It's easy to dismiss silky, Hollywood hair as the result of smoke and mirrors (and expensive personal stylists), however, getting the best hair growth at home takes little more than common sense and working with, instead of against, nature. Follow the tips below to get your tresses looking their best.
Much of the science behind hair growth is common sense and diligent maintenance. While it's tempting to forego trims to reach the length you want, it's recommended that you never skip a monthly to bimonthly haircut. Dry and damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage and split ends, so your effort will prove to be counterproductive. Every month, ask your hairdresser to trim about 1/4 inch or more if you feel comfortable.
Avoid overstyling your hair as well. If you can't part with your curling irons and hair straighteners, be sure that your tools boast ceramic or tourmaline coating, which create negative ions and help prevent damage to your hair shaft, giving it the sleek salon shine. Also use a heat protector spray, an affordable hair product found in most drugstores; many popular haircare brands feature a heat-protecting product in their line. However, keep in mind that these products, along with the latest technology of hair tools, will still cause more damage than not using any heat at all.
Experts have long recommended that you wash hair less frequently than you think is needed. Letting your hair produce its natural oils and condition your hair will allow Mother Nature to do her work. When you do shampoo, lather only at the roots and let the suds fall to the tips without applying excess shampoo, which strips your hair of moisture. Use a deep conditioner or hair mask regularly, particularly one that employs natural ingredients or essential oils.
When brushing your hair, use one with natural bristles (preferrably boar bristles), which are gentle on your hair and actually help distribute the sebum (natural oils) of your hair.
It's not just what you put on your hair, but also what you put in your mouth that counts. Protein- and other vitamin-rich foods produce a healthy head of locks (and healthy skin and nails at that, too). Dieticians recommend salmon as a powerhouse food, packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3s promote a healthy scalp, and a diet lacking in this important essential results in dry scalp and dull hair. Flaxseed provides comparable benefits if you can't stand fish or are vegetarian.
Dark leafy greens are full of multiple health benefits, including vitamins C and A, which your body uses to produce sebum (your hair's natural oils and conditioners). Load up on spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, and other veggies in your salads, soups, or casseroles. Legumes (beans) and lentils are the ideal non-meat protein source to promote hair growth, but they also contain zinc and biotin, which helps prevent brittle hair.
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans boast a ton of zinc, which prevents hair from shedding, and brazil nuts contain selenium, which is important for scalp health. Easily incorporated as a snack, nuts are another good way to sneak protein into your diet without having to sit down to a meal. Whole grains contain iron and vitamin Bs among other essential nutrients, and the calcium in dairy products is important for strong hair.