By Arwa Lodhi
Hair typically grows about a quarter of an inch to a half an inch maximum a month, but that’s only if it’s super-healthy. While many are eager to buy chemical potions that can help hair growth, few are willing to make lifestyle changes that could help the problem naturally. If you’re wondering how to grow longer hair fast using natural methods, these 10 tips below should help you get mermaid-like locks as fast as possible.
1. Iron + Ferritin Supplements
Key to good hair is a good diet. Consuming iron-rich foods like lean red meats and dark green veggies contribute to ferritin levels sufficient to increase the hair’s growth cycle, meaning it will grow for a greater period of time. Iron also delivers oxygen to hair follicles, which further incites growth. Some women who are vegan, vegetarian or who have heavy menstrual flows may want to take an iron supplement; consult a nutritionist and get your blood tested for iron and its close cousin, ferritin. If you are at all low in these two minerals, take a supplement. Be sure it also contains L-Lysine or you may not be absorbing the minerals properly. Try a good brand made just for hair like Florisene.
2. Eat More Protein
Since hair is made mostly of protein, and protein deficiency causes hair loss, it stands to reason that adding protein to your diet—plentiful in fish, egg whites, animal products and dairy—will stimulate growth. Vegans and vegetarians should be consuming plenty of tofu, pulses and nuts for natural protein, but a good protein powder can help. If you’re not vegan, go for an organic whey based powder–just make sure there are no toxic sweeteners like Splenda or Aspartame! For vegans, hemp protein is an excellent option. Just take as suggested: paradoxically, too much protein may result in baldness. A Goldilocks situation seems to exist in terms of protein and hair growth.
3. Take Omega 3
Another food ingredient crucial to hair health is omega-3 fatty acids, which facilitate the production and action of hormones and oily lubricants that lead to healthy scalp and follicles and bouncy, shiny hair. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, shellfish, nuts and seeds and their oils. To get enough, again, vegans and vegetarians should take supplements–there are plenty of vegan-derived options, such as these by Nuique.
4. Take More Vitamins
Healthy hair also requires lots of vitamins. A and B-complex vitamins promote vibrant, shiny hair; B12 can neutralise premature hair loss; C helps strengthen hair and avoid premature greying; D facilitates healthy follicular growth; E helps maintain a healthy, moisturised scalp, and trace minerals like selenium and magnesium contribute too. Whole organic cereals, pulses and eating deeply hued organic vegetables (such as carrots, spinach, beets and red peppers) are richest in vitamins–but beware. Even if you eat loads of fruit and veggies, you are likely missing out on vital nutrients because mass-produced produce is often grown in soils that are far from rich in the natural micronutrients they used to be. Go organic whenever possible. Get your blood tested for nutrients by a nutritionist and supplement what’s missing. Vegans and vegetarians may lack some essential minerals and vitamins from dairy and meat products, so to protect their hair health, they should consider specialised vegan food supplements, containing boosts of iron, B vitamin complexes and vitamin D, as well as a protein supplement.
5. Try Herbs and Plants
Apart from daily foods, there are herbs that some swear promote hair growth. For example,Plenty of anecdotal (and folkloric) evidence supports herb and plant treatments that supposedly promote healthy hair. Sage, rosemary, gingko biloba, Indian gooseberry, beetroot juice, aloe vera, licorice root, flaxseed, even henna—all these and more have been touted as hair and scalp restorers. But don’t bet your hat on guaranteed results, especially on a cold, winter day.
One herb that does seem to work is Saw Palmetto. Native Americans have relied on this for centuries to promote healthy hair and skin, and it is used today in tablet form because of its scientifically proven effect of blocking DHT, a metabolite of testosterone that is related to hair loss.
6. Enjoy Oily Massages
Other natural remedies used through the ages that are believed to aid hair growth include using essential oils such as almond or coconut to stimulate the scalp, along with a head massage. A few minutes’ massage can increase circulation to the scalp, keeping the follicles healthy. Show your significant other this video and ask them to massage your head gently but firmly enough to move the scalp, for about 15 minutes a day.
7. Try Onion Juice
Since the time of the Egyptians, many people have sworn by onion or garlic juice applied topically to the scalp. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Dermatology seems to confirm some sort of efficacy in matters of hair growth. In the study, subjects suffering from alopecia areata applied onion juice to their scalp twice a day for two months; 20 of the 23 subjects experienced hair regrowth in six weeks. According to Health Ambition, with its high sulfur content, onion juice cleanses the scalp; and rich in catalase—an antioxidant that may help reduce hydrogen peroxide buildup related to thinning, greying hair. Sure, it may nourish hair follicles, but there is the issue of, you know, the smell.
8. Eat More Spicy Food
Speaking of pungent foods, some evidence exists that capsaicin, the spicy element in hot peppers, may promote hair growth by attracting blood and nutrients to the scalp, and by promoting the release of histamines that stimulate cell division and hair growth. One study in particular noted that a combination of capsaicin and soy isoflavone produces significant hair growth in humans.
9. Try Ozone Therapy
Not many people have heard of ozone therapy for hair, but it has widely been acknowledged for its effectiveness in treating hair and scalp problems like dandruff, hair fall, hair thinning and damage that prevents hair from growing long and full. Infusing the scalp and hair with ozone helps the formation of peptones on the hair shaft located in the middle of the strands. On coming in contact with the roots of the hair strands, ozone rejuvenates and fortifies the hair follicles to strengthen and nourish the hair and scalp. This therapy also improves blood circulation and eliminates any microbial infection present in the scalp and hair that could be deterring hair growth and also treats other problems that can lead to hair breakage, thinning and loss like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and alopecia.
10. Check Your Hormones
Low levels of estrogen or high levels of testosterone (these are usually related to each other) can lead to thinner, weaker or even lost hair for women. The same could happen as a result of unbalanced thyroid levels. See your gynecologist or GP for a blood test to see if your hormones are all in order.