8 ways to boost hair growth, if you’re looking for longer lengths on a deadline

Getting thick and long Rapunzel-like strands can be elusive and hard to achieve—just ask anyone who has slathered on hair oil, gulped down biotin supplements and scheduled trims to no avail. If you’re looking to grow your hair before a big function or wedding, or simply want to improve hair quality, there are some things you can do.

To understand how to speed up hair growth, it is important to note what makes it grow in the first place. Hair on the scalp grows about 0.4mm/day or about six inches a year. It is important to note that at any time, a random number of hairs will be in one of three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The first, anagen, is the active phase of the hair, during which the cells in the root of the hair are dividing, and the hair is pushed up the follicle and eventually out. Scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for two to six years. During the catagen phase, growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This lasts about two weeks. Telogen is the resting phase, in which the club hair is fully formed.

It is important to note that there aren’t any ingredients or methods that are clinically proven to make your hair grow faster from the root. Instead, reducing breakage and improve hair quality will, in turn, promote length. To figure out how to do best do this, we hit up the pros.

1) Stay on track with your vitamins and minerals

“If your diet is severely restrictive, hair won’t grow optimally. Eating a well-balanced diet with adequate protein intake is optimal for hair growth. Biotin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, zinc, iron, omega-3 and omega-6 play a key role in providing your body with the energy needed,” says Sonali Bhimani, style director at Jean-Claude Biguine Salon & Spa. One of the best remedies to grow hair naturally is to follow a clean, nutrient-rich meal plan.

2) Add scalp massages into your repertoire

Scalp massages help to stimulate hair growth. “My personal tried-and-tested advice would be to massage the scalp once a day, with or without warm oil, before you go to sleep. This increases blood circulation and helps to stimulate the hair follicles. Usually, I prefer to use a wooden comb after the scalp massage as this helps to detangle the hair. Combing helps to shed the dead hair and new hair follicles can breathe,” says Debabani Guha, national trainer, L’Occitane En Provence India.

3) Avoid hot water showers

Bhimani advises cold water showers whenever possible. “Hot water opens the pores, washes off the natural oils in the scalp, making it brittle and prone to damage. Always shampoo your hair with warm water and rinse with cool to cold water to maintain hair health,” she adds.

4) Comb (or brush) gently

Investing in the right hair tools can make or break your hair growth journey. Boar bristle brushes are popular as they don’t tear or damage the hair unlike brushes with nylon or metal bristles. Plastic bristles may not directly damage your hair, but if they are sharp, they can irritate the scalp. Look out for natural bristles as they work better to stimulate scalp circulation every time you use them, which in turn encourages hair growth. “Do not comb your hair while it’s wet,” warns Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, founder and medical director of ISAAC Luxe, as hair is particularly sensitive then. “Brush your hair before shampooing it, and if you have to detangle it while it’s wet, towel dry it first and use a gentle wide-tooth comb or detangle brush to reduce friction and tearing of hair,” she adds.

5) Make masking a must-have

Hair masks can be applied from the roots to the ends, as opposed to conditioners which are meant ideally for mid-lengths and ends. Look for nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil and avocado oil if you have dehydrated strands. For those with an oily scalp that is prone to dandruff, hair masks with amla, apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil are useful. For even better results, after applying the mask to washed hair, wrap a hot wet towel around the head like a turban. The light heat helps the formulation to penetrate deeper into the scalp, says Dr Gupta.

6) Try rosemary essential oil

Rosemary essential oil is the most effective in stimulating hair growth. It has anti-inflammatory properties which help itchy or dandruff-prone scalp. “Dandruff on its own doesn’t impact hair growth, but if left untreated the dead skin, sweat and excess sebum can clog hair follicles which can impact hair growth,” says Dr Gupta. Studies indicate that carnosic acid, an active ingredient in rosemary can heal nerve endings in the scalp which can restore hair growth. Additionally, it also helps in stimulating blood circulation which helps the hair get stronger from the roots. You can add a few drops of pure essential into your regular shampoo or look for products with rosemary essential oil.

7) Avoid smoking

This might not be the most thought-of reason for hair breakage, but smoking can negatively affect hair growth, according to all the pros. Smoking restricts blood flow to the scalp and thus the hair follicles, which restricts the oxygen and nutrients that your scalp needs to be healthy.

8) Use keratin-based products

Keratin-infused hair products can help give you healthy, glossy hair. The protein works by smoothing down the cells that overlap to form your hair strands. The cuticle absorbs the keratin, resulting in hair that looks full and is less prone to breakage.

The article was first published in Vogue


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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