Sunday, 22 July 2012

Growing your hair

To many, this will seem like a redundant post. I can hear the cries now: “What, you think you deserve a medal for letting your hair grow long? Clap, clap.” Well, yes, actually. My hair grows slower than an injured snail, and there’s a reason why there are so many products on the market that guarantee the promise of tresses that could rival Goldilocks'. Believe me, I’ve tried it all – vitamins, supplements, hair growth treatments, extensions... Now that my hair is finally past my breasts (the quintessential rule of thumb), I can safely put it down to a number of things that will create minimal harm to the purse strings.

Here are my tried-and-tested tips for growing your hair:

Turn down the heat. One hard lesson I’ve had to learn is while you may think your straighteners are your best friend, you would in fact be very, very wrong. A couple of years ago, my hair was shedding at a fast rate and snapping off constantly, and in the end, I put it down to using my straighteners nearly every day of the week. Because I wasn’t using them to make my hair poker straight, I didn’t consider it to be particularly damaging. Clearly, I was wrong. Upon returning to university last Autumn, I went cold turkey by deliberately leaving my straighteners at home and as a result, my hair has got thicker and longer and has been breaking off less. Most of all, I’ve realised I don’t need to use my straighteners every day, and now, I only pick them up about once a week.

Treat your hair as you would your skin. Moisture is key, and your strands will reap the benefits and thank you for it. For the past year, I’ve been using deep conditioners at least once a week. In addition, I would hugely recommend investing in a hair oil product that contains silicones to keep your ends in good condition (Moroccanoil Light has proved to be my favourite so far), as well as using a pure essential oil as an overnight treatment – I've been enjoying coconut oil as of late.

Wash your hair less. Now, I’m not saying rocking a Severus Snape ‘do is the way to go, but this follows on from my last point in giving your hair added moisture. Your hair needs moisture to prevent it from drying out and snapping off, and by washing your hair every day, you're depriving both your scalp (to encourage growth) and your ends (to prevent breakage) of their natural oils. If you're a serial washer, make an effort to leave your hair an extra day before reaching for the shampoo again. Soon enough, your hair will adapt to the new cycle and withstand grease for longer. I try and leave my hair three days between washing, and I'm certain it helps, not to mention requires a lot less effort.

Leave the hairdresser happy. The past few times I’ve paid a trip to the salon, I’ve reached a negotiation whereby the amount that's cut off is not so much as to perpetuate the vicious circle of going back to square one after every haircut, but enough to improve its condition and be worth the visit. By stating you want a trim, but making a firm and honest point of how little you want off and how disgustingly protective you are about your locks, the hairdresser should respect your wishes and want you leaving a happy customer.