If you're longing for long hair, growing out your hair is only the first battle in a never-ending war because once your hair has reached your desired length, whether it's down to your hips or just below your shoulders, you will be fighting to keep it detangled and healthy and strong. If you want long hair, you need to learn how to take care of long hair, which is, of course, a much more complicated mission than it might seem.
The main name of the game is minimizing damage because split ends and broken strands will make hair brittle and less likely to withstand day-to-day abuses. Simply put, damaged hair won't stay long for too long because it'll break off. This gets tricky because there are lots of weird things that happen when you have long hair, from shedding everywhere to accidentally getting your locks caught in everything, and although you can't prevent all damage, there are lots of steps you can take to properly care for your hair and minimize the breakage and split ends.
If you want to keep your hair long, you've got to keep your hair healthy, so here are just seven ways to take care of your hair to make sure your long locks last:
1. Don't Overwash Your Hair
If you want your hair to grow, you need a healthy scalp, which means not stripping your skin of natural oils every time you hop in the shower. The easiest way to prevent this oil-free fate is by not washing your hair every single day, and you can always extend the length to time between showers by using a good dry shampoo. When you do wash your hair, you can use shampoos and conditioners specially formulated to encourage growth and keep hair healthy, like the Way To Grow set from Not Your Mother's.
2. Stay Hydrated
A healthy head of hair is a hydrated head of hair, and one of the best ways to encourage hair growth is to drink a lot of water because if you're dehydrated, your hair is less likely to grow. So drink more water. It's good for you, and being a healthy human being will help encourage healthy hair growth.
3. Use The Right Brush
Wide-tooth combs are your friends, as are small detangling brushes like the Tangle Teezer. When you are brushing long hair, start from the bottom and work your way up. That's the best way to ensure you're actually getting knots out of your hair, not just breaking them and causing more split ends. You must keep your long hair detangled if you want it to last.
4. Throw Out Your Curling Iron
In fact, you should avoid all heat when styling your hair because heat causes damage. There are lots of ways to get the look you want without subjecting your hair to harm, like foam rollers if you want curly hair or a hair mask for straight hair without heat damage. If you are going to use a hair dryer, be sure to use it on the coolest setting.
5. Prevent Breakage When Sleeping
A lot of damage can happen to your hair when you sleep, especially if you're prone to tossing and turning at night. Some people sleep on silk pillowcases to prevent breakage, but you can also loosely braid your hair before going to sleep on your regular cotton pillowcase. (And a cotton pillowcase with a high thread count will be better for your hair than one with a lower thread count.)
6. Teasing Isn't Worth It
I get that teasing or backcombing your hair looks great and can add some much-desired volume, but it's one of the quickest ways to break your hair and get some killer split ends. If you're really dedicated to growing your hair long, then stop teasing it. You can get that same volume by using some products, like a good salt spray or even a dry shampoo.
7. Be Patient
If you have long hair, you're going to spend a lot of time caring for it, so just be patient. If you're trying to grow out your hair, remember that on average, hair on a human head grows at a rate of about half an inch every month, so even if you implement all of these tips immediately, your hair still needs time to grow. If you do follow these tips, and prevent damage to your hair, you'll be much more likely to end up with, and keep, the length you want.