Growing your hair is as much about keeping it healthy as it is about length, because there's no point of having is waist-length if the ends are dry, crusty and prone to breakage.
So to ensure it's shiny, strong (as well as long) from root to tip, follow these expert tips and product recommendations...
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Look after your scalp
A dry and unhealthy scalp can prohibit the regrowth of healthy hair. If you tend to use a lot of styling products, it may be in need of gentle exfoliation to remove build-up. We love: Scalp & Body Scrub, £32, Ouai & Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, £17, Christophe Robin.
Kerluxe Hair Restoration Specialist, Dr Khan also suggests using shampoos and conditioners that focus not only on your hair, but also your scalp health such as the Kerluxe Aquavol range. It's infused with skincare actives, designed to nourish your hair and scalp, while locking in moisture with a healthy dose of peptides. Our shower plug is grateful for your wisdom, Dr Khan.
'Regular trims' isn't just stylist bullsh*t
While heading in-salon every 6-8 weeks for a trim might just seem like a stylist's money-making scheme, it's not. In fact, going for regular trims is Sam Burnett's (Owner & Creative Director of Hare & Bone) number one tip for growing your hair long and strong.
"Regular trims don’t make the hair grow, but it does prevent split ends", he says. "And when hairs split from the ends, the hair gets shorter and looks and feels unhealthy, so it's all about keeping the ends healthy with regular trims to remove any unwanted split ends."
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Just like we look to certain foods for glowing skin, the health of our hair can also be dictated by what's going on in the body. As well as a diet rich in omega 3s and antioxidants, you may want to consider adding a supplement into your regimen.
"To promote the healthiest hair growth we recommend all our clients to take Viviscal Professional", says Sam Burnett. "It's a scientifically-formulated supplement to help maintain healthy hair growth."
Don't leave your hair to air dry
We've long been told that leaving our hair to air dry after a shower is the best way to protect it from heat damage, but ditching your hairdryer could actually be doing you more harm than good.
According to the Australian Vice President of Smart Devices, Dr Tim Moore, leaving your hair wet could actually be damaging it and causing split ends. How? Wet hair swells, which puts pressure on the cuticles and causes them to break.
Speaking to Yahoo, he said: "The hair is made up of a cortex, which is the area that pulls the shape of your hair and then cuticles around the side, which are a bit like roof tiles."
"The other thing is that when the hair is wet it loses its strength. So, the hair is half as strong when it's wet."
Sorry, lazy girls, it's time to bring out the hairdryer.
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Keep your heat styling tools under 185 degrees - or skip it altogether
"The best thing to do is to let your hair rest as much as possible and less heat styling is always a winner", says Sam Burnett. "Although heat protecting products are amazing and help protect the hair, cutting down the amount you use them will help keep the ends (the oldest part of your hair) stronger for longer, meaning you will keep the hair healthier and need less cut off when having a regular 6-8 week trim."
And if you really can't avoid picking up a heat styling tool, just make sure the temperature is controlled. You can keep hair damage to a minimum if the tool is under 185 degrees – anything hire and it will destroy the keratin within your hair, resulting in breakage.
Shield your hair from the sun
Our hair can burn just like our skin can – we just don't feel it.
"UV rays act on hair in a similar way to bleach; they degrade its protein structure, leaving strands weaker and more vulnerable to breakage and further damage", says Annabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley "Whilst in the sun, you should apply a sun protective spray to your hair liberally, coating each strand."
Anabel suggests using a daily sun-protective mist, like the Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence itioning Spray (£18). It works to guard hair from UV ray damage and is also incredibly lightweight so it won’t affect your style.
"When hair becomes damaged by the sun, its physical and aesthetic properties are adversely affected. Moisture content is low, the outer cuticle is raised and perhaps broken, and strands are therefore left dry, inelastic, dull, overly porous, hard to manage and more susceptible to environmental damage.”
So make sure to spritz the next time you're in the sun.
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Stop washing your hair every day
In general, if you wash your hair every day, it strips the follicles of their natural oils, leading to split ends and dull looking hair. Your scalp can also dry out, causing dandruff and hair loss, while colour fades at a faster rate when washed every day.
"Your exact regime and frequency of wash should depend on your hair texture and the specific needs of your scalp," says Anabel. "If you have fine hair, choose a body-building shampoo and conditioner to gently cleanse and moisturise. If you have an itchy or flaky scalp, use products that will counteract this, such as a soothing anti-microbial flaky/itchy scalp toner and an exfoliating scalp mask. If your scalp has a tendency to get greasy, use a toning tonic after every shampoo. For dry hair, apply an intensive weekly pre-shampoo conditioner once weekly to restore elasticity, bounce and shine.”
If you've gotten into the habit of washing your hair every day, it can be a tricky cycle to break and you may get sick of the sight of grease. But if you persist, your hair will regulate itself again and you'll find you can go longer in between washes – so stick it out!