The answer to "instant hair growth" is that there isn't any. I am sorry to report that there is just no known magic hair bullet. If you want to go from a short chop to long flowing locks instantly you have limited options. Your best bet for overnight long hair is to consider hair extensions, long wigs, clip-on braids, tails or other "instant hair".
Yes, there are lots of things that can maximize the potential of your hair growing cycle but it is folly to imagine that you can go to bed one night with chin length hair and the next day wake up with a new inch of growth.
There are some very rare exceptions, but hair on most people is genetically programmed to grow an average maximum of 6 inches a year.
Make The Commitment
Yes it is really true. Anything in life worth having takes time, commitment and focus.
It is also true that not everyone can have that gorgeous head of waist length hair. People with fine, thin, or severely damaged hair may have a difficult time growing hair past a medium length. Other factors can also retard hair growth including serious illness, ingesting some prescribed medications and a variety of environmental factors.
If you believe that you have the right type of hair to grow it long then make a serious commitment to hang in there for the duration. Growing long, strong, luscious hair requires time, effort and focus.
How long? Remember that the average person is genetically programmed to grow hair at the rate of 6 inches a year. If you want to grow 30 inches of hair, plan on waiting approximately five years to experience that length. Is it worth it? Only you can be the judge.
Patience Is A Virtue
Although it is always a good idea to measure your hair on a regular basis, avoid the urge to measure more than once a month. Growth spurts can vary widely. Hair tends to grow more rapidly in the summer while slowing down in the winter.
To sanely track your progress start a hair growth diary with a baseline measurement. Ask someone to help you acquire a good starting hair measurement. Have your hair buddy use a soft measurement tape to measure from the very tip of your roots to the very end of your strands.
Record the baseline measurement in your diary and measure again in 30, 60 or 90 days. Remember that hair growth is volatile so don't get discouraged by monthly patterns. To avoid growth stress consider only measuring your hair a few times a year rather than monthly.
Start With A Clean Slate
Ditch the damaged parts of your hair at the very beginning of your growing cycle. If your heart is set on with the right locks.
Visit your hairdresser and explain that your mission is longer, stronger tresses. Request that your stylist give your hair a proper growth launch by trimming off all damaged and split ends.
Discuss proper handling of any other damaged hair with your hairdresser. Although cutting may not be necessary, starting with a good conditioning program may be essential to reverse long term damage leftover from environmental, chemical or other ravages.
It is very important that you find a supportive stylist that will help you as you travel on your long hair journey. If your regular hairdresser is not supportive of your goals, there are many excellent long hair experts that you can locate to assist you. To find a list of long hair consultants check out your local Yellow Pages or through word of mouth.
Grow With Grace
Once your hair is ready to grow, make sure you keep it trimmed every 8-10 weeks. Regular trims keep your hair looking and feeling healthy. It will also give you hair a great transitional shape as it grows through the many different stages. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you don't need regular trims. You do.
Some long hair specialists will be willing to "dust" your ends which means that they will remove as little as possible from your ends focusing only on split ends. If your hair is in great shape, dusting will trim the minimal amount of hair preserving as much of your hard earned-growth as possible.
Many people prefer to trim their own ends. This is perfectly acceptable as long as high quality, professional scissors are used. Dull or scissors that are not designed for cutting hair can rip or tear delicate ends.
Make The Investment
If you are planning on investing several years to grow you hair, why not invest in the best hair care products you can personally afford. Salon products are generally better than the products sold at your local drugstore.
There is no right or wrong product for growing long hair. Finding what works for you and your hair type is the key. Some of the top product lines for assisting with the creation of healthy hair include Phyto, Rene Furterer, Prawduct, Philip Pelusi, Paul Brown, Paves Professional, to name a few.
Many of the chemicals used in the majority of over-the-counter products contain sulfate related ingredients which can be quite harsh and drying to delicate hair. These nasty additives can also accelerate breakage and split ends. Other products may contain harmful versions of silicon which can suffocate hair and ultimately cause all sorts of hair related problems.
Eat Right & Take Your Vitamins
The right vitamins and minerals play a major role in keeping your hair healthy. Any nutritional deficiencies can lead to thinning hair or even total baldness. It is a well-known fact that an under active thyroid can result in frizzy or brittle hair while an overactive thyroid turn hair greasy and limp.
The bottom line to this thread is that your hair ultimately reflects the overall condition of your body. If your body is healthy and well- nourished, your hair will be your shining glory.
If you are having any health problems or suffering from any nutritional deficiencies, your hair may stop growing or show damage.
If your body is in good health, you can maximize your genetic growth cycle through taking the proper blend of amino acids and B-vitamins.
It is also important to include B-6, biotin, inositol and folic acid in the supplemental program. It has been found that certain minerals including magnesium, sulfur, silica and zinc are also very important toward maintaining healthy hair.
Beta-carotene is also important to hair growth. This is because beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A as the body needs it, helps maintain normal growth and bone development, protective sheathing around nerve fibers, as well as promoting healthy skin, hair and nails. Beta-carotene is found in green and yellow vegetables and fruits.
Protein Is Important
Since hair is protein, a diet that is too low in protein may cause a thinning in hair or a retardation in the growth cycle. The converse is true, if you eat a protein-rich diet it will often result in improved hair growth.
Some nutritional experts suggest the dietary utilization of calves liver, brewer's yeast, wheat germ and a daily dose of two tablespoons of granulated lecithin to maximize hair growth, strength and beauty.
Other good food sources for protein include fish, eggs, beans and yogurt. Soy protein has also been found to be helpful in stimulating hair growth. One study of the results of soy on the hair found that it not only strengthened the hair but caused it to grow. A great source of soy is tofu.
Excessive stress and some medications are conclusively known to retard hair growth. If you have a medical condition and your physician has prescribed medications it is imperative that you follow your doctor's orders regardless of the impact to your hair.
Warning: Always consult your doctor before you undertake any new type of vitamin or mineral program to make sure it does not interfere with any medical treatment you may currently be on.
However, if you are under severe stress it is helpful to reduce the stress as much as possible. Consider meditation or relaxation as a way to cut back on any major stress in your life. Your hair will love you for it.
Another secret hair helper is rest and sleep. It has been discovered that to grow faster, hair needs an adequate amount of sleep (7-9 hours are suggested).
Hair Growing Supplements
Eat right, exercise, reduce stress, rest, gets lots of sleep and you are well on your way to maximizing your own personal hair growth potential.
You can either take a good supplement that contains the necessary vitamins and minerals or you can make up your own formula.
I have personally had some success (at least for me) with the HairTopia vitamins. HairTopia was designed to assist the body with the maximum hair growth building blocks.
While eating the proper foods that contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals will help, it is a lot more difficult to guarantee that you will get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the foods you eat.
List of Supplements
In addition to making lifestyle changes, taking the following supplements every day can boost hair growth for many people:
Pursue Growth With Passion
Knowledge is power when it comes to growing gorgeous hair. Learn everything you can about the tricks and techniques of growing lovely long locks. The Net offers a wealth of information of hair growing tips.
Great long hair focused Web sites and Messageboards like Dave Decker's Long Hair Support board, and the long hair specific sections of HairBoutique.com, provide a wealth of information on growing long hair with finesse and passion.
Treat your hair like a piece of fine old lace. Handle it carefully avoiding any unnecessary brushing, combing or handling.
Invest in the best brush you can afford. Never ever use a brush that has tiny knobs on the end of the bristles. Those little knobs are famous for ripping and tearing out unsuspecting hair.
Be careful not to brush your hair excessively. Brush only as much as you need to style your hair or remove knots. Too much hair brushing can lead to split ends and ripped hair.
When you must brush, follow proper brushing techniques. Always start by bending forward allowing all of your hair to gently fall over your face. Use a brush with natural bristles and when possible, a wooden base (consider a Mason Pearson or Kent brush if your budget allows). Carefully brush your hair from the nape of the neck over your head and down to the ends of the strands. After each brush stroke, use your hands to smooth your hair to reduce static. Allow your hair to fall normally. Continue to brush your hair in this position until you are finished.
Remember that hair should only be brushed when it is 100% dry. Hair is in its weakest condition when it is wet. Brushing wet hair can damage it.
Comb It Right
When you comb your hair always separate the hair into small sections. Whether your hair is wet or dry use care and a wide-tooth comb of pick. Start at the bottom of the hair near the ends and carefully work in a downward direction.
A wooden comb is always an excellent choice for hair's health. Avoid the use of hard rubber combs that can tear or rip hair right out of the scalp.
Use Your Fingers
When possible use your fingers as "picks" or "rakes" to remove snarls and tangles. Fingers are the softest tools you can use on your hair to prevent pulling and snagging.
Always Start At The Ears
If your hair is excessively brittle or dry, consider using pre-conditioning treatments before you shampoo. Apply hot oil or rinse out conditioners to wet hair before you shampoo. This will protect fragile locks.
When applying shampoo never apply it directly from the bottle to your hair. First pour a dime to quarter size of shampoo into the palm of your hands and mix with a little warm water. Gently suds your hair starting at the roots.. Let the bubbles and suds from the shampoo gently flow down your hair length to create easy cleansing without unnecessary hair friction.
Use the pads of your fingertips to massage your head to help increase the blood supply to your scalp and hair roots. Unless you have very fine or thin hair, always follow your shampoo with a rinse out conditioner.
Remember to apply conditioners from the top of your ears down to the ends of your hair. It is important to keep conditioners away from the scalp unless your hair is severely tangled at the root. Conditioners applied to the scalp may cause clogging of the hair follicles which will slow growth.
If hair is dry and doesn't need to be washed every day, skip a day or two between shampoos. You can always take a shower without using shampoo. You also have the option to dilute the shampoo so it is less harsh. Use your judgment and experiment to determine the best dilution formula based on the product you use and your hair’s texture.
One other option is to apply a very light coat of hair conditioner to wet hair, rinse well and let hair "aid dry". This will add needed moisture without any risk of causing dryness from too frequent shampoos.
Keep It Cool
Avoid hot styling tools as much as possible. If you must blow dry, always first coat and protect your hair with a leave-in conditioner like Phyto 7 or Phyto 9. Never focus the air flow on one section of the hair longer than a few seconds. Rotate the dryer back and forth to prevent burning hair.
When possible, use a blow dryer on medium speed, cool heat with the air flow directed from the roots to the ends. This is the least damaging way to use a dryer and still achieve good results.
If your blow dryer doesn't have a cool setting but does have a cold shot button, use this at the end to seal and protect the hair.
When possible limit your use of the blow-dryer to just your bangs or limited sections of your hair. Look for ways to get maximum coverage with minimal heat exposure.
Grab The Rags
Use your imagination. There are a myriad of ways to roll your hair on soft tools that will not harm your hair. Some alternative rollers include Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners and empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls.
Other Hair Growing Tips
Hair specialists have discovered excellent hair growing results from adoption of the Zone Diet which is very low in fat.
Here are some other general hair growing guidelines:
Growing long hair is not an instant gratification project. It takes time and work. People with gorgeous long hair spend years achieving the glowing lengths that they love. Understand that long hair is a way of life that requires passion, commitment, focus and attention to detail.
Trust me, you'll know the rewards were worth the effort the first time you feel silky tresses brushing past your shoulder, gliding across the middle of your back, tickling your waist or swinging against your knees.
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- Revised Publication Date: 03/27/11