Looking to come out of lockdown with hair to rival Rapunzel’s? Or maybe you have given yourself a dodgy trim, or are regretting that wonky fringe you cut in with kitchen scissors. Express.co.uk has tips for how to make the most of your hair.
Myths surrounding hair growth, cuts, colour and condition are rife across social media.
We’ve all heard that you need to trim your hair more frequently for it to grow long and strong, and Instagram is pockmarked with influencers trying to sell you ‘hair growth gummies’, but do they actually work?
Express.co.uk spoke with leading cosmetic doctor Dr. Rekha Tailor, and Dr. Anastasia Therianou, consultant dermatologist at 101 Harley St to debunk the myths about hair growth.
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Hair growth: If you want long hair, you need to make sure each shaft is strong and healthy
Can you speed up hair growth?
Hair grows at a set rate every month, but this is impacted by how you treat your hair.
Dr Tailor said: “While it might seem like our hair grows when it wants to, human hair actually has a specific rate, or growth rate, at which it grows.
“Research suggests that this is approximately 1.25cm a month for scalp hair.
“Whilst you can do things to improve the health and condition of your hair, I’m not aware of any evidence of ways in which we can actually speed it up.”
Dr Therianou added: “Some people though wonder why their hair does not grow long.
“The most common reason for this problem is environmental damage to the shaft that causes the hair to break.”
Hair growth: Protein-rich foods may support hair growth
Does your diet affect how quickly your hair grows?
While a specific diet won’t cause your hair to grow more quickly, your diet will determine how healthy your hair is.
Dr Therianou said: “Food rich in vitamins and antioxidants are helpful to maintain healthy hair.”
Dr Tailor commented: “Your hair is made of protein so ensuring you have enough protein in your diet is key to making sure that it’s strong and healthy and in turn, able to grow longer.
“If you’re not consuming enough protein your hair is likely to become weak and brittle.
“Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improved hair growth and similarly people with diets very low in this may result in hair loss.”
What products should I be using to make my hair grow?
While there are a huge range of products on the market claiming to boost hair growth, the evidence in support of them is scant.
Dr Therianou said: “Choosing the right products help to keep the shaft in tact, so it doesn’t break, and this allows the hair to grow faster.
“No shampoo, conditioner, serum or oil will actually make your hair grow faster.
“Shampoo is very important to keep our hair and scalp clean. They remove residues that build up in the scalp.
“Conditioners and serums are necessary as they prevent damage by forming a protective film capable of preventing external agents from altering the cuticle.
“People who bleach or dye their hair require more conditioning.
“Oils help to keep the hair shaft hydrated especially in people with Afro-Caribbean hair or women with split ends.
“Apply coconut or olive oil 30 minutes before you shower, three times a week. After few weeks you will see the difference.”
The ingredients to look for on ingredients lists for their strengthening abilities are:
- Fatty alcohols
- Aloe Barbadensis leaf extract
- Hydrolysed Keratin
Do hair growth supplements work?
Don’t be fooled by the expensive pots of supplements endorsed by your favourite celebrity.
Dr Tailor said: “There are now lots of hair growth supplements on the market, many of which are chewable and marketed in colourful, stylish packaging.
“Whilst many contain ingredients that can help to improve and maintain the overall health of your hair, it’s important to remember that your hair is dead, and so whilst vitamins may help the new hair that is growing it will not have any effect on the hair that has already grown.”
Dr Therianou added: “Multivitamins can work in some cases, but you have to be careful in your choice of supplement.
“Many of them contain Vitamin A or selenium which in some instances, can cause hair loss.”
How can I make my hair grow?
While there might not be a magic pill you can take to encourage your hair to grow extra inches in a month, there are some techniques you could try to spur it on.
Dr Tailor said: “Massaging the scalp can help to stimulate the area and improve hair growth.
“One theory is that the massage encourages hair growth in the dermal papilla cells.
“Coconut oil contains fatty acids that penetrate the hair and some believe help reduce the loss of protein from inside the hair shaft.”
Dr. Therianou explained: “Rubbing oils is not helpful, as sometimes rubbing oil on the scalp can cause other issues.
“Scalp massage in itself can stimulate hair follicles that are in the resting phase and get them to resume their activity and produce new hair.
“The other positive thing is that scalp massages are relaxing and reduce stress.”