8 Tips for Growing Long, Healthy Hair

For years my hair was always stuck at barely-past-shoulder length. I wanted long, beautiful hair, but no matter how long I waited, it still seemed to be stuck at one length. Not only was it ‘short’, it was completely fried and damaged (as you can see in the before/after picture below). I decided that if I wanted to see a difference in my hair, I needed to make some changes. Here are some tips that really worked for me:

1. GIVE YOUR HAIR A BREAK

When I was younger, my hair was naturally blonde. However, as I got it older, it turned dark brown. I started it coloring it back to blonde when I was in the 4th grade. I bleached and highlighted my hair for probably five years straight. In addition, I was straightening it with a flat iron every single day. My hair not only felt like straw, it looked like it as well. I had terrible split ends, and my hair felt really thin, especially at the tips. When I decided I wanted to get healthy hair, I gave up coloring my hair and using heating appliances. A hair stylist once told me when I asked her about growing my hair/coloring it, “You have to choose between blonde hair or long hair”. Going back to my natural color felt weird initally, but I got use to it over time! It was incredibly hard at first to give up heating tools because I was pretty addicted. I first started by limiting my heating tool use to once a week, and then over time, once to twice a month. It is honestly very difficult, but I do think it is the #1 most important tip of all, especially if your hair is currently damaged or unhealthy. I now only use heating tools if I have a special occasion. I do blow dry my hair once to twice a week because it is less damaging than direct heat (like a flat iron or curling iron). I put it on the low to medium setting and usually use cold hair. I gave my hair about a four year break from color, and I pretty much eliminated my heating tool use, which made the world of difference. So in general, I recommend going back to your natural color and limiting heating tools. I learned to embrace my natural wavy hair and to try heatless hairstyles. Braids are always my go to, and there are countless ideas on Pinterest to try out! Now that my hair is healthy again, I do color it. It is good to take year long breaks though if you color you hair just to give it some rest from the harsh chemicals. 

2. LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE

This sounds like a cliche tip, but it is definitely true. Your hair is also a reflection of your health. If you are eating poorly, not getting enough sleep, and overwhelmed by stress, it will most likely show in your hair. When my hair was unhealthy, I was eating lots of junk food, never sleeping, and I was constantly stressed out and upset. As I started to change my lifestyle, I noticed a difference in my hair growth and overall health.

3. GET FREQUENT TRIMS

This tip sounds so counterproductive, I know. It seems weird that cutting your hair would actually help it grow. The truth is- it doesn’t actually help your hair ‘grow’, but it allows you to see the growth. Let me explain. Lots of girls say ‘my hair doesn’t grow’, but that is not always correct. Your hair is growing from the roots, but you aren’t seeing the growth because it is splitting off at the tips before it has the chance to get long. When you have split ends and your hair is splitting off at the bottoms, you are losing length. Over time, split ends will split higher and higher up on the hair shaft, causing even more loss of length at the bottom. When your hair is healthy, it will have fewer split ends – thus less hair breakage at the tips. You will start to notice it appears to be ‘growing faster’. I recommend getting hair trims as often as needed depending on how healthy your hair is. When my hair was unhealthy and damaged, I went every 5-6 weeks to get the split ends cut off. With that being said, it’s never good to go too frequently or you will never notice growth. The healthier your hair is, the less you will have to go in for trims (which saves money- yay!). I only trim my hair once to twice a year now because I rarely get split ends. When I do go in for a trim, I only get half an inch off usually, and I get it cut straight across. Some hair stylists can be a little too ‘scissor friendly’, so make sure you clarify exactly how much you want off.

Also, when you first begin your journey to healthy hair, it’s best to get a hair cut before starting. Go to the salon and get those damaged, fried ends cut off. Shorter healthy hair always looks more beautiful than long, damaged hair (in my opinion). Start with a fresh hair cut! When I first decided that I wanted to grow my hair out and get it healthy, I not only colored it back to my natural color, but I got all those fried and damaged bits off. Though it was even shorter than before, my hair felt and looked much better.

4. BE GENTLE

Being very rough on your hair can cause lots of breakage at the tips, especially if it already damaged and fragile. Hair is at its most fragile state when it is wet. I recommend combing your hair with a wide tooth comb when your hair is wet. Don’t towel dry your hair. Dry blotting your hair with a soft tshirt, and then letting it air dry. Don’t use hair ties that have metal bits on them as those can actually contribute to breakage. I really love using scrunchies and those fabric hair ties like Emi Jays. When you sleep, keep your hair in a protective style. This is totally embarrassing, and I can’t believe I am writing this on the internet, but I actually use to sleep in a silk night cap when I was first tying to get my hair healthy (my sister and high school friends are probably laughing currently as they remember me putting on my silk ‘hat’ every night).  I now usually sleep with my hair in a low bun using a scrunchy. This keeps it secure and out of my face while I get my beauty rest. Switching to silk/satin pillows can really help as well because cotton pillows can actually lead to hair breakage/damage. Be gentle to your hair to avoid breakage!

5. TREATMENTS

Give your locks some TLC. To ‘repair’ my damage hair and add moisture, I did hair treatments several times a week. My go-to for very, very damaged hair is olive oil. I would heat olive oil up in a little dish for around 20-30 seconds. After it was heated up, I would apply it to the bottom third of my hair and on any damaged bits. I would pull it back in a low bun and give it time to work! You can use this treatment for 5 minutes or even up to an hour. However, if you leave it on too long, it can make your hair greasy. The current hair treatment I use weekly is called Hsau Wen Hua by Lush. My sister and I have both been through tubs of it, and I will continue to repurchase it for as long as they make it. It’s great for damaged hair or anybody that wants to give their hair a little rehab. A drugstore favorite of mine is the Loreal Everpure ‘moisture restorative hair masque’. It smells awesome, is super affordable, and definitely is a great mask for dry and damaged hair! After washing your hair, apply a leave in conditioner. My all time favorite is ‘It’s a 10’. Comb your hair with a wide tooth comb after washing your hair, then apply the leave in conditioner to the bottom half of your hair. In addition, I love applying oils to my hair. I think this has really made a huge difference in my hair health and growth. If you want to splurge, Moroccan oil is fabulous and is most definitely worth every penny. My favorite drugstore brand for hair oils is OGX. Their anti breakage coconut serum is heavenly, and I have been through around ten to fifteen bottles of it over the past few years. I would highly, highly recommend it. In general, you can’t go wrong with moroccan, argan, and coconut oil products! Definitely check out OGX next time you are at Target, Walgreens, or any other drugstore. They are absolutely fantastic!

6. DON’T FALL FOR GIMMICKS

Many products will claim that they will magically make your hair grow super, super long. Don’t fall for it and don’t waste your money. For example, a lot of people claim ‘Mane N Tail’ is a magical shampoo (which is actually intended for horses) that will make your hair grow. It doesn’t. I have it tried it, and I would not recommend it. I actually found it to be quite drying on my hair. A lot of people also swear by biotin for magic hair growth. When I first tried to grow my hair long, I gave biotin a try. After months of use, I saw no difference in my hair. However, my nails grew even faster, and my skin was breaking out like crazy and more oily. I went into my dermatologist, where he gave me a long chat about biotin. He told me that biotin is actually not a good option for those with acne prone skin as it can make your body produce even more oily, which leads to more breakouts. After doing a ton of research when I got home, I found out there were tons of other women out there who experienced less than great results with biotin. As soon as I stopped taking biotin, the breakouts stopped and my skin went back to being semi-oily. Biotin is not a miracle worker, so be careful about taking it if you have acne prone skin.

7. SKIP THE SULFATES

These ingredients can be overused and can really cause you some hair problems. I decided to switch to sulfate-free shampoos/conditioners about 3-4 years ago, and it was such a good decision! My all time favorite is the Loreal Everpure/Everstrong line. It’s incredible, y’all. Not only do they make your hair smell amazing, they show great results. It was weird going sulfate free at first, but I really do feel like it’s made a huge difference in the health of my hair. So many drugstore shampoos have silicones and sulfates in their formula. Silicones coat your hair to make it look and feel healthy, but in reality, it can cause buildup and lock out nutrients. Sulfates are what cause your hair to lather, but they actually strip your hair of moisture. When I first switched to sulfate-free shampoo after years and years of using brands like Pantene and Garnier, it was weird to not experience that nice lather. However, I got use to over time, and I will continue to repurchase the products from the Loreal Everpure line (I linked my favorite ones below). They are the best sulfate free products I have ever tried, and I would most definitely recommend them.

8. PATIENCE 

Lastly, patience is so essential. Long hair does not happen over night and neither does healthy hair. Over time you will notice a difference, but sadly there is no overnight solution to hair growth or condition. Continue to be patient & you will have long and beautiful hair before you know it!

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(Here is the difference in my hair in just four years) 


I hope that could help! I get asked all the time on Tumblr for hair growth tips & tricks. I am definitely no expert whatsoever, but these are all things that have worked for me! Let me know if you have any more tips that you love! Thank you so much for checking out my blog!

xoxo,

Mackenzie

Here are my favorite products/recommendations:

18 thoughts on “8 Tips for Growing Long, Healthy Hair

  1. I loved reading your tips! I have recently been very frustrated with my hair because it refuses to grow! I definitely need to stop bleaching it as you said “long hair or blonde hair”.

  2. Can’t wait to try these! I’m currently loving It’s a 10 for detangling my naturally curly hair. Do you have any suggestions or products for when you let your hair go natural? Thanks!

  3. Hey girl! I definitely did not know that about Biotin. I use it and it has helped my hair grow a bit but now that I am thinking about it, it has definitely made my skin more oily! Loved this post. I have always loved your Rapunzel-esque hair on Instagram! 😉

    XOXO
    Marie H.
    Progression By Design

  4. Nice post! Thanks for sharing! I totally agree. I was so disappointed with my length retention this past year. Only about 2 inches. I bit the bullet and went back to treatments and keeping my hair in twist for 7 to 10 days. I already see some length and thickness in the last 5 weeks of this new regimen.

  5. Your results are encouraging. I was killing my hair with highlighting. I stopped the highlights, wash every other day, let my hair air dry most of the time, use a wide toothed comb on wet hair and morning hair to untangle, use coconut oil on the ends and I trim a pinch off the ends every 3 weeks or so. The outer layer of hair that was fried and short finally grew out and my hair feels healthier and thicker. I take the hair, nail, and skin vitamin chews daily and vitamin D (which was low). Vit D deficiency can cause hair loss. I think it takes optimizing everything you can to have healthy, long beautiful hair, especially for those of us who have fine hair that damages easily.

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