By Olivia |
My hair struggled to make it to my shoulder blades. It looked terrible, was hard to manage, was dry and dull, tangly and frizzed out. But that was then. Read on to learn how I got my hair to grow faster and longer than I ever had before.
I have three tips on how to make your hair grow faster based on my personal battle with hair growth.
Get Frequent Trims
Yes, this seems counterintuitive. (“I want long hair, so I’ll go get it cut!”) But as I’ve said, my hair always struggled to grow, and maxed out around my shoulder blades. Because of this I almost never cut it. Like, once every two or three years or so, if that. One, I was unwilling to lose even a smidgen of the growth that took oh so long to achieve, and two, I feared that even if I insisted on half an inch at the most, the hair dresser would invariably snip off way more.
Yet, what do you think happened once I began getting regular trims — or, more accurately, “dustings,” as my stylist called them? Let’s put it this way: my hair is now swinging sweetly a little past my waist. It’s actually flirting with my bottom a bit.
The reason this works — and I’m forever indebted to the friend-slash-hair magician who convinced me to let him do dustings on me — is that if your hair is anything like mine, it’s breaking off. The neglected ends get frayed, splits travel up the shaft, weakening the strand as it goes. These split ends tangle and knot more easily, and inevitably fall victim to even the gentlest of brush strokes. So it’s not that your hair doesn’t grow; it just doesn’t end up where it would if it were healthy and strong. Regular dustings keep split ends at bay, preventing damage that leads to breakage, not to mention fuzzy-looking, unmanageable hair.
Discuss your hair goals with your stylist. Tell him or her exactly what you want to achieve in time. I told my guy D: “I want hair down my back*, all one length, completely straight across.” ( * I was a little vague because at that time I had kinda given up on my dream of waist-length hair, but he got the idea, which was basically that I wanted it as long as it can possibly grow. I say to you, however, dare to dream and spell it out exactly. There’s power in declaring your intentions, but that’s another story…)
If your hair is in really bad shape, you may have to lose more than you wanted at first. After he explained to me how not cutting my hair had made my hair worse (see above), I initially allowed him to cut about four inches off. Thereafter, he’d give me a dusting about every six to eight weeks. And what he meant by this is that all I’d see on the floor when he was done was what looked like dust — that’s how little he’d be snipping off. He’d then hunt down bad split ends and cut them off individually.
I was stunned — I’m actually still in disbelief almost, even though I lived it! — at how quickly my hair reached new lengths. I almost wrote how quickly my hair was growing, but that’s not accurate. My hair was always growing — of course it was — it just never got to reach its potential.
My hair also looked the healthiest it ever looked. When I think of all those years jealously guarding every straggly-looking lock, I could just kick myself. Learn from my mistake!
Get a Brazilian Keratin Treatment
This might be what was called in my college course on logic “jumping to conclusions.” However, this is what I have personally experienced and observed:
All my life I wanted really long hair. Well, almost all my life. I did go through a rebelling stage that involved me taking our little dog’s hair clippers and buzzing my mane off in a punky ‘do — long bangs and short sides and back. Real short. See-my-scalp short.
I actually buzzed my hair this way for a couple of years during my teens. But when I was finally done torturing my parents (in this particular manner, anyway), I put down the clippers and decided I wanted it long again. Well, longish – it had barely reached past my shoulders before. Growing out what was basically a crew cut, I had to wait ages for my hair to be long enough to fashion into a bob.
So if you read the tip above, you know that I became so fiercely protective of every little millimeter that I almost never got a haircut, and this turned out to be the worst thing a person with fine, curly hair like mine could do. My hair, which was already fragile given its texture, resembled a rat’s nest. It was tangled all the time. I’d eventually get impatient detangling and knotted strands would snap off into my comb. It looked frizzy and frayed and didn’t curl right, so of course I had to straighten it! So then it became fried, too. But still I hung on to it.
After the dustings made my hair look healthier and get longer, my stylist/new best friend (not really, but you know what I mean) told me that a colleague of his at the salon had just got certified to do Brazilian keratin treatments and that I’d be perfect for one. I didn’t know anything about Brazilian blowouts or straighteners, as they are also called, but when his co-worker explained everything to me, I decided to give it a try.
Oh. My. God. Getting the Brazilian was a life changer. (You can read more about it here.) I am absolutely convinced that my hair is the length it is today because of this treatment. So to those who’ve asked does a Brazilian straightener help grow hair long, I give you a resounding yes!
Here’s why. The Big Cut and frequent dustings thereafter improved the look and health of my hair, no doubt. But my hair was what it was — very fine and curly and tangly. Tangly hair is weak hair. Weak hair breaks easily. Breaks happen easily and often when kinky curls tie themselves up in knots. So growing my hair was still an uphill battle although less of one now that I was educated into taking better care of it.
The Brazilian, however, changed all that. Briefly, it coats each strand with a sheath of keratin, smoothing down the cuticle and fortifying the hair. It’s a coat of armor. While this temporary treatment typically still leaves a wave in your hair, unlike a permanent hair straightener such as the Japanese straightener, it makes hair virtually tangle-free. So the hair is not only stronger with that coat of keratin, it is less susceptible to damage if we don’t have to yank out knots. And straightening after a Brazilian treatment is a breeze, meaning hair is not subjected to heat styling as long as it normally would be. Again, less damage. It also minimizes frizz and leaves your hair unfazed by humidity.
Get Your Fruits and Vegetables
While all this was going on, my hair — as well as the rest of my body — was reacting to my new and improved eating habits. I’d gone vegetarian about a year before and I’m certain all the beautiful, nutrient-rich foods I’d been eating set my hair-producing follicles on fire.
My hair is very fine, which is a euphemism, really, because there is nothing fine about hair so thin you could practically see through it if you could see it at all! But never mind; it is what it is.
However, I know that all those vitamin-packed colorful foods, vibrant greens, high-quality proteins (legumes, tempeh, nuts, beans, broccoli, brown rice and on and on) and healthy oils such as coconut oil and olive oil, have fired up the tiny hair-making factories in my head. I know this because I need to color my roots more frequently than I ever used to (I’ll admit to having a few grays here and there : ).
Also, while my beloved hair wizard has moved on and is no longer in my life, I still get semi-frequent trims. Actual trims of about half inch to an inch because I haven’t found anyone who can dust like my dear D could. And yet my hair keeps reaching new lengths.
In addition to being sure that you eat high-nutrient foods, you may want to try vitamins for hair growth, too.
Final Word on How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster and Longer
If nothing else, eat better, take your vitamins — you’ll benefit from head to toe — and stop avoiding scissors! Your hair may end up shorter than you want but it will look better after cutting off all those fried, straggly, damaged bits. And the objective is to look good, isn’t it?
For me the Brazilian hair therapy was a revelation. But there are things to consider, not the least of which is cost and the fact that you’ll lose your curls for a while. Still, if your hair is very damaged and fragile, it may be the bandaid it needs to give you longer, better-looking hair. Get a free consultation from a stylist experienced in doing this keratin treatment. And eat your spinach!
By Tamryn |
IF you are facing areas unwanted hair growth, you may want to consider electrolysis hair removal. Believe it or not but electrolysis has been around for more than 100 years, and it is the only permanent hair removal method approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and also the AMA (American Medical Assoiciation). Electrolysis is safe and very effective.
By Tamryn |
Vinegar has certainly stepped into the limelight in recent years with the growing interest in green living. Plain ol’ vinegar can be used for cleaning and disinfecting, among other household uses, instead of chemical-laden — and expensive — store-bought products. It has some healthful uses, as well, but the real personal care powerhouse is apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar For Health
We probably have all had a bottle of apple cider vinegar in our pantries at one point or another. After all, it is handy for making marinades or for use in a simple salad dressing. If you have heard any of the buzz about apple cider vinegar, or ACV, you may be looking at that brown liquid a little differently. But don’t be fooled — the vinegar in your kitchen is most likely the distilled, refined, clear kind, which is not the type that is chock full of health benefits. You want to get the unfiltered, unpasteurized kind, for starters, and if it’s organic, even better. This ACV is murky, with strands of stuff floating around in it and more stuff settled down at the bottom. This stuff is called the “mother” — and it is the mother-lode of apple cider vinegar’s goodness. ACV is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes and amino acids; in all apple cider vinegar contains 90 different substances. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, recognized apple cider vinegar’s benefits way back in 400 B.C., prescribing it to his patients.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Like the ancient herb neem, ACV’s benefits are long and varied, from sore throats, sprains and sunburn to acid reflux, cholesterol and diabetes, and much, much more. ACV has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, as well as balancing the body’s pH inside and out. (Before life gets in the way, why not get some ACV now while you’re thinking about it. Click on the bottle just above.) Most apple cider vinegar remedies involve ingesting a teaspoon to a tablespoon or so of the liquid daily or several times a day. For a general health tonic, you can drink a tablespoon of ACV added to a glass of water every day. Add a little natural sweetener if you find it is still too sharp tasting.
Apple Cider Vinegar Remedies
Sprains – Make a paste of ACV and sea salt and apply to a sprain. Acid reflux – In the morning and two hours before bedtime, drink two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in water. Weight loss – Before a meal, drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of ACV. Skin – Tone your skin with an apple cider vinegar and water mix, such as one tablespoon of vinegar to two of water. Apply with a cotton ball and follow with moisturizer as you would normally. Use a stronger mix of equal parts water and vinegar for acne. Dab straight ACV on age spots to lighten them. Sunburn – Soak in a tepid bath to which you have added a cup of ACV. This apple cider vinegar remedy is also good for relieving itchy skin, candida and sore muscles. Sore throat – Gargle warm water mixed with a tablespoon of ACV. (And just swallow — there’s no need to spit it out!) Teeth stains – Apply apple cider vinegar straight to teeth with a finger or toothbrush and scrub. Hair – ACV for hair removes any build-up of products and leaves locks shining. Also good for dandruff control. Detoxification – Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a liter of water and drink throughout the day. Fungus – Soak affected area in a mix of ACV and water. Diabetes – Apple cider vinegar helps lower glucose levels; drink a tablespoon with water before meals. ACV is all natural and it can’t hurt to try it as apple cider vinegar benefits so many conditions. But never replace your medications with this or any other alternative treatment without the OK from your doctor.
Apple Cider Vinegar, Acid Reflux and Me
UPDATE: Another way apple cider vinegar benefit I’ve experienced is for acid reflux. I recently went to an ear, nose, throat doctor after a spate of really bad sinus headaches. These were often accompanied by what I can best describe as a raw-feeling throat, which I attributed to post-nasal drip. The doctor didn’t think so. He threaded a scope through my nose to peer into my sinuses and down my throat. My sinuses were normal, he said. No infection, no polyps. He did say my throat was fiery red and inflamed. Do you have GERD? he asked. Um, no. Heartburn? Anything like that? No again. He told me to start taking a common acid reflux drug available over the counter, saying many people have gastroesophageal reflux disease without knowing it. I didn’t tell him, but I had no intentions of taking this drug. But the fact remained my throat was causing me a lot of discomfort. So I talked to someone I knew had been diagnosed with GERD — my mom (who, by the way, is growing back hair on her eyebrows that’s been missing 30 years with an inexpensive natural product). I described my throat symptoms and she said that’s exactly how her throat felt. Ugh. Not what I wanted to hear. Of course, I know all the uses and benefits of ACV. I’ve used apple cider vinegar for weight loss, for minor burns and skin irritations, for hair and so on. But I have to be honest. The smell to me is like sour, stinky feet and it tastes nearly as bad. So after I while I would find myself “forgetting” to take it. But tell you what, I started taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water before bed and another in the morning, and within a day my throat was better. One day. After a week or so, I cut it back to one tablespoon of ACV a day, split between morning and night. I also noticed I had more energy, a smaller appetite and generally felt really good. Like everything, this doesn’t work for everyone. My mom didn’t feel the complete relief I did (but her problem had been going on for years and was more severe; also, she admitted she wasn’t consistent taking it because she didn’t like the taste). And it must be the unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, the murky kind with all that icky-looking stringy stuff floating around in it. I also I admit I’m terribly consistent either. I’ll drink it a few days straight, then maybe skip a day or two (or five), or only in the morning (or only at night). But even averaging a few times a week, I continue to reap the benefits of ACV. I did have a relapse when I didn’t have any ACV for a couple of weeks. My throat felt so raw. Once I started drinking it again, the relief was immediate.