If there were ever a more basic blog post, surely this would be it?
Yet possibly one of the most Googled things, without a doubt. Alongside weightloss and getting rich quick, working out how to get your tresses growing is one of lifes niggling questions. And, as with the other two, there is no definitive answer. No quick fix, no simple how-to. Just a combination of factors that, when all pulled together and pointed in the right direction, lead to success. So, let’s talk hair. In the grand scheme of life, I’m quite aware I have distinctly average hair. I’m no Rapunzel, that’s for sure, but over the last three or four years, my hair has certainly taken a turn for the better. Not too long ago, a friend asked me what had suddenly made my hair grow – a friend of hers was struggling and she wondered if I had any top tips. I realised in fact, just how far my hair had come from my post extension days. I was never the girl anyone asked about her hair – as I say, it was so average, and actually, for quite a few years – in pretty bad condition. Years of colour changing, GHD-hammering and a few rounds of bonded extensions had left it unhappy, dull and, well, short. It sat about 3 inches below my ears, which, as a girl who has never actively chosen a cropped style, was upsettingly short.
So what advice did I give, now that I was pleasantly chuffed to be asked for advice, and swishing my new locks in the mirror at any opportunity. I’ll warn you – nothing I’m going to say is groundbreaking. But trust me when I say, I’ve been there – when your hair is so damaged, so unhappy, you think the only alternative is shaving your head and starting again. But putting all these into action together and really persevering works.
Use protection…every time!
Four years ago, I made it my New Years Resolution to use heat protecting spray everyday. Deep, huh? But making such a
superficial realistic aim really worked for me. I’ve stuck to it and kept it up for four years. Nothing fancy, just a Tresemme number, that I make sure covers the ends of my locks when it’s time to bring the heat tools out. Even if you don’t use tongs or straighteners, a blow dryer is just as damaging so make sure you use protection every time you style your hair.
Quit the bleach
I say this now, having just a month or so ago, had my balayage topped up with some lightening agents (okay, okay, bleach), but taking some serious time out from bleaching my hair was key. I’m talking two or three years worth. I was a nightmare from going from blonde to brunette and back again in the space of a year at Uni. Each time, my hair got brassier, so I’d bleach it more, and this combined with a lack of heat protection and a shedload of heat styling left me with some angry locks. If you can face it, grow it out. Let you hair be it’s natural colour. Giving it breathing space and a chance for your dead, split ends to grow out and be chopped out is so important. You’ll feel the improvement in no time and losing the frazzled ends is always a better look nomatter your end goal!
Back away from intense heat styling
As someone with some pretty unruly hair, I know this one is not something that’s easily achieveable for everyone. My hair is somewhere between curls and totally unashamed frizz. So I’ll say, I still heat style my hair daily. I just can’t not. Having styled hair boosts my confidence and I’m just not myself when I have to leave my mop looking like bed hair. But there are ways around it and something I found really helpful was trying out a new tool. Although I use my GHDs on my shorter, more stubborn baby hairs, I actually use an InStyler. It’s a rotating brush, but with a ceramic arm attached which gives me a bouncy blow dry look as well as brushing the hair through meaning you’ll never singe sections as you could with straighteners. I’ve used my InStyler for the last 4 years and I would say it’s probably the main factor in my hair finally growing. To find out more about InStylers, visit their site here.
Get the right products
Knowing the right products that work is key and it’s taken me some time but I think I’m pretty much there. My hair isn’t too fussy on shampoos, although I tend to opt for hydrating out of habit, alternating with clarifying because I’m obsessed with the feeling of squeaky clean locks. For me, and for so many, it’s all about the conditioners and post wash oils. I love hair masks and heavy duty moisturisers in shower and I use them almost everytime I wash my hair. I use them like a regular conditioner, only leaving them on for a minute or two, but that more intense hydration does wonders for dried out ends. I usually opt for L’Oreal tubs but if I’m treating myself, the Sassoon masks are great. And after? I always make sure I follow my heat protection spray with an oil. At the moment, I’m using Garnier but I’m a huge fan of MorroccanOil or similar. I make sure I use a pure oil rather than a serum or gel texture product and really do use quite alot – damaged hair can handle it!
Trim, trim, trim
And the last tip I’ve got for you? One I was dead against but it’s definitely helped – regular trims. When I say trims, I literally mean a centimetre off the ends, everyday 5 weeks or so. My Mum does mine for me which is a god send in terms of saving money, and it just keeps my ends fresh and healthier. I hate it, but it really does work in terms of removing old, tired hair so the new stuff can shine through! These days, I’d rather lose an inch in length and have healthy looking hair, than frazzled looking ratty ends. Little and often also takes away the need for big trims, every 6 months or so, which are inevitably demoralising when you’re trying to grow your hair. Keep it up for a year and I promise you’ll see a difference!