Pixie cuts, bobs, and shoulder-length hair can all perfectly frame a face, but when it comes time to grow out strands for a new style, the wait can be a real drag. Forget marking days off the calendar until you’ve achieved a Rapunzel-inspired mane—we’ve got the 411 on how to get long hair. Read on for the fastest way to grow your tresses, sans extensions.
Adjust Your Diet
“A healthy diet that incorporates a mix of protein and nutrients can improve the condition of your hair,” says celebrity hairstylist and NYC salon owner Julien Farel. He explains that balanced eating keeps follicles strong and prevents the hair from breaking easily. Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, MD, a board-certified NYC cosmetic and medical dermatologist, advises to incorporate omega-3 oils. She says, “I recommend salmon or supplements. Nuts are a good source, too, especially almonds.”
…But Don’t Overdo It
Dr. Gerstner says it’s important to keep weight stable and not avoid yo-yo dieting, as hair can be affected by extreme regimen changes in addition to stress and hormone levels.
Get Smart About Styling
It’s a fact well-acknowledged that heat can be wildly damaging to hair, especially when it’s already compromised, so limiting the use of a flat iron or curling wand to three times a week is best, says Dr. Gerstner. She also advises limiting exposure to sunlight, as it can strip the hair, and blow drying, adding, “A weekly deep conditioner masque is a good idea to keep hair as healthy as possible.” According to Farel, many hair care products include the same stripping ingredients as detergents, so it’s vital to choose wisely.
Try Vitamins and Conditioning Ingredients
“Phytantriol, arginine and fish oil, and biotin aid in the production of enzymes and hormones, which can help stimulate hair growth,” says Farel, who suggests his “hero” product line, Julien Farel Restore. The cleanse/treat/condition routine is designed to push regenerating anti-aging ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, deeper into the follicle, scalp and hair, which helps prolong the hair’s growth phase.
In addition, Dr. Gerstner recommends the use of supplements like Viviscal, which includes biotin, vitamin C, and a special complex of shark powder known as AminoMar, to help aid hair growth and scalp stimulation.
Take it Easy
Because stress can affect hair, Dr. Gerstner recommends weekly deep-tissue massages to relax body and mind. “The adrenals pump out extra cortisol when we are stressed, which leads to acne, skin inflammation, and possible hair disorders,” she says.
And you can always afford to take some time off: “Your hair is a reflection of how you feel,” says Farel. “If you are healthy, or on vacation, your hair looks great, shiny, and is easy to style.” What will our bosses say to that?