Long, flowing locks have been desirable since the Stone Age. Women have been seeking ways to gain that same beautiful and strong look that Rapunzel and all of the fairy tale princesses had. There is no magic potion to get the hair that you want; it just takes some practical hair growing knowledge and the understanding of what it takes to maintain beautiful hair.
Fertilize the Soil
Achieving and maintaining the hair length you desire starts with understanding the hair growth process. Hair grows in phases and when it is in the most important phase, the Anagen phase; it relies on vital nutrients to feed it. Imagine that your scalp is a garden. You want the most fertile soil you can have so that your plants (hair) grow quickly, yet are strong and robust. For your soil, you would water it and give it miracle grow. It is not as simple for hair, but healthful diets rich in vitamins and minerals combined with supplements will act as your hair’s natural miracle grow.
Weed out Dead Ends
Just as vile weeds are detrimental to your garden’s vitality, split ends can wreak havoc on the appearance and length of your hair. Growing out your hair is not just about letting it go as long as it can. You must cut off the ends every 6 to 8 weeks. This is because hair can begin to fray at the ends in between haircuts. When ends become split or dead and are not trimmed off, these tiny splits can travel further up your hair, damaging it irreparably. Once an end is split, it can not be mended. Certain products can be used to mimic the look of smooth ends, but these frays are still present. When the dead ends spread higher, more hair will need to be cut off in order to restore the hair’s healthy appearance. If you make sure to get regular trims of about 1⁄2 an inch, your hair will continue to grow free of insipid dead ends.
Once your hair has reached the length you covet, it is extremely important to take care of it to preserve its length. Long hair is beautiful, but must be taken care of. Buy tools that are made of natural bristles such as boar, and use your tools gently. Never rip at your hair in any way. When hair is soaking wet, carefully comb through starting at the ends and working your way up. If necessary, spray hair with a leave-in conditioner to aid in the detangling process. Pantene and Aussie both make quality, affordable leave-in spray conditioners. Avoid blow-drying hair when it is soaking wet. When hair is saturated with water, it is much more easily damaged and must be treated with extreme care. Gently towel dry hair or allow to air dry until it is not dripping with water. Then, blow-dry hair. Use an ionic hair dryer, and hold the air about 6 inches away from your head. Continuously move the dryer, so as to avoid overheating one section of your hair. Whenever possible, let your hair do what it naturally does. This will ensure that your hair stays healthy and does not get damaged from over-styling. Using heat styling tools too often is a cause of hair loss.
If you use styling aids such as hair straighteners or curlers, be extremely cautious. Always spray hair with a heat protectant spray and never leave hot metal against your locks for too long.
Play it Safe With Accessories
One of the most fun parts of having long hair is styling it and adding pretty accents such as barrettes, pins, flowers, headbands and ponytail holders. These cute and alluring additions are nice to look at, but are not always so nice to your hair. When putting in accessories, as well as when removing, you can do some serious damage to the hair shaft. Always buy ponytail holders that are labeled “no damage” because these do not have any metal parts that can snag and rip out your hair. When wrapping a ponytail holder around a section or all of your hair, do not pull too tightly. When removing, unwrap as gently as possible and do not simply rip out the band. When adding clips or bobby pins, place lightly into the section of hair you wish to secure. When removing, again, never rip out accessories. Carefully remove. Wrestling with pins and barrettes is a surefire way to damage hair, leading to split ends and the need to cut length off.
The most important thing to remember when growing out and maintaining your hair is to always keep it protected. Healthy hair is strong, but can not stand up to the damage that heat styling, accessories and unnecessary force inflict upon it. Eat healthy, style wisely and get regular trims to ensure your hair’s beauty and strength.