my secrets for long, healthy & fast-growing hair
I’m a person who’s often characterized by my hair — it’s been long, thick, and seems to have a life of its own for 99% of my life.
It was pretty damaged while I was swimming competitively (3+ hours in chlorine each day will do that to you), but as I’ve quit swimming and began to take more care in growing and maintaining its health, it’s become even more #thriving than usual.
If you’re looking to grow out your hair, grow thicker and/or healthier hair, or are just super curious, keep reading!
Please note that I’m in no way a doctor and though I’ve done extensive research in this article, it’s primarily based on personal experience.
1. Use Food in Your Favor
You are what you eat, right? Well, what you eat can also help your hair grow. Here’s the breakdown of some of my favorite meals in a day and why they work:
Breakfast: Cage-free scrambled eggs in coconut or olive oil with spinach and avocado
Snack: Brazil nuts and blueberries
Lunch: Kale salad and broccoli salad with pumpkin seeds, avocado, sweet potatoes, walnuts
Snack: Grass-fed beef stick with an orange
Dinner: Wild salmon with salad greens and roasted carrots
Dessert: Dark chocolate with almonds
Eggs (especially egg yolks) are rich in biotin, which is a B-vitamin. Lack of biotin can result in hair loss, which has caused a spike in biotin supplement sales. However, it’s available in a lot of foods, like eggs, organ meats (chicken livers are my new fav!), and seeds/nuts.
Nuts have zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids (what a win) — brazil nuts are especially high in selenium. Vitamin E can be applied topically (as an oil), but it’s great to supplement from within as well.
Other sources of omega-3 come from fatty fish like salmon. Salmon also is a great source of other vitamins, like Vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin B3.
Iron and Vitamin C are two other helpful components for healthy hair; dark leafy greens like kale contain both.
Resource: BBC Good Food (article reviewed by a nutritionist)
2. Use Collagen Every Day
Collagen is one of the building blocks of your body. It’s the most abundant protein in your body, and it helps with skin, joint, and gut health. It can also help you avoid brittle, easily breakable hair. I use Vital Proteins Collagen daily in my cauli oats, coffee, matcha, smoothies, and pancakes; you can also bake with it!
3. Switch to Non-Toxic Shampoo + Conditioner
I’ve been making the switch to safer beauty and makeup products (read how and find my favorite products here) and that’s played a big part in my overall hair health. Using shampoo and conditioners that don’t contain harsh chemicals and work for your hair (aka read the label rather than just picking something off the shelf) works wonders.
4. Use Weekly Hair Masks
Just like face masks, hair masks can help do a deep condition on your hair. I like Living Proof Night Cap as a leave in after every time I wash my hair, coconut oil everywhere (if my hair is extra gross but I’m not going to wash it until night, I’ll slather with coconut or argan oil and put it up into a high bun), or the Pacifica Beauty Coconut Super Power Deep Conditioning Damage Control Mask for an in-shower hair mask.
5. Don't Brush It When It's Wet
Use a wide-toothed comb or wait until it’s completely dry. When it’s wet and tangled, brushing will create breakage and/or pull your hair out — ouch!
6. Stop Washing Your Hair Every Day
Woof. I know. It’s super nice to have clean hair, but if you condition (haha, get it?) your hair to go a couple of days (or at least one day) without a wash, it’ll stop being so oily over time and actually get healthier. If you really hate the look, try a non-toxic dry shampoo like the Captain Blankenship Organic Mermaid Dry Shampoo or Living Proof Dry Shampoo. If you’re gym-ing it every day like I do, try tight braids or high buns.
Other things that can take a toll on your hair:
Repeatedly losing and gaining weight
Physical factors (harsh chemicals, hair dyes)
All in all, hair growth isn’t a specific science. Honestly, both my sister and I have hair that grows fast and thick, so I suspect genetics plays a large part of it, but having good health overall can’t hurt!