10 Ways to Improve Your Hair Growth
We all dream of having perfect hair, but achieving long luscious locks can seem impossible if you struggle with breakage or hair loss. As women, we spend a ton of money and effort on feeling beautiful and It can be so frustrating to see strands fall out in the shower, when you brush or when you pull out a ponytail, yet this doesn't have to be the case. There are a few simple tricks you can implement to make your efforts pay off.
I've discovered a few things that have proven to help stop hair from falling out so often, so easily, in such a high volume and even a few things that help it grow back faster.
1. Use an oil treatment mask directly on your scalp once a week.
Hands down the most natural and effective trick out there to help your hair grow faster and keep it from falling out too is to nourish your scalp frequently. It only took a few applications for me to start seeing baby hairs sticking out of the top of my head and in what felt like only a couple of months, I looked like a baby porcupine. Cut to a few years later, my hair is longer, stronger, shinier and more beautiful than ever. I take advantage of having to shower after a workout and I oil my scalp before I get sweaty, although sometimes I leave my oil treatment in overnight too depending on my morning plans.
The Ayurvedic explanation for hair loss is one of two things, both of which are essentially the same concept: dryness in the body or heat in the body which causes the stickiness of the hair follicle to dry/burn out, resulting in the hair falling out of it's pocket. The lack of structure of the follicle can't support a new hair either, so a mal-nourished follicle won't hold a strand, old or new. Because oils are grounding, sticky and nourishing, they combat this imbalance and treat it at its root, literally. Herbal oils are especially beneficial since they are infused with properties that fortify the hair follicle and restore the Kapha or stickiness, like specially formulated one that I've had excellent results with.
A coconut or coconut and castor oil blend will work great if you're looking for a DIY option. Using a dropper, add the oil to your scalp and massage in, making sure to cover the entire scalp. Leave in for 30 min or overnight and wash out. This is a great trick to incorporate before a workout when you will be washing your hair afterwards anyway; a simple step with huge benefits.
Pro tip: put your shampoo in your oily hair before you get it wet, it helps remove the oil easier and leads to less repeated washing.
2. Be mindful of your hair-to-follicle connection to avoid putting unnecessary tension on your strands.
Any tension on your strands will heighten the chances of your hair falling out. Keep this in mind when styling and try to avoid blow drying your hair with a brush when your hair is wet. This is a tough one especially if it's your routine, but the more you let your hair air-dry, the lesser the pull on your vulnerable wet hair, risking it coming out. Air dry as much as possible or blow dry the water out before tugging at it with a brush to style. It will take a little longer, but you'll notice less hair loss in the end.
Similarly, avoid tight ponytails, especially if your hair is wet when you tie it. Try not to wrap your wet hair in a towel either. It may be more convenient, but this is contra indicated in Ayurveda for this very reason; the tension on the hair follicles causes it to lose the hair faster, and it is also heavy, causing unnecessary stress on the head, neck and shoulders.
3. Avoid working out with a hat or beenie on. Heat escapes the body through your head (and feet) so trapping this head burns the stickiness of the hair follicle faster and dries out this connection.
4. Use sulfate - free and paraben - free shampoo's and conditioner's. This is huge for limiting the toxins you are exposed to, but sulfates strip the hair of its luster and shine, essentially stripping away its nourishment. There are a ton of natural hair products that will give you amazing results and with the amount of alternatives for beauty products that are available, picking ones without the chemicals is easy. If you can't find a trustworthy chemical free product, there's always the super simple method of using baking soda and water to wash your hair. Totally non-toxic and totally effective.
5. Drink water!
You should be doing this anyway, but the more hydrated you stay, the more flow your body experiences. Flow is everything because detoxing is everything, so allowing your body to release toxins lets it repair faster and more effectively. Faster repair means faster regeneration, which means faster and more lustrous hair growth. Water also plumps up your cells, facilitates cell to cell communication, promotes collagen, combats wrinkles, improves brain function and ultimately helps your hair and nails grow. Water is a building block and 100% necessary for looking and feeling beautiful.
6. Eat plenty of greens. The vitamins and minerals available in leafy greens and veggies are known to be chalk full of the necessary building blocks of the hair, like vitamin A and biotin. Eating these instead of supplementing with these is a much better approach nutritionally and bio-chemically, since your body will absorb them and use them more efficiently.
7. Anything you can do to release stress has the added benefit of improving your hair growth / limiting your hair loss / stopping the grays in their tracks.
Because stress affects your hormones, your metabolism, your sleep, your digestion and essentially every important and necessary process in your body. Stress is THE thing that will get you, so finding a healthy way to release / relieve / limit stress and your stress response will help your body balance. When you body is calm, everything flows naturally.
Meditate, do yoga, go for a run, lay on the floor with your legs up a wall, take 10 deep breaths before bed or hit a punching bag. Whatever helps you release and feel calm will [literally] keep you from pulling your hair out.
8. Get your thyroid checked by a Functional Medicine practitioner. Thyroid imbalances are extremely common and are not nearly as caught by doctors as we think. Your thyroid numbers may look "normal," but that doesn't mean everything is functioning optimally, which can effect everything from your sleep to your mood to the amount of hair you lose. Often times a slight adjustment can make the biggest difference.
9. There is a wonder herb prized in Ayurveda called Bringaraj that has an affinity for the hair. It is known to improve hair growth, stop hair loss and even turn gray hair dark again. I recently pulled out a white hair that was striped brown-gray-brown and I am convinced the gray turned continued to grow brown because I added Bringaraj to my daily herb blend.
Upping or including trace minerals into your daily supplementation will help your hair, nails and skin too. Our diets simply aren't what they should be and as much as I don't like to recommend mass supplements (especially without doing an individualized consultation) I am comfortable recommending the addition of trace minerals and the herb bringaraj. One teaspoon of bringaraj boiled in cup of water for 10min is a good starting point and is easy to add into your daily tea routine. Your diet should always be on point and should be your number one form of prevention and treatment, but adding herbs is beneficial if the underlying mechanism needs a little boost.
10. Invest in Shirodhara treatments.
Shirodhara is an ancient Ayurvedic treatment that harmonizes the mind, body and spirit. Warm oil is poured continuously over the forehead in a steady flow administered by a trained practitioner and feels amazing, often described as pure bliss. Shirodhara awakens the senses, heightens consciousness, supports the heart and turns on the body's internal healing mechanisms. It is the recommended treatment for insomnia, depression, ADD, anxiety, thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, infertility and loss of self esteem among others. It stimulates cognitive memories, stabilizes the nervous system and eliminates imbalances associated with the head, neck, eyes, ears and nose. This treatment is used to stimulate the hair follicles to help the hair grow, restore its luster and shine, return grays to its natural color and is great for preventing hair loss. Truly a healing treatment that will leave your hair better than ever [and your spirit better than ever too.]
Adding these tricks to your hair care routine should have your locks flowing in no time. Be consistent, be patient and show your scalp some love. It will pay off, I promise.