1)Get it off!
This is the harshest advice I can give but in the long run will do wonders for your hair. Get all of the damaged hair cut off, and I mean ALL of it. I don’t mean shave your head if its damaged by bleach, but go to your stylist and tell them you want to grow your hair, they will analyse it for you and tell you how much needs to be taken off for it to be healthy again, and will advise you on a good cut for the length it needs to be. This happened to me a couple of years ago when I ombre’d my hair and had to chop all the bleached section off, which was about 4-5 inches. This was pretty devastating, but my hair felt amazing after, it was much easier to style, it stopped falling out and after a few days I got used to it! I will do a blog post on this whole experience at a later date. Just remember there is no point starting out on a hair growth journey with unhealthy hair, it will only get thinner and weaker as it ages, and if you want rapunzel locks, you need to start out as you mean to go on!
2)Keep it off
So the hardest part is over! But I’m afraid you have to maintain it. Getting regular trims is so important for growing your hair, I know it seems counter-productive but I promise its the main thing that has saved my hair. At most I used to cut my hair about twice a year, and wondered why it never grew, now I get a trim of about 1/2 and inch every 2-3 months and my hair has never felt better for it. Don’t make an appointment, as in 2 months time your hair might still look great if you have looked after it well. Go and see your hairdresser when you see the ends starting to split, break and feel dryer than the rest of your hair. This could be six weeks or six months, but if you pay close attention to your hair you will know when to go. Also be firm with your haidresser, tell them you only want half an inch off as your growing it, I’ve had some bad experiences where they just don’t listen to me and they get a bit scissor happy!
3)4 weeks no heat
A great way to start out a hair growth journey is to do the 4 weeks no heat challenge. After the ombre incident I decided to go cold turkey on my GHD’s and blow dryer. Doing this will give your hair a real boost, it needs a break, and if your a hot tool addict like I was you will see an incredible difference after a month. Research some ways to style your hair without heat, I have done a post on getting overnight waves here. There are lots of amazing tutorials on youtube on this subject. Just remember your not kissing your straighteners goodbye forever. After a month you can start using them again, but hopefully, like me, you’ll find you wont need to use them as much as your hair will be in better condition and will look good left natural. Slowly you will be able to ween yourself off of heat styling. Now I only use mine on special occasions as I’ve found other great ways to style my hair. The less heat you use, the less breakage you will experience, and the quicker and thicker your hair will grow! Easy!
There is no bigger hair sin than using heat styling tools without heat protection. These products create a barrier between your hair and the heat, stopping it sucking out the moisture.If you don’t use one your hair will become very dry and vulnerable to breakage. You can buy them really cheap too, I just use the tresemme one which is about £3.
5) Strengthen it
When hair is bra-strap length, the ends are already about 4 years old. Think of all the things you have done to your hair in the last 4 years, scary huh? I know it is for me! So give your tips a helping hand and use some strengthening products with protein. My holy grail hair product is Redken Anti-Snap which injects the hair with protein. There also some great protein/keratin shampoos, conditioners and masks. The stronger your hair is the less you will need to get it trimmed!
Again this is so important to incorporate into your routine. You should deep condition your hair at least once a week, twice if your hair is damaged.These products penetrate the hair shaft much deeper than your regular conditioner, and will help strengthen and repair it, rather than just leaving it smooth on the surface. I use Redkens ‘Extreme’ mask, from the same line as the anti snap, but if you don’t want splash out on salon products, you can easily whip one up in your kitchen using ingredients like olive oil, honey, rosemary, yogurt, avocado even mayonnaise!
Leaving oil in your hair over night is the best way to replenish moisture lost the previous week. Hair soaks up the oil to the cuticle leaving it soft, shiny, healthy and strong. Certain oils are more effective than others, coconut is definitely the best as the hair will completely absorb 20-25% of what you put on, compared to olive oil which is about 15%. I also recommend almond oil, macadamia oil, jojoba oil and argan oil.
A poor diet shows itself in your hair, skin and nails. If you don’t get enough protein these areas will suffer as the protein you do get will be sent to more important areas of your body. If your worried about your diet affecting your hair, there are lots of great supplements and vitamins out there, personally I take biotin and I love it.
Use a wide tooth comb on your wet hair, never ever ever a brush! Your hair is very weak when wet, and a brush will just tear knots out rather than detangling. With a wide tooth comb you have much more control and can gently remove the knots from your hair. However it is important to brush your hair before you go to bed with a boar bristle brush. Not 100 times like your grandma said, but enough to distribute the oil from your scalp to your tips, and get out any knots so you don’t make them worse as you sleep.
Loosley braiding your hair overnight will stop your hair knotting and pulling as you sleep, it will also leave your hair lovely and wavy in the morning. An alternative is to buy a silk pillow case, silk is much gentler, your hair can just glide over it with no friction unlike cotton ones.