year has passed, as many of us stay up til the wee hours of morn and party hard to celebrate the new year. And like many of you, when I awake groggily (some more than others) on the 1st of January 2012, I will resolve that this will be the year that I learn Italian, stop spending so much, start saving and go to the gym everyday (and not just to check out the hot guys). A new year for a new and improved me. I don’t know about you guys – but for me, it’s really not all that different to what I said I would do on January 1st last year…and possibly the one before. For all said above, I can only hope I fare better this year. However, if your new year’s resolution is to grow some seriously enviable, lusciously long locks OR to grow out those (let’s be honest) completely unflattering home-cut bangs; that far-too-short, spur-of-the-moment bob; or that Emma-Watson-esque pixie cut you thought you could pull off… then I am here to help, with some tips and tricks on how to care better for your hair, and encourage it to grow healthily.
FACT: on average, hair grows ½ inch each month – so that’s 6 inches in a year.
Although this figure varies from person to person (based on factors such as genetics, age and health), for most, it is generous, if anything. This is the natural growth rate of your hair, and it is not possible to naturally make your hair grow any faster. Sadly, we can’t do anything to change our genes or age. So our job is to ensure our bodies and our locks are in optimum health to make sure by the 1st January 2013, we have that extra 6 inches!
Cliché, I know, but incontestably true: if you’re healthy on the inside, your healthy glow will be reflected on the outside (hello glossy locks!).
So, this year, resolve to start drinking plenty of water. You may have doubted your biology teacher’s knowledge and competency, but they weren’t actually kidding when they said water makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water, so it is essential for good health. It is recommended that we try to drink about 2 litres a day – that’s 8-9 glasses of water.
Try to establish a healthy, regular sleeping cycle (minimise those all-nighters) to ensure you get at least 8 hours of sleep a day; and incorporate a variety of colourful fresh fruits and vegetables. You could also start eating a “hair, skin and nails” supplement, which can be found in the multivitamin and supplements sections of most pharmacies. Whichever you choose, the idea is to give your body the nutrients it needs to support healthy hair growth.
How to Properly Care for Your Hair
I know. You’ve been washing your hair all on your own since the age of 3, but think of these tips as a refresher course to check you’re caring for your hair as best as you can.
Using warm water for shampooing your hair is best – it helps to open up the hair cuticle so that you can clean out all the trapped dirt and oil. But not too hot, otherwise you might also risk stripping away all the natural oils of your hair, leaving your scalp dry and prone to dandruff. Another tip to avoid drying out your scalp is to only wash your hair every second day.
When lathering your hair, be gentle, you already naturally shed hair each day, but you don’t want to lose any more than necessary! When conditioning, take the time to comb the conditioner through your hair to ensure your hair is conditioned thoroughly from root to tip, and massage it into your scalp. This will not only help to moisturise your scalp, but the massaging action will also stimulate blood flow to your scalp, and therefore encourage hair growth. Leave the conditioner in for up to 5 minutes if possible. But, I know we’re busy people and not everyone (I know I can’t) can always afford to wait 5 minutes before rinsing your hair; so just leave it in for as long as you can. I suggest shampooing and applying conditioner first when you hop into the shower. Then after you’ve applied conditioner, twist your hair and pile it on top of your head to keep it out of the way while you wash the rest of yourself. Then, rinse out the conditioner lastly, just before you get out.
Conversely, it is better to rinse out conditioner with cool water – this will rinse out excess product without completely stripping all the moisture from your freshly-conditioned hair. It will also help to close the hair cuticle – giving you nice shiny hair (score!).
Well, I can’t give all my secrets away all at once! So that’s it for Part 1 of my new hair care series; look out for Part 2 in about a week. Until then, I wish you all the best for the year ahead, and good luck especially with your hair 🙂