I’m someone who likes to change my hair a lot – long, short, highlights, bangs, I just can’t decide! Lately, though, I’ve been embracing my natural color and trying to grow it out as long as I can. Although long hair can be heavy (especially in the summer) and inconvenient (especially on a windy day) I love how I can style it so many different ways including top knots, ponytails, and braids. Growing your hair long and keeping it healthy, though, can be a challenge. I’ve tried out lots of different products and added some simple steps into my hair routine to make sure my hair stays healthy so I can keep growing it longer. That’s why I wanted to share my top five tips for growing out your hair while keeping it healthy and strong.
1. Don’t wash your hair everyday
I know for some of you this may sound impossible. Believe me, I was there. Back in college I would wash my hair every day, sometimes twice in the summer because it felt too greasy if I didn’t. Then I started hearing that if you force yourself to cut back on washing, over time your hair will produce less oil, AKA less greasy hair. Plus, the less washing, drying, and styling you do on your hair, the less wear and tear it takes, so your hair will stay thicker and healthier. So I decided to give it a try. I took it slow at first – I tried to choose one day a week when I wouldn’t wash my hair, then increased to two days a week, etc. Eventually I got to the point where I could comfortably wash my hair every 2-3 days, which is where I’m at now. I have to say, not only has my hair become less oily and greasy, but it’s a huge time saver! My showers are way shorter and I only have to style my hair 2-3 times a week which is a huge game changer. It’s such a great feeling styling your hair Monday morning, and then knowing Tuesday and Wednesday you won’t have to wash, dry, or style it. Now from time to time on that third day I feel like my hair starts to look a little greasy, so that’s when I’ll either throw it up in a bun/ponytail or I’ll wear a headband. It’s forced me to get creative with my hairstyles and change them up more often. Also, investing in a good dry shampoo will make a huge difference in this process. My favorite one that I’ve tried is the Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo, but if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Batiste dry shampoo does a great job too.
2. Don’t over-use heat on your hair
I know this is another one that may seem hard for some people, myself included. I truly hate going out in public if my hair isn’t done. That being said, there are some creative ways around having to put damaging heat on your hair every day. First off, I try to blow-dry my hair as little as possible. I shower at night, so my hair can dry overnight, and then I’ll style it in the morning. Occasionally on the weekends I’ll shower during the day, so if I blow-dry my hair I’ll make sure to use a good protective product. Right now I’ve been using this Briogeo blow dry perfection heat protectant creme. Then, before straightening or curling my hair I’ll use a protective spray. When I bought my Chi hair straightener (which I also use to curl my hair, I’m hoping to film a tutorial soon!) it came with a free sample of their Chi Thermal Protection Spray which I really liked, so I’ve been using that for the past year or so. In addition to the protective sprays, I choose a few days a week where I give my hair a break completely from heat, so instead of heat-styling it, I’ll put it in a braid, ponytail, bun, or I’ll throw on a hat. Plus, since I’ve gotten to the point where I only wash it 2-3 times a week, when I do use heat on my hair it will be the only time for a few days. Basically, if you follow step one, it will make step 2 easier.
3. Use a wide-tooth comb on wet hair
When your hair is wet it’s more fragile, which makes it more susceptible to damage. If you take a brush to it right out of the shower, you’re more likely to pull out your hair or damage it, and no one wants that! A wide-tooth comb is a much more gentle option on your hair. When I get out of the shower, I use my wide-tooth comb and start from the ends of my hair (since this is where I have the most tangles). Once I work through the ends, I slowly work my way up until eventually I get to the roots. Yes, this process takes a little longer than using a brush from the top down, but it ensures the least amount of damage to wet hair. As my hair has gotten longer (and more tangled) this process has started to get more frustrating, so I’ve been using a leave-in conditioner or de-tangling spray and it’s made a huge difference. Two of my favorites that I’ve tried are the Ouai leave-in conditioner, and the Beauty Protector protect & detangle spray. I really like the Beauty Protector one because it also has heat protection and it also smells AMAZING!
4. Invest in some good products
I’ve already mentioned a few of my favorite products above, but I wanted to talk about shampoo & conditioner too. I’ve heard from a few different hair dressers that you should change up your shampoo and conditioner fairly often, so I try to switch them up every few months. Recently, though, I started using the Moroccan Oil moisture repair shampoo and hydrating conditioner and I love them so much it’s going to be hard to switch to anything else! I’ve never used a shampoo and conditioner that do such a good job de-tangling my hair while also making it so incredibly soft. Just as a general tip, I only use conditioner about halfway down my hair and through the ends, I don’t use it on my scalp. When I used to use it on my scalp, I found that my hair got greasy more easily. I know these products are a little on the pricey side, but when you only wash your hair a few times a week they will last you a long time. I bought them at the end of May and I still have more than half the bottles left!
5. Get trims often
I know it can be frustrating to trim your hair when you’re trying to grow it out, but it really will help in the long run. As soon as I notice myself getting split ends, I try to cut an inch or two off. Otherwise, my hair will continue to get more and more damaged, and eventually it would be more than a couple inches that I would need to cut off in order for my hair to be healthy again. That’s why this is a really import pre-emptive step and will really make a big difference in the long run.