If mermaid-length locks are your #hairgoal, Cosmo has six dermatologist-approved secrets to help you grow the long, thick and healthy hair of your dreams. Adapted from an article by beauty writer Amber Katz in the January 2017 issue, on newsstands now.
Here’s the intel: if you want a mane as long and healthy as Blake Lively’s, there are certain steps you must take to nourish your follicles for optimal growth. And if, to add insult to injury, a (formerly) beloved stylist errs and hacks off more than you’d intended, you’ll panic — as we all do — going into overdrive to try to remedy the problem.
Like so many of us, writer Amber Katz describes her relationship with her hair this way: “Like a security blanket, wearing long hair balances out the bits of myself I don’t love…” This means that after an overzealous cut, we may compensate with dramatic makeup or accessories.
Out of desperation, Katz turned to tape-in extensions. She loved the look, and her long hair got her noticed, but the extra weight caused scalp tension and pain. Plus, rain caused her natural hair to frizz while the extensions went flat, and she couldn’t offset this with a topknot style because you could see the adhesive tape. In addition, the extensions had to be maintained and reinstalled every eight weeks. She finally gave up on the extensions, and went in search of other proven secrets for hair growth. Each of these six secrets, she says, will promote hair growth in as little as 90 days.
Secrets for Thick, Healthy Hair Growth
- Pop Some Pills Hair growth supplements work in line with your natural hair growth cycle to nourish your follicles with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your diet may be missing. After all, hair and nails are considered non-essential by your body, so they are generally the last parts to receive nutrients from your food. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, recommends Viviscal Extra Strength, saying, “Viviscal, a twice-daily supplement rich in biotin and a marine extract, promotes hair growth and density.” Viviscal Extra Strength is clinically proven to promote hair growth in as little as three months.
- Eat Right Dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara recommends foods rich in biotin (vitamin B7) to promote hair growth. Eat a palm-sized portion of almonds, eggs or avocado three times a day. Iron (found in oatmeal, spinach and hummus) is also important as it delivers oxygen to hair follicles, as is lean protein from fish, chicken and beans, which is critical to hair’s structure.
- Do a Deep Cleaning
Buildup of excess oil, dead skin cells and product can create inflammation, says Dr. Zeichner, which can weaken follicles. Once a week, use a scalp exfoliating scrub on your hairline and the back of the scalp. If your scalp is inflamed due to dandruff, use a daily zinc pyrithione shampoo and conditioner.
- Give Your Scalp Hands-On TLC
Scalp massages promote circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to hungry follicles, improving hair growth. Dr. Neil Sadick, a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, recommends five-minute scalp massages. See step-by-step instructions for how to do a scalp massage.
- Get Lit
Red-light therapy, usually an anti-aging treatment to stimulate collagen production, is ideal to help stimulate circulation to hair follicles, boosting hair growth, and it can help fight inflammation as well. Dr. Zeichner recommends doing the treatment in the office or at home with a laser comb for 15 minutes, three times a week.
- Do Not Think Thin
Thinning can start for women as early as their 30s. Common causes are heredity, hormone changes due to post-pregnancy or menopause, or high levels of stress. If patients are open to drug treatments, derms may recommend minoxidil-based products such as Rogaine, which is FDA-approved to regrow hair from dormant follicles.