Understanding How Hair Grows
If you’ve decided to grow your hair there are some biological factors you should understand first. Not everyone can have Arianna Grande’s long locks (or whichever long haired mogul you look up to). Your natural length is predetermined by genetics and controlled by the anagen phase of your hair follicle. This means that each healthy hair will grow to a specific maximum length before shedding and being replaced. This cycle differs for everyone which is why some people cannot grow hair past their shoulders and others have ankle length tendrils. Other factors that affect growth include extreme stress, malnutrition and hormones.
My hair does not usually grow longer than my tailbone or hips and I’ve come to accept that. I may never have knee length strands but at least they are healthy and strong.
How to Enhance Hair Growth
Although genetics plays a big role in hair growth, improper care and damage from chemicals, dye or heat can greatly influence health and length. Hair that is dry, brittle or weak will break, split, fray and shed much quicker which makes it difficult to retain length. Below I’ve listed a few tips and tricks to help support optimal growth.
*Eliminate chemicals and hair dye.
*Take daily multivitamins or supplements and consume a balanced diet. I like Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails Strawberry Gummies with Biotin ($9.79 available at Walmart and drugstores nationwide). They taste delicious and help in the development and maintenance of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums while metabolizing fats and protein.
*Drink more water (lots more).
*Improve the quality of your sleep (for more info read – How to Improve Your Beauty Sleep).
*Reduce heat styling and air dry instead of blow drying. Always use a thermal spray to prevent damage.
*Shampoo less to maintain natural oils and refrain from using formulas that are harsh or drying. If you need to wash every day try co-washing (cleansing with conditioner).
*Apply a treatment mask/deep conditioner for at least 1-2 hours every two weeks to replenish moisture.
*Wear your hair in its natural state and use leave-ins or oils.
*Sleep with your hair tied up or braided and invest in a satin pillow case to prevent breakage, friction and oil absorption.
*Wear protective styles, comb gently or use your fingers to detangle with lots of slippery conditioner.
*Trim individual split-ends or single strand knots but refrain from cutting off any length. Make sure to use sharp professional shears to prevent hair from re-splitting.
*Perform weekly scalp massages that enhance circulation and blood flow to the roots.
*Use products that are formulated to promote growth.
L’Oreal Dream Lengths
L’Oreal has created a new collection infused with keratin and castor oil to “intensely repair” thin, damaged hair and help retain length. The shampoo ($5.99) smells great and does what most cleansers do - it eliminates excess oil and debris while refreshing the scalp. The formula contains sodium laureth sulfate without enough emollients to counteract its drying effect so it leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean and a tad stripped. This is okay when I want to purify my scalp and remove product build-up but I don’t use it every day and I avoid over-lathering my ends.
The conditioner ($5.99) restores hydration, helps detangle and makes my hair feel soft and nourished. For the ingredients to work I leave it on for at least 10 minutes and it also makes a great shaving cream! I doubt there are enough nutrients in the formula to replenish severe damage (for that check out my Kerastase Resistance Extentioniste Review) but the products are effective for general maintenance and moisture.
The No Haircut Cream ($8.49) can be applied to damp hair before styling to improve texture and shield from thermal damage. The lightweight gel also helps maintain curl formation, seal cuticles, reduce frizz, improve texture and strengthen with a regenerating vitamin complex.
Total Repair 5
The Dream Lengths Collection is decent but if you’re aiming for strong, healthy hair I prefer Total Repair 5. These products are formulated to improve strength, density, vitality, shine and silkiness. Infused with protein, almond and cicamide (which I am not familiar with), the 3 step system helps restore the hair surface and L’Oreal claims that you can expect “97% less breakage in just 1 use.”
The shampoo ($5.99) foams into a luxurious lather that eliminates all the gel, leave-ins, serums, oils and dry shampoo you might use on a weekly basis. It left my hair feeling clean but not brittle and the scent is fabulous.
The Total Repair 5 Conditioner ($5.99) drenches my lengths in moisture, helps undo pesky knots and resurrects dull strands without weigh or limpness.
The product that really made a difference is the Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge ($8.49) which I used all summer and even brought on vacation. This leave-in is suitable for all hair types and curly girls will love it! The lavish texture envelops each strand in fortifying moisture and restructures to reduce shedding, breakage and split-ends. It also provides hold and frizz control (without compromising on movement) and makes my curls feel soft, bouncy, sleek and healthy. In extreme climates (hot or cold) it shields and protects so hair never becomes dry or lackluster. This is probably one of the best leave-ins L’Oreal has formulated.
Considering that most of my salon quality shampoos and conditioners cost around $45 - $65 each, Total Repair 5 is quite effective for the price and readily available at drugstores nationwide.