I’ve gone through a series of hair cuts and styles through the years, from a pixie cut, to long layers with bold multicolored highlights, to a very ill-begotten perm in college. After said perm completely destroyed my hair and left it dry and brittle with a permanent burning smell, I swore to never let another damaging chemical touch it again. After what seemed like years of growing out my hair and cutting off all of the damaged ends, I’ve developed a list of rules for growing long, healthy locks that I now swear by.
- Sulfate-free everything. Avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils by always using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. My favorite products are Wen Cleansing Conditioner and DermOrganic Conditioning Shampoo and Masque Intensive Repair.
- Focus on the roots. To further avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils, shampoo just the roots, but condition to the tips.
- Deep condition. Treat your hair to a nice deep conditioning at least once every other week.
- Regular trims. Keep split ends at bay by trimming your hair once every 6-8 weeks.
- Prenatal vitamins. Nearly every woman I’ve met who’s had a baby tells me how her hair was never healthier than when she was pregnant, which she attributes to her prenatal vitamins. If you’re not actually pregnant, there’s no need to buy the expensive brands; any drugstore brand will do – they’re basically your everyday multi-vitamins on steroids.
- Biotin. Skip the hair-skin-and-nails vitamins that only have about 1,000 mcg of the super supplement and go for biotin tablets that come as high as 7,500 mcg at your local drugstore.
- Don’t over-process. If you have wavy or curly hair, try to straighten as much as possible with your blow dryer before using your straightening iron. I like to straighten with a round brush, then smooth it out with a paddle brush, finishing with my blow dryer on cool.