Pixie cuts, bobs and shoulder length hair can perfectly frame a face, but when it comes time to grow out strands for a new style, the wait can be a long one. Forget marking days off the calendar for a Rapunzel-inspired mane—we’ve got the 411 on how to get long hair. Read on for the fastest way to grow your tresses, sans extensions.
Adjust Your Diet
“A healthy diet that incorporates a mix of protein and nutrients can improve the condition of your hair,” says Celebrity Hairstylist and NYC Salon Owner Julien Farel. He explains that balanced eating keeps follicles strong and hair from breaking easily. Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, MD, a board-certified NYC Cosmetic & Medical Dermatologist, advises to incorporate omega-3 oils. “I recommend salmon or supplements. Nuts are a good source, too, especially almonds.”
…But Don’t Over Do It
Dr. Gerstner says it’s important to keep weight stable and not yo-yo diet, as hair can be affected by extreme regimen changes, in addition to stress and hormone levels.
Get Smart About Styling
It’s well known that heat can hurt hair, so limiting the use of a flat iron to three times a week is best, says Dr. Gerstner. She also advises the limitation of sunlight (as it can strip the hair) and blow drying, adding, “A weekly deep conditioner masque is a good idea to keep hair as healthy as possible.” According to Farel, many hair care products include the same ingredients as detergents, so it is vital to choose wisely.
Try Vitamins and Conditioning Ingredients
“Phytantriol, arginine and fish oil, and biotin aid in the production of enzymes and hormones which can help stimulate hair growth,” says Farel, who suggests his “hero” product: Julien Farel Haircare Restore. The cleanse-treat-condition formula is designed to push regenerating anti-aging ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, deeper into the follicle, scalp and hair, which helps prolong the hair’s growth phase.
Dr. Gerstner recommends the use of supplements like Viviscal, which include biotin, vitamin C, and a special complex of shark powder known as AminoMar, to help aid hair growth and scalp stimulation.
Take It Easy
Because stress can affect hair, Dr. Gerstner recommends weekly deep tissue massages to relax body and mind. “The adrenals pump out extra cortisol when we are stressed, which leads to acne, skin inflammation, and possible hair disorders,” she says.
Or, you can always take some time off. “Your hair is a reflection of how you feel,” says Farel. “If you are healthy, or on vacation, your hair looks great, shiny and is easy to style.”
Read more: Non-Boring Hairstyles for Long Hair