How To Grow Your Hair

15.1.15


No, I haven't gone blonde! Photo credit.

One question I often get asked is "Do you wear extensions or is that your real hair?" The answer, 100 per cent of my hair is growing out of my scalp. I guess I'm kind of flattered when people assume I'm wearing extensions but I'm definitely proud to say that my hair is just that - my hair. I've had long hair for most of my life, although I experimented a little more with length in my high school years. I'd get it cut short, I'd grow it out again, cut it, grow it... I always wanted short hair to suit me but I just never liked it on me and still don't - it doesn't suit my face. So, if you're in the I-hate-short-hair boat like me, keep reading because I'm going to share my tips on how I got it to where it is today which is just above my bottom.

Go Dark
When I began my hair-growing mission, I was blonde believe it or not. And colouring it blonde was killing my hair in more ways than one. My hair was dry and brittle, there was no shine, I hated the texture and overall appearance. Now I'm not saying that if your hair is light you can't grow it - if you're naturally blonde, you can skip this step - but in my experience blonde did not give my hair what it needed to grow. Even if you're not bleaching your hair, there is still a certain amount of peroxide in blonde dye to make the hair lighter. And peroxide, in a nutshell, is not that great for your hair. Going dark was one of the best things I did for my locks, I noticed a change as soon as I did it. Doing this alone made it a lot healthier

Less Is More
A lot of people think that if they slather their hair in conditioners and masks and oils, and take biotin supplements and do a million different things, their hair will grow faster. My advice is not to waste your money on a lot of products because chances are they won't help you at all. In terms of treatments, you need one conditioner - either leave-in OR rinse-out - and maybe one mask. Less is more also applies to washing. I know this sounds gross but wash your hair as little as possible - basically only when it really needs it. The natural oils that appear on your hair in between washes will nourish it and help it grow. You can also stimulate these oils by brushing your hair or giving yourself a scalp massage. As soon as we see oil we think that our hair must be dirty and needs a wash. But if you can get away with going an extra day or two, do it because your hair will thank you. I will not divulge how little I wash my hair because it will probably gross you out but I attribute a lot of where my hair is today to this step.

Reduce Heat
Only use styling tools for special occasions. In my last years of high school, I was either straightening or curling my hair every single day. Once I stopped this, I saw a big difference in the quality of my hair. Blow drying is fine but leaving it to air dry is even better. Learn to straighten your hair with a round brush and blow dryer, and create waves with velcro rollers, braids and pin curls. When you get your hair to the length you desire, then you can go a bit heavier with the heat.

Protect
There are plenty of these on the market. I used to be a bit skeptical as to whether they actually work but after using them for a while now I think they do protect your hair from heat damage to a certain extent. Your hair can and will still get damaged from overuse of styling tools even if you use a generous amount of heat protectant. Also use a UV protectant. They come in many different forms and can be found in sprays, conditioners and shampoos. If you can purchase a product that will protect your hair from all different kinds of environmental damage, even better.

Trim Less
I'm going to be completely honest here. I didn't get my hair cut for more than two years when growing my hair to the length I wanted. My hairdresser certainly missed me but a girl's gotta do what she has to do. The reason I stopped going was because she always used to cut more than I liked or wanted. But at no fault of her own - she cut what needed to be cut due to the damage from the blonde and over-styling. So, every few months, I'd trim the smallest amount of hair from my length just to keep it looking even healthier and make sure that any split or dead ends were removed. I never attempted to cut my layers - and I don't suggest you do either - so they eventually grew out to my length, which also gives the appearance of longer hair.

Other Things To Consider
Long hair is great, I love long hair - in case you didn't already know. But there are a number of things to consider beforehand. So, here are a list of questions to ask yourself before you make the decision to grow your hair.

DO I HAVE TIME FOR LONG HAIR?
Long hair takes a lot of time to wash, to dry, to style so you need to take this into consideration if you have a busy schedule or not a lot of "me" time.

DO I HAVE THE ENERGY TO MAINTAIN LONG HAIR?
It takes a lot of effort to maintain it, so be prepared for sore and aching arms from washing and holding styling tools.

CAN I AFFORD LONG HAIR?
Having long hair means you go through product a lot quicker than if you were to have shorter hair, so this should also be something you factor in.

DOES LONG HAIR FIT IN WITH MY ENVIRONMENT?
This may seem like a bit of a silly question but I think this is something you should consider. Long hair in hot weather, for example, is not at all comfortable. This question also relates to practicality in your day-to-day activities or job, for instance.

DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TYPE OF HAIR?
The decision to grow your hair is ultimately yours but I personally think that long hair suits medium and thick hair types. If you have thin hair, I would suggest thinking about extensions and keeping your natural hair shorter.

SHOULD I BUY HAIR EXTENSIONS INSTEAD?
Hair extensions are a good alternative and something to think about when considering growing your hair. I don't have much experience with extensions but I know they also require some maintenance. However, this may be an option for you if you wish to have part-time long hair.

This brings me to the end of my post on how to grow your hair. I hope it helps you on your hair-growing journey. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.